The internet is buzzing today with the news of a new Kia Soul model. Ok maybe not buzzing. You might be saying “It’s just a Kia Soul” which is completely reasonable however anytime you add a turbo to something people start to pay attention. The 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim is boasting 201 horsepower from a 1.6L 4 cylinder engine. What’s more is that Kia is claiming slightly better fuel efficiency than its base model engines. Mated to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission the Soul is shaping up to be a very fun and nimble little daily driver.
It will be interesting to see if Kia has made improvements to their 7 speed dual clutch after owner complaints about the similar unit in the Hyundai Tucson. Tucson owners have complained about dead spots in the cars acceleration that have come close to being dangerous. Many state that poor drivability ruins and otherwise excellent vehicle. Hopefully Hyundai and Kia can get that worked out before the new Soul Exclaim gets released.
Aside from performance updates the Exclaim model comes decked out with 18 inch wheels, unique badges, dual chrome exhaust tips, body trim enhancements and some mild interior tweaks. No specific release dates have been announced, but expect it to hit dealers soon as a 2017 model.
We all know prices of new cars are not going down so obviously loan amounts are going up, but the thing that hurts is how much. Most of us need a car to get back and forth to work. I’m not saying that we need a new car but sometimes there is no other option and some deals are to hard to pass up.
The average amount financed for a new vehicle is $28,381 and that was a record setter for the fourth quarter of 2014. This was an increase of $950 from the year earlier quarter and a rise of $582. The rise in transaction prices parallels that in amount financed. In December light vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367, making December the highest month on record for average transaction prices.
Experian’s data showed that the average new vehicle payment also hit a record in the fourth quarter, reaching $482, up from $471 in the year-earlier period. The average used-vehicle loan rose to $18,411 in the fourth quarter but this was not a record setter.
With these loans and payments hitting all time highs I have to wonder how most average people can afford a new car. Most baseline smaller cars are in the $20,000 range but once you start getting to your four wheel drive crossover/SUV territory prices start to sky rocket. Up here in New England it is almost needed to have an all wheel or 4 wheel drive car, especially this winter.
I’m personally undecided about how well Fiat may or may not do coming back to the US. I look at the Fiat 500 and think for me at 6’2, it would appear a little small. On the other hand I’m really interested in the performance of the car. The car only packs 100hp but the car itself weighs half the of a mid 90’s honda civic which had only a few pony’s more.
Lets face it, the US needs efficient small cars. It needs to be OK for people to drive them instead of massive SUV’s. The status level of these compacts needs to get away from embarrassing and get more towards acceptable. I think so far Fiat is on the right track in changing the compact car image. They’ve launched a really well done music video called “Get Ready” to promote the car. Check it out below!