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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
get in the car | 2012 Kia Soul | $13,900 base, $19,845 as tested | 26 mpg city
tb-two* tags along for a test ride with Peter Couture, Daily Driver columnist for tbt* and the Times.
Angela Skane, St. Petersburg High
*DISCLAIMER* The LMFAO hamsters didn’t save me from aliens as I got into the Kia Soul. The Party Rock Anthem didn’t blare through the speakers traced in mood lighting. The Kia Soul was just another car with some cool lighting on the inside. Keep in mind, I am a sports car fanatic.
Visual Appeal Factor: So we all have interior lights in our car, but does your car have lights on the door paneling that change colors as you drive? The paneling on the doors of the Soul have the word “soul” illuminated repeatedly, you know, just in case you forget what kind of car you drive. A bit tacky for my taste, but I am a simple person. The car is uniquely shaped, well, like a cube, so people will most likely stare, but probably not for the reasons you would hope. The car comes in an assortment of vivid colors to really draw attention to you.
Ride factor: The car was smooth. As a passenger, I couldn’t really tell I was rolling down the street in a giant cube. And I imagine if aliens really were attacking the world, the car would handle the bumps pretty nicely. For a four-cylinder car, the pickup onto the interstate wasn’t that bad. You almost couldn’t even feel yourself moving when the car was in motion.
Tech factor: The car had the basic technology features of a new car: Bluetooth capabilities for your phone, iPod cord built in, satellite radio and nice lighting to compliment the entertainment system. Up front alone, there were five speakers, which allowed for crisp sound. Music is definitely an important part of a teen’s car.
Reporter's note: The car definitely is a teenager’s car with all the fun features; I couldn’t exactly see my mother in a car with mood lighting. (Love ya, Mom!) With 26 miles per gallon in the city (34 mpg highway), the Soul won’t drain your teenage bank account. It’s a stylish car sure to catch peoples’ eyes for many reasons. This is a decent contender in the lineup, if you are hunting for a new ride.
Michael Newcomer, Tarpon Springs High
*DISCLAIMER* I had a hamster once. I hated it for the same reason I disliked this car (which will hereafter be referred to as “box”). It was stupid. You can’t make a box look cool. It’s impossible. You can put mood lighting and a touch-screen stereo receiver in a cardboard
box, too. No matter how many gangster hamsters you put in the
box, it’s still a cardboard box.
Really? factor: I tried to imagine the marketing meeting that was called when the box was designed. Some big-shot executive goes, “Okay, so who does this thing appeal to?” While some were thinking, “Well, it would make a bum feel at home,” others were desperately scrambling for some type of practicality to market this box. After about an hour, some newcomer meekly raises his hand and says, “Why don’t we put a good audio system in it, put a couple of CGI hamsters dancing inside, and market it to hip young drivers in their teens and 20s?” “Brilliant idea!” agrees big-shot executive.
Really, really? factor: There’s a couple of things wrong with this. No. 1, you can’t effectively market something with no marketability. When you were 5 years old, bugging your parents to their wits end about wanting a hamster, and they asked you why in the world you wanted such a thing, you didn’t go into a 10-minute spiel about why a hamster was a sensible and sound pet choice. No; you said, “because it’s cute and fluffy!” Unfortunately this box is neither cute nor fluffy, so that justification is out the window. No. 2, if the American populous is gullible enough to fall for such cheap marketing tricks, we deserve to be driving these silly boxes.
Overkill factor: Inside the box, the word “soul” is imprinted on basically every square inch. If I ever received this box, I would try to pretend I was driving an SUV or at the very least some soccer-mom crossover. But I’d be staring truth in the face every time I stepped into the box.
Rev it up factor: I have to admit that when we got onto the highway, it had a surprising amount of get up and go. Much more than my little Nissan Frontier. That doesn’t change much, though. If I was sitting at a stop light, and one of these boxes revved its engine at me, I wouldn’t be able to even think about racing because I’d be laughing so hard.