The 2011 Kia Soul offers a youthful and edgy style, nimble handling, everyday practicality and versatility to the hatchback/wagon segment. It also offers a host of features, a high level of customization, a roomy interior, affordable pricing, very good fuel efficiency and a long warranty. In other words, it has an awful lot going for it.
Having made its debut for the 2010 model year, the new 2011 Soul has also added some improvements, including new rear shock absorbers to better cushion the ride, standard rear disc brakes (as opposed to last year's drums), push button start, heated exterior mirrors, a trip computer and new door handles among the more notable.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Kia Soul is a four-door hatchback/wagon offered in four trims: base, +, ! and Sport (yes, there are some quirky names ... a bit like the Soul's personality).
Standard features on the base Soul include power windows, power doorlocks, power mirrors, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, a trip computer, 15-inch steel wheels, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a 4-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD/MP3 player, and USB and auxiliary audio jacks.
The Soul + then adds a larger engine, keyless entry, cruise control, Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable external mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a height-adjustable driver seat, tinted rear windows, metallic interior trim accents and two more stereo speakers. Optional features for the Soul + include a sunroof, foglights, an upgraded stereo system and floor mats.
Moving up to the Soul ! includes all the above features and options plus 18-inch wheels, two-tone upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated outside mirrors.
The Soul Sport is equipped much like the Soul ! (however, the sunroof is optional), but also adds a sport-tuned suspension, metal pedals, a red and black two-tone interior, and unique exterior trim accents.
Also available is a Premium package for the Soul ! and Sport models which adds keyless ignition, leather upholstery and heated front seats. Available stand-alone optional features include a body kit, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a cargo cover.
Under the hood of the base 2011 Kia Soul is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 122 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque, paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. Powering the other models is a 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 142 horsepower and 137 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with either the standard 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the base Soul comes in at an appealing 26 mpg city and 31 mpg on the highway. The 2.0-liter models are rated at 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with either transmission.
Standard safety features for all 2011 Kia Souls include traction control, stability control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
The Kia Soul had not been government crash tested at the time of this writing. However, the 2010 model received the highest possible rating of five stars for frontal- and side-impact protection for both front seat occupants and four out of five stars for side-impact protection for rear occupants.
The 2011 Soul's cabin is attractive, roomy, practical and user-friendly. The unique and protruding center stack makes for easy access to audio and climate controls, while colorful features, like an illuminated speaker that pulses with the music, add attractive and modern florishes.
Space is also at a premium providing comfortable accommodations and sizable storage possibilities. The high-mounted seating, which is both comfortable and supportive, provides ample legroom for even very tall passengers, while the high roof line allows for plenty of headroom as well. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats comes in at a useful 19 cubic feet and can be expanded to 53 cubic feet by folding them flat.
The drive of the 2011 Kia Soul is surprisingly capable and agile, particularly for the Sport model. Thanks to the 2.0-liter's decent low-end torque, the Soul does well around town and gets up to speed adequately on the highway, while providing an overall comfortable drive (thanks to improved rear shocks this year). However, those who opt for the optional 18-inch wheels should note that they can increase noise level as well as ride harshness over major road imperfections.
While the 2.0-liter Soul has been described as "fun to drive", the 1.6-liter version is more challenged to get the Soul underway, but it does get the job done ... and with very good gas mileage. Since it's only available with the manual transmission, however, it is expected that the vast majority of buyers will gravitate toward the more capable 2.0-liter.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try a Wholesale Car Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them at no cost in your own area.
Price: 2011 Kia Soul:
Base, manual: list price: $13,300, invoice price: $13,040
+, manual: list price: $15,495, invoice price: $14,850
+, automatic: list price: $16,495, invoice price: $15,810
!, automatic: list price: $18,495, invoice price: $17,560
Sport, automatic: list price: $18,495, invoice price: $17,560