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2018 Kia Soul

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Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

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

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

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

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

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

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2018 Base 4dr Hatchback
most popular
Price:   -  From $16,200
2018 + 4dr Hatchback Price:   -  From $20,400
2018 ! 4dr Hatchback Price:   -  From $22,900


The Kia Soul has gained quite a following because of its funky and unconventional styling. However, the crossover is not just about the design – it offers massive interior space, first-rate reliability, well-equipped trim levels, and it's fun to drive.

What's New for 2018

The package structure has been reshuffled, but otherwise the Kia Soul remains unchanged for 2018.

Kia Soul

Choosing your Kia Soul

The Kia Soul offers three engine options, all paired to a front-wheel drive arrangement.

The base-trim gets a 1.6-liter unit that makes 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a six-automatic can be had for $1,600. EPA estimates for the manual model sit at 24 miles per gallon in city, 30 highway and 27 mpg combined. The automatic does one better in the city but is even on the highway and combined cycles.

However, if the customers want more power and features, they can opt for the Soul Plus, which packs a 2.0-liter engine developing 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite the larger engine, the Soul Plus returns the same fuel economy as the automatic version of the base model.

Finally, the range-topping Soul Exclaim gets a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine pushing out 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox comes standard. Fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon in city, 31 highway and 28 mpg combined.

Based on that roundup, it shouldn't surprise that the Kia Soul is sold in three trims only — Base, Plus and Exclaim.

Kia Soul


The entry-level Soul commands a price of $16,995 (including $895 destination charges) and standard equipment includes 16-inch wheels, tilt/telescopic steering, cloth upholstery, a six-way adjustable driver seat, and a multimedia system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Customers also get Kia's “FlexSteer” steering system, which gives you three different set-ups for the steering feedback — a light Comfort, a heavier Sport, and Normal, which sits between the two.

Except the $450 interior lighting kit, there is no notable optional accessory on the manual variant. However, the automatic model is available with remote start ($425) and a Convenience Package ($1,200) that adds automatic headlights and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Kia's UVO services, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility and a rear-view camera.

Kia Soul


The Soul Plus carries a price-tag of $21,195 and standard features include heated side-view mirrors, automatic headlights, fog-lights, 17-inch wheels, cruise control and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with UVO eServices, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

There are three optional packages. The Design Package ($400), Audio Package ($1,500) and Primo Lit Package ($4,500) – yes, there's really a package called the "Primo Lit."

The Design Package adds 18-inch wheels, new paint options, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Audio Package features an upgraded eight-inch infotainment system with navigation, Harmon Kardon sound system, and smart key. The Primo Lit Package adds leather seats with heating and ventilation in front, heated rear seats, a heated steering-wheel, LED interior lighting, a 4.3-inch instrument cluster display, and driver assistance systems like forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, blindspot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

Kia Soul


The Soul Exclaim costs $23,695 and includes options on the lower trims plus 18-inch wheels, a 4.3-inch instrument cluster display, leather/cloth seat covers, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift-knob as standard.

There are two optional packages — the Sunroof Package ($1,000) adds a panoramic sunroof and LED interior lighting and the Technology Package ($3,000) adds most of the elements of the Soul Plus' Primo Lit pack, like blindspot detection system with rear cross-traffic alert, upgraded 8.0-inch infotainment system with navigation, Harmon Kardon sound system, and heated front and rear seats.

CarsDirect Tip

If you are tight on funds, go for the base-level Soul. The Soul Plus offers a myriad of exciting features but can be costly, especially if you buy the Primo Lit optional package. The Soul Exclaim is preferable for those wanting a more entertaining driving experience, but aren't ready for a full-blown hot hatchback like the Volkswagen GTI or Ford Focus ST.

Get your price on a Kia Soul »

author image
Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

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

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

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

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

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

author image
Contributing Writer

Unchanged from last year, the 2018 Kia Soul is in the fifth year of its model run. Available in three trim levels, each with its own engine, the Soul boasts slick styling, hatchback versatility, and a user-friendly infotainment system. But all three engines are down on refinement, overall fuel economy is only mediocre, and its active safety features are both expensive and available on just one model.

Best Value

Pricing for the 2018 Kia Soul starts at $16,995 for the base trim equipped with a six-speed manual (a six-speed automatic is $1,600 more) and can exceed $28,000 for an Exclaim model equipped with the optional Technology and Special Edition Packages.

The decision most 2018 Soul buyers will face is choosing between safety and performance. A group of advanced safety features is optional only on Plus models, while the high-spec 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is exclusive to the Exclaim trim. You'll want to avoid the base model and its naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter, which just doesn't offer enough power.

Since even with that extra power the Soul is hardly a speedy corner-carver and safety – for most buyers – trumps performance, we'd pick the Plus trim and spec it out like this:

  • Model: 2018 Kia Soul Plus
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 161 horsepower / 150 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel economy: 16 City / 25 Hwy
  • Options: Audio Package ($1,500, a larger eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Harman/Kardon audio system, speaker lights, keyless entry with push-button start, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leatherette trim with piano black accents), Primo Lit Package ($4,500, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, panoramic sunroof, HID headlights; LED accent lights, tail lights, and high-mounted stop light; leather-trimmed seats, front seats, steering wheel, and rear seats; power driver and front passenger seat, TFT meter display, LED interior lighting).
  • Base Price: $21,195 (including an $895 destination fee)
  • As Tested: $27,195


The 1.6-liter turbocharged four is quick off the line, while Kia imbued the second-generation Soul with more suspension travel and better shocks for a smoother ride and less body lean in corners.

At the same time, the naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter engine found on the base model struggles to handle the Soul's curb weight – at the very least, buyers should go with the 2.0-liter in the Soul Plus. The 1.6-liter turbo exhibits abundant torque steer, too, and its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is slow to engage off the line (although shifts are plenty quick once underway). All three engines deliver only middling fuel economy.

Interior and Exterior

The Soul's exterior manages to combine functionality with slick styling cues that are rare at this price point. Likewise the interior is also a class above – more polished and subdued than the first gen model – with plenty of room for four adults, soft touch points in all the right places, and an infotainment system that is intuitive and easy to use.

But all is not perfect as the front seats lack thigh support while plenty of road, wind, tire, and engine noise enter the cabin when cruising around town and on the highway.

The Best and Worst Things

The Soul's expressive design and hatchback functionality with 101 cu ft of passenger space and 24 cu ft of cargo volume (61.3 cu ft with the rear seat folded) makes the most of its compact dimensions.

The Soul's odd mix of options – especially the availability of advanced safety features on just one model – could, for many buyers, limit its appeal.

Right For? Wrong For?

A smooth ride, slick-looking exterior, plenty of interior space, and hatchback versatility make the latest Soul a good choice for singles.

The Soul's maddening ploy of limiting advanced safety features to just one model is bound to turn off safety-conscious buyers.

The Bottom Line

Despite its adventurous styling, intuitive infotainment system and overall versatility, the latest Soul's safety option quirks, unrefined powertrains, and mediocre fuel economy keep it from being a top contender in its class.

Read Less

Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.6L I-4 / 130 HP / 118 ft.lbs.
Standard: 6-spd man w/OD
Available: 6-spd Sportmatic w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
24 / 30 / 27 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.6L I-4 / 130 HP / 118 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
24 / 30 / 27 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Semi-independent Torsion Beam Beam
Spare Tire And Wheel
Fuel Tank
14.2 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
49.5 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
101 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
163.0 "
Exterior Width
70.9 "
Exterior Height
63.5 "
Front Headroom
39.6 "
Rear Headroom
39.5 "
Front Legroom
40.9 "
Rear Legroom
39.1 "
Front Shoulder Room
55.5 "
Rear Shoulder Room
54.7 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
2,884 Lbs. / 2,942 Lbs.
Wheel Base
101 "
Turning Radius
17.4 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
16.0 " Silver Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote
Grille Moldings
Black W/chrome Surround
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
Front Armrests
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
60-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Siriusxm Am/fm/satellite, Clock, Seek-scan / Clock
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night / Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Major Components Months
120 Months / 100,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
60 Months / 100,000 Miles
Accessories Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles

Used 2018 Kia Soul for Sale

4 vehicles found within 50 miles of your area
Color: Black



55,464 mi

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Royal Auto Dealer (38 mi)

Phone: (626) 262-9494
Base 4dr Hatchback
Color: Shadow Black



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Santa Monica Buick Gmc (8 mi)

Phone: (424) 217-3093
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Pomona Kia (38 mi)

Phone: (909) 664-2200
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Color: Titanium Gray



44,323 mi

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Thousand Oaks Toyota (31 mi)

Phone: (805) 497-2791
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