2016 Kia Soul Review

Pros & Cons

  • Loads of available features
  • attractive cabin with user-friendly controls and ample passenger space
  • long warranty
  • excellent crash test scores.
  • Harsh ride quality with larger wheels
  • so-so fuel economy.
List Price Range
$8,495 - $17,000

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Kia Soul's funky styling, fun-to-drive attitude, extensive feature content and wagon-based practicality make it a great choice for an urban commuter or as an alternative to a small crossover.

Vehicle overview

The meteoric rise of the subcompact and compact crossover has sounded the death knell for tall, boxy wagons. The 2016 Kia Soul is now the sole carrier of the squared torch passed on by the departed Scion xB and Nissan Cube. It's a funky car that is hard to categorize, possessing qualities of a tall hatchback and compact crossover, but it has styling and a personality that few cars in those segments can match.

As befitting a car of its dimensions, the 2016 Kia Soul is immensely practical. The interior is spacious, with plenty of headroom for front row occupants, and even rear seat passengers will find ample legroom. The cargo area is rather modest in size, but folding the rear seats reveals the true benefit of the boxy shape by tripling the amount of carrying capacity. Also generous is the sheer volume of options available on the Soul. The Soul can get pricey as features such as premium leather and ventilated front seats are added, but these aren't even available on most cars in this class.

The boxy design of the 2016 Kia Soul affords more usable cargo space than some hatchbacks and small crossovers.

The Soul does have some downsides, though. While undeniably practical, the Soul's boxy shape creates invasive wind noise at speed that's hard to ignore. There's also the possibility of a rather harsh ride in Souls equipped with the 18-inch wheels that come bundled with some of the more desirable option packages. Fuel economy is unexceptional, coming in somewhere between subcompact and compact crossovers. Small hatchbacks are typically even more fuel efficient.

Some of those hatchbacks are also more fun to drive, such as the 2016 Ford Focus and 2016 Mazda 3. And it's probably worth your time to check out a few of the latest subcompact crossovers, particularly if you want all-wheel drive; the 2016 Honda HR-V and 2016 Jeep Renegade are desirable picks. For those considering the Soul in its more expensive forms, the 2016 Volkswagen SportWagen offers a higher-quality interior and more cargo room. But overall we're still glad to see the Soul carrying the fun-and-funky wagon torch. It's a solid choice for a budget-friendly runabout that does most things well.

2016 Kia Soul models

The 2016 Kia Soul is a five passenger wagon available in three trim levels: base, + and ! (the latter two trims are also known as Plus and Exclaim).

The base model's standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, full power accessories, driver-selectable steering settings, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. A Convenience package is available for models equipped with the automatic transmission, and it includes automatic headlights, a rearview camera and a 4.3-inch touchscreen. Cruise control and keyless entry are optional.

The Soul+ adds a more powerful engine, 17-inch wheels, foglights, a gloss black grille, keyless entry, cruise control, a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area, a cargo cover, upgraded cloth upholstery, a fold-down rear-seat armrest, a front seat center armrest with storage, and all the features from the Convenience package.

Upgrading to the Soul+ opens the door to several options packages. The Audio package adds automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, simulated leather cabin trim, upgraded interior accents, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, HD radio and a premium eight-speaker Infinity audio system. Kia's Uvo eServices infotainment service is also included.

Two packages independent of each other build upon the Audio package. The Signature 2.0 Special Edition includes 18-inch wheels, two-tone exterior paint, LED daytime running lights and taillights, xenon headlights and leather upholstery. The Primo package adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support), heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, LED interior lighting and a heated steering wheel.

Two more packages are available but cannot be ordered with any other options. The new Designer Collection package adds unique 18-inch wheels, two-tone exterior paint and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Eco package adds fuel-saving features like an automatic stop-start system and low-rolling-resistance 16-inch tires.

The 2016 Kia Soul's 8-inch touchscreen is available on the + and ! trim levels.

The range-topping Soul! adds body-colored fascia accents and bumpers, power-folding side mirrors with integrated LED turn signal indicators, an eight-way power driver seat with two-way power lumbar support, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery and chrome interior accents.

The Soul!'s optional Premium package includes xenon headlights, LED taillights, a lane-departure warning system, forward collision warning and the features from the Soul+'s Audio and Primo packages. The Umber package adds special leather upholstery.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 Kia Soul gains a bit more standard equipment on certain trim levels. Some option packages have also been revised and renamed. Notably, the Premium package for the Soul! includes forward collision and lane-departure warning systems, both of which are new to the Soul.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2016 Kia Soul is offered with two different engines. The base Soul gets a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard (including a hill-start assist function) and a six-speed automatic is optional. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the base Soul comes in at 26 mpg combined (24 city/30 highway) with either transmission.

Soul+ and ! models have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission. Fuel economy with the 2.0-liter engine is an EPA-estimated 27 mpg combined (24/31). On our Edmunds driving evaluation route, a Soul! returned 27.9 mpg, which is much lower than other compact cars we've tested and actually on par with compact SUVs.

In Edmunds performance testing, a Soul! went from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is average for a small wagon or hatchback with an upgraded engine.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for all 2016 Kia Soul models includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, hill-start assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is standard on the Soul+ and ! and included on the base trim with the optional Convenience package. For the Soul!, lane departure warning and forward collision warning are optional. The available Uvo service provides emergency and roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, geo-fencing and speed tracking (allowing parents to set limits for teen drivers) and other smartphone-enabled features accessible via the Uvo app.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Soul came to a stop from 60 mph in 110 feet. While this is a very short distance for the segment, it's noteworthy that our Soul! test car had large, 18-inch tires. Kia Souls with smaller tires may not perform the same.

In government crash tests, the Soul received a top five-star rating overall, with five stars for total frontal impact safety and total side-impact crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also awarded the Soul top marks, giving it a "Good" score in the moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests as well as a "Good" score for the side-impact, roof-strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

Driving

With respectable power on tap from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the 2016 Kia Soul is enjoyable around town and feels satisfyingly quick when merging onto a highway. The engine gets a bit raspy-sounding during hard acceleration, but the automatic transmission shifts smartly and does a good job of holding gears on uphill grades to help the car maintain a consistent speed. We've yet to drive the 1.6-liter base Soul, but we think most buyers will be happier with the gutsier 2.0-liter, especially since it's slightly more fuel-efficient.

The 2016 Kia Soul is a fun car to drive but suffers from an overly firm ride quality.

Although the Soul doesn't feel especially sporty, it handles better than you might expect. The steering has a reassuring weightiness to its effort level at highway speeds, and it feels precise when you're driving around turns. Unfortunately, the Soul! model loses some of its appeal on long highway trips. Particularly with the available 18-inch wheels, the ride quality can be rough, even on relatively smooth pavement. In addition, the Soul's boxy shape results in excessive wind noise at highway speeds.

Interior

With its modern look and expressive styling details, the 2016 Kia Soul's cabin offers a nice balance between form and function. Interior materials are of a higher quality than you might expect from a car in this price range.

Gauges and controls are logically located and intuitive to use, and using the Uvo interface to control your smartphone is a snap. In addition to upgrading the sound quality, the optional Infinity audio system includes illuminated trim rings for the speakers that flash to the beat of your music. It's a little gimmicky, but we have a feeling some Soul buyers will find it kind of fun.

One of the benefits of the Soul's boxy design is an abundance of head- and legroom, even in the backseat. Behind the rear seatbacks you'll find 19 cubic feet of cargo room, which grows to 61 cubic feet with both sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down. This is greater than compact hatchbacks and on par with some SUVs.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Kia Soul.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great vehicle, very happy
Scott F,10/30/2015
+ 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
We just purchased a 2016 Kia Soul.. After giving several makes and model's much consideration and alot of research we test drove the Soul. My wife and I love it.. Why ? For one this car has a great smooth ride for such a short wheelbase. It's surprisingly quiet as well. We traded a 2011 Hyundai Sonata for this and although it never gave us any trouble this Kia out performed the Sonata in ride and noise level. The base model which we bought has alot of great feature's for the money. The visiblity out of the window's is nice. Your a little higher off the ground than the new sedan's out there. As for the storage space there is plenty for a little car. No, your not going to haul lumber home with it but the rear storage compartment is well thought out. My wife has back problem's and the vehicle height is just right. You don't have to get "down into it". or climb up either. The seat's are firm yet comfortable. It come's with a great warranty as well. Acceleration- It's no speed demon unless you floor it but we were'nt looking for that . At take off it's a little slow at first but does well just the same. The braking is responsive and handling is nice too. There are three levels of steering sensitivity you can control with one button while your driving. Comfort, which give's the steering wheel a more luxury car feeling,, medium,, and sport for a quicker response. It has bluetooth and a ton of nice features in the radio. I'm 54 and have owned everything from 70's Cadillac land yacht's to pickup truck's and I have to say that in initial quality and and all around comfort the Kia Soul is suprisingly smooth and comfortable. It's just plain fun and economical to drive.. UPDATED !! It's been 7 months and we still love this car !! No problem's or complaint's .. Very happy !! UPDATE !! It's been just over one year and nothings changed.. Still a great car !
Kia has officially blown me away
Brian,12/13/2015
+ 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Let me preface this review with the fact that my daily driver is a BMW X5, and my previous vehicles were Infiniti JX and 2 Lexus GX470's. So I tend to be very harsh when reviewing non-luxury cars (I absolutely can't stand my wife's Toyota Sienna, but then again, I don't have to drive it). We purchased this car primarily as a third family vehicle now that our son is driving. My goal was to find a nicely equipped vehicle with excellent safety and great visibility. Honestly, I wasn't too concerned with interior quality, fit/finish or ride quality. My goal was a decent car for around $20k. We looked at quite a few different cars: Mazda 3, VW Golf, Honda Fit, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla. After test driving the snot out of all the above named cars, we kept comparing everything to the Kia Soul. We ended up purchasing a 2016 Soul + with the audio and primo pkg's and some add ons (MSRP $25,550) for $21,325. We actually had an offer from a dealer that was 3 hours away for $20,680 but I didn't really feel like driving 6 hours round trip to save a few hundred dollars. What floored me is the fact that the Kia Soul absolutely blows away the competition for what you get for the money. The interior is excellent at this price point: Leather seating, a mixture of soft touch, hard touch surfaces and a very intuitive navigation/entertainment system with a feature called Evo that allows you to set notifications on various parameters such as traveling outside of a certain geographic radius, driving over a designated speed or driving past a set curfew (all of which are excellent for keeping track of your young drivers), plus the feeling of a spacious cabin. The ride is firm yet comfortable and cabin noise is far better then expected and the fact that for $21k you get auto on/off headlights, leather, navigation, keyless remote entry and keyless engine start, remote start, panoramic sunroof, upgraded audio system with subwoofer (that is actually pretty darn good), fog lights, LED interior lighting, speaker lighting, homelink rear view mirror, rear view camera, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, leather wrapped steering wheel, etc. Simply put, the Kia Soul was far better equipped for the selling price vs. all of the other cars we considered (the VW Golf was close to $30k for similar equipment and still didn't include cooled seats or heated rear seats). My only complaint is the cheap Nexen tires that came on the vehicle. They are pretty bad. Within the first week, we had a pretty light rain and I was spinning the tires from a stop. Needless to say, I took off the Nexen and put on Pirelli's and the difference in performance is not only night and day, but the road noise has improved as has the ride quality. The point of my review is that Kia was never on my radar screen, but my wife thought that the Soul was cute and quirky so I drove it expecting to quickly cross it off the list. I never expected this type of quality from a car that only cost $21,000. I remember sitting in an MBA class about 5 years ago with a fellow student doing an analysis of Kia and thinking to myself that "Kia will never be able to compete with the major automobile companies because they make cheap crap." Well, today I'm eating crow.... gladly. They've given us a very nice vehicle for a reasonable amount of money. Great job, Kia.
A most excellent and fun little car
Paul Wilson,01/08/2016
4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6M)
I am 6' 5" tall and over 300 pounds. I have trouble finding cars I can be comfortable in. My spouse of course is a little gal at 5' 2" so we needed to find something we could agree on. This is not my first Kia or even my first Soul. We originally bought a 2000 Rio which our daughter drove into the ground. We also bought a 2011 Soul 1600cc with 5 speed manual. That was a very fun car but it had two big issues. Cruise control was not available even in aftermarket for that year and it was too loud on the freeway. The engine noise restricted it to being an around town car. No way were you going to drive 1,000 miles to visit your in-laws. So we traded the 2011 in for the 2016 base with 1600 engine and 6 speed automatic. You’re sitting there thinking “but it’s no bigger.” Well, it isn’t and then it is. The interior is a little roomier, but more importantly the gear ratio is very different and this has a lot more get up and go because of the gearing. It has cruise control and has great sound deadening which the original did not have. This car has many other features the 2011 Soul did not. It has selectable steering, sort of a drive by wire system. It has an ECO engine mode which provides optimal acceleration for economy driving. The stereo is easy to use and includes satellite as well as USB and Aux jack. I plug my smartphone in and play music by way of Pandora. Unlimited channels and cheaper too, plus I can reject songs I don’t care for. Try that SeriusXM. The 1600 engine has been around for a long time and runs like a Swiss watch. My base model also has auto on/off headlights, electric windows, as well as keyless remote for doors and trunk lid. Perhaps the best feature was the price. It was $16,635. One thing I like is the heat and air. Simple to use and you don’t have to constantly tweak the temperature setting. Fog on windshield disappears almost instantly. Kia did a lot to improve the Soul. Soul’s are tight well built cars that are fun to drive. Six months later. Nothing has changed. We are very happy with this car. We have had no problems with it. Controls are intuitive and easy to use. One year after buying. Only issue is one tire leaks air so I have to top that one off more often than normal. Still very happy with the car. I see many white Soul's around town now. Soul is very popular here in my area of Florida. Every few years there is a car that just seems to catch on because it really fills a niche. This is one of them. I think it was designed for young people but folks my age saw the car as reliable and useful transportation and made it popular.
Plenty of Room for Four 6-Footers!
David Hild,09/22/2016
! 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Small on the outside but surprisingly spacious inside. I'm 6-2 and don't need to push the drivers seat all the way back. And I can sit "behind me" easily. The nappa leather included with the Umber package is beautiful. My friends are floored at how upscale my Soul looks and feels inside. VERY comfortable even for long highway drives. The ride, even with the 18" wheels is fantastic. The car feels well planted and composed. And it's QUIET inside! Selectable modes for steering also a pleasant surprise. In fact, I'm blown away at how good the steering feels compared to earlier Kia/Hyundai models. Excellent 6-speed automatic with fun to use manual mode. Luggage space is a bit tight. But there is more room under the removable cargo floor. Take out the storage bin and you gain a lot more space for suitcases and travel bags. Europeans having been touring in small, space efficient vehicles like the Soul since forever. I've always appreciated well executed car designs based on the comfort of passengers. Highly recommended!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 Kia Soul features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 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 Rollover14.7%
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 2016 Kia Soul

Used 2016 Kia Soul Overview

The Used 2016 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), and 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Kia Soul?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Kia Soul trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Kia Soul Base is priced between $8,495 and$13,987 with odometer readings between 23497 and95329 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Kia Soul + is priced between $8,999 and$17,000 with odometer readings between 27148 and110406 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Kia Soul ! is priced between $12,970 and$15,477 with odometer readings between 40640 and80139 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 2016 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) 2016 Kia Soul for sale near. There are currently 43 used and CPO 2016 Souls listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,495 and mileage as low as 23497 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 2016 Kia Soul.

Can't find a used 2016 Kia Souls you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Soul for sale - 2 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $15,239.

Find a used Kia for sale - 5 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $24,725.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Soul for sale - 3 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $16,814.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $21,953.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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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