Although it bears an uncanny resemblance to the Scion xB, the Kia Soul is definitely…weirder. Apparently catering to the custom-ride-on-a-budget demographic, the Kia Soul boasts a list of features that by themselves are impressive, but together just seem like overkill.
Graduating from the “kitchen sink” school of digital entertainment, Kia Soul engineers created a technology package that makes even the most jaded gadget aficionado stop and say, “Well, damn.”
In addition to Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, the Soul comes equipped with a notebook computer and built-in multi-purpose video game monitor. The computer is mounted on a retractable arm attached to the center console that neatly folds into a slot underneath the glove-box and provides easy access for both the front and rear seat passengers. Although no official word yet, decals from the photographs lean towards a Windows-based operating system – victory for anyone who just can’t get enough of “Vista” at home.
Relying heavily on the “wow” factor to see it through, the Kia Soul isn’t especially remarkable under the hood: standard 2.0L 4-cylinder in-line engine, 5-speed automatic transmission (with manual overdrive capability), and standard front wheel drive. The Kia Soul’s performance on the street is bound to be mediocre at best. Kia attempts to make up for this notable flaw (and simultaneously distinguish itself from the Scion XB of aforementioned similarity) with it’s subtle exterior design application. Described by Kia press releases as an “upscale, limousine-style” crossover utility vehicle, the Kia Soul features a Ford Flex-ish vista-style roof and rear-hinged “freestyle” rear-passenger doors.
Photos of the Soul were leaked months ago, but its official debut is scheduled for October 2 in Paris followed by its showroom release in Spring 2009. Expected to be overheard in Summer 2009: “Officer I’m sorry, I didn’t see that sign, you see I just entered the Warsong Gulch battleground and the Alliance was about the capture my flag…”