Want a more practical shape? The 2023 Kia Soul is one of a handful of inexpensive and well-reviewed hatchbacks on sale. With car-like handling and SUV-like interior dimensions, the Soul is broadly appealing. A standard 2.0-liter engine is peppy for around-town driving, though passing maneuvers require some forethought. The continuously variable transmission mimics automatic gear changes, eliminating the usual droning noise. Handling is on par with sportier competitors thanks to balanced steering and controlled body motions.
The Soul’s boxy exterior allows for easy entry and exit, plus generous headroom for passengers. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are accessed via an easy-to-use touchscreen. The EPA puts its fuel economy at 30 combined mpg, though we only managed 26.8 mpg in our testing.
Starting price: $21,085