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MSRP: $16,490 - 35,950

2019 Kia Soul Review

The 2019 Kia Soul’s expansive passenger and cargo area and excellent predicted reliability rating, as well as its potent available turbocharged engine, help make it one of our highest-ranking compact cars. However, it has an underpowered base engine.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, upscale cabin
  • Roomy cargo area
  • Energetic available turbocharged engine
  • Long warranty length
  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Meager base engine
  • Low fuel economy

New for 2019

  • New standard 5-inch touch screen, voice recognition, and rearview camera

Is the Kia Soul a Good Car?

The 2019 Kia Soul is one of the best compact cars on the market. It features an exceptionally spacious and comfortable cabin, and its build quality is nicer than you'd expect from a vehicle at this price point. In fact, the Soul has the best combination of quality and value in its class, which is why we named it the 2019 Best Compact Car for the Money. The Soul carries one of the lowest price tags in the class while also featuring one of the longest warranties. On top of that, it has one of the best predicted reliability ratings in the class. That said, this Kia gets poor gas mileage, and its base engine is weak. However, the available turbocharged engine delivers peppy acceleration.

Should I Buy the Kia Soul?

Not only is the 2019 Soul a well-rounded compact hatchback, it's also a great value. The Soul gives you one of the roomiest, most refined cabins in the class at a budget-friendly price. Shoppers interested in a more powerful engine or additional features can upgrade to one of the higher trim levels without breaking the bank. Still, models like the Hyundai Veloster and Mazda CX-3 are more fun to drive, and they get slightly better fuel economy ratings.

Compare the Soul, Veloster, and CX-3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Soul?

The 2019 Kia Soul is part of a generation that debuted for the 2014 model year. For 2019, Kia adds a standard 5-inch touch screen with voice recognition and a standard rearview camera. There were no major changes to the 2018 Soul, but the 2017 model underwent a slight exterior design refresh, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available. Most other changes for the 2017, 2016, and 2015 model years are minor, so you can go as far back as the 2014 model year to save money on a similar Soul.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Soul »

We Did the Research for You: 39 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 39 Kia Soul reviews, as well as fuel economy estimates, performance specs, crash test results, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Soul generation, which runs from 2014 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Kia Soul Cost?

The 2019 Kia Soul's base price is a budget-friendly $16,490, which is one of the lowest starting prices in the class. An automatic transmission increases the price to $18,190. The Soul Plus (+) and Soul Exclaim (!) cost $20,490 and $22,990, respectively. An all-electric Soul model – the Soul EV – is also available in select parts of the country. The 2019 Soul EV starts at $33,950. A tax credit of up to $7,500 is available with the Soul EV.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Soul Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Soul or Hyundai Veloster?

Performance-minded shoppers should take a look at the Hyundai Veloster. This compact car has a more powerful base engine and more athletic handling than the Kia. The Veloster also has nearly as much cargo space as the Soul and more standard features, including safety and smartphone integration features. Nonetheless, the Soul comes with more passenger space, a higher-quality interior, and a lower base price. The Soul is the winner here.

Which Is Better: Kia Soul or Mazda CX-3?

The Mazda CX-3 is a subcompact SUV with sporty performance and eager acceleration from its base engine. The CX-3 has a better fuel economy rating than the Soul, but the Kia has more interior and cargo space, as well as a lower list price. The Soul has a superior predicted reliability rating too. Unless you want the Mazda's athlecitcism, you're better off choosing the Kia. 

Compare the Soul, Veloster, and CX-3 »

Soul Interior

How Many People Does the Soul Seat?

The Soul has one of the largest cabins in the class, with enough room for four adults to sit comfortably and stretch out (though technically, it can seat five). The front seats are supportive, but the rear seats could use a little more cushioning.

Soul and Car Seats

The 2019 Soul has two sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether anchor on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its ease of use, noting that the lower anchors are buried too deep in the outer seats.

Soul Interior Quality

Filled with high-quality materials, the Soul has one of the nicest cabins in the class. Cloth seats are standard, while leather-trimmed seats, full leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and power-adjustable front seats are available.

Soul Cargo Space

The Soul's got you covered when it comes to cargo space, offering more room than most rivals. It comes with 24.2 cubic feet of space with the rear seats in use and 61.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Keep in mind, however, that the rear seats don't fold completely flat.

Soul Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include a 5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, voice recognition, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and satellite radio. Available features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a larger 7- or 8-inch touch-screen UVO infotainment system, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, and two extra USB ports.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Soul Performance

Soul Engine: Weak Base Engine; Strong Turbo

A feeble 130-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine powers the base front-wheel-drive 2019 Kia Soul. The Soul Plus (+) trim's 161-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder will give you a little more power and is the best choice for most drivers. The Soul Exclaim (!) has the most powerful engine and is the best pick for spirited driving. It comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that delivers 201 horsepower. In some parts of the country, a Soul EV model is available with a 109-horsepower electric motor that is a good choice for drivers who care more about fuel efficiency than power.

Soul Gas Mileage: Not Great

The base 2019 Kia Soul delivers 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is below average for the class. With an automatic transmission, the Soul gets an extra 2 mpg in the city and 1 mpg on the highway. The midlevel engine gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the turbo-four gets 26/31 mpg.

Soul Ride and Handling: Good All-Around Performance

A composed ride and fairly agile handling make the 2019 Kia Soul a good commuter vehicle. It isn't as nimble as some competitors, but it can take curvy roads well.

Read more about performance »

Soul Reliability

Is the Kia Soul Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Kia Soul a great predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five.

Kia Soul Warranty

The Soul has outstanding warranty lengths: a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Soul Safety

Soul Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2019 Kia Soul a five-star overall safety rating, with five out of five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in rollover crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Soul a Top Safety Pick. It gave this small car the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the headlight evaluation, as well as the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test. 

Soul Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only standard advanced safety feature in the Soul. Plenty of advanced safety features are available, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which Kia Soul Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Kia Soul comes in three trims: the base model, Plus (+), and Exclaim (!). The Soul EV, an all-electric model, is available in some markets. The base trim has a decent number of features, including a newly standard rearview camera, a 5-inch touch screen, and voice control. However, its base engine isn't very strong. Those looking for a powerful engine and more standard technology, comfort, and convenience features should consider the Soul Exclaim. It's $6,500 more than the base trim, but that's just slightly above the average cost of a compact car.

Kia Soul Base

The Soul Base starts at $16,490, and it comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Standard features include a rearview camera, a 5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, a six-speaker audio system, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and a USB port. You can add a six-speed automatic transmission for $1,700.

Kia Soul +

Starting at $20,490, the Soul Plus (+) trim comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. It also adds a 7-inch touch-screen UVO infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, automatic climate control, and remote keyless entry. A few packages adding technology, safety, and comfort features are also available.

Kia Soul !

Priced at $22,990, the Soul Exclaim (!) features a powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. You'll also get push-button start, leather-trimmed seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A couple packages are also available.

Kia Soul EV

The 2019 Soul EV starts at $33,950, and it has an available federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The EV Plus (+) starts at $35,950 and adds power-folding outside mirrors, fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-trimmed seats, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. 

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

See 2019 Kia Soul specs and trims »

The Final Call

Shoppers looking for a well-rounded compact car will find a lot to like about the 2019 Kia Soul. The Soul's passenger and cargo capacity rival that of some subcompact SUVs, and its cabin is nicer than most rivals'. In addition, the Soul comes with a long warranty, a great predicted reliability rating, good safety scores, a comfortable ride, and a powerful optional turbo engine. Still, some competitors are more fuel-efficient and come with stronger base engines.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "One thing that has remained constant, however, is its value proposition. You get a lot of standard features for the money and options are reasonably priced, too. Then there's the 10-year/100,000-mile warranty that eclipses anything else in the industry. The 2019 Kia Soul also stands out from other tiny crossovers with its available engine choices that make them more fun to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2019 Kia Soul is a feature-filled small car as appealing to first-time buyers as it is [to] empty-nesters. Offering … the latest in high-tech audio and driver assists plus an amazingly long standard warranty, the Soul represents an amazing value." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Affordable and adorable, the 2018 Kia Soul is a great crossover alternative." -- New York Daily News (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: February 28, 2019

Falling Sales: The Soul’s unconventional styling may catch your eye, but lots of compact car shoppers are choosing rivals with more mainstream designs – which is good news for your bottom line. Sales of the Soul lag well behind class leaders like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla (each outselling the Soul by about 3 to 1), and they fell 9.5 percent in 2018 relative to 2017.

Research more buying advice »
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