2011 Kia Soul Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Kia Soul Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Kia Soul Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 122 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 26/31 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Kia Soul

  • The 2011 Kia Soul brings hipster styling and a fun-to-drive nature to the realm of the practical hatchback.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Loads of available features; highly customizable; user-friendly controls; ample passenger space; surprisingly fun to drive; low price; long warranty.

  • Cons

    Limited cargo room versus competitors; noisy and busy highway ride; unrefined manual transmission.

  • What's New for 2011

    The Kia Soul receives a few improvements for 2011, with new rear shock absorbers and standard rear disc brakes (replacing last year's rear drums) being the most notable. Other minor changes include new door handles, push-button start, a trip computer and heated outside mirrors.

Full 2011 Kia Soul Review

What's New for 2011

The Kia Soul receives a few improvements for 2011, with new rear shock absorbers and standard rear disc brakes (replacing last year's rear drums) being the most notable. Other minor changes include new door handles, push-button start, a trip computer and heated outside mirrors.


Whether or not the boxy-styled cars that straddle the line between SUV and hatchbacks are a passing fad or the shape of things to come remains to be seen. Just by the very nature of their squared-off silhouettes, they offer rather remarkable space and practicality, but the aesthetics typically leave much to be desired. The 2011 Kia Soul can be counted among these boxes on wheels, but it sets itself apart with more intriguing styling and fewer harsh corners.

Like the competition, the Kia Soul offers a long list of features and customization options. It also parts with convention with funky trim names like Soul + and Soul !. No, those aren't typos: The plus sign and exclamation point are indeed the trim levels. Features like an illuminated speaker surround that pulses with the music are certainly novelties aimed at the youth market, but the Soul also has some practical appeal. An affordable price and generous warranty are two of its more prominent attributes.

Kia's engineers also managed to infuse the Soul with peppy engine performance (at least on the upper trim levels) and sporty handling. Together, they make the Soul a surprisingly fun-to-drive small car that's still a cinch to maneuver around tight city confines in relative comfort. On the highway, last year's Soul had a choppy ride quality, but the new rear shock absorbers should at least partially remedy that problem.

We rate the 2011 Kia Soul highly among the overtly boxy competition that includes the 2011 Nissan Cube and 2011 Scion xB. Both can accommodate more cargo than the Kia with their rear seats stowed, but the Soul scores points for having the most attractive design in our eyes. There are a few more conventional choices as well, such as the 2011 Honda Fit and the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman; they, too, have sharp styling, athletic handling and surprising cargo versatility. But the Kia Soul gets just about everything right. And for that, we think it's worth adding to your short list.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Kia Soul is a four-door hatchback/wagon available in base, +, ! and Sport trim levels. Standard equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a trip computer, a tilt steering column, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a four-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and USB and auxiliary audio jacks. The Soul + adds a bigger engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, power-adjustable outside mirrors, tinted rear windows, a height-adjustable driver seat, metallic interior trim, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and two additional speakers.

A sunroof, foglights, floor mats and an upgraded audio system are optional on the Soul +. They're included on the Soul !, along with 18-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and two-tone upholstery. The Soul Sport is similar to the Soul ! and adds a sport-tuned suspension, a red and black two-tone interior, metal pedals and unique exterior trim details. The sunroof is optional on the Sport.

Buyers can opt for the Premium package on Soul ! and Sport models, which adds leather upholstery, heated front seats and keyless ignition. Other stand-alone options include a body kit, a cargo cover and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Powertrains and Performance

The base 2011 Kia Soul is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 122 horsepower and 115 pound-feet of torque put to the ground by a five-speed manual transmission. Higher trim levels receive a 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 142 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is standard, and a four-speed automatic is available as an option. In performance testing, a Soul Sport with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.8 seconds.

The EPA estimates the base Soul's fuel economy at 26 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 28 mpg in combined driving. The 2.0-liter engine is estimated at 24/30/26 mpg for either manual or automatic transmissions.


Standard safety equipment for all 2011 Kia Soul models includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, active front head restraints, stability control, traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags.

The Kia Soul has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedure. Its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to 2011 ratings) was a top five-star rating for frontal and side crash protection for both front seat occupants and four stars for side-impact protection for rear passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Soul its highest score of "Good" in its frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

In recent Edmunds brake testing, a Kia Soul ! came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, which is about average for cars in this class.

Interior Design and Special Features

While the Kia Soul's interior is a model of practicality, there are plenty of youthful design touches and colors to spice things up. A podlike center stack protrudes from the dash, placing simple audio and climate controls within easy reach. Optional special upholstery and two-tone color schemes add a modern feel to the cabin, something missing in much of the Kia's competition.

There's no shortage of space inside, with high-mounted seats providing plenty of legroom for even the tallest passengers, while the tall, boxy roof line offers ample headroom. Luggage space behind the rear seats amounts to 19 cubic feet. Folding these seats flat kicks that figure up to 53 cubes. This is marginally less than the Honda Fit, several feet shy of the Nissan Cube and well short of the Scion xB's 70 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Kia Soul, particularly the Sport model, feels nimble and well-planted in high-speed turns. Steering has a numb on-center feel and an odd nonlinear effort, though. Around town, the Soul is pleasantly comfortable. With a change to the rear shock absorbers, we expect the highway ride to be less choppy than in the previous model years. While the optional 18-inch wheels and tires are certainly attractive, they can also cause excessive noise and some harshness over major bumps.

The Soul's base engine struggles to get the vehicle underway, but since it's only offered with a manual shifter, we're inclined to think most shoppers will gravitate toward the 2.0-liter engine and its automatic transmission. This engine is at home around town and in traffic, thanks to a solid amount of low-end torque and an eagerness to rev. The manual shifter is direct enough, but the throws are long and the clutch take-up is vague.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Good car for the price

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I had this car for almost 3 years and i loved every minute in it. I was extremely comfortable. The seats fit me perfectly and and a lot of head and leg room. It also had great gas mileage. $40 would fill it up and i could go almost 400 miles before i would fill it again. It did have small problems though. I didn't like the steering that much. It felt stiff and I'm not a fan of stiff steering. Also the accelerator wasn't very smooth. These tine problems aside I never had any other issues with this car. It was a great car for the money. I put a total of 83000 miles on mine and only did regular maintenance on it. I would recommend getting this car to anybody.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The best bang for the

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul ! 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my Kia and have never been happier in my 56 years with any car I have ever owned. I was treated like the most important customer in the world and have never had a vehicle that had the get up and go, and all the feature this little wagon offered at an absolutely AMAZING price. I absolutely LOVE this car and would recommend it to anyone looking for comfort,reliability, features and Zip. This is one GREAT car and in my opinion the BEST use car anyone could own. The balance of the 5 year 60,000 mile warranty was a HUGE plus. And I wouldn't consider anything else in my future purchase. I am a KIA man for LIFE and the way Vision treated me was the best experience I ever had buying a car

2.5 years and still reliable

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

The Soul is spacious and does everything I need it to do. It's been a reliable car for the past two and a half years, giving me little to no issues. Unfortunately, I did buy the 2011 model with the 4 speed transmission which is very evident when I need the pick-me-up but besides that it drives well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Soul + with 68k miles

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I purchased this vehicle new in late 2011 and have been very pleased. I commuted from southern WV to northern IN weekly for 9 months logging 1K miles per week. The car has been great in snow, mountains and all sorts of driving. I have been extremely happy and average about 28.9 miles per gallon for the types of driving that I do. I researched the Soul for quite sometime and was impressed by the low initial cost, the fuel mileage and the safety ratings. The Soul has lived up to all of these ratings and I am extremely happy with the car

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Most people believe they have

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul ! 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

And I truely love my Soul! Mine is a 2013 KIA Soul Exclaim..which is the top of th line Soul, loaded up with an unbeliveable (for this price range) amount of standard equipment not often found on this price range. All of this includes terrific quality...solid construction and stand out looks. The 10 year 100,000 mile warranty is just Icing on the cake! And the Soul has more than that going for it. You'll note that love it or hate it...people notice te Soul...and even check it out when they see one. Unlike the usual cars filling the mall parking lot...the Toyota/Honda/Prius/Nissan clones...the Soul actually stands out! And it's fun to drive, handles well, has a KILLER stereo system too.

18 months... the paint!!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

So I've owned my Kia Soul for 18 months, still love driving it, maintenance is a no brainer, however, while washing it today I noticed a fine rusting (white car) on most panels, even the major plastic pieces!! I will be calling Monday for an appointment, I just am putting it out there for others to watch for, I live in Florida so no winter conditions here, no road salt etc. I will update after it gets looked at. Others have posted with paint issues, better safe I guess. The only problem with the car to date is the brake light switch at the pedal failed and it took the dealer 5 days to get me in to replace the switch, which of course was a warranty repair. So no brakes for 5 days

Talk About The 2011 Soul

2011 Kia Soul Discussions See all Started By

I was shopping in early July for a Kia Soul. Looked at the new ones and they don't have CD players in them at all. Just the MP3, etc. Ended up getting a 2011 Kia Soul with a CD player and MP3. Sound q...

Last week of Jan, leased a 2014 Base Soul with auto. Residual was 63% and money factor of .00181, sale price of $16,313 plus tax, lic. etc. Price was through Costco buyers program. No other incentives...


Gas Mileage


  • 26
  • cty
  • 31
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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