The KIA Soul is a fun, funky, orangy-copper, Korean kind of a deal, and I really like this thing.

That said, the big question that the folks at KIA were asking back in 2009 with the Soul was, will the kids like it. After all, that is the bet that all the Asian automakers were making with their little boxy people mobiles. They are aimed at the young, which makes me wonder why they began by using a variation of Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man” in the commercials thus aiming straight for the heart of old fogeydom…you know…where I live.

But the car or truck or whatever the heck this thing is, was and is really pretty good. The look is fresh but not as nerdy as the Nissan Cube. The familiar KIA grill and cool kickup in the back give it a fresh look that is quite appealing.

And now, it’s even better.

Inside, our car was trimmed much more tastefully these days. The original one we tested way back when was done up in the full Barnum & Bailey with red and black everywhere. Our latest version had lovely black trim with orange stitching matching the exterior. The seats are comfortable and the cabin is roomy. Options on our Soul ranged from the nice like the electric sunroof to the downright goofy like pulsating lights in the speakers that throb to the beat.

Under the hood, you have options that the original didn’t have. Start with a 1.6-liter, twin cam four cylinder pumping out an adequate 130-horsepower. Next comes a 2-liter, 16-valve, 161-horsepower four will haul the 2800 pound Soul reasonably well with only a little less noise than having front row seats for the Stones. Economy is 24 city/30 highway which is just fine for a vehicle this practical.

But now, the Soul has added some, uh, well, soul I guess. A 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is in the mix now, with 201 horsepower. That will haul the new, zippier Soul to 60 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds. Top speed, if you dare, is 125 miles per hour.

Our Turbo with a sunroof, nav system, heated seats everywhere,  a premium sound system, satellite radio and the erotic throbbing speakers and still came to only $27,600.

And that’s the Kia Soul. Good price, good mileage, and now performance. With more usable storage space than it’s competition, it is definitely worth a look.

In this day and age, that’s a positive steal for a car this well equipped. Forget the kids, maybe this thing is aimed at me. You know, the cheap me, not the cool guy me.


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