Over the last few months, I have very carefully compared the Soul against:
Ford Fiesta and Focus
Chevy Sonic and Cruze (and even the 2011 HHR)
Honda Fit and Insight
Hyundai Accent, Elantra, and Veloster
My final comparison happened today with a Veloster test drive. It's a cool car, but I decided that I simply need the space provided by the Soul. The Veloster was the last competitor to fall. So why won't I probably be buying a Soul?
In a word: Kia itself! I have decided that I want an Exclaim. I have talked to five Kia dealers, and none of them have any Exclaims at all. Some claim to have not gotten any Exclaims at all so far in the 2012 model year, and they have no idea when they might get one. Sounds very hit and miss, even amateurish. The closest Exclaims are hundreds of miles away in another state. I'm not willing to buy one with hundreds of miles on it (that's a used car, IMHO) nor am I willing to pay $1K to flat-bed it one in to make up for Kia's distribution shortcomings. And apparently, there is no way to order one from the factory. Reminds me of Henry Ford circa 1920: you can have any color you want as long as it's black.
The inability for the customer to order what he wants seems to be common among the imports. Meanwhile, the domestics all told me that I could anything that I wanted, and it would arrive exactly that way (I've always ordered my previous cars, all of which have been domestic...and six weeks later...poof!...I've got EXACTLY what I want sitting in my garage).
I'm getting tired of Kia dealers trying to sell me what they happened to have on their lots, Souls with trim levels and options that I simply don't want. End of rant.
The Ford Focus is starting to look better now.....