2013 Kia Soul Review

Pros & Cons

  • Loads of available features
  • user-friendly controls
  • ample passenger space
  • funky style
  • low price
  • long warranty.
  • Limited cargo room versus a few competitors
  • stiff ride with 18-inch wheels.
List Price Range
$5,800 - $14,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2013 Kia Soul brings hipster styling and a fun-to-drive nature to the realm of the practical hatchback.

Vehicle overview

The 2013 Kia Soul might be inexpensive, but this certainly doesn't mean it's cheap. Even for the entry-level model, you get solid build quality, a peppy direct-injected engine and an audio system that boasts satellite radio and an iPod hookup. Available two-tone interior color schemes, houndstooth-print upholstery and illuminated audio speakers bring welcome touches of personality not expected from cars in this price range. Furthermore, the more expensive versions of Kia's crossover offer even stronger performance.

As expected, the Soul scores well in the EPA's fuel economy testing, and an optional Eco package allows the 2.0-liter engine to achieve nearly the same mileage estimates as the 1.6-liter. The magic happens thanks to low-rolling-resistance tires and stop/start technology that automatically shuts off the engine when you come to a stoplight and restarts it as soon as you lift your foot off the brake pedal.

With such a compelling blend of style, practicality, affordability and features -- and let's not forget its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty -- the 2013 Kia Soul stands firm as one of our top picks for a small hatchback. That said, there are other choices you might want to check out. If even greater cargo capacity is a top priority, we'd suggest checking out the Scion xB and Honda Fit. And if fuel economy or handling are at the top of your list, other good candidates include the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta. But if you're looking for a car that's both funky and practical, it's hard to beat this overachieving little Kia.

2013 Kia Soul models

The 2013 Kia Soul is a four-door hatchback available in three punctuation-inspired trim levels: base, + and !.

The base model's standard equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. When equipped with the optional automatic transmission, the base Soul gains keyless entry, rear privacy glass, cruise control and a height-adjustable driver seat.

The Soul+ includes all the above along with 16-inch alloy wheels (optional on base), heated mirrors, dash-top and center console storage bins, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, some faux metallic interior accents and two additional speakers. The available Audio Upgrade package adds automatic headlights, a rearview camera, the Uvo hands-free media player interface and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system with HD radio and tricolor speaker lights. The optional Eco package adds fuel-saving features like an automatic stop/start system, an upgraded battery and low-rolling-resistance tires. Also available is a sunroof bundled with foglamps.

The top-of-the-line Soul! adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, power-folding outside mirrors, upgraded headlights, foglamps, LED daytime running lights, houndstooth pattern two-tone upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and the Audio Upgrade package. Optional on the ! is a Premium package, which adds keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, automatic climatic control and a navigation system with real-time traffic and a touchscreen interface.

2013 Highlights

For 2013, the Kia Soul sees just a handful of minor changes, which include newly standard Bluetooth connectivity for the manual-transmission base model, power-folding outside mirrors for the "!" trim level and revised Kia badges for all.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive Kia Soul is offered with two different engines. The base Soul gets a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard (including a hill-start assist function) and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA mileage estimates stand at 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined regardless of transmission choice.

Soul+ and ! models get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out a healthy 164 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices are the same as the base model, but the Soul! is automatic only. In Edmunds performance testing, a Soul! went from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds -- a strong time for this class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23/28/25 with the automatic and 24/29/26 with the manual (or if equipped with the Eco package). All of the Soul's fuel economy estimates are better than other funky hatchbacks like the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, but fall a bit short of more conventional small hatchbacks.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for all 2013 Kia Soul models includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Hill-start assist is also now standard across the lineup.

In government crash tests, the Soul earned an overall score of four stars (out of five), with four stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. 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 Edmunds brake testing, a Soul! came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, which is a slightly shorter than average distance for this segment.

Driving

With plenty of power on tap, the 2013 Kia Soul is enjoyable around town and confident when merging onto a freeway. However, while there's ample power with the 1.6-liter engine, we still think most buyers will be happier with the gutsy 164-hp 2.0-liter, especially since the difference in fuel economy is so small. Both the six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are well-matched to either engine.

In terms of handling, the Soul doesn't offer the sort of zippy agility found in the Chevy Sonic or Ford Fiesta, but the Kia isn't a soft snooze-mobile like the Nissan Cube either. The steering has a reassuring weightiness to its effort level at highway speeds, while the response proves crisp and linear on a twisting road. The brake pedal has a reassuringly firm feel. The ride is a bit firm over bumps and ruts, especially on models fitted with the handsome 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels.

Interior

Just because the 2013 Kia Soul is long on style doesn't mean it's short on practicality. With its modern look and pronounced center stack, the passenger cabin offers a nice balance between form and function. Quality materials and a useful amount of acoustic insulation help make the interior seem refined and relatively quiet, while details like the available two-tone houndstooth upholstery give the Soul more flair than similarly priced competitors.

Gauges and controls are logically located and intuitive to use, even when you take into account high-tech options like the voice-controlled Uvo infotainment system that allows you to control your cell phone, iPod and more with voice commands. The optional Infinity audio system's illuminated trim rings for the speakers flash to the beat of the music, and it's kind of fun.

One of the benefits of the Soul's boxy design is abundant head- and legroom, even in the backseat. Behind the rear seatbacks is 19 cubic feet of cargo room, which grows to 53 cubic feet with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down. This is on par with many competitors, but those who need maximum schlepping capacity should consider the Scion xB's cavernous 70-cubic-foot cargo hold.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 Kia Soul.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Definitely a Soulman
Soulman44,10/26/2015
4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6M)
The Kia Soul is the best of the econoboxes, and it's not really that close. I took a very hard look at the Scion XB, as I'm a fan of most things Toyota (particularly the original MR2), but it was an odd combination of too quirky yet too heavy and grown up. The Honda Element is all of the same traits amplified, but with worse still gas mileage. The Nissan Cube is quirky too, but very light and efficient with great gas mileage. However, it's not large enough for passengers, at least not in comparison to the Soul. The Cube also has poor visibility out and an uncomfortable seating position, IMO. Then comes the Kia Soul, which simply does everything right while looking great and driving sweetly. One can opt for the 2.0 liter with a manual for a healthy dose of sport, but I prefer the better mpg of the 1.6. It still accelerates strongly due to its low weight, but keep it out of the revs and you can return 31 mpg in Suburbia-type traffic with lots of stop and go. This is my first manual with 6+ forward gears, and the Soul really makes the most of them. I haven't done any 60 mph highway drives, but I would fully expect this to get 40 mpg in true highway driving. What else? The stereo with Aux in, USB for charging (or a billion songs on a thumb drive), bluetooth for phone audio or calls, great ergonomics, a huge glovebox, great visibility all around, and a very comfortable drive. I also do my own maintenance and repairs, and was blown away the first time I popped the hood. Room! Room galore for hands and wrenches. The only criticism I can imagine is that there is some road noise, but no more than my wife's very comfortable Odyssey. Some of that is likely tire noise, but you can tell that they left off some noise dampening to keep the weight and price down. It's not bad by any means, but it's the only thing I can think of that is less than ideal with the Soul, even with the base. Ebay has sheets of sound deadening material for sale, and I'm doing that next. This car is highly recommended. I'll be shocked if I don't have at least one Soul in our driveway 10 years from now.
First Impression
donmack,10/12/2012
+ 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I have a 2013 + (plus) with 2 liter automatic. It's a pretty nice car, well built, not too cheap on the fit and finish. It's really big on the inside. visibility is good except for the rear corners. The pillar is kind of thick. The car is short, about 10" shorter than my Honda Civic, but it is really tall.
Great value people mover.
dean_h,10/01/2012
4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6A)
Purchased this one to replace unsure footed 2002 Rav4. The interior room and MPG are key reasons. Great a little car has a lot of room. I am well seasoned light footed driver. It does 37.3MPG at NJ Turnpike, and does 33 MPG in town. I have feather weight family, would go with 2.0 engine.
What kind of meds are the hamsters on?
John Ranous,08/30/2015
4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6M)
The Soul is a vehicle with great potential. Good looks. Nice interior. Lots of room (I'm 6'4"). Good entertainment system in my base model. BUT, with just 12000 miles on the odometer, I've got a rattle in the front suspension AND the steering column. The big negative for the Soul is the suspension. Everyone describes it as firm. I'd say brutally, and unnecessarily stiff. If you are fortunate enough to drive nothing but new pavement, you will love this vehicle. Real world roads bring out the worst in the Soul's road manners. I drive 22 miles to work, and I've been introduced to every pavement fault along the route. You soon learn to avoid the big ones, or suffer the bone jarring consequences. But, even the small irregularities are magnified to uncomfortable proportions. Lots of road noise...suspension rumbles...now I know why the hamsters have the music cranked up. If you are considering a Soul, give it a good real world test drive, or rent one for a weekend.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2013 Kia Soul features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover15.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2013 Kia Soul

Used 2013 Kia Soul Overview

The Used 2013 Kia Soul is offered in the following submodels: Soul Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6A), + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6A), ! 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6A), 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6M), and + 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Kia Soul?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Kia Soul trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Kia Soul + is priced between $6,000 and$13,598 with odometer readings between 44463 and140794 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Kia Soul Base is priced between $5,800 and$8,599 with odometer readings between 27605 and100185 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Kia Soul ! is priced between $11,488 and$14,500 with odometer readings between 71438 and93334 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2013 Kia Souls are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Kia Soul for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2013 Souls listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,800 and mileage as low as 27605 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Kia Soul.

Can't find a used 2013 Kia Souls you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Soul for sale - 6 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $12,018.

Find a used Kia for sale - 6 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $11,473.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Soul for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,969.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 10 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,423.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 Kia Soul?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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