2010 Kia Soul ! A/T

It's amazing how quickly Kia has gone from a cheap brand to a value brand. Instead of just getting a very inexpensive car with good warranty, Kia owners now get a very competitive vehicle with desirable features standard and a price that's attractive. The Kia Soul is a perfect example of this transformation.

With a base price below $18,600, Kia manages to build a vehicle that offers a lot of interior space, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity (which actually works well), stability control, an automatic transmission, and a sunroof. Both inside and out, the surfaces are interesting to look at, and there are a variety of good colors to inject a little life in the dashboard where so many economy cars look dreadfully boring.

A base Kia Soul starts under $14,000 and still gives you the funky styling and versatile interior. It's certainly worth a look if you're in the market for an urban runabout that stands out from the crowd a bit.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

Rented one from Hertz in Florida this summer. Surprised about how well it's built, no longer the sardine-can feel of cheap cars, interior is nice and even the hard plastic does not look cheap as in other cars. Engine noise above 65 is a weakness. Surprised of its handling being an econobox, in expressway exits felt like in rails...well at least at econobox speeds.Would be nice to see a smoother 200 HP DI engine with a sweet 6 speed, without going much over the current price. Would make a great second car or a car for young families. Still concerned about long-term reliability, though.When I was young no body cared when the Japanese came, I'm concerned that now the Koreans are showing up in our shores and Ford and Chevy are still selling the old Focus and the Cobalt.Missed to say this car won 5 star rating in the latest more difficult Insurance Institute tests, when other well know and more expensive cars were not able to reach the top rating.

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