2011 Kia Soul Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Kia Soul Wagon

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Kia Soul Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 142 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 24/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (5 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Overall pretty disappointed

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my 11' kia soul plus in a manual trans in june-11' At first it was a nice car, loved it..until driving it everyday it began to annoy me. The door panels were easily scratched, and stained by water which you had to SCRUB to get the marks off..opened the door in the rain and theres now water marks on the seat from RAIN.But my biggest bother is how noisy the car is, road noise and mostly ENGINE noise, it WHINES VERY LOUDLY on the highway or anything over 40mph and makes it difficult to enjoy the drive. Not a zippy car at all, boring to drive. Trading it in for an 11' optima or something a little more worth its value for what ide like, comfort, style, and fun to drive..



5 of 9 people found this review helpful

Very happy soul

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Bought my Soul + July 16, 2011 and two weeks later took it on 12 day vacation. Drove to Florida and back. NOT one problem. Soul handled the highway very well, handling, acceleration, steering. We got just under 30 mpg most of the time but our average speed was closer to 70 than 55 & the AC was almost always on. The interior space was great, The Soul swallowed our suitcases. Things did start to get tight at the end of the trip. The girlfriend loves to buy souvenirs. I am still trilled by the bells & whistles, the bluetooth, USB port & radio work perfectly together. The girlfriend is much less of a Honda fan now.



4 of 13 people found this review helpful

It ain't a mini

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

First off, let me admit my bias as I am a three-time MINI owner (Cooper, Convertible, and Clubman) and sort of bought the Soul out of a desperate situation, and not because I was in love with it. The Soul is a competent (at best) smaller car, and is probably worth the price IF you get to haggle a bit and don't finance the whole thing. I was surprised to find out my insurance AND fuel costs are significantly higher with the Soul even though it's a cheaper car. It's fine for buzzing around town, and gave me the little bit of extra space I needed for an infant car seat and dog(s). The handling is not aimed at performance or fun. While uncomfortable, the seating height is good.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Worth your consideration

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I have a M/T+ with the audio upgrade. I like the roomy, SUV-like seating, while still getting good MPG and a low price tag. The interior is nice, though some plastics are easily scratched (but not as bad as 2010 Soul). The engine and transmission are older technology making driving performance just OK (i think this is how they kept the price so low). However, steering feel and braking are nice. I get exactly the EPA rating of 26-28mpg in mixed driving. I got a little over 31mpg on a purely highway trip. The feel of the manual shifter is not too good, but this can be easily upgraded aftermarket. My biggest complaint is 5th gear is not tall enough making RPM noticeably high above 70 mph.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good value

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Soul + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

I've had a 2011 Soul+ 5sp for a couple months and a few thousand miles now. It is a good value overall. Mechanically, it is a basic 4 cylinder economy car. The body design, roomy SUV-like seating position, and a generous feature list are what make the car attractive. Two consistent complaints with the 2010 model - rough ride/poor suspension and door panels that scratch up easily - have been addressed with the 2011 model. One shortcoming that remains is the final gear isn't tall enough so that you have high RPM at highway speeds (3,000 rpm @ 70 mph). MPG is good. I consistently get 26-28 mpg in mixed driving and got over 31 mpg on a purely highway trip.



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.

Introduction

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.

Safety

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.

Talk About The 2011 Soul

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 24
  • cty
/
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs