Which Kia Soul Is The Best? Models Unveiled!

Considering a Kia Soul? How far back in its history should you consider? Surprisingly, newer versions are superior when it comes to this square-shaped crossover SUV.

While the Soul may appear unconventional, opting for a 2017 model or later grants you access to the spirited turbo engine.

This implies that the most favorable options are those produced in 2017 and beyond.

Nevertheless, you might want to restrict your search to the 2019 model year since the 2020 and 2021 models have been plagued by frequent engine and transmission issues at exceptionally low mileage.

A photo of a Kia Soul - Which Kia Soul is the best?
Image source: Kia

Which Kia Soul is the best?

The 2017 and subsequent models feature a turbocharged engine capable of delivering 201 horsepower.

Additionally, the 2017 version introduced a host of new tech features, including seamless smartphone app integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Remarkably, these enhancements come at an affordable price, as Kia priced them competitively from the outset.

However, when it comes to the reliability of a Kia Soul, it’s essential to examine common problems Souls may encounter.

Is investing in a Kia Soul truly worthwhile?

Let’s explore these questions, providing you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

What Year Kia Soul Is The Most Reliable?

The Kia Soul has earned a reputation for exceptional reliability, regardless of the model year.

It boasts an impressive reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5, signifying its excellent reliability.

In comparison, other subcompact SUVs typically receive an average reliability rating of 4 out of 5.

Furthermore, ownership costs for the Soul are highly favourable, with annual repair and maintenance expenses averaging around $437.

The frequency and seriousness of required repairs are notably lower than those of comparable vehicles in its class, solidifying the Kia Soul’s status as one of the most dependable vehicles available.

When it comes to specific model years, the 2018 Kia Soul receives high praise.

Few consumer complaints have been registered, primarily related to early wear and tear on the seats.

Fortunately, these concerns can be readily addressed by dealers through the installation of new seat covers.

Overall, buyers express high satisfaction with the 2018 model year.

Additionally, the Kia Soul proves itself as a versatile people-hauler and can even tow a small pop-up camper.

The manual transmission versions of the Soul are suitable for flat-towing behind RVs.

What Problems Do Kia Souls Have?

Which Kia Soul Is The Best?

The Kia Soul has encountered a few notable issues you should consider before making a purchase.

Unfortunately, the 2020 and 2021 Kia Souls have exhibited significant problems linked to their 2.0-liter engines.

These problems stem from an unreliable heat-treatment process for the piston oil rings, which can lead to engine damage and power loss, potentially posing a serious safety risk.

Fortunately, as of June 2021, buyers have had the opportunity to address this problem through recalls at local dealerships, typically involving engine replacements.

In general, engine problems have been the most troubling issue affecting the Kia Soul.

For example, the 2015 Kia Soul amassed a total of 665 complaints, with 341 from the NHTSA concerning the engine and an additional 28 complaints on other issues.

Notably, complete engine failure is a recurring problem, often occurring around the 75,000-mile mark.

Many owners who retained their vehicles found themselves facing costly engine repairs, estimated at around $3,840.

In some cases, drivers reported engine shutdowns while on the road, with others encountering unexplained oil loss and even one instance of an engine catching fire.

Similarly, the 2016 Kia Soul experienced engine failures, while the 2013 model tended to develop a ticking noise that could escalate into engine knocking.

Is it worth buying a used KIA soul?

Investing in a used Kia Soul proves to be a worthwhile choice when you opt for a 2017, 2018, or 2019 model.

However, the 2020 and 2021 Kia Soul models present significant concerns due to numerous engine and transmission issues, making them less attractive options.

Also, older Kia Souls are afflicted by engine problems. It appears that the ideal range is within the 2017–2019 models.

Within this range, you can expect minimal repair expenses and are unlikely to face substantial repair needs.

How Long Will A Kia Soul Last?

Which Kia Soul Is The Best?

Similar to many contemporary vehicles, the Kia Soul should ideally have a lifespan of 200,000 miles.

With proper care and maintenance, it’s not far-fetched to expect it to reach closer to 300,000 miles.

Nevertheless, Kia Soul models with engine issues from specific model years may struggle to reach 200,000 miles, especially without engine replacements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Kia Souls expensive to repair?

The average annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Kia Soul is $437, which is lower than the $466 average for subcompact SUVs and significantly less than the $652 average for all vehicle models.

Are Kia Souls safe in Crashes?

The Kia Soul comes equipped with standard features such as high-tensile steel construction, advanced electronic stability control, and six airbags, making it one of the safest cars on the road today thanks to its comprehensive safety measures.

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