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VROOOM PSH VRROOOOOM [Car thread]

15681011100

Posts

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    a lot of flooding in the area today... things are getting mighty nervous with my ~7 inches of ground clearance

  • IronKnuckle's GhostIronKnuckle's Ghost Registered User regular
    So I've been in a Kia Soul loan car for right at a week now. It's been long enough that I'm toying with the idea of doing a bit of a review but I'm not sure anyone'd really be that interested.

    Related: sure do wish I could drive my car again.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    So, figure I'd ping this thread for ideas. We're ideally getting a pop-up camper next year or so, and need something to tow it as mini-utes have laughable tow ratings (forest is 1500 lbs).
    Target budget is maybe 25-30k for something that will roughly last a decade, give or take a few years.
    Options I've seen so far:
    Sienna/Odyssey
    Used Land Cruiser/Lexus equivalent (strangely cheaper than the LC)
    Traverse/Acadia/Enclave triplets

    Requirements:
    Can to 3500+ pounds (more the better)
    Can hold 6 people in relative comfort

    I don't put much mileage on my cars, maybe 7-8k a year right now, so MPG isn't that huge a concern.

  • jgeisjgeis Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    @schuss I have a load of anecdotal evidence that a particular Enclave was a fuckin' mess, so I'd avoid that set of triplets, personally.

    Of the group you posted, I would go for the Land Cruiser/Lexus LX. They're going to be hella reliable and can tow well over your desired rating (8200lbs if I'm reading correctly).

    The hardest part of your equation to work around is seating for 6. If you only needed seating for 4 or 5 people I'd recommend a diesel pick-up truck, my personal choice being a Dodge Ram with the Cummins turbodiesel. Those things can tow all day every day without a problem, for hundreds of thousands of miles.

    The current generation Dodge Durango can tow 6200lbs with the 3.6L V6 and 7400lbs with the 5.7L V8, and it seats 7. Tons of people where I work have them, they're probably the single most common SUV in the company parking lot. I think they look a lot better than your average SUV to boot.

    jgeis on
    Geth
  • pimentopimento she/they/pim Registered User regular
    As an Australian, I must second the Land Cruiser vote. Shame you guys don't get the 78 series and/or the V8 turbo diesel.

    Donovan PuppyfuckerMcFodder
  • Johnny ChopsockyJohnny Chopsocky Scootaloo! We have to cook! Grillin' HaysenburgersRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    So I've been in a Kia Soul loan car for right at a week now. It's been long enough that I'm toying with the idea of doing a bit of a review but I'm not sure anyone'd really be that interested.

    Related: sure do wish I could drive my car again.

    As someone who's looking to get a new car for in-city travel with the occasional road trip for a small price and as such has been eyeballing the Soul, I'm interested in a review.

    Johnny Chopsocky on
    ygPIJ.gif
    Steam ID XBL: JohnnyChopsocky PSN:Stud_Beefpile WiiU:JohnnyChopsocky
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    jgeis wrote: »
    @schuss I have a load of anecdotal evidence that a particular Enclave was a fuckin' mess, so I'd avoid that set of triplets, personally.

    Of the group you posted, I would go for the Land Cruiser/Lexus LX. They're going to be hella reliable and can tow well over your desired rating (8200lbs if I'm reading correctly).

    The hardest part of your equation to work around is seating for 6. If you only needed seating for 4 or 5 people I'd recommend a diesel pick-up truck, my personal choice being a Dodge Ram with the Cummins turbodiesel. Those things can tow all day every day without a problem, for hundreds of thousands of miles.

    The current generation Dodge Durango can tow 6200lbs with the 3.6L V6 and 7400lbs with the 5.7L V8, and it seats 7. Tons of people where I work have them, they're probably the single most common SUV in the company parking lot. I think they look a lot better than your average SUV to boot.

    Thanks, I'll definitely check them out. Truck is largely out as I have a small child and it makes loading/unloading problematic with carseats etc.

  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Nissan Armada is an option too.

    Make sure any non-truck based SUV has it's suspension set up correctly. While they are rated to tow, a lot of times it seems that the suspensions are set up for road comfort, so when you see them towing their ass is dragging because the rear suspension isn't stiff enough to handle the tongue load very well. Any body on frame truck based rig will be fine for smaller campers. Even they usually get upgraded suspensions before they tow up to near their capacity, either from factory or aftermarket.

    Also make sure to get the hitch and electrics installed at a reputable place! Shitty trailer wiring is such a pain in the ass to deal with.

    webguy20 on
    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
    introp
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    if you buy a Nissan Armada dont forget to pick up your complimentary giant tortoise shell sunglasses

    jgeisIronKnuckle's Ghost
  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    Anyone got a roof rack make or model that they are particularly fond of?

    "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail, Satan!
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    DrZiplock wrote: »
    Anyone got a roof rack make or model that they are particularly fond of?

    I've always been a fan of Yakima. What are you looking to haul?

  • FoolOnTheHillFoolOnTheHill PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    As a quick note from the Mazda owners here, I haven't had the best luck with my 2010 Mazda 3. My clutch had to be replaced at about 44k miles as it had completely worn out by that point. Looking online, there are a lot of owners who have had them go out at even lower mileage. I'm not getting another one after this whole experience, since Mazda basically called it my fault and made me eat the $1000 replacement charge. They haven't had a recall either, despite the numerous failures at low mileage.

    If you do get a Mazda, maybe think about getting an auto or saving money for clutches.

  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    DrZiplock wrote: »
    Anyone got a roof rack make or model that they are particularly fond of?

    I've always been a fan of Yakima. What are you looking to haul?

    Right now...a mattress.

    Later? Maybe a bike or kayak.

    "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail, Satan!
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    So, figure I'd ping this thread for ideas. We're ideally getting a pop-up camper next year or so, and need something to tow it as mini-utes have laughable tow ratings (forest is 1500 lbs).
    Target budget is maybe 25-30k for something that will roughly last a decade, give or take a few years.
    Options I've seen so far:
    Sienna/Odyssey
    Used Land Cruiser/Lexus equivalent (strangely cheaper than the LC)
    Traverse/Acadia/Enclave triplets

    Requirements:
    Can to 3500+ pounds (more the better)
    Can hold 6 people in relative comfort

    I don't put much mileage on my cars, maybe 7-8k a year right now, so MPG isn't that huge a concern.

    Diesel. Get a diesel.

    Is there a 6 seat version of the Tacoma or the Tundra available in diesel? The smaller, less powerful Hilux can tow 3 metric tonnes (6600 pounds), so one of those should laugh in the face of 3500 pounds.

    Edit, a quick Googling tells me that no, the US is ass-backwards regarding diesel Toyota utes. You can't even buy an Amarok there! What the fuck, America? Diesel is tits-awesome for work vehicles, and yet you seem to hate it with the burning heat of a thousand suns...

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    its because american consumers are stone cold [redacted] and since diesel costs more per gallon here in the US, people think that diesel is more expensive to operate, or that it's "for big rigs" since in our gas stations it's usually on a special pump set apart from the rest

  • jgeisjgeis Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Jasconius wrote: »
    its because american consumers are stone cold [redacted] and since diesel costs more per gallon here in the US, people think that diesel is more expensive to operate, or that it's "for big rigs" since in our gas stations it's usually on a special pump set apart from the rest

    Diesel is finally back at or under the price of regular gasoline across a lot of the US.

    The shitty job GM did with their converted-gas-engine-diesels really soiled the public's opinion of diesels back in the 70s and 80s.

    A lot of people also see diesels as dirty, because only big rigs and bros that like to "roll coal" in their lifted pick-ups use diesel and they're puffing out clouds of black smoke.

    jgeis on
    pimento
  • intropintrop Registered User regular
    Diesel will stop being competitive on price once gasoline goes back off summer blend in September. :/

    Steam ID: highentropy
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    introp wrote: »
    Diesel will stop being competitive on price once gasoline goes back off summer blend in September. :/

    Eh, but then my MPG drops by 2 MPG as well. I'm a big fan of diesel, but they're not that available here unless you're talking 3/4 ton pickups.

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    And yet diesel has the been the fuel of choice for cheap runabout cars in Europe for a long-ass time now. Sure, your 1.4 litre turbodiesel might only make 120 horsepower, but it cranks out 240 ft/lbs of torque and gets 50 miles to the gallon...

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    And yet diesel has the been the fuel of choice for cheap runabout cars in Europe for a long-ass time now. Sure, your 1.4 litre turbodiesel might only make 120 horsepower, but it cranks out 240 ft/lbs of torque and gets 50 miles to the gallon...

    You're preaching to the choir here, not our fault automakers aren't doing anything.

    jgeisDonovan Puppyfucker
  • jgeisjgeis Registered User regular
    There's small enclaves of cult-like devotion to Mercedes Benz and VW diesels here in the US. They're some of the few automakers that have continued to sell diesel cars here. There was a diesel Chevy Cruze, don't know if it's still in production. FCA is finally putting a mid-sized diesel (3.7L + turbo) in its light trucks and SUVs again, and it looks like some luxury automakers (Jaguar, Maserati) are going to have diesel options in the US at some point.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    New Chevy Colorado has one too. A big piece was the new clean diesel regs.

  • DeciusDecius Registered User regular
    3" performance exhaust for my Saabaru has been acquired :). Specifically it's a 3" SPT/Bosal catback from a 2006 STi, but it should have the save mounts as an 05 WRX and mate perfectly to my current Invidia catted downpipe.

    Now I just need to find a place to store it, and some time and location to mount it.

    camo_sig2.png
    I never finish anyth
  • pimentopimento she/they/pim Registered User regular
    BRZ vs MX-5.



    Really highlights the differences between the two. The MX-5 is a fun toy for fun driving, the BRZ is a platform that you can build on. Also the MX-5 comes with far nicer tyres stock.

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    pimento wrote: »
    BRZ vs MX-5.



    Really highlights the differences between the two. The MX-5 is a fun toy for fun driving, the BRZ is a platform that you can build on. Also the MX-5 comes with far nicer tyres stock.

    Seeing as it's possible to put an LS motor in either of them, they both have a HUGE amount of potential waiting to be unlocked.

  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    So, figure I'd ping this thread for ideas. We're ideally getting a pop-up camper next year or so, and need something to tow it as mini-utes have laughable tow ratings (forest is 1500 lbs).
    Target budget is maybe 25-30k for something that will roughly last a decade, give or take a few years.
    Options I've seen so far:
    Sienna/Odyssey
    Used Land Cruiser/Lexus equivalent (strangely cheaper than the LC)
    Traverse/Acadia/Enclave triplets

    Requirements:
    Can to 3500+ pounds (more the better)
    Can hold 6 people in relative comfort

    I don't put much mileage on my cars, maybe 7-8k a year right now, so MPG isn't that huge a concern.

    Tahoe/Yukon/Durango would be the obvious choice. Plenty of towing capacity, plenty of seating space. Although, 3500 lbs really isn't much to tow. I think even a lot of the CUVs can handle that.

  • IronKnuckle's GhostIronKnuckle's Ghost Registered User regular
    IK Reviews the 2015 Kia Soul Base

    For the past week I've had the opportunity to put the first 400-ish miles on a brand new 2015 Kia Soul Base, thanks to my actual car being in the shop.

    Full disclosure: Mitsubishi wanted me to repair my car so much they picked up the bill and told the dealer to give me whatever car they had on the lot for the duration.

    In driving around in this thing, I've continually had to find myself readjusting to life in a regular car. So many of my expectations have been thoroughly skewed by driving an Lancer Evolution X daily for the past five years that I've forgotten that there's more to life than blasting around back roads and listening to a turbine spool up.

    Exterior
    Overall the Soul goes for that same boxy aesthetic that so thoroughly dominates the crossover market. Yet, Kia did not embrace the idea as thoroughly as, say, the Nissan Cube or grandpappy Scion xB. The result is an interesting mix, and somehow the Soul manages to feel simultaneously too large and too small.

    63luvx4yi9sf.jpg

    The front of this Soul is easily the worst angle to view it from. This is, however, largely the fault of this Soul being in the base trim. In higher trims, the weird solid plastic upper grill is replaced by an actual air inlet. Kia also made no effort to not beat you over the head with the fact that you didn't order the fog lights, so you also have to deal with the large circular depressions where they, and your pride, should be.

    0lqdc7ynldu7.jpg

    Things get better as you move around to the side. I really like the tapering windows, and the lines in general feel pretty great. Not visible here are a weird option on this Soul: underbody lights that illuminate when the car is unlocked or when you're exiting. I didn't even notice these for two days until I went somewhere at night, and I must admit I felt just a little bit cooler with them.

    pojuulbx2v3d.jpg

    I love, love, love the rear of this car. The semi-circular tail lights are just weird enough to be visually attractive, and the rear door has a satisfying wump-click when latching it. The trunk is small, yet weirdly roomy.

    Overall the exterior is perfectly serviceable. This is not an ugly car, but it's also not a beautiful one. Personally I'd take the weirdness of the Nissan Juke. The car is pretty tiny in comparison to something like a Jeep Wrangler, and yet I can't shake the feeling that the Soul is just way too tall. This is a complaint I have with crossovers as a category though.

    Interior
    Functional. Yet again the only real thing holding back the Soul is the fact that this one is in the base trim. The cloth seats are plenty comfortable, certainly much more comfortable than the Recaros I sit in every day. The seating position is nice and high. I'm of average height and entering/exiting this car is incredibly easy. You don't go up as you would in a truck, and you don't go down as you would in a car. Instead, you just sort of sidle on in, and this is unexpectedly very nice.

    7ou3kvhvwkyv.jpg

    The cockpit of the Soul has everything you need. The steering wheel is fine and even allows a proper 9-and-3 grip. The dash is a tad too high, but again this is a structural complaint. I really liked the speedo being configured such that 70 mph is perfectly upright, as it makes it really easy for highway driving when you're not using the cruise control. The tachometer is an unexpected feature that, in the normal automatic mode, is of no consequence. Other wheel buttons are well-placed, though I tended to ignore most of them. In the upper left of this corner you can see one of the Soul's speakers, which are weirdly attractive. At least once every single trip I'd cover this speaker with my hand because I am a child. A/C vents are a little poorly positioned. The center stack ones in particular don't seem very effective despite me messing about with them daily.

    1v0pdnxfzhdm.jpg

    Speaking of the center stack, here again we have an odd mix of very nice standard features, and somewhat slap-in-the-face ones. The standard music unit features Sirius/XM sat radio, a USB port, and a headphone jack. These last two are things I'd kill for in my car. Also nearby are two 12v ports, so now three out of four occupants can charge their phones simultaneously. I didn't notice it until a friend pointed it out but this head unit does not support CD playback, which I thought odd until I realized I haven't bought a CD or played one in at least seven years. Good call, Kia! Aircon controls are perfectly functional. I always prefer temperature gauges instead of various amounts of blue or red, but whatever. Speaking of the aircon, super super good aircon. Hot summers here are no joke, and this sucker is among the best I've ever experienced.

    2w55rwzio4yt.jpg

    I really rather like the color choices in here. The base Soul has power windows all around, power locks, power mirrors. This one had an optional auto-dimming rearview mirror that also features a compass and those programmable buttons for garage doors. All things I'd like in my Evo. Seats here are manual only, which is how I prefer it. Higher trims feature powered leather seats, which might be a thing for you.

    tnrufqlgg4ln.jpg

    Rear legroom is great. I had two friends over six feet tall with me one day and both were perfectly comfy. Somewhat related: again I'll harp on the Soul being too tall. Headroom is ridiculous in this car, and I had two hands' breadth between the top of my head and the roof lining. This car could be three or four inches shorter and there'd be no problems. The rear seats fold down, though not flat and the seats themselves do not move forward or backward. As mentioned earlier the trunk is pretty generous. I'd hazard a guess that four adults with light-to-medium luggage could be quite happy in a Soul.

    Overall the interior in the Soul has no serious problems, and even without any extra money thrown at options things are fine. The plastics featured on the dash and door trim manage to neither really look like nor feel like plastic. This is not the same grade of garbage interior plastic that American cars have relied on so heavily until 2010. Job well done, Kia.

    Engine
    The 1.6 liter, 130 horsepower engine in the base Soul is a rev-happy little bastard, and I can't believe I'm so pleased with such a low-performance engine. It's great. I was fully expecting something similar to my old second gen Neon's 2 liter, 125-ish horse engine, and I am quite confident the Soul would blow the doors off the Neon. This isn't particularly praise for the Soul rather than a condemnation of the Neon, but...

    The Soul is not a fast car. This is ok. It is, however, a good bit more than adequately powered, and can very easily get you to highway speeds with a minimum of fuss.

    Transmission
    But the party has to end somewhere. The six speed automatic in this Soul is programmed in a near-permanent No Fun Mode. When I picked up the Soul the Eco Mode was engaged, and I was nearly apoplectic about driving the car. The Eco Mode forces the transmission to constantly hunt for a gear, and shift at about 1.5k rpm. For comparision, the Soul idles at just under 1k rpm. After finding the Eco Mode switch and stabbing that fucker off, life gets much better. I still think the transmission is a bit too fuel-conscious, and really does not want to downshift when you ask the car for more power. Climbing steep hills is a thing I have to do daily, and in automatic mode the car really struggles at maintaining 20 mph unless you give it about 75% throttle. Similarly, when you go for a pass you keep expecting the car to flash a "well, if you must..." message on the console.

    Shift the transmission over into the gear selection mode though, and the Soul comes alive. Redlining at just a hair under 7k, you can enjoy very happy shifting at the 3-4k mark, and as stated previously the little engine will very happily growl at you. I was reminded of Hammond's description of the original Mini as a small dog yapping. I ended up driving about equally in the regular automatic mode and the manual mode, and I think having the option allows you to either put it in zombie commute mode, or fun back road mode, and it's good.

    Suspension
    I wrote earlier that I had to continually temper my expectations gained by my actual car, and for the longest time I could not quite put my finger on what's wrong with the Soul. But I can now, and it's the suspension. Again, this is not a sports car and is not attempting to be one, but the suspension is far too soft. This makes for a very comfy ride over all sorts of roads, but it also makes for very mushy corners. Even gentle lane merges on the highway result in unacceptable amounts of body roll.

    The suspension woes continue in:

    Steering
    While the steering wheel is comfortable to hold, the marshmallowy suspension also plays into a horrible steering experience. One does not steer the Soul so much as one vaguely suggests where one'd like to go, much as when your significant other is in the passenger seat and has refused to google the actual location of your destination and instead waves "it's over there somewhere". Again, I realize this isn't a performance car but the power steering assist has so thoroughly muted the natural movement sensations of the front wheels that it's incredibly hard to tell what's actually going on. The Soul has three steering settings: Sport, Normal, and Comfort. To my dismay it was in Sport mode from the beginning, and the other two modes are even worse. I was actually frightened the entire time I had it in Comfort mode just to test it out. There's so little feedback there it's like you're gripping an arcade race wheel from the 90's.

    Brakes
    Another serious problem. The Soul in all trims features discs all around. (Have we finally graduated to even budget cars getting rid of brake drums? Can we start the party now?) While the normal job of the brakes is to slow and stop the car, in the Soul you have to have a lead foot with the brake pedal. I'm used to my very grippy, very stoppy Brembos, and in the Soul I regularly need to apply half to three fourths of the brake pedal just to slow to a stop from moderate speeds. The suspension problems also play in here, because doing so means a gigantic amount of weight transfer forward, and watching the front of the car dive even when stopping at an intersection is frustrating.

    Fuel Economy
    The Soul proudly advertises a combined fuel economy of 26 miles to the U.S. gallon. Presumably this is with the eco mode engaged, and since I drove without it I did not experience this kind of economy. It does strike me as strange that despite the smallish engine and the smallish overall size, the economy is that bad. I suppose it's largely to do with the weight (2,787 pounds) and the lack of aerodynamic design.

    Value
    The base Soul starts at $15,190. This one had a few options so as tested it's probably a hair over 16k. To put this in perspective, the average car costs right in the 30-35k bracket, so having a car for half the average cost is an insane value. Not having any experience whatsoever in reliability, I cannot speculate how long the Soul will live. Higher trim Souls will set you back more. The Soul+ is $18,690 and at the top of the market the Soul! is $20,790.

    You'd be hard pressed to convince me that the higher trims are worth the additional cost. Honestly aside from no fog lights, which are largely an aesthetic choice anyway, even an utterly bone-stock Soul seems more than adequate to haul you and potentially three other humans around in relative comfort.

    Thoughts
    -These things are everywhere. I just saw six on the way to the office.
    -Not an audiophile but the speakers are pretty good!
    -I hate these wheels, but hey they're actually wheels and not hubcaps.
    -Visibility could be better. The rear view in particular is pretty restrictive thanks to the hugely thick D pillars.
    -I bet all my real problems with this car could be solved with a hair under a thousand bucks worth of aftermarket parts and a weekend.


    -...........Ok yeah I like this car a lot.

    intropJoolanderJohnny ChopsockyL Ron Howard
  • TheStigTheStig Registered User regular
    My parents had one of those as a rental last time they visited and I actually liked it a lot. I didn't think I'd ever like a kia.

    bnet: TheStig#1787 Steam: TheStig
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Yea I am a fan of the newest redesign, though if I was going to get something like that now it would be the 1.4L Diesel Jeep that they are selling now, the renegade I think?

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • jgeisjgeis Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Yea I am a fan of the newest redesign, though if I was going to get something like that now it would be the 1.4L Diesel Jeep that they are selling now, the renegade I think?

    The 1.4L isn't a diesel, it's the same engine that's in my Dart and the US-spec 500 Abarth.

    Edit: There are 1.6L and 2L turbodiesel versions of the Renegade on sale in Europe and Latin America. I'd hope we get something like that, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    jgeis on
  • KrieghundKrieghund Registered User regular
    Just got word that my brother-in-laws brother, (would that make him a brother-in-law as well?) put the money down to pre-order a Mustang GT350. Only problem is I would have to go to Massachusetts to get a ride in it, lol.

  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence.Registered User regular
    jgeis wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    its because american consumers are stone cold [redacted] and since diesel costs more per gallon here in the US, people think that diesel is more expensive to operate, or that it's "for big rigs" since in our gas stations it's usually on a special pump set apart from the rest

    Diesel is finally back at or under the price of regular gasoline across a lot of the US.

    Diesel prices vary seasonally in the US, as refineries switch to producing a larger portion of heating oil in the winter. Here in California diesel is awesome, though. It's currently running twenty cents cheaper than regular at my local gas station. During the winter, gas in California gets cheaper as diesel gets more expensive, which evens out the price advantage, though it at least usually stays at par with premium. (Since I drive a BMW, I usually compare my diesel prices against premium since I'd have to buy that if I had a gas 335.)

  • Johnny ChopsockyJohnny Chopsocky Scootaloo! We have to cook! Grillin' HaysenburgersRegistered User regular
    edited August 2015
    IK Reviews the 2015 Kia Soul Base
    For the past week I've had the opportunity to put the first 400-ish miles on a brand new 2015 Kia Soul Base, thanks to my actual car being in the shop.

    Full disclosure: Mitsubishi wanted me to repair my car so much they picked up the bill and told the dealer to give me whatever car they had on the lot for the duration.

    In driving around in this thing, I've continually had to find myself readjusting to life in a regular car. So many of my expectations have been thoroughly skewed by driving an Lancer Evolution X daily for the past five years that I've forgotten that there's more to life than blasting around back roads and listening to a turbine spool up.

    Exterior
    Overall the Soul goes for that same boxy aesthetic that so thoroughly dominates the crossover market. Yet, Kia did not embrace the idea as thoroughly as, say, the Nissan Cube or grandpappy Scion xB. The result is an interesting mix, and somehow the Soul manages to feel simultaneously too large and too small.

    63luvx4yi9sf.jpg

    The front of this Soul is easily the worst angle to view it from. This is, however, largely the fault of this Soul being in the base trim. In higher trims, the weird solid plastic upper grill is replaced by an actual air inlet. Kia also made no effort to not beat you over the head with the fact that you didn't order the fog lights, so you also have to deal with the large circular depressions where they, and your pride, should be.

    0lqdc7ynldu7.jpg

    Things get better as you move around to the side. I really like the tapering windows, and the lines in general feel pretty great. Not visible here are a weird option on this Soul: underbody lights that illuminate when the car is unlocked or when you're exiting. I didn't even notice these for two days until I went somewhere at night, and I must admit I felt just a little bit cooler with them.

    pojuulbx2v3d.jpg

    I love, love, love the rear of this car. The semi-circular tail lights are just weird enough to be visually attractive, and the rear door has a satisfying wump-click when latching it. The trunk is small, yet weirdly roomy.

    Overall the exterior is perfectly serviceable. This is not an ugly car, but it's also not a beautiful one. Personally I'd take the weirdness of the Nissan Juke. The car is pretty tiny in comparison to something like a Jeep Wrangler, and yet I can't shake the feeling that the Soul is just way too tall. This is a complaint I have with crossovers as a category though.

    Interior
    Functional. Yet again the only real thing holding back the Soul is the fact that this one is in the base trim. The cloth seats are plenty comfortable, certainly much more comfortable than the Recaros I sit in every day. The seating position is nice and high. I'm of average height and entering/exiting this car is incredibly easy. You don't go up as you would in a truck, and you don't go down as you would in a car. Instead, you just sort of sidle on in, and this is unexpectedly very nice.

    7ou3kvhvwkyv.jpg

    The cockpit of the Soul has everything you need. The steering wheel is fine and even allows a proper 9-and-3 grip. The dash is a tad too high, but again this is a structural complaint. I really liked the speedo being configured such that 70 mph is perfectly upright, as it makes it really easy for highway driving when you're not using the cruise control. The tachometer is an unexpected feature that, in the normal automatic mode, is of no consequence. Other wheel buttons are well-placed, though I tended to ignore most of them. In the upper left of this corner you can see one of the Soul's speakers, which are weirdly attractive. At least once every single trip I'd cover this speaker with my hand because I am a child. A/C vents are a little poorly positioned. The center stack ones in particular don't seem very effective despite me messing about with them daily.

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    Speaking of the center stack, here again we have an odd mix of very nice standard features, and somewhat slap-in-the-face ones. The standard music unit features Sirius/XM sat radio, a USB port, and a headphone jack. These last two are things I'd kill for in my car. Also nearby are two 12v ports, so now three out of four occupants can charge their phones simultaneously. I didn't notice it until a friend pointed it out but this head unit does not support CD playback, which I thought odd until I realized I haven't bought a CD or played one in at least seven years. Good call, Kia! Aircon controls are perfectly functional. I always prefer temperature gauges instead of various amounts of blue or red, but whatever. Speaking of the aircon, super super good aircon. Hot summers here are no joke, and this sucker is among the best I've ever experienced.

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    I really rather like the color choices in here. The base Soul has power windows all around, power locks, power mirrors. This one had an optional auto-dimming rearview mirror that also features a compass and those programmable buttons for garage doors. All things I'd like in my Evo. Seats here are manual only, which is how I prefer it. Higher trims feature powered leather seats, which might be a thing for you.

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    Rear legroom is great. I had two friends over six feet tall with me one day and both were perfectly comfy. Somewhat related: again I'll harp on the Soul being too tall. Headroom is ridiculous in this car, and I had two hands' breadth between the top of my head and the roof lining. This car could be three or four inches shorter and there'd be no problems. The rear seats fold down, though not flat and the seats themselves do not move forward or backward. As mentioned earlier the trunk is pretty generous. I'd hazard a guess that four adults with light-to-medium luggage could be quite happy in a Soul.

    Overall the interior in the Soul has no serious problems, and even without any extra money thrown at options things are fine. The plastics featured on the dash and door trim manage to neither really look like nor feel like plastic. This is not the same grade of garbage interior plastic that American cars have relied on so heavily until 2010. Job well done, Kia.

    Engine
    The 1.6 liter, 130 horsepower engine in the base Soul is a rev-happy little bastard, and I can't believe I'm so pleased with such a low-performance engine. It's great. I was fully expecting something similar to my old second gen Neon's 2 liter, 125-ish horse engine, and I am quite confident the Soul would blow the doors off the Neon. This isn't particularly praise for the Soul rather than a condemnation of the Neon, but...

    The Soul is not a fast car. This is ok. It is, however, a good bit more than adequately powered, and can very easily get you to highway speeds with a minimum of fuss.

    Transmission
    But the party has to end somewhere. The six speed automatic in this Soul is programmed in a near-permanent No Fun Mode. When I picked up the Soul the Eco Mode was engaged, and I was nearly apoplectic about driving the car. The Eco Mode forces the transmission to constantly hunt for a gear, and shift at about 1.5k rpm. For comparision, the Soul idles at just under 1k rpm. After finding the Eco Mode switch and stabbing that fucker off, life gets much better. I still think the transmission is a bit too fuel-conscious, and really does not want to downshift when you ask the car for more power. Climbing steep hills is a thing I have to do daily, and in automatic mode the car really struggles at maintaining 20 mph unless you give it about 75% throttle. Similarly, when you go for a pass you keep expecting the car to flash a "well, if you must..." message on the console.

    Shift the transmission over into the gear selection mode though, and the Soul comes alive. Redlining at just a hair under 7k, you can enjoy very happy shifting at the 3-4k mark, and as stated previously the little engine will very happily growl at you. I was reminded of Hammond's description of the original Mini as a small dog yapping. I ended up driving about equally in the regular automatic mode and the manual mode, and I think having the option allows you to either put it in zombie commute mode, or fun back road mode, and it's good.

    Suspension
    I wrote earlier that I had to continually temper my expectations gained by my actual car, and for the longest time I could not quite put my finger on what's wrong with the Soul. But I can now, and it's the suspension. Again, this is not a sports car and is not attempting to be one, but the suspension is far too soft. This makes for a very comfy ride over all sorts of roads, but it also makes for very mushy corners. Even gentle lane merges on the highway result in unacceptable amounts of body roll.

    The suspension woes continue in:

    Steering
    While the steering wheel is comfortable to hold, the marshmallowy suspension also plays into a horrible steering experience. One does not steer the Soul so much as one vaguely suggests where one'd like to go, much as when your significant other is in the passenger seat and has refused to google the actual location of your destination and instead waves "it's over there somewhere". Again, I realize this isn't a performance car but the power steering assist has so thoroughly muted the natural movement sensations of the front wheels that it's incredibly hard to tell what's actually going on. The Soul has three steering settings: Sport, Normal, and Comfort. To my dismay it was in Sport mode from the beginning, and the other two modes are even worse. I was actually frightened the entire time I had it in Comfort mode just to test it out. There's so little feedback there it's like you're gripping an arcade race wheel from the 90's.

    Brakes
    Another serious problem. The Soul in all trims features discs all around. (Have we finally graduated to even budget cars getting rid of brake drums? Can we start the party now?) While the normal job of the brakes is to slow and stop the car, in the Soul you have to have a lead foot with the brake pedal. I'm used to my very grippy, very stoppy Brembos, and in the Soul I regularly need to apply half to three fourths of the brake pedal just to slow to a stop from moderate speeds. The suspension problems also play in here, because doing so means a gigantic amount of weight transfer forward, and watching the front of the car dive even when stopping at an intersection is frustrating.

    Fuel Economy
    The Soul proudly advertises a combined fuel economy of 26 miles to the U.S. gallon. Presumably this is with the eco mode engaged, and since I drove without it I did not experience this kind of economy. It does strike me as strange that despite the smallish engine and the smallish overall size, the economy is that bad. I suppose it's largely to do with the weight (2,787 pounds) and the lack of aerodynamic design.

    Value
    The base Soul starts at $15,190. This one had a few options so as tested it's probably a hair over 16k. To put this in perspective, the average car costs right in the 30-35k bracket, so having a car for half the average cost is an insane value. Not having any experience whatsoever in reliability, I cannot speculate how long the Soul will live. Higher trim Souls will set you back more. The Soul+ is $18,690 and at the top of the market the Soul! is $20,790.

    You'd be hard pressed to convince me that the higher trims are worth the additional cost. Honestly aside from no fog lights, which are largely an aesthetic choice anyway, even an utterly bone-stock Soul seems more than adequate to haul you and potentially three other humans around in relative comfort.

    Thoughts
    -These things are everywhere. I just saw six on the way to the office.
    -Not an audiophile but the speakers are pretty good!
    -I hate these wheels, but hey they're actually wheels and not hubcaps.
    -Visibility could be better. The rear view in particular is pretty restrictive thanks to the hugely thick D pillars.
    -I bet all my real problems with this car could be solved with a hair under a thousand bucks worth of aftermarket parts and a weekend.


    -...........Ok yeah I like this car a lot.

    Thanks a bunch for the review. I'm glad for the head and leg room, because I apparently decided early in life to gravitate towards having tall acquaintances.

    Johnny Chopsocky on
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    Steam ID XBL: JohnnyChopsocky PSN:Stud_Beefpile WiiU:JohnnyChopsocky
    IronKnuckle's Ghost
  • Bear is DrivingBear is Driving Registered User regular
    Took the Figaro to its first local cruise night tonight.

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    And won it apparently? I did not know cruise nights were a thing you could win.

    intropDonovan PuppyfuckerCormacDeciusSporkAndrewjgeisIronKnuckle's Ghost
  • TallahasseerielTallahasseeriel Registered User regular
    As a kia rio owner I kinda wonder if I can turn off econ mode manually.

    I like saving gas and all but it just feels weird when it shifts.

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Uriel wrote: »
    As a kia rio owner I kinda wonder if I can turn off econ mode manually.

    I like saving gas and all but it just feels weird when it shifts.

    What year?

  • TallahasseerielTallahasseeriel Registered User regular
    Uriel wrote: »
    As a kia rio owner I kinda wonder if I can turn off econ mode manually.

    I like saving gas and all but it just feels weird when it shifts.

    What year?

    2015 it's a nice little car.

    Actually I guess there is a button for it it is under the wheel on the left side.

    Donovan Puppyfucker
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Uriel wrote: »
    Uriel wrote: »
    As a kia rio owner I kinda wonder if I can turn off econ mode manually.

    I like saving gas and all but it just feels weird when it shifts.

    What year?

    2015 it's a nice little car.

    Actually I guess there is a button for it it is under the wheel on the left side.

    Yep! Next to the instrument panel dimmer and the traction control switch!

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    the one reason I wish I owned a proper vacuum is to get the summer beach sand out of my car.
    guess I'll just have to go and pay by the fifteen minutes at the car wash.

  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    tynic wrote: »
    the one reason I wish I owned a proper vacuum is to get the summer beach sand out of my car.
    guess I'll just have to go and pay by the fifteen minutes at the car wash.

    Even then, it'll never be gone.

    Sand is never truly gone from a car.

    "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail, Satan!
    KrieghundtynicDonovan PuppyfuckerIronKnuckle's GhostNitsua
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