Kia created the original Soul during a different time in the company’s evolution. It was before they hired Peter Schreyer to head their design function, and therefore when Kia was a design also-ran. The original Soul, while cute and funky, was really little more thank Kia’s take on the Honda Element, first-generation Scion xB, and Nissan Cube. A funny thing happened, though: the Soul is Kia’s third-best seller, and completely destroyed the xB and Element in sales for 2012. So, now that it’s time to refresh the Soul, Kia had to tread carefully. Meet the 2014 Soul, which looks a lot like the 2013 model. Continue Reading →
Today we talk about Cadillac cobbling together a pile of technologies in an effort to make a self-driving car. Then we review the 2013 Ram 1500, which did not receive enough coverage at the New York Auto Show. What would a week be without an update on Fisker? We hope we never find out, but it is looking more and more likely. Also in the death news, Scion is killing off the xB and xD. Finally, we talk about the new compact sedan from Nissan. Click the link to see the video.
By Roger Boylan
One of the main raps against Japanese cars over the years has been their blandness. This is less true now. Granted, many still have all the personality of a bowl of ramen noodles, but a strain of quirkiness has crept into the line-up; after all, Japan is the country that gave us Kabuki and Noh theatre, not to mention Pokemon. Those influences are apparent in some contemporary Japanese vehicles, such as the Nissan Cube and Honda Fit, as well as the Scion xB– the original xB, the oh-so-hip one that looked like an angry refrigerator. As far as its present-day descendant is concerned, however, the image that comes to my mind is that of Hector, the Looney Tunes cartoon bulldog. Actually, a squared-off version of Hector. Put it this way: if Hector mated with a shoebox, you’d have a 2011 Scion xB.
By Kevin Miller
The Soul is Kia’s newest vehicle; a small, boxy runabout with a unique style. While it’s in the same basic vehicle class as the Scion xB, it sports a style all its own. The Korean company chose the name Soul for its little boxy vehicle. Not Seoul, like the capital of its homeland, nor Sole, like the bottom of a shoe or boot (which the little vehicle resembles from certain angles), or a bottom-feeder (which the Soul will be in the market).
When I first sat in the Soul in Detroit last January, I was intrigued. It appeared to be a stylish little box, with a better-looking-than-expected interior and an aggressive stance thanks to its wheels-at-the-corners design. At the Detroit show, the Soul begat the Soul’Ster Concept, and my article about that concept was written in an optimistic, upbeat voice. I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to review the little vehicle, which I’ve finally had the chance to do. Unfortunately, the more time I spent in the Soul, the less optimistic I felt. Continue Reading →
By Jason Lu
Members of Generation-Y, or the Millennials, are often described as tech-savvy, self-conscious, up-to-date consumers. I do not see anything wrong with the image and I actually take it as another way of saying that we are forward-moving, fast-paced, and diverse. I am part of this Generation-Y demographic. Our possessions say it all. The phones, PSPs, Wiis, and portable music players are part of our everyday lives, and unsurprisingly, Toyota wants to be part of it too. The Scion brand is aimed at imitating these youthful techno-gadgets. Their cars strive to be unique and come ready with little charms like iPod jacks and six-speaker stereo systems. Scions are cute, fuel-efficient, simple to operate and quite funky. In fact, they are marketed as “Portable Boom Boxes.” Some driver’s education programs have taken note of Scion’s perceived appeal to the young population and now use fleets of Scions. But when I was at Swerve Drivers Ed, I hated the xB every second of the twelve hours that I had to endure in it.
The technological gadgets and computer games that the younger population spends money on have life spans of little more than two or three years. Unfortunately, the money that goes along with it is also short-lived. So when it comes to a large purchase such as a car, it needs to last. A driving machine that is going to accompany me for the next five to ten years will need to be extra-appealing and extra-timeless than are the usual throw-away appliances. I need to be able to look at the car long-term and love it with all my heart. So when I first faced the bloated chin of Scion’s flagship vehicle, the 2008 Scion xB, at Swerve Drivers Education, I cringed. The xB caught my eye, but not really in a good way. It seems as if its shape will grab attention for the first few days, then fade away like the techno-gadgets that it emulates. As much as I tried to convince myself that you can somehow improve the car’s appearance with aftermarket add-ons, I still couldn’t get over the blandness and the weirdness. I suddenly felt uncomfortable with Toyota saying that young people like me would be attracted to this car. It’s almost like the company saying that we youngsters don’t have expectations for timeless styling and proper design. I will admit that I tend to be a bit more opinionated and judgmental than most teens, and I don’t speak for the entire young population, but I expected much more from Scion. Continue Reading →
By Chris Haak
The Scion xB in its first generation had been a lovable little box, underpowered but charming, and a nearly undiluted lift-off of the Japanese domestic market Toyota bB, modified only with a switch from right-hand to left-hand drive and a few other modifications necessary to make the vehicle more palatable to US consumers.
The old xB was hardly a sales hit (Toyota claims this was intentional), but did do a good job as an image leader for Toyota’s Scion sub-brand. Its boxy shape allowed for a small, yet versatile interior space, but its wimpy 1.5 liter, 108-horsepower four cylinder meant that it sometimes had trouble merging onto high-speed expressways. Also, the first-generation xB, while it was a fairly lightweight vehicle that got good fuel economy (EPA rated at 26 city/31 highway when adjusted for the 2008 figures), it also didn’t do particularly well in crash test results (four stars front impact, and just three stars for front side impact).
So, Toyota used the same playbook that so many other manufacturers have used over the past two decades: to make an existing product “better,” just add size and horsepower. In the xB’s case, the 2008 model’s curb weight jumped to about 3,000 pounds from about 2,400 pounds. The engine displacement jumped from 1.5 liters to 2.4 liters, and horsepower leapt from 108 to 158. Even the crash test scores jumped, with the front side impact rating going to five stars rather than just three (it’s still rated four stars in the front impact test by the NHTSA, however). Unsurprisingly, with no six-speed transaxles or hybrid drivetrains, the fuel economy suffered, dropping to 22 city/28 highway, or a combined loss of about 4 mpg. Continue Reading →
Please subscribe to our RSS feed, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our YouTube channel. If you like what we do and would like to support Autosavant, please consider visiting our sponsors. If you need to buy anything on Amazon, clicking on our banner first helps keep Autosavant running. Thanks!
- Long Term Test: F-150 FX4 Ecoboost Update 2 April 2, 2012
- Vote for Me Chrysler’s Blogger Faceoff! February 27, 2012
- What Happened To The 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Buried in Tulsa? Updated 2/24/2012 February 23, 2012
- Review: 2012 Hyundai Veloster 6MT Style/Tech February 24, 2012
- Complaints About the Names of Cars January 27, 2012
- Lamborghini Celebrates 50 Years With a Triple Celebration May 23, 2013
- Review: 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD May 23, 2013
- Toyota Reclaims Most Valuable Car Brand Title From BMW May 21, 2013
- BMW Reveals Facelifted 2014 5 Series Lineup May 21, 2013
- BMW Unveils 2014 M5 Sedan, Confirms Existence Of Competition Package May 20, 2013
- Troy: I predict Buick drops the Regal in a few years. Th...
- Troy: My device started going off at totally random abou...
- Stan C: I am convinced that people think these devices mon...
- Lewis: I'm glad to see that Audi is continuing the tradi...
- kenny budden: ok,ok, ford is the best, chev is the best,whatever...