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.
2018 Kia Soul OVERVIEW
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.
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.
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.