By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
When it launched in 2009, the Soul sparked Kia's design revolution, and the 2013 Kia Soul still makes no apologies for its funky looks and brash attitude. Rather, the Soul touts its youthful nature and is proud of its status as a low-cost alternative to hatchbacks and traditional economy cars. Bolstered by vibrant paint choices, well-equipped interiors, Kia's generous warranty and, yes, even those hamster pitchmen, the Soul has been a sales success for Kia. The Soul's design isn't quite as fresh as it was four years ago, but Kia's 5-passenger compact hauler still stands apart from angular rivals like the Nissan Cube and Scion xB with its athletic looks and refined powertrain.
If you're looking for a stylish, youthful car that boasts good fuel economy, lots of versatility, and many features for a low price, the Soul could be your mate.
The Soul may look part SUV, but with front-wheel-drive only and minimal ground clearance, its home is the pavement. If you need a compact vehicle that doesn't mind occasionally getting dirty and has the capacity to tow, look to a compact crossover like the Subaru Forester or Ford Escape.
Changes are minimal for the 2013 Kia Soul a year after it received new drivetrains. Among the differences this year are a revised hood badge, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity and steering wheel-mounted audio controls now standard on base models with manual transmission.
Driving Impressions The Kia Soul is available in three trims – Base, Plus (+), Exclaim (!) – and offered with two different 4-cylinder engines. Base models use a small 1.6-liter, and all...other models are propelled by a bigger and more powerful 2.0-liter. The base engine is adequate at accelerating the Soul, and not surprisingly, the bigger engine has an easier time getting this little 5-door vehicle up to speed. The Soul is no speed demon, but it's also not so slow that you'll dread freeway onramps. The recent addition of a 6-speed automatic transmission provides quieter and more fuel-efficient cruising, but needs to downshift sometimes two gears to get the car up inclines or to pass other vehicles. The driver's seat is relatively high and provides good forward visibility. Ride quality is still decent as in past Kia Souls, and sound deadening has improved from more insulation material.
INFINITY AUDIO SYSTEM
The available 350-watt system is music to our ears, and for those who want visual pizzazz, speaker lights can pulse to the beat for an extra treat.
2-TONE LEATHER SEATING
This optional trim in sand and black gives the Soul's interior a more sophisticated feel, literally and figuratively.
The Soul's eccentric exterior flows into the cabin, where bright colors and nifty features abound. At center stage is a large, surfboard-shaped dash module that houses the Soul's audio and climate functions. A 4.3-inch color touch screen display is available and lends more sophistication, as does optional leather seating. Kia dubs the Soul a "lounge on wheels" and has filled it with numerous cubby holes and storage spaces for a multitude of drinks and devices. Among the youth-centric features of the 2013 Soul are lights that envelope the speakers and that can pulsate in multiple colors to music. (This can be switched off as the novelty wanes). Rear legroom is commendable, and cargo room is good.Exterior
The most noticeable thing about a Kia Soul is its shape, which you might liken to a sneaker on wheels. Unlike boxy cars such as the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, the 2013 Kia Soul has a forward-leaning stance and sloped rear windows and beltlines that lend an athletic stance. Big, trapezoidal headlights give character to the Soul's squat face, while long, vertical taillights do the same at rear on each side of the upward-opening hatch door. Other exterior design features vary by trim. Base models ride on 15-inch wheels, Plus models move up to 16-inch versions, and Exclaim models roll on 18-inch alloys.
A base 2013 Kia Soul comes with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission (a 6-speed automatic transmission is optional), power windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, and Bluetooth connectivity with steering-wheel-mounted controls for the AM/FM/CD/satellite radio. Plus models add features like a bigger engine, tweeter speakers, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Top-line Exclaim models add 18-inch wheels, UVO Microsoft-powered infotainment system and Infinity audio, rear camera, power sunroof, 2-tone seating, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Like all new Kia vehicles, the Soul's powertrain is backed by a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.
The Kia Soul can be nicely optioned up, with feature availability varying by trim level. Among the add-ons are heated front seats, a premium audio system with HD Radio, navigation, automatic climate control, and leather seating. An Eco package attains higher fuel economy with low-resistance tires and an engine start/stop system.
Base models of the 2013 Soul use a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, while the higher-trim Plus and Exclaim models employ a more powerful 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. Transmission choices are a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. All Soul models are front-wheel drive. We don't recommend trying to win any street races with the Soul, as mighty acceleration is not its forte. For those craving the best fuel economy in their Soul, a new Eco Package available in cars with automatic transmission stops the engine when idling to conserve fuel.
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/30 mpg (manual and automatic), 26/31 mpg (automatic with Eco package)
164 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/29 mpg (manual), 23/28 (automatic), 24/29 mpg (automatic with Eco package)
By Rex on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, easy, roomy, dependable"
Cons: "Would like to get better mileage..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This 2011 gets an average 30 mpg so long as you keep it under 70...at 60, it gets about 34mpg and at 75, it drops to 28. Turns on a dime, rides well, easy to use bluetooth, options, and more space than we had thought from first glance. No quality issues...it's a fun-to-drive car!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
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.."
8 people out of 15 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."
6 people out of 7 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."