Two very different buyers are likely to be attracted to the Kia Soul as a used car.
If you’re young and trendy you might like to get one in a bright colour with added
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
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.
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
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 2014 Soul’s range was trimmed
to 2.0-litre petrol only, with six forward ratios on both manuals and automatics.
The booming demand for SUVs saw Soul discontinued from October 2020.
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
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.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
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.
Expect to pay from $3000 to $6000 for a 2009 Kia Soul; $4000 to $7000 for a 2011
Soul+; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2013 Soul+; $8000 to $13,000 for a 2016 Si; $10,000
to $15,000 for a 2017 Si; and $12,000 to $17,000 for a 2020 Si.
CAR BUYING TIP
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: