The Soul lives in that increasingly gray area between hatchbacks and SUVs. A boxy, upright design gives it abundant interior space and super-easy access. You sit up high in chairlike seats, surrounded by an ample glass area for good visibility. Overall, it feels like driving a small SUV, but one that's lower to the ground. But unlike a true SUV, the Soul is available only with front-wheel drive.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
NA
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
NA
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
NA
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

The Soul lives in that increasingly gray area between hatchbacks and SUVs. A boxy, upright design gives it abundant interior space and super-easy access. You sit up high in chairlike seats, surrounded by an ample glass area for good visibility. Overall, it feels like driving a small SUV, but one that's lower to the ground. But unlike a true SUV, the Soul is available only with front-wheel drive.

Distinctiveness remains another part of the Soul's appeal. The quirky styling reminds some of a surfer dude with wraparound shades. Special edition color packages add to the levity. There is also a generous list of options, many seemingly more fitting to a luxury sedan than a boxy econocar, including features like a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
Transmissions Available
  • 7-speed Sequential
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 1-speed Direct
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • electric (109 hp)
  • 1.6-liter 4 turbo (201 hp)
  • 1.6-liter 4 (130 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (161 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2018 Kia Soul owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"In my previous explanation I went over it. It just struggles to get in gear. It doesn't feel safe to drive. When accelerating from a stop the engine revs and jams into gear chirping the tires. That's with barely giving any gas. It constantly hunts for the right gear to be in, once it finally decides it slams into gear shocking the whole car"

Anonymous, (2018 Kia Soul Exclaim 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Slipping transmission

"The dual clutch transmission in this car is horiffic. It's terrible to drive and I completely regret the purchase. Leaving the house in the morning it reverses out of the garage just fine, once in drive it bucks and kicks starting from a stop. It continues to struggle to accelerate from a stop until it's completely warmed up. Once it's warmed up it still slips but not as severely. I've taken the car to two different dealerships and they say it's performing under spec and there's nothing to fix. The car is undrivable. It's a fantastic car otherwise but the poorly executed transmission design and complete indifference from the dealer means this car will be gone ASAP"

Anonymous, (2018 Kia Soul Exclaim 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"The rear glass in the rear hatch would leak when exposed to water,either from rain,or car wash at the top all the way across."

Gary A., AZ (2018 Kia Soul Base 1.6-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"The suspension makes too many squeaks for a new car"

Anonymous, VA (2018 Kia Soul Base 1.6-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Cruise control

"Intermittent failure of the steering wheel control button. It wouldn't turn off the CC. I had to touch the brake pedal to disengage the CC system."

Anonymous, (2018 Kia Soul Exclaim 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Keyless entry

"The problem was actually the main battery was not holding a charge, since it is an EV, that caused the entire car to need to be "jump" started until the battery was replaced. The battery was the original factory battery and had failed prematurely."

Anonymous, (2018 Kia Soul EV Electric)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Gps is VERY difficult to set up and program, identify, save and retrieve- shouldn't be that hard. Four different people at dealership tried / all failed."

Anonymous, KY (2018 Kia Soul Plus 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"ABS light appeared on dash. no braking problems. went to dealer. THEY HAD TO CHANGE THE ENTIRE MODULE UNDER WARRANTY. ABOUT $3000.00"

Anonymous, QC (2018 Kia Soul Exclaim 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"Stopped working on hottest day of year here. Took one week for appointment, then 1 day more after identifying problem.. Five hour wait in shop to replace compressor and refill with fluid."

Anonymous, NY (2018 Kia Soul Plus 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Sunroof

"Sunroof broke while open. Had to drive to dealership and they stored indoors until they were able to close it. It's still broken, waiting for covid to blow over before getting it fixed. Still under warranty."

Anonymous, ON (2018 Kia Soul Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Turbo or supercharger

"the turbocharger would engage with difficulty. the dealer took care of the problem asap"

Max W., NC (2018 Kia Soul Plus 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"The transmission when cold developed a really bad shift when starting out that went away once warmed up. As time went on the bad shifting and slipping got worse until it wouldn't move anymore. The dual clutch transmission ended up needing to be replaced under warranty"

Travis S., TX (2018 Kia Soul Exclaim 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

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