Kia states that the 2011 Soul Sport trim “wholly personifies the athletic, urban look Soul embodies.” However, the 2011 Kia Soul Sport trim closely matches the high-end ! trim, right down to its 18-inch wheels, heated power side-view mirrors, standard foglights and upgraded audio system, which includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 with a USB/audio auxiliary jack, 8 speakers, a 315-watt external amplifier, subwoofer, tweeters and speaker lights to flash to the beat in red, blue or green. Like the !, the Sport is eligible for the optional Premium Package, which replaces the cloth seats with leather and heats the driver and front passenger seats. Other interior features match the lower-end trims, as well, including a 3-month trial subscription to Sirius satellite radio, standard air conditioning and power windows and locks (with remote keyless entry), as well as steering-wheel-mounted controls for the cruise, audio and Bluetooth hands-free phone. In addition, the driver’s seat is 6-way adjustable and the rear seats fold 60/40 to increase cargo space.
The Sport also shares a lineup of safety features with the other Soul trims. Antilock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, brake assist and a tire pressure monitoring system are all standard in the Soul, a 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick. Six airbags protect passengers, with dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
The 2011 Soul Sport does differentiate itself from the herd with its standard liftgate spoiler, unique front and rear fascia and side sills, optional power sunroof, metal pedals and a red-and-black interior color scheme with sport cloth inserts on the seats.
Although the Sport shares its engine with the + and ! trims, it delivers a sport-tuned suspension with firmer springs, re-tuned shock absorbers and a more substantial front stabilizer bar. In spite of Kia’s attempt to provide a “lively, more energetic ride,” the Sport receives mixed reviews, with some determining that the suspension doesn’t deliver on the promise, while others feel that the ride is stiffer in the Sport, but not uncomfortable. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with standard 4-speed automatic transmission is fun to drive and agile in the city, but noisy and decidedly not a performance vehicle on the highway. Still, with fuel economy estimates of 24 mpg city/30 highway, the Soul Sport is a stylish option and easy on the wallet.