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)
The 2013 Kia Soul Base model has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,175. A top-of-the-line Exclaim version goes for $20,675 and can reach $24,000 with options. The Soul's starting price undercuts that of the Nissan Cube and Scion xD by several hundred dollars and the Scion xB by about $2,000. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what buyers are actually paying for the Kia Soul. The Soul's resale value is expected to be very strong, and as good as or better than the Nissan Cube and Scion xB, depending on trim level.
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