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2014 Kia Soul: Up Close

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More 2013 New York Auto Show Coverage

However, once I walked in any other direction around the vehicle, I wasn’t sure Kia had done much to keep the model distinctive — at least not in a positive way. Something about the more prominent headlight clusters says Mini Countryman to me. Around back, I love the now-Kia-signature taillights, which have a diffuse neon-looking glow formerly seen only on concept cars. I’m less wild about the gloss black finish that surrounds the taillights and rear window and traverses the liftgate. It’s overdone, busy. Perhaps trim levels lower than the two Exclaim models at the show will be more modest.

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The interior looks great, though I should mention these are not only loaded models but also “show cars,” which is the automaker euphemism for “some finishes are subject to change.”

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Everything from the steering wheel to the gear selector has an upscale quality. The bright gauges fade to black when you turn the car off. The dashboard speakers are crowned with what appear to be flying saucers. In general, though, the interior of this trim level isn’t trying too hard — refreshing in an “aren’t-we-hip” model like this.

The A-pillars are almost an inch narrower, which does help forward visibility, but their location is pretty far forward – not optimal.

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I give the exterior a C; the interior an A-.

Photo of Joe Wiesenfelder
Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

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