Enlarge / How appropriate that we found an yeti on a day it snowed in Southern California. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin) Although we make every effort to cover our own travel costs, in this case Kia flew me to San Diego (where it was very cold and sometimes snowy) to drive the Soul, and provided two nights in a hotel.
When the first Kia Soul arrived in 2005, the boxy hatchback look was definitely a thing. A decade and a half later, neither the Nissan Cube nor Scion xB are around, but the Soul soldiers on as the last toaster on wheels. Except, a toaster wasn’t actually the inspiration for the styling. No, it’s considerably weirder than that—the car is meant to represent a boar wearing a backpack. (It’s OK, I’ll just let that one sit with you for a bit.)
I don’t ever remember spending time in the first generation Kia Soul, but I have had a more recent one as a rental car on occasion. Whether you want to call it a hatchback or a crossover, it was actually pretty good at being an affordable, utilitarian transport. It could even be pretty fun to drive, provided you concentrated on keeping up your momentum up. So I was looking forward to trying out the new, third-generation Soul, particularly since the route we’d be using involved some rather good roads in eastern San Diego County.
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