The Kia Soul is one of those cars that challenges labels. Is it a hatchback or a wagon or an SUV? It's really a mix of all three, and though this combination has the potential for failure or mockery, Kia put together a car that takes the best that each style has to offer.
Historically, the Kia Soul has been compared to other oddballs such as the Scion xB and Nissan Cube, both of which capitalized on their boxy shape to make the most of interior space. The Scion and Nissan rivals have since been discontinued, leaving the Soul in a class of one. Subcompact SUVs are now gaining popularity and could certainly be considered competitors.
The Soul, however, gets a distinct edge over the competition with its funky style, youthful approach and a peppier turbo engine that debuts this year. Add to that a generous warranty and top safety scores, and the Soul's appeal is strong, no matter your age.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Kia Soul is classified as a wagon, but really it's more like a compact crossover SUV. It is available in three trim levels: Base, Plus (+) and Exclaim (!). The base model comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (130 horsepower, 118 pound-feet of torque) that is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is optional, and both drive the front wheels only. The Plus receives a 2.0-liter engine (161 hp, 150 lb-ft) and is available only with the automatic transmission. The Exclaim gets a new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine (201 hp, 195 lb-ft) along with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Standard feature highlights for the base Kia Soul include 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system with USB input and satellite radio.
Stepping up to the Plus trim adds 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, foglights, remote keyless entry, selectable drive modes, cruise control, automatic climate control, center armrests for front and back seats, a 5-inch touchscreen and a rearview camera. At the top of the range, the Exclaim includes 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upholstery trim, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Some features are available on supporting trims as options. Other bundled add-ons include the Audio package for the Plus (a navigation system, an 8-inch display, a Harman Kardon audio system, speaker lights that change with the music, keyless entry and ignition, and two USB ports), the Primo package (panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver seat, 8-way power front passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system and forward collision warning). The Exclaim is eligible for the Technology package that includes most of the above options along with xenon headlights.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.