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 Reg on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "The cockpit is very "user friendly for the driver"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This care have proven itself for the past 3 years I have it. I haven't had any major mechnical problem with it during this time.The interior is very durable and it looks very nice after all the years of wear."
By kia lover on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "head room and body room and cute factor"
Cons: "bumpy rides when roads are bad"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"love this car. am getting a new one just to upgrade to leather and change colors. It is wonderful fun and comfortable. A bit bumpy but maybe 2014 will fix that but no problem. Great in and out, so easy for big and small people alike. Great head room. So much room for stuff and people. Fun to drive, Cute and just perfect. Love it"
By JenJo on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "terrible in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car has heated seats to keep you warm in the winter. The handling and traction are so bad you are going to need them to keep you warm as you are sitting in the ditch or in your own driveway waiting to get pulled out."
By Eastsideguy on Saturday, February 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, interior, handling, safety, fun to drive"
Cons: "lack of traction on snow of 6 inches or more."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is my second Soul Exclaim. My first one was a 2011, I swerved to miss a deer and lost control of the car roll and slammed into a utility pole. The car was totaled, all air bags deployed and I walked away with a bruise across my chest that was it. Of course I purchased the 2013 as a replacement, same model all the options. I have really enjoyed it and the newest tech on it has been great. If I had one complaint it would be the traction in the winter. Indiana hadn't been having very bad winters in the last 10yrs. Until this year, with more than 50 inches of snow its been a challenge. After about 6 inches on the ground very poor traction for driving. I wish they offered it in 4WD."
By Me on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Load lots of stuff, including 7 foot cabinet."
Cons: "Hard ride, plastic interiors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is a fine around town and to the beach cottage vehicle. Lots of plastic and bumps--hard ride. Still, it get around 30 mpg and Kia kicks in a few bucks due to its exaggeration about mileage. At age 73, would not do it again but a nice little gift to pass on to my grandson as he begins to drive. Easy on gas and parking."
By El Maestro on Monday, February 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "transmission , interior plastic , MPG"
Cons: "versatilee ,conpact SUV,interior design, sound ,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"small suv ,very usefull ,very versatile ,not happy with MPG. ride too bumpy ,interior cheap plastic, transmission should perform better ,decent sound system , I like it's seating and there is enough room for luggage ."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful