Kia Soul (2014 – 2019) Review

Kia Soul (2014 – 2019) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
An admirably different take on the small car, the Kia Soul is practical, fun and good to drive, even if emissions are on the high side.

+Practical family car. High quality and attractive cabin. Easy to drive. Steers and handles decently. Outstandingly reliable.

-Looks aren’t universally popular. Emissions and economy far from best in class. Larger wheels ruin the ride.

Insurance Groups are between 9–18
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

The Kia Soul is not a car for shy and retiring types, but that doesn’t mean its bold looks make it any less practical than rivals such as the Citroen C4 Cactus or retro-inspired Fiat 500L. It’s good to drive and has a practical cabin, as you’d expect of a Kia, and it’s also very reliable. But not everyone will get on with the firm ride of models on the larger wheeled options, and carbon dioxide emissions mean you pay out more in road tax than with some competitors. Read on for our full Kia Soul review.

While this second-generation Kia Soul may look similar to the original model, it was much improved under the skin, with significantly better steering, ride and handling.

It’s also more than just style over substance. Get past the rather quirky and boxy appearance and you’ll find a family car that is impressively refined with a very practical and upmarket cabin. 

The Kia Soul is easily big enough for a family of five and features good-quality materials, along with a stylish dashboard layout. Standard equipment levels are generous, and all cars get DAB radio and air-conditioning.

Thanks to the tall, upright cabin, there is a huge amount of headroom even for taller passengers, plus it’s very easy to get in and out of, from both the front and back rows of seats.

Unfortunately, the generous passenger compartment means the boot space suffers a little – but it’s still a reasonable size and more than adequate for everyday use.

There are two engines – a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel, the latter of which is available with a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

The diesel delivers lower running costs thanks to its economy of 58.9mpg and 125g/km CO2 emissions. It also offers a decent amount of torque, so it’s the best one to go for unless you’re a low-mileage driver.

That said, it lags behind some key rivals when it comes to economy and emissions – the Renault Captur, its French rival the Peugeot 2008 and the Skoda Yeti are better on this front. 

If you are a keen driver, you will also find the Skoda Yeti superior to drive on a winding road. There is still a lot to like about the Kia Soul, though, as a used car. It’s reasonably well priced, well equipped, impressively built and offers more cabin space than the usual small SUV model.

Read our review of the latest Kia Soul EV here.

Ask Honest John

Can I fit taller tyres to my Kia?

"I own a Kia soul with 18" wheels and the tyres I have at the moment our very flat from road to rim if that makes sense? Can you suggest a cheap tyre type for my car that's bigger in height from road to rim?"
The section of the tyre between the wheel and the road is called the sidewall. If your Kia is fitted with 18-inch wheels it is likely to have 235/45R18 tyres - the 45 refers to the tyre's aspect ratio which is the height of the sidewall expressed as a percentage of the tyre width. 45 profile is relatively narrow. If you keep your original alloy wheels you will need to fit an 18-inch tyre, but you could change the aspect ratio to 50 or even 55, which would give you a larger sidewall and better ride comfort. Looking on, you could look at the Toyo Proxes Comfort or Dunlop SP Sport 270 which are good brands at a reasonable price, but there are cheaper options also available.
Answered by David Ross

I am about to get my Kia serviced - if I do not use a main dealer will this cancel warranty?

"I am about to get my Kia Soul serviced. If I do not use a main dealer will this cancel my seven-year warranty? What would a main dealer charge? "
If the non-Kia dealer does not do everything precisely to Kia standards using the correct fluids and parts and fully documenting the entire job then yes, it will void the Kia seven year warranty. Different dealers charge different prices according to their labour rates that depend on their fixed costs such as their premises and workshops, heat, light and rent as well as mechanics wages and the parts and fluids.
Answered by Honest John

Would an electric car cope with hilly terrain?

"We currently have a Honda Jazz CVT. My my wife, who has limited mobility, really likes it. However, we feel that with the type of motoring that we do, journeys up to about 25 miles from home, that an electric car would be a good alternative. Our area is quite hilly, which makes quite a dent in our Jazz's petrol consumption (45+mpg on relatively level roads down to 40mpg going over hills). Would an electric car cope with this? With battery rental, the impression I get is that the cost would be about the same as filling up with petrol, which somewhat defeats the object of an electric car. At the moment, we are thinking of a Nissan Leaf, but would value your views if there were an alternative. Are the used versions any good? I understand that Honda do a Hybrid CVT for the Jazz."
Yes, hills will make a significant dent in the range of electric cars. But my parents live in Hexham Northumberland which has steep hills in the town itself and all around and there are a number of Nissan Leaf and Nissan eNV200 electric vans operating in the area, so they must make sense. Better to go for one with longer range batteries though. Good choice these days. Kia Soul electric, Hyundai Ioniq electric, Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and plenty of secondhand Mitsubishi i-Miev, Citroen C-ZERO, Peugeot iOn, Renault Fluence ZE, etc going cheap. Honda did a Mk II Jazz hybrid. Plenty of Yaris hybrids. The Toyota Auris hybrid works well. Prius extremely popular.
Answered by Honest John

Kia warranty invalid due to missing records

"We purchased a used Kia Soul three months ago. The car is 3.5 year old and we specifically bought it because of Kia's long warranty. When we brought the car the car salesman said the car had 3.5 years left of its original seven year warranty. This is also stated on the invoice. However, it seems that the warranty is not intact as the second service was done four months and 2000 miles over the warranty stipulations. Also the paintwork warranty section in the handbook has only been stamped once at first service. What should we do?"
Reject the car because it is not the car you were promised and is not the car you bought. Or come to a settlement whereby the dealer refunds you £1,000 in lieu of the warranty. See:
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Kia Soul (2014 – 2019) cost?