Cooley's Logbook: 2012 Kia Soul

Perhaps the leader in its microclass of small, boxy, fashionable urban vanettes.

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I like the Kia Soul more than its minibox rivals. It's cheap and cheerful, crisply styled in a way the doughy Nissan Cube should emulate. But I was disappointed in the newly revised power train. It's more advanced in terms of engine tech, output figures, and number of gears yet it all added up to a pretty gutless and vague driving experience. I don't recall that from the 2011 model. The automatic transmission is probably a poor choice for this car if you know how to shift.

It's also no small matter that Kia burdens the Soul with a bunch of dowdy colors and the alien green they sent us. Aside from Alien, all the rest are drab or black and do this car no favors. It needs a red, a light metallic blue, and a bright, shiny silver on the palette. (CORRECTION: Kia pointed out to me that a lovely red is available on higher trim level Souls. And while they do offer it in silver, it strikes me as a rather drab silver!)

Also, check out CNET's full review of the 2012 Kia Soul.

About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

 

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