The soul of the Kia Soul: Why single moms need this car?

The Kia Soul is the reason why the Kia car brand was made. Yes it’s a crossover but it rides on a car chassis. What that means to normal people is that it drives like a car, but it’s not a sedan. So if it’s not a sedan and it’s not an SUV, but it drives different from other crossovers, then what it is it? It’s a Supercar. I am familiar with the Kia car brand. When I first bought my Kia Optima I knew right away I was buying a reliable car with an unheard of 100,000 mile warranty. To this date, I have not been disappointed at all with any of the models. Like all car companies, things change and now Kia is setting the standards that others have emulated since our economy tanked. Now I get the opportunity to review a Kia Soul.

So what is in the soul of a Kia Soul?

As I said before the Kia Soul epitomizes the brand in a standard of excellence that is affordable and reachable to the masses. The single moms like me that have to live on a strict budget or on paycheck to paycheck. We are the middle class Americans that shouldn’t have to sacrifice putting food on the table or the electric (light) bill in order to make a car payment. The Kia soul comes along and makes it possible for families to get an affordable quality vehicle to keep up with our active lifestyles.

The soul of a Kia Soul is what made this vehicle an award recipient for the 2012 JD Power and Associates “highest ranked compact multi-purpose vehicle in initial quality” and the “highest ranked vehicle appeal among compact multi-purpose vehicles.” The JD Power and Associates rankings are an industry standard for not just cars but all kinds of products and services to demonstrate that businesses are listening to customers and providing quality products and services. I can definitely say that after my test run with this vehicle, I agree with the rankings. I will admit that it definitely performs better on the road with regards to speed and handling then the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport that I reviewed back in July.

My weeklong test drive

When I first picked up the vehicle, my first impression about the boxy look of the Kia Soul was OK! I don’t like the boxy look of cars and I have never liked the look of the Honda Element or that other Chevy box looking behemoth of yesteryear. I can’t even remember the name of it because they don’t make it anymore. However, I grew to like the stylish shape of the Soul. It has a much better look thanks to the different paint colors then the Nissan Cube (which is a horrible name for a car).

Anyways, when I first picked it up, I really liked the options and the features of the Kia Soul. Like most 2012 models, it has so many amazing features. However, it has many things standard that are not options and considering the price very much worth it. So let’s take a spin.

First things first: How it drives?

I really enjoyed the speed and the kick of the Kia Soul. For just being a 4 cylinder vehicle it didn’t take much effort to exit and enter onto Central Expressway or Highway 75 in Dallas. If you are a mom what kind of speed are we talking about? We are really talking about the speed it takes to safely and abiding by the law get us to soccer practice, teacher meetings, work and more. For our needs the speed is great. Moms like us are not in NASCAR and in your Dallas-Fort Worth area suburbs many times we barely get outside a 10 mile radius of our home. So while other vehicles are more than likely have better speed, for your purposes you have to take in the big picture of what is adequate for your needs. If you just need to get on and off the freeway, the Kia Soul is perfect because I found the acceleration time to 60 didn’t leave me lagging. I’m willing to trade some increased speed for fuel economy. With the Soul you are getting anywhere from 26 City to 34 Highway MPG and saving a little more with their Active Eco System. This is close to what I get now with my current Kia and I can budget my gas bill easily to about $200 to $250 a month with gas prices around $3.50 a gallon. I drive to and from work and drop kids off at school. I basically fill up once a week. Handling was very smooth and didn’t seem loud on the freeway. The reverse camera is also a plus when reversing so that you don’t hit bikes, animals or people.

How it handles in the rain and urban street flooding

On a recent gathering to meet with friends for dinner, it was pouring in Dallas with urban street flooding. I felt safe driving the vehicle during the rain. The windshield wipers worked well and didn’t lag. Also, I did hydroplane a bit which is to be expected because some of the roads were under construction. It would be impossible to have perfect conditions but I noticed that when I began to hydroplane, the vehicle stability management system for the Kia Soul was able to adjust the car very smoothly back in control. It was not scary for me at all. Also the Four Wheel Disc Brakes with ABS helped a lot when I had to brake hard in the rain. This mechanism helps alleviate skidding. This is a huge plus for me with children in the car as I feel confident this vehicle can keep the family safe. Also included in the safety systems were the front and side airbags along with an entire side curtain vehicle length airbag system.

Interior Roominess and Cargo Space

As you know I have three children and this vehicle impressed me beyond what I thought possible in terms of roominess. I have two car seats and a booster seat to fit into the backseat. Many vehicles just don’t have the room and my rather tall 5 year old has to sit with her booster in the front. With the Kia Soul, this vehicle fits the two car seats with the LATCH system and the booster seat in the middle. My 5 year old was comfortable between my two littlest ones. The other feature I really liked which is an option on the base model was the luggage under the floor tray. This added extra cubic space and if you are a family this is a must. When I picked up my mom from the airport I used that space to provide more room to fit her luggage. It has a removable compartment tray to use if you want to use it to store a lot of small items but you can also remove the tray to just use the space.

Overall Styling, Options and Rank

My overall ranking for this vehicle is 5 stars out of 5. I’m seriously considering this vehicle for my next vehicle purchase and it is in my top two. I can’t say what the other one is yet since I will be reviewing that one in a few weeks. I can say however, that the other vehicle I’m thinking of is also a Kia. At a price range of $16,200 for the base automatic model of the Kia Soul, you can add on premium packages and upgrade to get a serious ride for less than $25,000. I will most likely get the Soul! (there is also the base and the + option) which comes with the UVO Powered by Microsoft Infotainment system and get the $2500 Premium Package add on that includes the Sirius Navigation system, Push button smart key, heated front seats and automatic climate control. Even with these top of the line upgrades the price of the vehicle is still under $25,000 in my area. As usual I enjoyed the special options such as the sunroof, the mood lights, the satellite radio and the USB ports for Smartphone and other USB devices.

Of special note, the Kia Soul has been ranked one of the top ten cars for Back to School and one of the top ten cars for tailgating by Kelley Blue Book.

 

Disclaimer: I received the ability to test drive a 2012 Kia Soul for a week in order to furnish this review. All opinions presented are 100% my own.

 

 

Heather Buen

Heather has lived in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 10 years. The quintessential multi-tasker, she splits her time with her children and navigating the city. As a single mom she has a large network of friends, family & supporters – believing in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” You can find her on Twitter at @dallassinglemom 

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