Home » Please Enjoy Peak 2010 Automotive Journalism Fashion

Please Enjoy Peak 2010 Automotive Journalism Fashion

Kia Soul Hardigree
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It takes about 20 years, in my estimation, for something to seem like it’s far enough in the past to casually separate it from the present (“That ’70s Show” debuted 22 years after the time period it depicted, for example). Anything that happened sooner than 10 years ago feels proximate enough to the present to feel familiar. Everything in between is that awkward distance of not-so-old and not-so-recent that the mind has difficulty placing it.

I say all of this because, today more than any other day, we’re asked to remember where we were 22 years ago. I live in New York now, but didn’t then, and there’s always the sense that everyone here has more to remember, and more they lost, than I do. So I mostly keep my mouth shut unless asked, as I will do now.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Here’s one thing I will talk about: My press trip to the 2010 Kia Soul launch.

I mention this because I was writing for the old lighting site and wasn’t going to turn down a free trip to Miami, the best place to launch a car you’re pretty certain isn’t going to drive that well. Conveniently, new member Fuzzy Biffertons was actually my co-driver for the trip and dropped a photo of our adventure in the Discord.

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One friend called it “peak autojourno fashion” and Patrick added “Love a good pair of cargo shorts, gigantic new balance shoes, and a polo shirt tucked into a belt.” Another pointed out that the fashions would fit in today. Also, what am I wearing here? My wife pointed out that then, as now, I somehow lost my sunglasses.

What I remember of this trip is that we were staying at the Mandarin Oriental and a pre-reconsideration Britney Spears had the suite opposite the Kia hospitality suite, which is where I joined a bunch of Korean power-bloggers on the wave for a rocking night of “Guitar Hero.” Man, 2010.

Photo: Fuzzy Biffertons

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Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
7 months ago

Kia Soul and all Kia’s suck…no matter what anyone says

Fuzzy Biffertons
Fuzzy Biffertons
7 months ago

I figure the New Balance guys were Kia execs, using the Miami trip as a vacation. Not like the serious journos doing serious journo investigations! Really appreciated the old site paving the way for just saying that the carmakers paid for these. Used to be all unsaid. I just took vacation time and didn’t tell my bosses how the story came about. Weird times.

Last edited 7 months ago by Fuzzy Biffertons
Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
7 months ago

it’s a baby Matt

Scott
Scott
7 months ago

I don’t know why some people so dislike the hamster ads for the original Kia Soul. They were creative and reasonably well executed, and seemed to take/give joy in the fact that the Soul wasn’t quite as generic looking as some of the competition.

I test drove the original gen Soul in both manual and automatic versions. I liked it… it wasn’t a sports car, nor was it that quiet, but it drove decently for what it was and with a manual, dare I say it was even a little fun to bop around in. You sit a bit higher up (which most everyone likes), and while the interior plastics aren’t Audi-quality, they’re interestingly designed and not downright awful to touch. I haven’t driven the last two gens, but I assume they’ve improved/refined things a bit. It’s a terrible shame that Kia gave up on bringing the electric Soul to the states after gen 1, but kudos to them for at least offering all gens of the Soul in some decent actual colors.

I’d still buy a used one if/when I cross paths with a good candidate… like that 200,000 mile one in light green metallic with a manual trans for about $3K that was posted here a couple months ago. If it were for sale in SoCal instead of the midwest (or was it Minnesota?) it’d be in my garage right now.

I think all guys over 40 favor cargo shorts, no? It’s hardly a 2010 or auto journalist thing. Baggy, comfortable, and lots of pockets for junk… the hell with fashion, they’re simply practical. Tucking a shirt in is a faux pas IMO… plenty of guys hitting middle age or older are sporting a beer belly… so untucking is just being considerate of others… a bit of clumsy camouflage to spare folks the sight of the (my) gut. It’s OK… I’m old enough not to really feel embarrassment anymore (which is why I’d be FINE while being seen driving a metallic green Kia Soul at my age).

If/when I do finally get a Kia Soul, I’ll remove the back seats, put down a couple of furni pads on the floor, and drive around LA with my dog, listening to KLXU and KCSN. You gotta enjoy life while you can IMO. 🙂

edited to add in response to some other posts: I also dig the Nissan Cube and both gens of the xB (the first one is cuter/more JDM-feeling, but the second one is quieter/more adequately propelled), and of course, the Honda Element too (another car high up on my still-to-be-owned list). All of these vehicles followed a function-over-form ethos, embracing boxiness to maximize interior volume and practicality. I’m a hatchback fan since my first car (a ’79 Supra) but TBH, these boxy, relatively affordable vehicles provide even more usability, bordering on small-trucklet levels of cargo room, while getting decent MPG (except the Element, which gets in the low 20s which is just a bit disappointing).

Last edited 7 months ago by Scott
DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
7 months ago
Reply to  Scott

The 1st-gen Soul’s use of interior plastics is one of my favorite things about the car. Rather than trying to make them look like leather or carbon fiber, they look like ,well, plastic, but interestingly textured. My ’13 Exclaim has a nice two-toned sand over charcoal interior that makes it a nice place to spend time.

AssMatt
AssMatt
7 months ago

When traveling on the highway, we know we’re re-approaching civilization when we can resume playing “Green Kia Soul” like Slugbug/Punchbuggy.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
7 months ago

I’d be interested to get Adrian’s take on the Soul.

I personally think it’s not an ugly car, and actually pretty successful when compared to the Scion xB or Nissan Cube. The second generation in particular tidied up some of the strange little lumps and holes from the first (e.g. the recessed turn signals under the headlights). The third generation lost a bit of the charm by trying to look too sharp and dynamic, which is never going to be a particularly successful look for a house brick on wheels.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
7 months ago

I agree that the 2nd gen is the ideal version of this car. Honestly it’s pretty nice looking, inside and out, while still maintaining some of the 1st gen funk. The latest Soul doesn’t do a whole lot for me honestly.

Ben
Ben
7 months ago

I’m with you. I actually love the Soul, but I hate the xB and Cube. I have my own theories on why that is, but it would be interesting to hear an actual designer’s take on it.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
7 months ago

I’ve had my 2013 Exclaim since new and I love it. The leather interior is still pretty much perfect, other than a steering bushing it’s been dead-nuts reliable, and it’s genuinely enjoyable to drive. Only downside is the AWFUL Microsoft-designed infotainment system with the worst voice command system ever created. It also allows me to keep my pet ’95 Miata as a “fun car” since I always have something reliable and relatively utilitarian that doesn’t drive like a tank. It’s not a perfect 2-car garage but it works for me!

3WiperB
3WiperB
7 months ago

Only 13 years ago, but we are a long way from cars that start at $13,300.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
7 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

Mainly in this country, India and China still have loads of them

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
7 months ago

My sister has a 2016 Kia Soul that’s been fairly good to her, until it was broken into this weekend. They failed to steal it, but boy did it ever get trashed.

As you might imagine, her attitude towards Kia has shifted. Nobody wants to own a car that’s a target for theft. And Hyundai/Kia has responded to this issue about as poorly as anything I can imagine. Seriously guys, get freaking bent.

It’s a shame because my family has had a number of solid Kia/Hyundai products, all the way back to the Excel and Sonata my parents had in the 80’s. Yep, we go back that far with them. This… does not bode well for our Korean car enthusiasm around here.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
7 months ago

Additional information, apparently she had been trying to get in for an appointment to the dealer for the recall for weeks. Not that it would have helped, these cars are now a target for theft because Kia opted to be cheap and shitty.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
7 months ago

Yeah, worst part is that even if it doesn’t get stolen it’s still going to get broken into and someone’s going to try to steal it.

Then IDK if this is true but I’ve heard that it’s pretty common to mess stuff up worse to be a dick if they are thwarted.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
7 months ago

My partner’s 2017 Sportage was stolen in broad daylight over a month ago. It’s still in repair purgatory at a Kia dealership and has completely ruined her impression of the company.

When a company skimps on sheet metal and the rear door makes loud buckling sounds when opened in cold weather, you’re bemused. When your car drinks a quart of oil every 1000 miles because the company skimped on Theta II piston rings and engine oiling architecture, you’re concerned. When your car is out of commission months because every meth addict on the planet knows the company cheaped out on immobilizer hardware, you’re done and never going back.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
7 months ago

Props, that is the best way to explain the anger and disappointment coming from Kia owners right now.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
7 months ago

I was the Biggest Hyundai fan from 2011 when they started getting their act together until when this theft scandal went down. Not only did Kia/ Hyundai refuse to equip the USA cars with chip keys, they equip all of the mexico and Canada models with chip keys. So hyundai/kia had an engineered anti theft solution ready to go and CHOSE NOT TO INSTALL IT just to make a few extra dollars per car! was it $5? $25 $250 ?? who knows but not that much money per vehicle but the manufacturer decided to put that money in their pocketbook. And then even more insult they made the ignition cylinder so easy to defeat a kindergartener could probably do it! ( likely because the engineer who designed the system had faith that a chip key would be deployed???) Yeah Kia/Hyundai are the bad guys here but we need to be pushing the NHTSA to make chip keys mandatory in all new vehicles. how can backup cameras be mandatory but not chip keys?? Having such high car theft is putting americans safety at risk.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
7 months ago

It dawned on me the other day that this is just the next phase if Kia/Hyundai following in the footsteps of the Japanese automakers. They’re about 10-15 years behind Japan in each step:

1- New guy, inexpensive and basic
2- Getting established, more refined and wider product range.
3- Well established, lauded for reliability and value
4- Getting complacent, still makes a great car but the value’s not quite what it used to be.
5- Whoops, complacent too long. Now we’ve got serious issues and have taken a reputation hit.
6- OK, we’ve figured out and we’re back to making solid cars, even if value is middling.
7- …?

Japan is in phase 6 right now, Korea is in phase 5.

(GM got stuck in phase 5 back in the 70’s and never moved on.)

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
7 months ago

I’ve had a 2022 Soul for a little over 2 years. It is the PERFECT small, cheap car. Fits our family of 4 just fine and I’ll drive it until my older daughter runs out of leg room in the back.

ElmerTheAmish
ElmerTheAmish
7 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

That would be quite the feat. I’m over 6′, and can still fit “behind myself” in the back of my wife’s 2020.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
7 months ago

I bought a used 2012 about 5.5 years ago as my winter/family car. My 2011 Mustang GT wasn’t really ideal for either winter driving or baby seats. It fit my various criteria including price, roominess, hatch etc. Original brakes replaced at 100,000km, replaced the spark plugs around then too just because. Had a CEL for a random misfire at one point and that has been it. One of the motor mounts is starting to get worn but I can’t really complain about that on a car that is almost 12.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

I kinda consider the Kia Soul the cargo shorts of cars.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
7 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Attractive, comfortable, with room for your junk?

Last edited 7 months ago by Rollin Hand
Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

Exactly, plus popular with all ages.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
7 months ago

2010 was the only year you could a Soul with a sunroof and a manual transmission, and of course cool colors like the signature color Kia Soul Green (officially called “Alien”)

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
7 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

That green was really popular, too, you saw a lot of them – which meant dealers actually stocked it, since hardly anyone was custom ordering a Kia in those days.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
7 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I actually tried to get my Soul in non-alien green and the dealer told me I’d have to wait at least three months to get it in any other color. Apparently the other green (it was sort of a dark olive green) was being made in such tiny numbers that it accounted for about one in every thirty Souls shipped to the states.

Chronometric
Chronometric
7 months ago

I always thought all the hamster commercials were wonderful. Even if they were culturally appropriating other species.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
7 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

They are not Hamsters. They are Gerbils. (your friend Richard Gere.)

Chronometric
Chronometric
7 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

You start with Gerbils and work up to Hamsters.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
7 months ago

I bought the Soul that first model year, on Halloween 2009. Bought 2 – one Exclaim and one Sport, both 5pd. My son loved them and swore he’d someday drive it and I laughed. Then I did the math and realized that not only were we likely to still own them but they would still be under warranty! They grow up so fast (kids, not cars).

Sure enough, he came of age and got his license. Started driving the Soul Sport and soon enough bought it off me. He still drives it today and swears he’ll never own a car with an automatic.

Maintenance-wise it’s not the best car I’ve ever owned, but it’s not bad. In 13 years it’s needed a clutch and a starter, and there’s an error code about the vapor recovery system but he hasn’t seen a need to fix that. Some rust, the clear-coat is toast, but it still gets him where he needs to be.

Funny thing was, no matter how hard they tried to market this thing to “the yoots” I have always seen them driven by the middle-aged market. For the longest time I was the youngest person I ever saw driving one.

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