Kia Soul
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It’s not just a youth-market car as the Soul draws in buyers from every age group, which is why Kia dealers can’t keep the “mousy” hatch/wagon in stock. For 2015 the Soul also goes electric.

Base 1.6-liter four-cylinder shared with the Rio; 2.0 option adds passing power; six-speed transmissions.

Few cars are ever considered groundbreaking, but that pretty much sums up the Soul. It’s the kind of vehicle that other automakers would give anything to have in their stable. Funky styling, a frugal price tag and fuel-saving ways have made it a winner. Even those lovable rodents in the Soul’s TV spots are half way to attaining icon status. For 2014, Kia upgraded and slightly enlarged the cabin for more front head and shoulder room and added a bit more rear legroom. In addition the dashboard was revised to accommodate an available eight-inch touch screen. The platform was made 29 percent stiffer and accommodates a suspension that was reengineered for improved ride and handling. Outside, design details inspired by the Soul-based Trax’ster concept provided the basis for a front and rear facelift that makes the Soul much more appealing. The rear liftgate was made 2.4 inches wider and is now flanked by one of the coolest set of taillights ever installed on any vehicle. The entry-level Base Soul comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, while the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the Plus and Exclaim models delivers 164 horses and 151 pound-feet of torque. The 1.6 uses a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic, while the 2.0 is only available with the automatic. Base Souls feature air conditioning plus all the usual power amenities. As well as the larger engine the mid-range Plus adds a fancier interior including floor console stowage and a backup camera, while the Exclaim gets 18-inch wheels (17’s are standard), projector-style headlights, multi-adjustable driver’s seat and a cooled glove box. Optional is a panorama-style sunroof and leather seats (heated and ventilated in front), along with a navigation system and premium Infinity-brand sound package. Under the heading of Big News, the Soul EV arrives for 2015 with an electric motor rated at 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque and an EPA-rated range of 93 miles before its lithium-ion-polymer batteries need recharging.