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Kia Soul: A Guide to Model Years and Common Issues

by Zack Norman
Kia Soul: A Guide to Model Years and Common Issues

The Kia Soul has garnered attention as a practical and stylish subcompact crossover SUV. However, it’s crucial to be aware of potential problems associated with specific model years. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into common Kia Soul problems reported with various Kia Soul model years, discuss the vehicle’s reliability and resale value, and outline the pros and cons of this distinctive car.

Kia Soul Model Years and Noteworthy Problems:

2010-2011 Kia Soul:

Owners of these early model years reported electrical problems, steering issues, and engine failures. Concerns included faulty wiring harnesses, power steering malfunctions, and engine performance issues.

2012-2013 Kia Soul:

Transmission difficulties, hood unlatching while driving, and engine failure were prevalent problems during this period. Faulty heat sensors, transmission gasket issues, and suspension problems contributed to these concerns.

2014-2015 Kia Soul:

Engine failures, electrical malfunctions, and steering issues plagued these model years. Excessive oil consumption, knocking or ticking engine noises, and wiring harness problems were commonly reported.

2016 Kia Soul:

Owners faced blown engines, electrical system glitches, and steering complications. Engine replacements and repairs were often necessary, resulting in substantial costs.

2017 Kia Soul:

Engine failures, transmission problems, and electrical issues affected some owners. These issues required extensive repairs or replacements, leading to financial burdens.

Kia Soul Reliability and Resale Value:

While specific model years experienced notable problems, newer Kia Soul models have shown improved reliability. The vehicle’s strong resale value makes it an appealing choice for used car buyers, as it holds its worth over time.

Pros and Cons of the Kia Soul:


  • Adjustable seating for personalized comfort.
  • Spacious and open interior with ample headroom and legroom.
  • High safety rating due to enhanced visibility and advanced safety features.
  • User-friendly infotainment system with modern technology.
  • Optional turbocharged engine for a more spirited driving experience.


  • Lower gas mileage compared to similar subcompact SUVs.
  • Modest engine power, particularly with 100 to 200 horsepower.
  • Limited cargo space due to rear seats that don’t fold completely flat.
  • Absence of an all-wheel drive option in earlier model years.

Expert Reviews and Conclusion:

Car and Driver recognized the Kia Soul with a 10 Best Trucks and SUVs award, praising its practicality, spaciousness, and enjoyable driving dynamics. However, US News & World Report noted that some competitors offer a more engaging driving experience.

In conclusion, the Kia Soul offers unique advantages with its adjustable seating, spacious interior, high safety rating, appealing infotainment system, and optional turbocharged engine. While certain model years had reported problems, newer versions have shown improvements in reliability. Prospective buyers should conduct thorough research, stay informed about recalls, and perform detailed inspections when considering a used Kia Soul. By doing so, they can make informed decisions and enjoy the benefits of owning this stylish and practical subcompact crossover SUV.

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