LA Auto Show: Nissan Cube and Kia Soul

Can the streets of LA handle more automobile hipness?. Quite a few new razzle-dazzle cars were introduced at the LA Auto Show, but my eye picked out two that will possibly be big hits in my North East Los Angeles neighborhood.

First we have the 2008 Nissan Cube. Already available in Japan, the Cube is about the same size as a Honda Element, but infinitely cooler looking. They say it was inspired by a raindrop and they’ve carried that theme throughout the vehicle from the roof lining to the speakers, cup holders and even the asymmetrical rear window.

2008 Nissan Cube
2008 Nissan Cube

This vehicle, which Nissan calls “A mobile device”, is touted as a lounging pad, with reclineable passenger seats, way too many speakers and…mood lighting. Highly customizable with several of Nissan’s awesome colors, the car is very much geared to the Web 2.0 crowd. There’s the almost standard Bluetooth integration, but the car also features mp3/ipod integration. You can see more photos here or at Nissan’s website.

The other vehicle unveiled today, was the Kia Soul. Where the Nissan Cube seems geared toward tech-savvy buyers, the Kia Soul seems to be made by tech-savvy buyers. The Kia booth offers up not only a number (562.277.2947) you can text to have your messages shown on jumbo screen to the crowds at the LA Auto Show, but also a scannable QR-code located in several places of their display so you can get info on your mobile phone, if capable.

2008 Kia Soul
2008 Kia Soul

The Soul comes off as the love-child of the MINI Cooper and the Cube. It is definitely smaller than the Cube, on the Scion scale, but a little cuter. Like the Cube, the Soul has Bluetooth and mp3 capabilities, but this car also has standard SIRIUS™ Satellite Radio & multiple USB ports, ideal for webslingers on the go. The car only had 3 interior options, one being houndstooth, but a nice collection of exterior colors in ‘edgy’ names like Alien or Molten. More photos of the Kia Soul can be viewed here or on Kia’s website.

6 Replies to “LA Auto Show: Nissan Cube and Kia Soul”

  1. I see those very easily swiping a lot of sales from Scion. The car is just begging for custom paint and all sorts of aftermarket goodies. SEMA should have a field day with the car.

  2. I am seriously considering this Kia Soul. Once I can nail down some valid MPG numbers, price and of course, a test drive, we’ll see. I liked the Scion when it was still a concept car and I think it was called the xB. Once it rolled out, I was seriously underwhelmed.

  3. I figured it was on your purchase option list based on our conversation. I see the car doing well. Kia has a habit of good show and very underwhelming cars when they hit the street. I hope for your dream sakes it meets expectations.

  4. Well, I’m impressed by Kia’s marketing efforts only because they never seemed to really try to reach a niche outside of “broke people who need cars” before (my background is in PR/marketing). That being said, I can’t get around the fact that their marketing on this car is a BTDT. As I mentioned they’re running the same exact marketing campaign BMW did with the MINI, right down to the post cards. What I see Kia having over MINI is 1) the geek-out pull; the Web 2.0 options in the vehicle, 2) clearly it’s a bigger car which clearly speaks to parents of small children who aren’t ready/willing to go the minivan route and 3) it’s mostly going to be listed at the same price or lower than the MINI Cooper.

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