By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Although the 2011 Kia Soul competes directly with the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, the Soul has a much broader appeal. It enjoys styling that is neither polarizing nor awkward and Kia has a hip ad campaign that turned a common hamster into a bona fide rap star. Brisk sales and rave reviews have helped the Soul get off to a good start, but questions remain about its long-term reliability. Of course, an impressive array of standard features, one of the most original and modern interiors in the segment and a price tag starting well below its competitors make the Kia Soul a tempting morsel indeed. Making our "Top Ten Coolest Cars Under $18,000" list and strong initial resale values doesn't hurt the 2011 Kia Soul, either.
If you're looking for a vehicle that is both versatile and affordable, but you don't want to look like you're driving a car whose only attribute is that it's versatile and affordable, the 2011 Kia Soul is the car for you.
If you're looking for rapid acceleration, all-wheel drive or the highest resale value, you'll have to spend more.
For 2011, Kia will offer two Special Edition Soul models featuring automatic climate control and unique paint and trim.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Kia Soul looks cool, is loaded with features and has room for people, cargo, dogs and gear, but its ride and handling are nowhere near as impressive. The...base model's 122-horsepower engine loud and makes the car slow. The upper-end models with the larger 142-horsepower 2.0-liter engine do a bit better, although they are also loud. The manual transmission is rubbery and no great joy to use. We say go with the automatic. When not pushed hard, the Soul delivers a comfortable ride. The steering and brakes are more than adequate. The overall feeling is that you're driving a run-of-the-mill economy car, but the experience is not unpleasant and is by no means a deal breaker.
Comprehensive Audio System
The 2011 Kia Soul base model might be hampered with small steel wheels and the lack of remote keyless entry, but Kia saw fit to make sure every single Soul has a full-featured AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat/Aux/USB audio system.
The 2011 Kia Soul has the best iPod station we've seen (outside of another Kia or Hyundai): An open bin, in plain view and within easy reach, with readily accessible power and connection ports.
We give Kia high praise for the Soul's interior. Not only does it feature radical themes, such as an available Hound's Tooth fabric interior and red backlit speaker grilles that pulsate to the music's beat (this feature can be turned on and off), it also is highly functional and just plain fun. Owners who choose the Sport model receive a black and bright red interior including a red dash and glove box. Functional features include front and center iPod bins, a dual-shelf glovebox, fold flush rear seats and a storage bin under the cargo area's floor.Exterior
From its intricately detailed headlamp housing to its uncommon profile, the 2011 Kia Soul is anything but commonplace. Four differing trim levels – the base Soul, the Soul +, the up-level Soul ! and the Soul sport – offer varying visuals, in addition to their non-standard names. The base car sports black door handles and mirrors, while the others tout body-colored bits. A wide variety of accessories and wheels further distinguish the models. The Soul has 15-inch wheels, the Soul + rides on 16-inch wheels, and 18-inch wheels come on the Soul ! and Soul Sport. True to its hip and cool nature, the Soul also features a number of eye-popping color choices including Molten (deep red), Java (brown), Alien (metallic pea green) and Ignition (a metallic orange vaguely reminiscent of an orange Dreamsicle.)
The base 2011 Kia Soul comes with a 122-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. All other Souls feature a 142-horspower four-cylinder, with an optional four-speed automatic transmission. Other standards on the inexpensive base model include air conditioning, power windows and locks and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite radio/USB audio system. All Souls feature six airbags and Electronic Stability Control.
Check all the option boxes and your 2011 Kia Soul will include front fog lamps, a moonroof, upgraded audio system including center subwoofer and 315-watt amp, leather-covered steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The Soul sport gets a sport-tuned suspension, unique front, rear and side styling elements, metal-finish pedals and interior accents, and a red/black interior color scheme. Options for the sport include heated leather seats and a power moonroof.
The base model 2011 Kia Soul features a smaller 122-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine that's available only with a five-speed manual transmission. Kia doesn't anticipate selling too many of these. We wouldn't buy it, either. Most 2011 Kia Souls will feature a 142-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine, which is offered with a four-speed automatic or the five-speed manual.
1.6-liter in-line 4
122 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
115 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/31
2.0-liter in-line 4
142 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
137 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/30
By KPP on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I went from a Jeep to this and honestly if I could go back I would never get this car.. They ask way more than this car is actually worth.."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By soulmate on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "It gets you a second look"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Wish they had 2 tone color hybrids. I would buy another in a heartbeat. Looking to trade my 2010 Kia for a hybrid and not available in a Kia Soul. Electric Soul available in 2015 but until charging stations more available in NC I will not be buying that. I would love to see more sport options such as roof rack and 2 tone on the cars in the dealerships."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Lafemme Nixita on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, fun shape, roomy"
Cons: "Big blind spot, hatchback scratches, seats stain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"It looks great, has a fun color and shape, and is roomy... but there are some design flaws. First of all, the seat material is strange. When you try to clean them the water leaves discoloration. I don't know what to use to clean my seats because the more I try the worse they look. Secondly, there is a huge blind spot so you have to practically turn your head 90 degrees to change lanes. Third, when pulling items out of hatchback, the paint on rear gets scratched very easily - there should be rubber there or the hard plastic the bumpers are made of. It does not drive well in the rain, tires feel "squirrely." Apart from those items, it's been very reliable and when you put the rear seats down you can fit practically anything, including a LONGBOARD that measures 9' 6" and yes, I know from experience."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By reyna on Saturday, September 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive easy handleing great on gas"
Cons: "no spare tire"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this car i fell in love the moment I stepped into it. the color is Alien green and really stands out. Gas mileage is great. If it were not for the monthly payment I have I would keep it forever"
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Snew on Monday, September 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Low price, warranty"
Cons: "MPG, visibility, windshield"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"4, count 'em 4, windshield cracks in 19.000 miles. Never had that happen with any other car we've owned. Have our chip repair guy on retainer. Car itself is okay to drive, could definitely be more comfortable. Interior looks and feels cheap. Kia settled on misstating mileage claims on several models, so we get a little money from Kia for mileage reimbursement. Not a whole lot of acceleration, but I guess it isn't too bad for a 1.6L engine. Main disappointment is the windshield. Seems to take on rocks way too easily. (glass too soft, poor design?) We are thinking of selling it after just two years and we usually keep our cars a long time."
By Snewl on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reasonable, bluetooth, good standard features"
Cons: "MPG, bad windshield design, poor cargo space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Not really thrilled with our Soul. In the two years we have had it, it has had 3 window cracks with rocks. That has never happened with any car we have had. It is either the design or inferior glass, but a car with only 18k on it shouldn't have this problem. I get nervous just driving it now, waiting for the next crack. Also, not impressed with the acceleration, visibility, interior (looks cheap), MPG, and general comfort. We generally aren't complainers (we tend to keep our cars for a long time) but we are seriously considering getting rid of this car after just a couple of years."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful