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2011 Kia Soul

Overview
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2011 Kia Soul Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for rapid acceleration, all-wheel drive or the highest resale value, you'll have to spend more.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2011, Kia will offer two Special Edition Soul models featuring automatic climate control and unique paint and trim.

Driving the Soul

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.

iPod Bin
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.

2011 Kia Soul Details
Interior

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.)

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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

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2011 Kia Soul Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 325 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Love it!

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price, great gas, comfortable"

Cons: "blind spot"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I really love my Soul! I had a Jeep Liberty but it was expensive and a gas guzzler. Trading in for the Soul was great- same amount of room, WAY better gas mileage. Definitely comfortable and I haven't had any issues. Though it is shaped like a box a bit, so blind spots can be iffy. Don't buy if you can't turn your head to double check before merging. But price is definitely great and I love that it's holding its value over the years."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

a lot of fun to drive--gets lots of attention

By on Thursday, May 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "value for the money---lots of content and features"

Cons: "no all wheel drive available"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"excellent gas mileage ( at least 30mpg average)and very good build quality--except for routine maintenance(oil and filter changes) no repairs were necessary.plenty of power for freeway merging. this car may look small on the outside but I was surprised by the room inside for people and/or packages.uvo /infinity is a great sounding stereo."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Fantastic Car for the Price!

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage, reliable & roomy."

Cons: "Cheaper interior features"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been a great car for me, especially with long distance commutes & vacation drives. On average it's given me 28 - 33 mpg and still does. I like the space it gives as well. Good head space & plenty of room in the back for transporting things. I have really enjoyed owning this & would recommend to anyone in need of a vehicle for a long commute. My only issue with the vehicle is that the interior is a bit on the cheap side. Fabric seems to stain fairly easily & carpet, too. But covers have helped with all of that. It's been well worth it for both the safety features of the car and the great gas mileage & comfortable ride that I get. Really like the blue tooth & Sirius features as well."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best car in its price range, by far

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and at a great price."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car in July of 2012. I have had ZERO issues with this vehicle. I have had 2 other KIAs and liked them, however this is different. I looked at Chevy Sonic, Nissan Versa and Mazda 3. This car had more options and at a better price. 4 wheel disk brakes, cruise, Satellite radio, power windows, and locks. Versa was a shell of a car by comparison. This is also a fun car to drive with great visibility all the way around. I would definitely buy this car again. Plus rear seating head room for 6+ footers."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best value and fun to drive

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, 5 stars for safety, fun to drive,"

Cons: "When I find one I will let you know"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this car. To say I am fussy is an understatement. I test drove 23 cars before I decided on one but from the moment I sat in this car I knew it was mine. Comfortable, easy and fun to drive, low maintenance, low repair cost. How could you ask for more? The sound system is amazing. I have not had a single repair or any problems at all in 4 years. Air filter and oil changes are all it has ever needed. That is saying a lot since my driving is up and down hills and stop and go driving.I know that is hard on brakes and tires let alone the engine and drive train. I have recommended this car to several friends and 2 of them have also purchased one."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

GREATEST, SAFEST, FUNEST CAR EVER!!!!!

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "She gets up and goes!! Comfortable safe reliable"

Cons: "none except no light in glove box"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I LOVE MY KIA SOUL SPORT. SO FUN TO DRIVE AND VERY CUTE. MY LIL RED CAR IS THE BEST. VERY HIGH SAFETEY RATINGS TOO!!!!!"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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