2016 Kia Soul Review and Comparison

When my wife’s 2009 Honda Civic ate a spark plug and blew the motor at 150,000 miles, we purchased a used 2015 Kia Soul Base model. I liked her Soul so much I traded my 2010 MINI Cooper Convertible on a new 2016 Base Kia Soul. I put 17,000 miles on my Kia Soul in less than five months. Not so much as a hiccup or ghost of a problem (a real miracle for those who drive MINI Coopers…). I average 33 MPG, but that is because I drive in the ‘sweet spot’ of fuel economy: steady 55 mph on rural two-lane blacktop, with few stoplights and almost no traffic.

The Base model is basic, but remarkably well-equipped. The base stereo is more than adequate if not special, and the standard Bluetooth interface is exceptionally easy to use and reliable. The six-speed transmission is easy to shift, and the clutch light underfoot. Cloth seats are exceptionally comfortable for both me (6’2″) and my wife (5’4″). We both had an aftermarket cruise control installed for less than $700, which works well so far.

Beautifully conceived, with thoughtful touches in places one might not expect, but which are quickly appreciated, like the map/vanity lamps behind the sun visors and a pen holder in the glove box. Intelligent management of electrics mean you cannot leave the headlamps on beyond a reasonable delay, so the starter battery cannot run down. All the switch gear is ergonomically located and silky smooth in operation.

Metering is simple analogue gauges, easy-to-read day or night (including a water temperature gauge, which MINI doesn’t consider important, even in a $30,000 vehicle…). The car is exceptionally quiet at speed, and handles bumps and potholes with surprising calm. Electric steering is not especially informative, but does not misinform, either. You will not confuse a Base Kia Soul for a sports car, no matter how hard you may try. Power from the 1.6 litre four cylinder is, shall we say, “unassuming.” Downshifting on hills or passing is necessary, but it does help make one feel useful.

Headlights are much better than average for halogen bulbs in a two-light configuration.

Probably one of the best buys out there for basic, utilitarian transportation.

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