Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Most Affordable Cars of 2014
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000
  • Compact Car Buyer's Guide
Go

2011 Kia Soul

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

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

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

Buying this car?

2011 Kia Soul Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 320 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
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

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."

4 people out of 5 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!!!!!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Value is unbeatable and better mpg than stated

By on Saturday, April 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,390

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, fun drive, great looking."

Cons: "Turning off a/c to climb mtn slacks the "drag"."

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

"This car is well worth the money. I average 32+ mpg and that is with a daily paper route and 1 and 1/2 mile mountain climb to get back home. If I am total highway/trip 39.5. It has the perfect amount of room and easy access with the four doors and my 6'4" hubby sits in back comfortably."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

very good on gas and travels good country or city.

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gas and looks"

Cons: "I'm getting what I paid for and stylist too."

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

"Love my car! The looks are sweet (white) Gas mileage is about 29. I live in the country and have had no problem getting around in snow, ice or dry. Great little car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

good for economy

By on Sunday, March 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "reliable, good fuel economy, agile"

Cons: "ugly body style"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

custom paint

"Great daily driver. Actually handles and accelerates very well. (Manual) more room than appears, other than "trunk" space."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

custom paint

Great Little car

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,300

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Accessibilty, interior comfort, sportiness"

Cons: "Probably not made for cross-country touring."

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

"Buyers of this car are very young or very old. I'm old. I thought my Ford Focus was a small car - this one is 30 inches shorter overall. And seems vastly larger inside. It doesn't happen often, but even large and tall people sit comfortably in the back seats. Plenty of room for people and luggage, groceries, etc. Ease of entry and seating are important at my advanced age - this car is the best. It sits low; you sit upright. 8 airbags means I'm probably safe, too. IT drives like a sports car and parks so easy. Great little car."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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

Buying this car?