Most Economical Car

Economical car data by country & car type

Economical Car - The Kia Soul

Korean car manufacturer Kia has released a new economical car. Its a weird looking small car designed to compete with other cool micro cars like the Fiat 500.

Up until now Kia have come up pretty boring looking cars that gave a lot of value but were pretty dull to look at. Kia is trying to make its image more cool right now. They released the Cerato earlier in 2009 which looked quite nice but the new Soul really shows they are trying to shake their dull image.

The Soul is a radical looking car. This kind of styling has been around for a while in some Asian countries (most notably Japan) but we're yet to see it very much outside of the continent. The Soul is an economical car with a very tall and boxy design. It has wrap around glass and some four wheel drive styling. Its very bold to look at and Kia hopes it will be popular with younger people. Similar to the Mini, the Souls looks can be customised with different paint, chrome and plastic exterior parts, and adhesive graphics.

The car is powered by a 1.6 litre 4 cylinder petrol 'Gamma' engine. It generates 91 kW and is combined with either a 5 speed manual or automatic gearbox. The 5 speed manual gearbox returns a fuel mileage of 6.5 l/100km and CO2 emissions of 154 g/km. This fuel economy is quite high, making the Kia Soul an economical car to own and run. One of its biggest competitors, the Fiat 500, is a cool looking economical car with very similar figures to the Soul. It returns 6.3 l/100km and 149 g/km. Kia's automatic gearbox is slightly less economical at 7 l/100km and 167 g/km of CO2.

When driving the Kia Soul its engine feels lively around town largely thanks to short gearing. The downside of this short gearing is apparent at freeway cruising speeds when the engine is noisy and revs high. You need to take it easy on the freeway to get the best mileage from this economical car. The brakes feel good but the manual gearbox is a disappointment. It has vague shifts and has an imprecise clutch.

Body lean is controlled pretty well going round corners. This could so easily have been a downfall of the car consdering its so tall so full marks to Kia here. Overall handling is not all that great though - the Kia Soul has imprecise steering and loud, rough suspension.

The Kia Soul is available in 3 models. All models have USB and iPod connectivity which is important for the cars target market. Other standard features include air conditioning and electric windows - the base model is basic but then its also very cheap too. The middle and upper models are called the Soul2 and Soul3. They have more features and are the most customizable. Options such as a sunroof, better audio system and rear view camera are only available on the Soul2 and Soul3. Different trim colours are only available on the Soul3. The other two models are only available in black trim.

The interior of the economical Soul looks quite conventional in contrast to the cars exterior. However the interior looks a bit plastic and cheap and its design doesn't seem to be very well thought out. That said, cabin space for passengers is excellent thanks to the cars boxy design and how tall the car is. Rear passengers have good leg room and good head room for such a small car. The boot is small but theres a lot of luggage space available with the rear seats folded down.

The Kia Soul is a safe small car with a 5 star NCAP rating. It has 6 airbags - fronts, sides and curtains - and anti lock brakes are standard. Stability control is an option but isn't available on the base model.

The Kia Soul economical car is a decent attempt by the car maker to change its boring image but the car is let down by its mechanics and road handling which aren't up to scratch. Also, with the target market in mind, its surprising that you can't customise the base model all that much. Positive points are the large interior space (though this is let down by small boot space) and modern looks. I don't think its stylish looks will save this economical car though.