The 2011 Kia Soul is a big step in a big direction for the Korean carmaker as it attempts to shed its bargain-car image in favor of something more mainstream. With base prices that start under $14k, the Soul is still a bargain, but it features edgy styling and a strong standard equipment list.
The Kia Soul is available in four trim levels: the base Soul, Soul+, Soul! and Soul Sport. The base Soul comes powered by a 122-horsepower 1.6L 4-cylinder engine, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. All other Soul models are powered by a 142-horsepower 2.0L 4-cylinder which is paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. Kia estimates fuel economy as 31 mpg on the highway with the 1.6L, 30 mpg highway mileage with the 2.0L.
Standard features include an AM/FM/CD stereo with an USB input jack, Sirius satellite radio, power windows and locks, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and air conditioning. Soul+ models add 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth and remote keyless entry. The Soul! includes 18-inch wheels, a power sunroof, fog lights, a 315-watt premium stereo and unique interior upholstery with leather appointments, while the top-line Soul Sport adds side sills, a rear spoiler and alloy pedals.
The Soul shines in the way owners can customize it. Nearly 60 accessories are available including headlight accents, remote start, sport springs, a billet oil cap, sport exhaust, special interior lighting, special cargo and equipment racks and much more.
Standard safety equipment across the Soul lineup includes six airbags, active front headrests, electronic stability control, a tire pressure monitor and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes.