KIA SOUL 2009 – 2019

2009 Kia Soul

Two very different buyers are likely to be attracted to the Kia Soul as used car.

If you’re young and trendy you might like to get one in a bright colour with added customisation.

If you’re a member of the sex-drugs-and-rock n’ roll generation but now have a ‘7’ in front of your age you might like to get a Soul in a bright colour with some added customisation!

Yep! Two different groups both looking for the same thing. Love it!

Kia Soul has large, comfortable seats at just the right height for ease of access another factor that appeals to those whose knees are now on the creaky side. It has a high driving position and there’s good visibility all round with narrow pillars that minimise areas of you can’t see.

Four adults can travel in reasonable comfort thanks excellent head space. Legroom in the rear isn’t too bad but tall folks may have to comprise.

2017 Kia Soul

A fifth occupant will need to be on the slim side to get comfortable back there.

The boot is on the small but the rear seatbacks can be lowered to significantly increase room.

February 2014 launched the second generation. Its shape was toned down a little, but there’s still no doubt it’s not a mainstream design. The tailgate is wider than in gen-one and gives easier access to the load area.

A new generation as recently been launched overseas but may not be imported to Oz as sales have never been good here.

Originally Kia Soul came with the choice of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a turbo-diesel with the same capacity. Both with a five-speed manual or four-speed auto.

In 2011 a 2.0-litre petrol with a six-speed automatic was added to the range. That auto was also offered in the diesel.

Diesels in small cars don’t appeal to Aussies so the new 2014 Soul’s range was trimmed to 2.0-litre petrol only, with six forward ratios on both manuals and automatics.

2014 Kia Soul

All Kia vehicles for quite a few years now have Australian input in their suspension and steering, with the gen-two Kia Souls getting even more changes than the original. It certainly doesn’t have sporty performance but it is safe and competent.

South Korean vehicle have an excellent reputation for quality and reliability. Kia was significantly increased its number of dealers in Australia as sales rapidly increased. There’s the usual high concentration in major metropolitan areas, but quite a few country cities have joined the group.

Other than their unusual shape Kia Souls are a simple, routine design under the skin and good home mechanics can do a fair bit of the work themselves. Have all safety related work done by professionals.

We have heard of no major problems with parts availability and prices are generally reasonable.

It pays to shop around for insurance. Keep in mind that maintaining a long relationship with one company may provide benefits if there’s a marginal case for a claim sometime in the future.

Diesel engines won’t start as quickly as petrol ones, but if one seems too slow have it checked out by a mechanic.

During your test drive check for diesel smoke from the exhaust when accelerating hard. A few seconds is probably okay, any longer is not.

Gear shifts in the manual should be smooth and easy. As the gearbox wears the shift down into second gear is often the first one to play up. Try a few fast downchanges during your test drive.

The automatic should be smooth in its changes, not shift gears unnecessarily, or hold onto them for too long.

As with any car used to cart kids the Soul can be damaged in the interior through rough use. Check all areas, with particular attention to the plastic and paint as their quality was built down to a price. Not a criticism, this is a low-cost car.

Take a close look at the body for signs of customising decals having been removed.

Crash repairs can cause ripples in the body panels – look at them end-on in good light. Also check for overspray on non-painted areas like the glass and badges.

Budget on spending from $2000 to $4000 for a 2009 Kia Soul; $4000 to $7000 for a 2011 Soul +; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2013 Soul + or a 2014 Si; $8000 to $13,000 for a Si; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2017 Si; and $12,000 to $17,000 for a 2020 Si.

See aforementioned warnings about previous owners who had sex, drugs and rock n’ on their minds.

RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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