You have to give it to Kia – the commercials for the Kia Soul captures the attention of my 2 year old but also manages to pique the interest of adults as well. What IS that thing and why do I want to drive one so bad? Why do I also think its a great idea to carry a boombox on my shoulders during a pub crawl?

The second has yet to be tested for greatness, but the first was satisfied during a recent theme park hopping trip I took to Orlando, Florida. While not as technical as the Road and Track Test Drive, my experience focuses on every-day family use instead.

Let’s start with the back seat and does-it-fit-my-car-seat-without-little-feet-kicking-me-while-I’m-driving test. Yes, yes it does. Although the Kia Soul is categorized as a “sub-compact” vehicle, it has a surprisingly roomy back seat with enough leg room and head room for adults. This must be where it’s totally hip to be square because that is exactly how all this roominess in a small space is possible.

As far as safety goes, the Kia Soul is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, receiving the  highest score of “Good” in its frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. As a mom, this rating is especially important!

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You can also count on:

  • Driver and passenger front air bags
  • Dual front seat mounted side air bags
  • Full length side curtain air bags
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist
  • Traction Control System
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • 3 Point seat belts for all 5 positions
  • The LATCH system for child seats

as STANDARD features on ALL models of the Kia Soul! Being a smaller vehicle, I really appreciate all these safety features being included for no extra charge.

In case you’re the type that gets excited over numbers and stats, the 2012 Kia Soul has an impressive 164 horsepower (um that’s more than my Jetta has!) with the savvy smarts of fuel-saving features like a stop/start system and EPA of 27/35.

My favorite features of the car include fun seat fabric,

the Bluetooth phone connectivity (sooo convenient!) and USB port (perfect way to listen to your favorite jams on your iPhone or even charge your digital camera in between theme parks!!),

external temperature display (do I need to change into shorts before I get out of the car?), rearview camera (in case you’re awful at parking or have a tendency to hit animals, children or objects), the UVO infotainment system,

and Whistler’s favorite – the tricolor speaker lights. <— Turn them on and get a custom light show that goes along with the music you are playing!

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While there was plenty to like about this car (I loved being able to fit into ANY parking spot – great for those inconsiderate people who always take up more than just their stall in the crowded theme park parking lots!), there are a few things other Kia’s have that I wish they would add to the Soul:
  • keyless ignition system (LOVE not having to dig in my gigantic mom-bag for keys!)
  • nav system – it’s kind of weird that the UVO on the Soul lacks this feature…

Being honest, I probably would not recommend this as a family vehicle (duh – it IS a subcompact car) – BUT the cargo capacity is great (fit my luggage and stroller nicely) and it would be a good car for a single mom on a budget :)

If you are considering purchasing the Nissan Cube, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit or Scion xB, you may want to also check out the Kia Soul and see how it stacks up. According to U.S. News the Kia Soul is ranked #9 out of 40 affordable small cars – so it’s worth looking into!

PSSST!!! Did you know that Kia offers an astounding 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty on their vehicles? Yeah, you read that right – pretty amazing huh?

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Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Kia for loaning me this vehicle for a week to facilitate this review. No compensation was received and as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% mine, all mine. I also own/edit Deals4Dummies.com, thus these pictures are actually my own and not “borrowed”.

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15 comments

  1. I think it really depends on which Kia you drive. This one is a little smaller than I’d like – but has a surprising amount of room inside.

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