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2010 Kia Soul Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Owner Pros and Cons by steve

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Reviewed: 2010 Kia Soul

4dr Hatch 142-horsepower 2.0L I4 4-speed automatic FWD

Why the 2010 Kia Soul?

Price or payments

Comfort for four American-sized humans; room for a little luggage; pretty much any common option you could want (minus maybe heated seats and mirrors); distinctive styling; and very good fit and finish for around $16,000? Yes, please.

Rear seat room & comfort

Lots of head, hip, knee, and foot room. The cushions seem to get less comfortable after a solid 2-3 hours driving. But, at least around town, this is one car in which you can ask friends to sit in the back without being ashamed.

Materials & workmanship

IMHO, materials & workmanship are judged in part by their durability, but fit and finish are quite good. And Kia is a fast learner: interior plastics which scratched easily in 2009 models were replaced with tougher materials for 2010 models.

Driving position & visibility

You sit fairly high in the Soul and you can see every corner of this not-so-big car. Easy to drive and park.

Reliability & durability

When we bought this car in 2010, we were aware of Kia's dim reputation in the 1990s and their better -- but still "cheap" -- reputation in the 2000s. But it seemed like Kia was advancing quickly. And so they have. In the five-plus years we've owned the car, it has been recalled four times. None of the recalls stranded us and one even was proactive (added rustproofing). The car has received routine maintenance. And that's been about it. It has been quite troublefree. And, so far, it doesn't look like we'll need to claim on the one remaining warranty -- the anti-corrosion warranty. It's only six years, but the car still looks good. All in all, we gambled on getting a bargain and we won. We definitely would consider another Kia for our next vehicle.

Why Not the 2010 Kia Soul?

Fuel economy

For a car its size, with a 1.6 liter engine and :-( an automatic transmission, mileage is no better than a much larger, smoother-riding Buick Lacrosse. Disappointing. However, Kia -- fast learners -- fixed this for the 2012 models.

Brand reputation & image

Kia and Hyundai deservedly are darlings of the car industry now. But even in 2010, Kia still was shedding their old "I could not afford a Japanese car" image. It was one of my biggest reservations about buying. Their image keeps on improving.

Exterior styling

Actually, I'm "meh" on the styling. Way better looking than a Dodge Caliber or Nissan Juke or Cube; not anonymous like a Nissan Versa or Honda Fit; not as pretty as a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Fiesta.

Cargo capacity

Almost a nitpick. Kia chose space for passengers over cargo. The narrow hatch door makes it harder to get stuff inside. The OEM cargo cover is a joke. Towing? Uh-uh -- though that's not something we need.

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