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2013 Kia Soul Review

For easy maneuverability, a roomy cabin, and simple controls, look to a used 2013 Kia Soul. Just note: its firm ride quality and low safety scores contribute to its middle-of-the-class ranking.

Pros & Cons

  • Ample head- and legroom
  • Plenty of passenger space
  • Lots of available features
  • Easy to park
  • Automatic transmission can be hesitant to shift
  • Firm ride on rough pavement
  • Low safety score




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 8.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Kia Soul Overview

Is the 2013 Kia Soul a Good Used Car?

The Soul is an adequate choice in the compact car class. Its distinct boxy appearance gives it abundant passenger room, but other cars have superior ride quality and zippier handling.

Used 2013 Kia Soul Performance and Interior

The 2013 Kia Soul is powered by a 138-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The base engine has enough power for everyday driving, but some models come with a 164-horsepower four-cylinder engine that’s better for highway driving. The Soul comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission that shifts easily, but most drivers prefer to drive an automatic transmission. The Soul’s automatic is a slow-shifting six-speed. Thanks to a tight turning radius, you won’t have any issues parking or weaving through lanes. Still, rivals like the Mazda3 are more engaging to drive. The Kia Soul delivers a slightly below-average fuel economy rating of 23-26 mpg in the city and 28-31 mpg on the highway. Front-wheel drive is standard.

Read more about Soul performance »

The Soul accommodates five in two rows of comfortable, supportive seats. Head- and legroom is more than adequate in both rows, which means adults will have no problem sitting in the back seats. Forward visibility is good, but large pillars hinder rear visibility. There are easy-to-use audio and climate controls, and some models come with a simple UVO infotainment system. There are two sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats.

All models come with cloth seats, Bluetooth, a USB port, a four-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. When the Soul was new, there were a lot of available features. You might find a model with heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, a navigation system, leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an upgraded Infinity audio system, push-button start, and HD Radio.

Read more about Soul interior »

Used 2013 Kia Soul Prices

The 2013 Soul ranges from about $8,870 to roughly $12,060. Prices vary based on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, and consumer demand in your area.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 64 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the Kia Soul – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 64 Kia Soul reviews alongside reliability ratings, safety scores, and more.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles for a decade, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Kia Soul?

The 2013 Kia Soul has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power, which is slightly above average for the class. In contrast, the Toyota Corolla has the highest rating of five.

See Soul reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Soul?

The 2013 Soul got the highest rating of Good from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety in four crash safety tests and the lowest rating of Poor in the fifth – the small overlap front test. It was also named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Soul five out of five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal and rollover crash tests, for a four-star overall rating. Some models come with a rearview camera.

See Soul safety scores »

Is the 2013 Soul the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Kia Soul is the last model of a generation that started with the 2010 model year. Choosing the 2012 Soul over the 2013 will save you money. There were quite a few updates to the Soul for 2012, such as the addition of more potent engines and improved transmissions. Choosing an older model than the 2012 will get you a significantly different vehicle. The Soul was completely redesigned for 2014.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Soul »

Which Used Kia Soul Is Right for Me?

The Soul comes in three trims: base, + (Plus), and ! (Exclaim). The Kia Soul base trim has a decent amount of standard equipment, but for the best list of features, you’ll want to look for an Exclaim model. It adds features like a rearview camera, a sunroof, and HD Radio to the base trim.

The Kia has a pretty good reliability rating, but you might consider a certified pre-owned option. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile Platinum warranty for non-powertrain parts. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Kia certified pre-owned program » 

2013 Kia Soul and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Kia Soul or 2013 Scion xB?

The 2013 Scion xB is another midpack compact car. Both cars have offbeat, rectangular styling, plenty of head- and legroom in both rows, and easy maneuverability into parking spaces. The Scion has less trunk space than the Kia, but when the rear seats are folded, it offers an impressive 69.9 cubic feet of cargo space. The xB has higher safety scores, but both hatchbacks have the same reliability rating of 3.5 out of five. These small cars are extremely close in our rankings. Test drive both models to see which one better suits your needs.  

Which Is Better: 2013 Kia Soul or 2013 Chevrolet Cruze?

The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze is a great choice in the compact car class. Its steering is precise, its body lean is minimal, and it has powerful brakes. That said, its base engine has adequate power, but its automatic transmission suffers from slow shifts. The Kia also has this issue. Nonetheless, the Chevy has more responsive handling and more passenger and cargo space, and some models come with safety features that you won’t find in the Soul, such as rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring. Go with the Cruze.

Compare the Soul, xB, and Cruze »


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