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.
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!
The Soul is the right size for me. I have arthritis, getting in and out of the Soul is easy. Just the right height!
Chevy, Ford and Chrysler should take notice. Older people sometimes need a vehicle that sits a little higher off the ground. It make it a little more comfortable to get in and out. There's nothing out there in this price range of $17,000.
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.
The 2016 Kia Soul performs better than expected . Interior space is better than expected for a vehicle of this size. Despite the reviews in regards to performance, the 2.0 power plant does a very good job for the normal everyday driver. I have managed to get 29 miles per gallon in town with light foot driving practices. The steering is very responsive and the four wheel disc brakes are much better than average. The ride comfort is a bit stiff on rough roads but acceptable. I would recommend the base+ if you don't need every bell and whistle available. The cost for additional packages is a bit costly in my view. The plus has the back up camera feature and touch screen on the dash. It also has fog lights and automatic headlight feature. I will comment on two areas for change in my view. The fact that the Soul does not have a spare tire is very important to me. The spare tire kit will cost you an additional $200.00. It is possible you could be setting for some time if you depend on roadside assistance. The spare tire will get you on the road in less time by far. The additional area I would comment on is the rear wheel well. The material that is used in the rear wheel well area is almost carpet like. It holds the mud and salt in our area and is hard to clean even with high pressure spray. I am concerned about this materials ability to hold up under mud, snow and gravel situations. It should be a heavy duty plastic like the front wheel well area. Overall it is a great vehicle for the money invested. The 2016 Kia Soul should be considered for the budget minded consumer or anyone that would like to have fun in a new vehicle.