By Clint Williams
Green Right Now
The 2013 Kia Soul shows hip can be practical.
The Soul comes in three punctuation-themed trim levels: Soul, Soul+ and Soul! Even the base trim level is packed with features such as full power accessories, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, auto-off headlamp and Bluetoothwireless telephone technology.
The test-drive Soul! features an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control and steering wheel mounted controls for the sound system. The Premium Package – a $2,500 option – add leather seat trim, automatic climate control, a navigation system and a rear camera display. The backup camera display is a particularly handy safety feature because thick rear roof pillars restrict visibility.
The Soul! has a 2-liter, 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine with either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The test vehicle – and choice of most buyers – featured the automatic transmission. The drivetrain won't make you giddy, but it won't make you fret trying to merge onto the freeway, either.
New for 2013, is an Eco Package on the 2-liter engines with an automatic transmission, which includes stop-start technology designed to cut fuel use when idling and low-rolling-resistance tires. The test car got 26 mpg in a week of highway and city driving.
The 2013 Kia Soul is a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning a good rating (the highest available) is a series of crash tests.
Base price: $19,900
As tested: $23,575
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