2010 Kia Soul

Right when Scion's popularity is waning among its trend-setting, Gen-Y demographic, along comes the 2010 Kia Soul to steal the affections of aspiring DJs everywhere. Originally unveiled as a concept at the Detroit auto show in 2006, the Korean automaker's xB-fighter is over 6 inches shorter than its Scion competitor, at 161-in. overall, but has a similar width and height of 70-in. and 63-in., respectively. In addition with its wheels pushed out to the corners, at 100-in. the Soul's wheelbase is just 2.4 inches shorter than that of the xB. While Kia will feature three Soul concepts seen previously, the SOUL Burner, SOUL Diva, and SOUL Searcher, Paris marks the official debut of the production model, and with smooth lines and a clean face it represents Kia's new design philosophy, which can also be seen on the upcoming Forte.

With its wide stance and square sides, the 2010 Soul delivers a surprising amount of passenger space for its size. Headroom is a generous 40-in. up front and 39.5-in. in the rear, legroom is 42-in. front, 38.9-in. rear, and even shoulder room comes in at approximately 55-in. for both rows of passengers -- dimensions which are all better than or equal to the larger, heavier Scion. Inside the cabin is simple, but includes design features like a "laid-back" dashboard design and triple dial instrument cluster. Presently the Soul's engine lineup for the U.S. market hasn't been confirmed, although word is it will include the 2.0L four-cylinder from the current Spectra, which is good for 138-hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. Europeans, however, will get to choose from two different powerplant options -- a 1.6L gas four-cylinder making 124-hp and 115 lb-ft of torque, or a 1.6L diesel four with 124-hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, respectively. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be available.

Set to begin production later this year, the Soul will reach European showrooms in the Spring of 2009, continuing on to the U.S. soon after as a 2010 model.