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Kia Soul

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The Kia Soul is a hatchback with a vivid visual personality--one that's given it a leg up in establishing its new nameplate. While other boxy vehicles like the Nissan Cube and Scion xB have withered on the sales vine, the Soul has become one of Kia's most popular vehicles in the U.S.--and that's in part because of its kicky look. MORE: Read our 2015 Kia Soul, and see how the Kia Soul compares to... Read More Below »
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Kia Soul
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New & Used Kia Soul: In Depth

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The Kia Soul is a hatchback with a vivid visual personality--one that's given it a leg up in establishing its new nameplate. While other boxy vehicles like the Nissan Cube and Scion xB have withered on the sales vine, the Soul has become one of Kia's most popular vehicles in the U.S.--and that's in part because of its kicky look.

MORE: Read our 2015 Kia Soul, and see how the Kia Soul compares to its rivals

First shown in production form at the 2008 Paris auto show, the first Kia Soul was designed at the company's U.S. headquarters near Irvine, California, credited to Mike Torpey under the design leadership of Peter Schreyer.

A redesigned version of the Soul emerged in 2014, with more power and a much better interior. Engine options include a pair of four-cylinders, with manual and automatic transmissions on offer. Crash-test ratings have improved on the new Soul as well. The latest version also is now offered as an electric car--the Kia Soul EV, with 93 miles of battery-powered driving range.

It's assembled in South Korea, but there's speculation that the Soul will be the first vehicle Kia assembled in a new plant it will build in Mexico.

Kia Soul history

The Soul went on sale in 2009 with a Web-driven marketing campaign that featured hamsters driving, and borrowed characters from Nickelodeon's lineup of cartoons. But the Soul is a more serious effort than that all seems. The hatchback was pitched directly against the likes of the Toyota Matrix, Nissan Cube, Scion xB, Chevrolet HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser, as Kia tries to establish a larger foothold among younger drivers looking for a dash of style.

Two engines and two transmissions were available in the 2010 and 2011 model years. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 122 horsepower was teamed with a five-speed manual in base models, and was rated at 26/31 mpg. More common was a version powered by a 2.0-liter four with 142 hp, which offered an optional four-speed automatic; the EPA rated this combination at 24/30 mpg.

Kia revamped the Soul's engine offerings for 2012 while also giving it a light once-over inside. A new 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 135 horsepower and 121 pound-feet of torque took over as the base engine, while the optional engine became a 2.0-liter four making 164 horsepower and 143 pound-feet. A six-speed manual was standard, with a six-speed auto as an option on some trims and standard on others. Fuel economy for either transmission is rated at 26/34 mpg city/highway. The Soul continued to be a confidence-inspiring little runabout, if not wholly exciting on the road.

The 2012-2013 Kia Soul is one of a set of vehicles found to have overstated fuel-economy numbers. Kia initially submitted figures of 27/35 mpg and 30 mpg combined (or 26/34/29 for the larger 2.0-liter engine) to the EPA, which allows automakers to self-certify fuel economy. On a confirmation check of several vehicles, the EPA found the Soul's actual tested fuel economy to be 25 mpg city, 30 highway with the 1.6-liter engine, or 23/28 (25 combined) with the 2.0-liter engine and automatic transmission or 24/29 mpg with the manual transmission. 2013 Kia Soul Eco models, which earned 29/36-mpg and 27/35-mpg ratings have been downgraded to 26/31 and 24/29, respectively. Owners can register with Kia to receive reimbursement for the gas consumed above and beyond expected levels; more details are found at KiaMPGInfo.com.

Four passengers have ample room in the Soul, while a fifth will be cramped. The second-row seats fold forward to boost cargo area over 53 cubic feet, and the cargo floor lifts to expose more storage area; a fitted cargo organizer separates the space into useful bins.

A 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty extends to the Soul, which also comes with power features, iPod connectivity and Bluetooth standard on most versions. A navigation system and the UVO system of voice controls for infotainment are available, although unfortunately you can't get both together as of yet. On the 2013 Soul, Kia improved gas mileage slightly by offering the ISG engine stop-start system as part of an Eco Package.

Used Kia Soul Models

The Kia Soul was new for the 2010 model year, and kept its original shape through the 2013 model year. As a result, it's easier to choose a used Soul, since the differences between examples come down to transmission and engine. There's a smaller four-cylinder in many versions, but we'd recommend the larger, more powerful version. You're much more likely to find an automatic in the Soul, too, though a manual gearbox has been an option from the first model year. Dependability on the Soul has been better than many other new Kias.
Kia Soul Related News
 
2014 Kia Soul  -  First Drive, August 2013

2014 Kia Soul Video Road Test

The Kia Soul wasn't supposed to be a hit, but the funky styling and driving hamsters clearly paid off. Today, the Soul is one of Kia's best sellers. For 2014 the Soul gets a... read more April 30, 2014 by 


 
2014 Kia Soul

Hyundai & Kia Cough Up $395 Million To Address Misstated MPGs

In the fall of 2012, Hyundai and Kia were staring down the barrel of some massively bad press. Consumers had complained so long and so loudly about real-world gas mileage... read more December 24, 2013 by 


 
2014 Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul Earns NHTSA Five-Star Rating

The redesigned 2014 Kia Soul hatchback has earned a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). The five-star rating is the... read more December 22, 2013 by 


 
Kia Soul EV camouflaged prototype

Kia Soul Electric Car: More Details Emerge

Last month, we told you about the all-electric Kia Soul, which is set to arrive in the U.S. during the 2014 calendar year. At the time, that was about all we knew. We'd been... read more November 12, 2013 by 


 
2014 Kia Soul

Electrified Kia Soul Arrives In 2014

If you like your cars small, boxy, and infested with CGI hamsters, the Kia Soul is right up your alley. But what if you also enjoy cars that are fully electric and... read more October 2, 2013 by 


 

Specs: Select a Trim

Style MSRP Invoice MPG City MPG Hwy
5-Door Wagon (1)
Manual Base Specs $15,100 $14,804 24 30
5-Door Wagon Automatic (3)
! Specs $20,700 $19,603 23 31
+ Specs $18,600 $17,645 23 31
Base Specs $17,100 $16,554 24 30
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