Soul Man…Or Womam…Or Child – 2013 Kia Soul

Click to read more about Cathy.

Click to read more about Cathy.

By Cathy Droz –

I really am dating myself when I make reference to the movie and song “Soul Man.” I thought it would be a good play on words until my 30-year-old offspring said, “Who or what is ‘Soul Man?’” Too bad, the minute I drove the 2013 Kia Soul I started singing the song and then realized that KIA already had a signature song performed by Hamsters. And my kids think I’m out of touch?

It turns out I not only like the Soul model, I really like the Hamsters. Who would have thought in 2008 that the Korean brand KIA would bring forth such a line of cars that fit all lifestyles and pocketbooks (another word they say dates me). Genius to watch how they have turned the brand around from “KIA, what and who?” to showroom packed, record setting sales for Kia dealerships across the country.

The boxy five-seater Soul, which is a shape I am getting to like (and unfortunately resemble) as it relates to auto design, is very convenient for travel, children’s car seats and cargo of all shapes and sizes. The 2013 has a new powertrain, which has pushed it up the J.D. Power list of 2013 Kia Soul Exteriorhigher end compact cars. The exterior is charming, not too squared off, not too curved. The roofline is cool and the front end has a kind of English Bull Dog look to it. English BulldogThe cabin is functionality at its best; I could reach all the oversized knobs and understand the dash panel without pulling out a translation handbook, KIA app or asking a 10-year old. The inside is cheery and exciting, possibly Disney-like in appearance.

My passengers loved the backseats; complete with basketball player headroom and outrageous visibility due to the large panes of glass and slightly raised theater-style rear seats. My eight-year-old granddaughter, who often says “I’m going to throw up,” due to motion sickness, endured trips over 10 miles in distance at 50 miles per hour looking out the large windows. Oh, and the lighted speaker frames, that glow at night, enhanced the sound system whether playing “Soul Man” or Shakira. The 2013 I tested had a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine, which is better on gas. The base engine has 135 horsepower, the upgrade 163 hp. You can opt for the 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. I also tested the new Eco package, which is setting new records with as much as 28 city and 32 highway miles per gallon.2013 Kia Soul Interior Cargo

The Soul includes standard equipment with a rearview camera as an option. I believe every vehicle should come standard with rearview technology. The basic wagon/crossover is priced right starting at $14,400 – $19,900. My test vehicle, with options such as Navigation with Sirius traffic, push button start with smart key, leather seat trim, heated front seats, automatic climate control, rear bumper appliqué and cargo net was $23,575.2013 Kia Soul Interior Seats

Kia has always provided an excellent warranty program, starting with a 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-yr /60,000 mile limited warranty and five-year/60,000 mile roadside assistance.

I am waiting for the day they do a promotion that with every KIA purchased you get a hamster. Imagine how appealing that would be to the next generation of consumers. In the meantime consider a KIA Soul for the new driver, active lifestyle couple, starter family or super boomer.

Just so you know I’m not completely outdated… Note to my kids: In 2012, Jermaine Paul, winner of the second season of “The Voice” released “Soul Man” as a single in which he was joined by his mentor and winning coach Blake Shelton. So you see, the song, like the car, gets better with time.

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