2010 Kia Soul

I wasn’t expecting much from the Kia Soul when I got to the dealership. It’s a cool looking car, with its trendy box shape (you think Volvo might go back to it now?), squat stance, and a greenhouse that looks like a nice pair of sunglasses. But it could have been oh so much more.

We drove the base model, because that was the only one they had with a manual transmission. It was black, the interior was basic, and the engine was gutless. Not a big deal. But they several others on the lot with better packages. The Soul+. The Soul!. The Soul sport.

And we got stuck with the bottom of the Soul evolutionary tree. Bummer.

Still, it was a nice car. The dash was easy to read. The back seats were okay for short trips or short people, but they don’t fold flat, which might pose problems if you have any intention of hauling more than groceries. The basic amenities were fine for the most part, with disc brakes and ABS, an interior that was cheap without screaming the fact, and a radio that I’d be happy to own without an upgrade.

The ride was solid. Not Mini Cooper territory, but nice. The brakes were fantastic, with great feel and a willingness to keep it all under control. I could see myself driving one of these everyday, so long as I ponied up the extra for one of the option packages. Alloy wheels would be nice. Same with a color besides black, white, or silver. And maybe better interior fabrics.

But that wasn’t my biggest gripe. For a five-speed, you’d think they’d make that last gear a nice long one, but they didn’t. I couldn’t commute in this car, not when the engine is pulling three-grand at sixty. And above that the power band seemed to lose some oomph, which just won’t work for me. But maybe it’ll work for you. The larger, more powerful engines offered on the other packages would help, but that still wouldn’t solve the gearing issue, which makes this car a solid “no chance” in my book. But still, it gets a:


“It’s cute!” the Generalissimo cried.

“Can we just go now?” I said.

“Indeed!” He hauled ass out of the lot, bouncing onto the street amid a flurry of squealing tires an angry honks.

“Ride?” I asked.

“We have only begun!”

“Fine. Brakes?”

He stomped on them. “Excellent!”

I made a note of it. “Acceleration?”

He got on the gas and wound the little engine up. “Unimpressive!”

Another note. “Transmission?”

“Smooth! Like a baby’s esophagus


“We already did the brakes!”

“NO! Brakes!”

He looked up, just in time to see a deer dart out in front of us. He ignored my suggestion and hammered the gas, cutting right as the deer cut left. We missed it by at least three or four inches.

“Good eye!” he shouted. “It handles well!”

I made a note.

“Trouble at home?” he asked. He used his abnormal tone of voice, the one without the screeching or random pontifications.

“No. Well, yes.”

“You may tell me, young Thurman. My ears are always open for you.”

“It’s my bed.”

“Bedroom problems! I am well schooled in many forms of lovemaking. I would be happy to join you and your counterpart. I can sit off to the side and critique your style—”

“No, not the lovemaking. It’s my bed. It’s hard as a rock. I keep waking up with a migraine

“So, this isn’t about lovemaking?”

“No.” God no.

“Oh.” He downshifted, stomped on the gas, and flung the Soul around a curve at three times the posted limit, and at least twice as fast as a sane person would ever consider. “Are you sure it’s not about the lovemaking, because in this area I am an expert.”

“The lovemaking is fine.” Why was I referring to it as “the lovemaking?” I was spending way too much time cooped up in a car with the man.

“Unfortunate!” The yelling was back. Goody. “I was about to tell you my secret recipe for edible candle wax!”

“Pull over.”

“You have spotted villainy! We must fight it at once!” He stood on the brake pedal.

“No. There’s no villainy.” I clutched my stomach, hoping to hold it back as long as possible.

“No villainy?” He scratched his head.

“I just had a mental image of what you use the edible candle wax for.”

“Ha! A mental image!” He reached into his tunic. “Why imagine! I brought pictures!”

I opened the door and hurled into someone’s daffodils.

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