Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 153 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,593 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

Fiat's 500L falls flat while Kia's Soul soars - alternate title, "We're not a group that likes the smell of a Yugo."


LAT March 22, 2014 - Kia's redesigned Soul and Fiat's all-new 500L are the latest models in the quirky "toaster" class of sub-compact cars.

Picture a square box riding on a car platform. The general idea is combine the comfort and efficiency of a small car with the functionality of a sport utility vehicle or crossover.

Kia's Soul went on sale in 2009, and a year later it began dominating the segment and never looked back. With a savvy mix of street cred, value and usability, the Soul was one of the most popular models on Kia's lot in 2013, pulling in more than 118,000 sales.

For the second-generation version, Kia clearly didn't want to mess with success. The South Korean automaker gave the 2014 Soul a thorough, yet subtle, update. It's a smidge bigger in nearly every dimension, and it rides on a new front-wheel-drive chassis. The styling has been tweaked, but from a distance you'll need your glasses to tell the difference between old and new.

Fiat's 500L is the newest toaster in the kitchen. Picking up where the tiny 500 leaves off, the 500L is an all-new four-door model that Fiat hopes will expand its brand's reach.

A comparison test seemed logical — until we actually drove these cars, and instantly realized there's no comparison.

One of these new squares is exemplary. The other one should never have been let out of the factory.

Fiat 500L
We'll get right to the point. This is one of the worst new cars we've driven in a long time. Nearly every aspect of this car — from the drivetrain, to the interior, to the design — is a mess.

This was more than a little surprising. On paper, the 500L seems to have a lot going for it. Under the 500L's short hood is the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that Fiat uses in the extra-spicy 500 Abarth. In the 500L, it makes 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Our tester matched this engine with the six-speed dual-clutch transmission, a $1,350 option.

And yet this pairing sapped all of the joy out of driving. There was too much turbo lag to get any quick acceleration from a stop. Once the engine had revved enough to generate decent power, it was loud and coarse. The transmission lurched and shuddered where its contemporaries breeze through shifts with imperceptible quickness.

The 500L's interior is an ergonomic nightmare. The seats have all the comfort and support of a cast-iron skillet. The climate controls are positioned too low on the dashboard to see during the day. The shoddy construction and hard plastics felt cut-rate and anything but European.
The windshield is flanked by two poorly positioned A-pillars (the piece of metal that runs from the hood to the roof) on either side. This meant less visibility, giving the impression of driving some kind of cranky shuttle bus or London taxi. It looks like one from the outside too.

But for a brand looking to leverage its Italian roots while expanding into new segments, the 500L misses the mark by miles. Maybe its the car's providence: The 500L is assembled at the same Serbian site where the Yugo was built. The factory might as well be built on a grave site.

Kia Soul
Every thing the Fiat did wrong, this refreshed Kia did right. This is a happy car. A week of testing an obnoxiously yellow version left us willing to overlook the Soul's funky styling.

The happiness starts with the drivetrain. Most Souls (excluding the base model) come with a 2.0-liter direct-injected, four-cylinder engine that makes 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Though the Soul is more than 4 inches shorter than the 500L, the Kia trumps the Fiat's in interior space for both passengers and cargo. Instead of trying to be too stylish or hip, the dashboard is remarkably approachable and intuitive. Nearly any button needed was right where you expected it, and the touch-screen navigation system remains one of the easiest to use in the industry.


What started out as a comparison between two potentially worthy adversaries ended as anything but. Kia's new Soul deftly improves what made it a darling with consumers.

Fiat, meanwhile, does itself no favors by bringing the 500L to the U.S., a market that is still getting to know the brand after decades of absence. This is a rough reintroduction, and Fiat should have known better.

We're not a group that likes the smell of a Yugo.


Fiat's 500L falls flat while Kia's Soul soars - latimes.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,846 Posts
The sells numbers are a little better then the smart. Not selling very well. Cars are sitting on the lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,454 Posts
Just wanted to introduce You to OUR New Baby


Just wanted to introduce You to OUR New Baby
~ KIA SOUL EXCLAIM ~
Its been on order (on the Boat) for quite awhile now.
It's the TOP one with "ALL" the boxes checked. The option sheet calls it: "The Whole Shebang" Package.

2014 Kia Soul Review - Kelley Blue Book
Hamster's are where it's at People...<:))











 

·
To the XCAPEPOD!
Joined
·
6,076 Posts
I drove a new 2014 Soul last weekend and enjoyed the improvements over my '12. Although I've not had any problems with mine, I'm seriously considering the step up. Especially now that Kia is announcing a lump sum settlement for the MPG restatement (even though my average is over 32) and will double the amount on a new Kia purchase. I know it's heresy, but I'm even considering trading the smart as well. Three vehicles is just becoming too much of a chore and the smart is the oldest and without local support.

The features on the top end models seem straight out of another vehicle class - heated AND ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, HID and LED front lighting, push button start, power panoramic roof, 8" infotainment/navigation system AND 4.3" vehicle monitoring display in the instrument cluster, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,454 Posts
I drove a new 2014 Soul last weekend and enjoyed the improvements over my '12. Although I've not had any problems with mine, I'm seriously considering the step up. Especially now that Kia is announcing a lump sum settlement for the MPG restatement (even though my average is over 32) and will double the amount on a new Kia purchase. I know it's heresy, but I'm even considering trading the smart as well. Three vehicles is just becoming too much of a chore and the smart is the oldest and without local support.

The features on the top end Plus and Exclaim models seem straight out of another vehicle class - heated AND ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, HID and LED front lighting, push button start, power panoramic roof, 8" infotainment/navigation system AND 4.3" vehicle monitoring display in the instrument cluster, etc.

I also claimed $400.00 for Military Service, and 2 Years Free oil changes, rotations, and stuff like that.


Note: The Tilt & Telescoping Steering Column Is Real Nice...<:)) Something the Smart Car should have had...<:-(( I'm 6' 2"...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,297 Posts
The Soul is easy to decorate at Halloween too... One large cardboard box and you have a canvas to do about anything...:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
I think that whoever the executives at Toyota(Scion) are who decided to kill the real Scion xB and replace it with that awful thing in 2008, should be made to memorize the Kia souls sales numbers.
Then, they should each be forced to write on a chalkboard 10,000 times
" i am a ******* idiot"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,846 Posts
I remember, when the Nissan Cube came out, and the Kia Soul too. We test drove both. The a Cube was a superior car. Just plain too cartoon like. The Soul was really nice looking, very cheap interior, rode terrible, very under powered. It does sells like hot cakes. We test drove the new Soul. Wow what a better vehicle. Drives just as well as the 500L.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
I have driven the CUBE the SOUL and the 500 L and though i have a preference for the Fialt line, the Cube is outrageous in looks and performance, the Soul in ride, space,ect, the Fiat L was a let down in everything....
Still loyal to the Smart, but with competition like this for the money what would you choose? $15-17 k for a brand that lacks dealer support /reliability/practicality >Smart< or the others,
Nissan, Toyota, Kia....
fiat falls short on a lot if issues.. which as a fiat fan is disappointment to me..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,454 Posts
~2014 Soul~
After reading that it handles, I had the Soul out today in Sport mode to check it out on the Twisties. I was impressed with how flat it cornered...! Man, them 18" tires really hang in there. Its the Hamster Mobile, but handles like a Cat. Quite a pleasant conundrum when viewing the Soul from the outside, and then the Luxso inside, with Spirited handling to boot. All I did was dawdling Test Drives with salesmen before I bought it. So I was surprised that this car really does have Soul...hmmmmmmm

Note: I put a new: Brand Name "Hidden Hitch" on it today that I ordered. Like it says. All you see is the Stub end...<:)) 2000 tow _ 200 tonque Rated.

Safety
http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/car-news/218370/all-new-2014-kia-soul-earns-5-star-safety-rating.jsp?rdpage=NEWSREVIEWSCONTENTARTICLE_04
Real World Review
http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/car-reviews/222067/2014-kia-soul-real-world-review.jsp?rdpage=NEWSREVIEWSCONTENTARTICLE_01
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,944 Posts
I like the 500, but don't get the L at all. They could have made a cute 500 estate, but no, they gave us this monstrosity! I know the Soul has it's fans, but I wold buy a 500 twice before a Soul -- in fact I'd buy a Cube, or a Fit, or a Corolla etc. before a Soul. I know it's a psychological condition... it's clinical and I just can't help it!
 

·
To the XCAPEPOD!
Joined
·
6,076 Posts
I know the Soul has it's fans, but I wold buy a 500 twice before a Soul -- in fact I'd buy a Cube, or a Fit, or a Corolla etc. before a Soul. I know it's a psychological condition... it's clinical and I just can't help it!
I hear ya, but with this new model the Soul will go on crushing, more like obliterating, its tall wagon competition until someone comes up with a worthy challenger - and that's what makes competition great, no matter where the challengers hail from.

Just averaged 33.5 MPG in my '12 Soul on my way to Delaware which isn't bad for a box on wheels slogging across the Appalachians on the interstate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,944 Posts
I hear ya, but with this new model the Soul will go on crushing, more like obliterating, its tall wagon competition until someone comes up with a worthy challenger - and that's what makes competition great, no matter where the challengers hail from.
in reality it's likely that everyone cuts corners, but after living and working in Korea for 6 year, and having seen how Korean cars hold up over several years, I just couldn't buy one. If you are the type that trades in a car after 3-4 years,m then I think it doesn't matter.

Car parts are global these days as are other materials used in cars (think the price of gold is the same no matter where you are). Koreans charge a couple grand less per car than the US or Japanese manufacturers, and I can tell you that cost came from somewhere! They tend [culturally] toward heavy feature-laden products that are of substandard quality, and it permeates their whole culture, and especially their business culture. We asked a Korean co-worker one day what was more important the life of the pilot, or the schedule. He hesitates a bit, and then he said -- they are both important! (as though there was some sort of moral equivalence!)... Nest of luck with them of course, and I wold recommend keeping them no longer than the warranty covers the car..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,846 Posts
Wouldn't trade our Honda Fit for either. Was thinking about buying a new 500L for a while. Waiting on the next Fit model to be introduced. The 500L is the largest of the B segment.

Koreans are now making some damn good cars. Our neighbors 6 year old Santa Fe, still drives like new. A good friend of mine has a 7 year Kia mini van, with over 170K miles. He pulls a trailer with it to Florida, and Colorado every year. Been just as nice as any Honda mini van. They use to make junk, in the past. The Koreans are kicking butt now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,454 Posts
in reality it's likely that everyone cuts corners, but after living and working in Korea for 6 year, and having seen how Korean cars hold up over several years, I just couldn't buy one. If you are the type that trades in a car after 3-4 years,m then I think it doesn't matter.

Car parts are global these days as are other materials used in cars (think the price of gold is the same no matter where you are). Koreans charge a couple grand less per car than the US or Japanese manufacturers, and I can tell you that cost came from somewhere! They tend [culturally] toward heavy feature-laden products that are of substandard quality, and it permeates their whole culture, and especially their business culture. We asked a Korean co-worker one day what was more important the life of the pilot, or the schedule. He hesitates a bit, and then he said -- they are both important! (as though there was some sort of moral equivalence!)... Nest of luck with them of course, and I wold recommend keeping them no longer than the warranty covers the car..

I traded in my 9 year old fully loaded Trusty KIA Sedona in perfect condition (kids are gone now)... Kinda blows a hole in some of the sh?t your saying... Just saying.......................
 
1 - 20 of 153 Posts
Top