KIA SOUL 2009 – 2020

2009 Kia Soul

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 
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.

2015 Kia Soul

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.

2017 Kia Soul

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.
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.
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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