My valet slid down the fire pole to my solitude/Onanism pit all flustered and panicked and gibbering like a fool. A few well-timed slaps with one of the dampened Pontiac floormats I line the pit with brought him back to coherency, and he was able to spit out some gum, a tooth and the important news that some people were disparaging the Kia Soul online. So, everyone, you can relax, because I’m on it.
The disparaging seems to have been happening on Twitter, where Kia Soul was trending. The reason for the trending seems to have stemmed all from this one tweet:
So, this seems to be a complaint about the fact that the Soul is a relatively compact car, with minimal overhangs, which means that when you’re looking for a parking place, it’s easy to not see it between other cars, leading to a false sense of excitement and hope as you spot what you think is an open parking place, only to find that, no, the spot is occupied and you remain tragically spotless.
The Twitter thread that follows this tweet has a lot of people piling on the Kia Soul, and for a number of reasons I simply cannot let this stand.
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Here’s a sample of the shitting upons:
...and this one:
Damn. That’s cold. The fuck is wrong with these people?
First, there’s some fundamental unfairness going on here if the source of the ire is that its hard to see a Soul in a parking space, because you could say the same thing about pretty much any smaller-than-average car, from a Mini to an old Karmann Ghia to an Aston Martin Cygnet. It’s not just the Soul.
And, while we’re at it, why are we blaming the small cars here? What about all the big-ass, bloated, sweaty SUVs and trucks that are blocking everyone’s view in the first place? Why not get pissed at those?
Sure, some of the Soul-bashers are referencing those old hamster ads, and, yeah, I’m not going to die on that particular hill, but it’s hardly like embarrassing ad campaigns are just a burden the Soul has to carry. Remember Chevy’s Real People ads? Or this crap?
Most of the Soul-bashers seem to have an issue with the unashamedly boxy look of the Soul, comparing it to a Minecraft car or something like that. And, sure, it is a boxy car. But so what?
Boxy cars are fantastic. Done properly, they can become wildly useful, enclosing the maximum amount of volume in a given space, which means a more flexible and useful car.
I mean, I think it may be the smallest car you can buy in America roomy enough to be made wheelchair-accessible, even:
Hell, if it was up to me, I’d redesign the Soul to be even boxier, making the hood as short as possible and pulling everything else forward, freeing up more interior room and maybe adding an extra pair of doors, like this:
But even if my dream one-box Soul doesn’t exist, the Soul as it stands remains the last holdout of the triumvirate of useful, boxy little cars that you could once buy in America: the Soul, Nissan Cube, and the Scion xB. We could also likely include the clever and boxy Honda Element in there, too.
What I like about all of these cars is that they’re approaching small car design from a practicality standpoint first, and ignoring the trap of trying to appear “premium,” which is a sad, miserable fate that results in insecure little shitboxes like the Nissan Versa, cars that offer less practicality and whose design vision consists of the wildly unlikely hope that someone will be impaired enough to mistake it for a BMW across a long, foggy parking lot.
It’s sad. And a Soul most assuredly does not fall into its trap. The Kia Soul doesn’t look like everything else out there, and the whole damn point. It’s a cheap (these things start about $17,500), useful car that isn’t ashamed of what it is, nor should it be.
Plus, the Soul is also one of the few cars to avoid falling into the pits of grayscale-only colors, and actually could be had in a great variety of fun, real, vibrant colors.
I’ve said before that the only cars you can still get in fun colors are for people too rich or too poor to give a shit, and I think the Soul fits in there.
A Soul is not trying to pretend to be an SUV, it’s not trying to look like a fancy sedan or a sports car, it is what it is — a machine designed to move you and whatever bulky stuff you may have wherever you need to go.
I feel like the Soul is one of the few remaining cars of a class of classless economy cars that once existed — Volkswagen Beetles, BMC Minis, Citroën 2CVs, Renault 4s, and so on — that were inexpensive but could be driven by anyone, rich or poor, famous or anonymous, equally.
So, Soul-bashers of Twitter, I’m going to implore you to consider doing something else with your time online, and learn to accept that some cars are shorter than others, and suggest that you stop being such candy-asses about automotive design. Not everything has to look the same.
Let’s all try and remember what Twitter is really for, people: Tesla-stans telling me what a moron I am.