2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury
2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Kia Canada

Review and photos by Simon Hill

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2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury

Say what you will about the Kia Soul’s funky hipster style, one thing is certain: in the battle of the boxes it’s the hands-down sales champion. It outsold the next most popular box-mobile, Scion’s xB, sevenfold over 2011 and 2012 (19,211 Souls were sold in Canada in those two years versus 2,618 xBs) and it outsold Nissan’s quirky Cube by about 25 to 1 over the same period, during which 777 Cubes hit the road. As for the original box-mobile, only 180 Honda Elements found buyers in 2011, which likely explains the Element’s exit from the market in 2012.

So what’s the secret of the Soul? It’s not out-and-out practicality, because in terms of cargo space the xB takes the prize. I’m not sure it’s styling either, because while I quite like the Soul’s style it appears to divide opinion at least as much as (if not more than) the Cube and the xB.

What the Soul does offer is a well-rounded overall package… or is that a well-squared overall package? There’s good passenger space for up to five (the tall roofline helps in this regard), decent performance with a choice of two engines, and reasonable value with a starting price of $18,445 including destination for the base 138-horsepower 1.6L version, climbing to $27,245 including destination for the range-topping 2.0L 4u Luxury version.

2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury
2013 Kia Soul 4u Luxury. Click image to enlarge

Inside, the front seats are supportive and roomy while the rear seats offer genuine comfort for two or reasonable space for three. My 4u Luxury tester upped the comfort and style quotient even further with supple leather upholstery featuring “Soul” logos punched into the seatbacks. Cargo space, on the other hand, is pretty limited with the rear seats up (the cargo area is fairly shallow), and the narrow rear hatch makes getting longer or wider items in and out a bit tricky. It took a bit of maneuvering to get a guitar into the back, and I first had to move the cargo cover to make it work (I’d say “retract the rear cargo cover” except it doesn’t retract, so if you need it out of the way you either have to remove it completely or just let it hang from the forward clips). Flip the seats down and you get a reasonable 1,511 L of luggage space.

With its upright stance the Soul offers a nice high outward view, although visibility is hampered a little at the front by the thickish A-pillars, and restricted quite severely at the back by the substantial D-pillars, which house the high-mounted taillights. The 4u and 4u Luxury models both include rearview cameras, which to me makes a solid argument for upgrading.

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