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If we asked you to name a few memorable ad campaigns, the Kia Soul and its dancing hamsters would probably make your list. The television spots introduced America to a stylish hatchback designed to compete with well-established competitors like the Toyota Matrix.
The Soul won’t win any races or mpg contests: Performance from a pair of four-cylinder engines—rated at 135 horsepower and 164 horsepower—is middling. But the Soul handles well, and its boxy lines allow plenty of headroom and cargo space.
In 2014, Kia completely redesigned its hot-selling Soul from the inside out, but it made certain not to dampen its success by moving away from its quirky design. It maintains its funky box shape and short hood, but with a slightly more modem look than before. Under its hood, the Soul gets a standard 1.6-liter engine with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. In its upper trim levels -- Soul+ and Soul! -- there is a 2-liter with 164 ponies and 151 pound-feet of twist. For 2015, Kia shuffled some of the standard features around and more importantly, it added an all-electric version of the wagon. This Soul EV has 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, and can travel 93 miles on a charge. The EV is currently only available in select west-coast markets, but it will make its way to the east coast in 2015.
After its 2010 introduction, the Kia Soul became one of the most popular vehicles in the carmaker's lineup. Updates for 2013 included new badging, standard Bluetooth for base models and power-folding mirrors at the I trim level. The Soul has two engine options: a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque, and a 2-liter four-cylinder that generates 164 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.