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Boxy Little Package: 2013 Kia Soul

The 2013 Kia Soul just keeps on improving. It is a pretty package that offers great gas mileage, good price and plenty of room for you and the family, all wrapped up in a good-looking box, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2013 Kia Soul !.

For Kia fans, fun things really do come in boxy, little packages. That package is a square-shaped “urban passenger vehicle,” also known as the Kia Soul. It was first rolled out to the public in 2009, and has become a popular model for the manufacturer in the years since. It was updated in 2012, but still comes in three trim levels – the Soul, Soul + and the Soul !

When Kia first introduced the Soul, it may have been targeted toward youthful buyers, but it also has come to appeal to empty nesters or families with small children. Why? It’s that boxy shape: it has lots of interior room, the car itself gets even better gas mileage, it has a trendy look and the base sticker price – at $14,440 – is something people on every economic level can appreciate.

The Kia Soul has received some pretty impressive awards, as well. It was named MSN Autos’ the “10 Great Cars for less than $20,000” award in 2012, and a “Best Buy” from Consumers Digest, also for 2012.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2013 Kia Soul !.

For 2013 models, the Soul now has a gasoline direct injection engine that is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. This pairing boosts performance while holding on to some pretty good gas mileage, at up to 35 miles per gallon for highway driving.

The list of standard equipment – even on the base model – is good. It includes air conditioning; a six-speaker sound system with CD player and AM/FM/MP3 audio; Sirius Satellite radio; cruise control; Bluetooth Hands-free Connectivity; power windows, door locks and outside mirrors; remote keyless entry; tinted glass; and USB and auxiliary input jacks.

Our upgraded Soul ! Model is distinguishable by the LED projector headlamps, fog lamps and LED tail lights, along with 18-inch alloy wheels. This top of the line model also has a power sunroof and heated outside mirrors.

(Above): Interior view of the 2013 Kia Soul.

The Soul’s standard safety features include front seat active headrests, dual front advanced air bags, front seat-mounted and full-length side curtain airbags, as well as all the latest in braking technology: anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake Assist, Hill-start assist Control, and Vehicle Stability Management. In fact, Kia was offering these cutting-edge safety features years before the government mandated it.

On the inside, you’ll find the car’s square shape means an interior that can easily fit four, although five can also fit in here. The rear bench seat is wide, has great legroom, and folds in a 60/40 split. Visibility for your rear seat passengers is great, which children in car seats will appreciate.

Our top-of-the-line test car was equipped with leather seats, in a sand and black color combination. The car was also equipped with a rear camera display, which makes backing out of parking spaces much safer.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2013 Kia Soul !.

The rear cargo area is on the small side, but still large enough to accommodate a week’s worth of groceries.

Behind the wheel, you’ll find an instrument panel that is stylishly appointed. Visibility for the driver in all directions is excellent, again thanks to the Soul’s square-shaped windows.

On the road, the Soul is a spry little ride that has plenty of pick up and go upon acceleration. It handles well and has, as to be expected, a tight turning radius. Wind and road noise were barely discernible, either at freeway speed or on city streets.

The 2013 Kia Soul just keeps on improving. It is a pretty package – great gas mileage, good price and plenty of room for you and the family – wrapped up in a good-looking box.

Sally Miller Wyatt is a freelance writer who writes family-oriented auto reviews for newspapers, magazines and the Web.


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