A few years ago in the US, the “box on wheels” car concept was born, with several different boxy vehicles arriving on the market at the same time.
These cars were unlike anything ever seen before, which may explain why consumers were so taken by the look.
The design of these vehicles tends to go against the flowing designs of the luxury car on the market, but the practicality of the boxy vehicles is what tends to make them all the more appealing.
What boxy vehicles lack in the way of curves, they more than make up for with their efficient use of space. Practicality is more important than curves for a lot of consumers.
We thought it might be a good idea to look at the history of the boxy vehicle, whilst also looking at which models survived, which didn’t, and what the sales numbers currently look like.
We believe that all this information will help you make an informed decision of it’s a boxy vehicle you are after in 2023.
Let’s start out by looking at the 4 most popular box-shaped cars to have graced the market in the United States.
Most common cars that look like a box?
- Nissan Cube (no longer available)
- Honda Element (no longer available)
- Scion Xb (no longer available)
- Kia Soul (still available, selling like hot cakes, and recently had a turbo and EV models added to the family)
The first of these 4 box shaped cars hit the market about 15 years ago. They all arrived with a bang, but all but one ended up disappearing with a whimper.
Nissan Cube boxy car
Nissan released the Cube boxy car to much fanfare, but their rival to the Kia Soul never really made any sort of impact.
It was never able to come close to the sales attained by the Soul, and it was really no surprise when it was removed from Nissan’s US line-up in 2014.
Another box-like shaped vehicle, the Honda Element, which made its first appearance in the US in 2003, fared a little better, and made it to 2011 before getting axed by the automaker.
Scion xB box car
The xB, the Scion box car, was the one that many people believed might actually be a rival to the Soul, especially since it was the first of the group to appear on the market.
It was the vehicle that Scion used to launch their brand back in 2003, and at that time, it was considered to be an ultra-hip vehicle that would set the tone in the urban utility market.
It was initially a hit with the younger generation, but an ill-conceived redesign in 2008 put sales of the model into a tailspin from which it was simply unable to recover.
It cannot be argued that sales of the xB were great in the early days, but Toyota, the owners of Scion, decided to finally pull the plug in 2015.
Kia Soul boxy crossover
We have just ushered in 2023, and there is now only one car left standing in the boxy vehicle market: the Kia Soul.
Not only has the Kia boxy car survived, it has gone from strength to strength each year, setting new sales records in the process. Last year, the Soul moved slightly less than 100,000 units in the US alone.
The current Soul is described as a crossover, as it is like two vehicles rolled into one. It behaves like a car on the road, but has the ground clearance of an SUV.
For now, there is only one version of the Kia Soul available, but word is that an AWD model, much like the Trailster concept, will arrive in the next year or two. That should help cement the Soul as one of the best boxy SUV‘s ever created.
What’s so great about the Kia boxy car?
There are many reasons why Kia Soul is the best boxy car of 2023, but we have narrowed it down to just 5:
- It’s a remarkably reliable vehicle that has been recognized by J.D. Power as being the highest quality vehicle in its segment for 2 consecutive years.
- It delivers excellent gas mileage. The new Soul Turbo comes with a fuel efficiency rating of (up to) 29 mpg, which is great for a 200+ horsepower vehicle.
- There are few cars around that are as safe to drive as the Soul, as this boxy Kia vehicle aced its crash tests in both the US and Europe.
- Also comes as an electric version. You simply cannot find another boxy vehicle out there that can get you around on electric power alone. The Soul EV is even better now and delivers more range than you would expect from a compact all-electric car model.
- Best warranty in the business. Like all Kia vehicles, the Soul boxy car comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty that simply cannot be beat.