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  • James Flammang
    Contributing Editor - September 10, 2015

    Expert Rating

    4.8 (Excellent)
    24 City / 31 Highway

    Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

    You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

    5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

    4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

    3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

    2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

    1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

    2016 Kia Soul OVERVIEW

    If lively hamsters could drive cars, they’d surely be happy in a Soul -- as they were in Kia’s TV commercials when this likable little crossover first appeared. Soul is one of the few contemporary vehicles that’s readily recognizable from afar, and its unconventional design yields a spacious interior. A friendly, youthful persona also helps in its entry-level category.

    What's New for 2016

    Alloy wheels now are standard on all Soul models. Base models with a Convenience Package gain a 4.3-inch color touchscreen, satellite ratio, and integrated rearview camera. The Plus model adds gloss black bumper "tusks" and foglights. A new Premium package includes forward collision and lane departure warnings. The Designer Collection, inspired by the battery-powered Soul, features two-tone paint and 18-inch alloy wheels. Leather-trimmed seats now are standard on Exclaim.

    Choosing Your Kia Soul

    All Souls have front-wheel drive, with ample room for five, plus 19 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat. Subcompact on the outside, its interior space turns the Soul into a compact model.

    In the base Soul, a direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine develops 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. Upper trim levels hold a 2-liter engine rated 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet. The 1.6-liter engine mates with either a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission, while the 2-liter is automatic-only. Fuel economy is estimated at 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the smaller engine, while the 2-liter manages 31 mpg in highway driving. All Soul models have FlexSteer driver-selectable steering assist.

    Soul comes in three trim levels: Base, Plus and Exclaim.


    Starting at $15,690 with manual shift, the base Soul has an appealing list of standard equipment for its class. Included are the 1.6-liter engine, air conditioning, power windows and locks, power mirrors, a tilt/telescopic steering column, woven and tricot cloth seat trim, Bluetooth connectivity, rear privacy glass, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Six-speaker sound includes satellite radio and steering-wheel audio controls. An automatic transmission adds $1,500.

    An optional Convenience Package includes a 4.3-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, and automatic on/off headlights.


    For an MSRP of $19,190, the Plus edition includes the 2-liter engine and automatic transmission, as well as automatic headlights, foglamps, a 4.3-inch touchscreen, cruise control, rearview camera, remote keyless entry, cargo cover, and 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch optional). Options include pushbutton start, Infinity radio, navigation, a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, and stop/start operation.

    • An Audio package includes navigation, an Infinity audio system, and automatic climate control.
    • An Eco package adds engine stop/start and low-rolling-resistance tires.
    • The Primo package includes leather seat trim, ventilated/heated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, foglamps, and pushbutton start.

    Red Zone and Signature 2.0 Special Edition packages are also available.


    Priced at $21,090, the top Soul features leather-trimmed seats, an auto-dimming mirror, mirror-integrated turn signals, a 10-way power driver’s seat, UVO eServices telematics, and 17-inch wheels.

    • A Premium Package includes such extras as a panoramic sunroof, navigation with 8-inch display, Infinity audio, front/rear heated seats, 10-way power driver's seat, ventilated front seats, pushbutton start, and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel.
    • The Umber Package features Nappa leather seat trim.
    CarsDirect Tip

    In basic form, each Soul ranks as an affordable, distinctive little crossover. However, buyers get quite a selection of option packages to choose from, priced from $1500 to $4,400. Unless you’re really enthused about some of those additional features, midrange Plus trim, sans options, will probably provide all you need. For thrift-minded buyers, the base Soul, perhaps with automatic, should be wholly satisfactory.

    Get your price on a Kia Soul »

    Read our review on the Kia Soul »

    Best Kia Deals & Lease Offers In January

    The new year brings aggressive rebate incentives, with Kia offering up to $7,000 off select models. The Holiday VIN Sticker Bonus is over but increases in customer cash help... View All Kia Lease Deals


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