2017 Kia Soul Reviews and Ratings

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J.D. Power Verified Consumer Reviews (10)
Overall Rating
  4.6 / 5
Reliability
  4.7 / 5
Interior
  4.6 / 5
Exterior
  4.7 / 5
Driving Dynamics
  4.6 / 5

By Vanessa B 9/6/2017 6:59:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
  5 / 5
yes the KIA car is great I would purchase another KIA for sure. The customer service was wonderful and the sales person answered all my questions.
Reliability
  5 / 5
Interior
  5 / 5
Exterior
  5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
  5 / 5

By David 9/2/2017 8:08:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
This is my second Kia Soul, had a 2012 for 5 years. I had no major problems with the previous car. All I had to do was bring it back to the dealer for each routine scheduled maintenance and that's it! It has plenty of room, I moved twice while owning it, and each time filled it with more stuff than I care to admit, and it handled it beautifully. The warranty is long, gets great gas mileage and is fun to drive. I highly recommend the Kia Soul and will definitely be going back for a third when the time comes.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Van 8/21/2017 11:42:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
The Soul is a good economy car at an economy price. The 2017 base started at 13k when I was shopping. The soul is a little underpowered but still makes great power for everyday driving (it isn't meant to be a racecar!). The catch is that with the 1.6 litre engine you are averaging 30+ mpg in a wagon with some decent options. If you want more there are 2 more trims (base,+,!) with the ! Trim having a turbo and oem subwoofers.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Brandy 8/21/2017 10:28:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
"I love my car. When I get in it, I love it. When I get out of it, I love it. My friends say I drive a mouse car... Well, this mouse car and I are all over the metroplex (it's great on gas)! It suites my personality and is actually really easy to handle as I wanted an suv but not some monster car to drive everyday. For me, the Soul is a happy marriage of suv-feel with car-type handling. My 6'4"" baby brother even commented about the headspace and how surprised he was that he fit in my car with ease (I joke with him that great things happen in my SOUL!). Yes, the car is practical and efficient but also fun and kinda sporty. The dealership also made it easy, worked around my schedule, and always paused to make sure I understood what was happening and asked if I had any questions. I felt valued as a person and not just another ""new car"" sale."
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Eric N. 8/21/2017 5:39:40 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
The Kia Soul was the best buy, for the money, for us. In fact, we just bought a second one. Build quality, standard options, all you get at base price—made buying the Soul a no-brainer for us.
Reliability
   4 / 5
Interior
   3.5 / 5
Exterior
   4 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   4 / 5

By Mark 8/20/2017 12:41:00 AM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
Very happy with vehicle. I have traveled from one state to the next and not only felt safe but was very comfortable. The gas mileage is great. My wife and I were surprised how much we could fit in the back. Our seat folds Down and there was plenty of room for an ice chest suitcases and other items. There was plenty of leg room for the both of us. Now our daughter wants to buy a car just like ours!!!
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By dana m 8/19/2017 8:42:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
it is off good quality and runs great. take it out for a test drive and make your own mind up. Find a dealership near you.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   4 / 5
Exterior
   4 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Lisa C-T 8/19/2017 3:10:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
I love my car! This is my fourth Kia, my third Kia Soul. It's a fun, family car with lots of comfort and get up and go!
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Eric 8/18/2017 2:45:00 AM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
This is the third key is so I have purchased. The first two were leases. I decided to purchase this one due to my familiar Arity with the car and the reliability that Kia has had with myself and family members have used their cars. I feel that these are the best cars available in the USA at this point.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Shirley 8/14/2017 11:34:00 PM J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   4 / 5
Pretty good mileage in economy mode but not great pick up and go with it on. Seats are comfortable but need a lower back pump! the ride is smooth and. Comfortable but wish it had a cup holder near dash. also there is no spare, just a can to fill flat up.
Reliability
   3 / 5
Interior
   3 / 5
Exterior
   4 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   2 / 5


Expert Reviews ( 1 )

2017 Kia Soul
Mitch McCullough

Introduction

Last redesigned for 2014, the 2017 Kia Soul gets a new engine added to the lineup, a turbo four that brings more power. The compact hatchback has great packaging inside its boxy body and handles surprisingly well on winding roads.

For 2017, there are three different engines in the three models. The base model gets a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 130 horsepower, mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. It’s slow.

The Plus model, which Kia calls + but we’ll use the word for, takes a 2.0-liter four that makes 161 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic. It’s quicker, but the transmission searches around for the gear it wants, too much, with both this engine and the base models.

The Exclaim (!), gets the new engine, a 1.6-liter turbocharged four making 201 horsepower, that’s also used by the Hyundai Elantra Sport. It’s mated to a smooth seven-speed dual-clutch automatic manual transmission. This engine delivers spirited performance when driving quickly, but the turbo lags at low engine speeds making the car feel lethargic when loafing around town.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, with brake assist and hill-start assist, even on the base model. They work well, easy to modulate for smooth, controlled braking.

Fuel mileage is good but doesn’t match the best competitors, probably because Soul’s boxy shape is less aerodynamic. The base model with the 1.6-liter engine with the automatic rates 25 miles per gallon City, 30 Highway, and 27 Combined by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Plus with the 2.0-liter rates 25/30/27 mpg. The new Exclaim with the 1.6-liter turbo and seven-seed dual-clutch gets 26/31/28 mpg. There’s also a Soul EV.

For a compact, Soul scores well in crash testing, with five stars overall from the NHTSA, and the top good scores from the IIHS. Six airbags are standard, and a rearview camera is standard on the Exclaim and Plus. There’s an available safety suite including blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.

Model Lineup

Kia Soul ($16,100) comes with cloth seats, air conditioning, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Manual transmission is standard, automatic is available ($17,700).

Soul+ ($19,800) gets upgraded cloth upholstery, a 5.0-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, 17-inch wheels, and body-colored bumpers and trim.

Soul! ($22,800) comes with the new turbo engine, 18-inch wheels and sporty exterior bits. Inside, there are leather seats and piano black trim, a 4.3-inch LED instrument cluster, and keyless ignition.

All Souls get a great warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles, and the powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)

Walkaround

The Kia Soul’s shape is still perky, but not so fresh any more. The proportions are right, as the sharp angles on the chunky sheetmetal work with the roofline. The windshield pillars are abrupt while leaning back a bit, keeping the profile from being overly square.

The Soul needs the body-colored trim in the Plus and Exclaim models, to smooth out and enhance the shape.

Interior

There is a sea of black plastic in the dash panel, with some chrome and glossy trim to add contrast. There are some unexpected upscale touches, such as the steering wheel, gauges, and some soft materials. The instrument panel is low so the driver looks downward at it. The center stack with its controls is canted toward the driver. Speakers sit on top of vents at the edges of the dash.

The seats are firm and supportive, but a tall driver might find himself too high, and there might not be enough support for long thighs. The Plus and Exclaim have a folding center armrest in the rear. But the best part is, there’s an amazing 39 inches of rear seat legroom, more than many SUVs.

Soul offers a good level of standard equipment for a base compact, but there’s no cruise control or center front armrest. The rearview camera is available in a package costing $2000, a high price for a basic safety feature.

There’s good cargo room inside, with 24.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and with them folded there’s a vast 61.3 cubic feet; the Soul is like a tiny cargo van.

The Soul gets back to being an inexpensive compact car when it comes to interior noise. The Exclaim’s turbo motor drones into the cabin, and begins to howl when the engine tops 4000 rpm. The other two slower engines are louder.

Driving Impressions

The base 1.6-liter engine is slow. One hundred thirty horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque is minimal. But if you don’t commute on the freeway, it keeps up. For an entry-level new car, considering the cargo capacity and cool factor, the base model with the six-speed manual is a good car for the money.

The 2.0-liter only comes with the six-speed automatic transmission whose downshifts are responsive and quick, although at freeway speeds, it shifts between fifth and sixth gears too much. It can be locked in manual so it only upshifts at redline, but that probably won’t keep it from downshifting from sixth to fifth.

The new turbo engine, built by Hyundai, makes 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, enough so there’s torque steer if you stand on it. With this engine, the Soul is a quick car on a winding backroad.

However, when driven slowly, running errands around the neighborhood, it can feel lethargic and unwilling, and with non-linear acceleration. Throttle response is sluggish when transitioning from coasting to slow or moderate acceleration. Push on the accelerator harder and it then it surges with more gusto than wanted. In short, the car feels sluggish.

Underway, Soul is neither as tippy as the boxy profile suggests nor is the ride as busy as the short wheelbase suggests. Twin-path dampers deliver good control, confidence in corners, and isolation from small bumps. The Soul offers reasonably responsive handling, braking and acceleration when driven quickly on a winding road, where it can feel sporty and fun, and there’s a Sport mode that firms up the steering, but the Soul is no VW Golf or Mini Cooper.

The transmission can be so slow to transition from Drive to Reverse and back to Drive that it reminds us of an old movie where the sea captain moves the power lever from Half to Full, an engineer below deck sees the lever has moved and then shouts “Full steam ahead!” to another seaman who moves a lever to increase engine speed. This can seem tedious when in a hurry.

Summary

The Kia Soul does indeed have some soul, along with some compelling traits. The base model, even with its speed-challenged 1.6-liter engine and six-speed gearbox, offers a good value. The new 201-horsepower turbo with the seven-speed dual clutch transmission makes the Soul an enjoyable driving companion when the revs are kept up.

Sam Moses contributed to this report, with New Car Test Drive editor Mitch McCullough reporting from New Jersey.


J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality 5 / 5
Overall Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
3 / 5
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
5 / 5
Overall Quality - Design
5 / 5
Powertrain Quality - Design
4 / 5
Body & Interior Quality - Design
5 / 5
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
5 / 5

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available

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J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

J.D. Power Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards, visit the Car Ratings page to learn more about awards and ratings.

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