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2013 Kia Soul

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2013 Kia Soul Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2013

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 the Soul

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.

2013 Kia Soul Details
Interior

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
2013 Kia Soul photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

1.6-liter inline-4
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)

2.0-liter inline-4
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)

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2013 Kia Soul Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 337 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Highly recommend this car.

By on Sunday, January 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, handles well, great in snow."

Cons: "Could use more luggage space."

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

"I downsized from a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 to my 2011 Kia Soul Sport and I've not regretted this move. It has great gas mileage, great take off and it handles very well. I have a five speed standard and wouldn't drive anything else. This is a comfortable car, easy to handle and fun to drive. If you are looking for a comfortable, efficient, and fun car, I highly recommend this vehicle."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Love Love Love this car!

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "roomy, good gas mileage for the size"

Cons: "no arm rest, reverse in a manual is differentt"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"In comparison to many cars in the price range of the Soul(Chevy Spark, Mazda M2, Toyota Yaris) this car handles the best and actually worth it's value! I have driven both an automatic and 6spd Kia Soul, and the minute I test drove my 2013 Kia Soul with the 6spd manual transmission I was sold! Extremely roomy, peppy engine, responsive transmission with a clutch that shifts easier than any other manual I have driven, and limited road noise. Both the driver and the passengers have ample room to get comfy on long drives. The trunk even has enough room for 5 passengers to fit their luggage in!"

Spacey, fun, and worth the money

By on Saturday, January 09, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, great gas mileage, fun"

Cons: "trouble shifting at highway speeds, road noise"

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

"Bought this car from family (luckily they wanted to sell it right as I decided what car I wanted) for trade in value. Car is and has been maintained with great care, drives as if it is brand new. Purchased the car at 50k miles and in the last nine months I have put on almost 25k for my occupation and it has stood the test far better than I expected. The car has needed no considerable repairs since family bought it new, and has only needed to receive basic maintenance. Driving this vehicle takes some getting use to as the 4 cylinder engine can be under powered at times, but once you get used to the engine, it will always respond. For short trips/city driving the car is excellent, it turns nearly on a dime, is quick to accelerate/decelerate and is tiny enough to fit into small spaces and not be obtrusive. Gas mileage may not be great in today's market, but it's nothing to sneeze at, as I average 25-27 mpg daily (including both in-town and freeway, 30+ freeway alone) Problems I've had with the vehicle have been slight, but noticeable after enough time. The vehicle sometimes has trouble shifting in to high gears when at highway speeds (increasing from ~65 - ~85). It does shift, but at times it can be clunky. Road noise is a pretty consistent problem with this vehicle, especially at highways speeds, causing occupants to talk louder or music to be up higher than it needs to be. The vehicle could have used a few different upgrades taht feel like they should have been included, but unfortunately were not. i.e. Tire sensors, distance to empty, oil life tracking, avg gas mileage etc The only displays are the odometer/trip counter and the radio display. The car could have definitely been improved with a few more extra features that feel like they would have been intuitive in a car touted as being full featured, but were left off at the drawing board."

Excellent small utility vehicle

By on Saturday, November 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,600

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Cute, fits into small parking space, good on gas"

Cons: "wish it has a back up camera"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Bought the car used in 2012. Purpose was to drive the 12 miles to and from work and haul some things that wouldn't fit in the trunk of the Honda. It has served me well. Recently rear brakes have been replaced, both front struts in the past year, all 4 tires are new. No repairs other than those stated have been needed. Oil has been changed regularly by garage where we purchased it. There are some minor dings, nothing significant. The car still looks very nice."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

the only problem is that it has no lumbar

By on Wednesday, November 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
1/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"great gas milege but very uncomfortable on the driver side and passanger side. Once we bought coushins to sit on it was ok."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

I have had a blast driving this car.

By on Sunday, November 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "styling, ride, fun factor"

Cons: "gas tank is too small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I looked at the Soul for 2 years before buying a plus. It has been from south Florida to Ohio and Kentucky in the dead of winter and had no problem. On the open road it would run at 80 to 85 mph all day long."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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