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2016 Kia Soul Review

The 2016 Kia Soul ranks near the top of the very competitive 2016 compact car class. The Soul has roomy seating and cargo space, quality materials, a high reliability rating, and great crash test scores.

Pros & Cons

  • Ample cargo and passenger space
  • Premium cabin
  • Easy-to-use features
  • Base model has pokey acceleration
  • Low fuel economy for the class

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Kia Soul's #2 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Compact Cars category. It was the winner of our 2016 Best Compact Car for Families award and the winner of our 2016 Best Hatchback for Families award and a finalist for our 2016 Best Compact Car for the Money award and and a finalist for our 2016 Best Hatchback for the Money award. Currently the Kia Soul has a score of 8.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 29 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 6.3
Interior: 8.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Kia Soul Overview

Is the 2016 Kia Soul a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Soul is a great pick if you’re shopping for a used compact car. In fact, we named it our 2016 Best Compact Car for Families and 2016 Best Hatchback for Families. The Soul provides generous seating space, a large cargo area, and a smooth ride. It also rates well for reliability and offers some of the lowest projected total ownership costs in its class. While there are more fun-to-drive hatchbacks, like the 2016 Volkswagen Golf and 2016 Mazda3, none match the Soul’s mix of practicality and value.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 29 Kia Soul reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Kia Soul?

You can expect to pay between $11,400 and $18,000 for a used 2016 Soul. These figures are based on more than 1,600 listings for the 2016 Kia Soul on our site. The average list price is $14,100. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Kia Soul Cost to Own?

Once you purchase a car, ongoing costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are a reality. The Soul’s costs for these, however, are lower than average for a 2016 compact car. Over five years, you can expect to pay about $19,400 – or about $3,900 per year – to keep the Soul on the road. By comparison, the 2016 Volkswagen Golf hatchback will cost around $23,000.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Soul?

A new 2018 Soul starts at $16,200, making it one of the least expensive cars in its class and just $2,100 more than the average price of a 2016 Soul. Though you can save money by shopping for a used model, buying new has its perks. The 2018 Soul offers more advanced safety features, like adaptive cruise control, and it’s available with popular items like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also offers quicker acceleration, thanks to its available turbocharged engine. Additionally, you'll receive a new-car warranty, and you won’t have to worry about a questionable maintenance history. Check our Kia deals page to see if there are cash back deals or incentives that could lower the price of a new Soul.

Read about the new Kia Soul »

If you want a new car for the price of a 2016 Soul, you don’t have many choices. There is, however, the 2018 Kia Rio 5-Door. You can buy this subcompact hatchback for around the same price as the average used 2016 Soul. It offers less cargo space than its larger sibling but earns far higher fuel economy estimates. Just be aware that the base 2018 Rio may have less features than you'll get in a similarly priced 2016 Soul.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Kia Soul?

The Soul has an above-average reliability score of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Soul reliability »

2016 Kia Soul Recalls

At the time of this writing, there is one safety recall for the 2016 Soul. Kia has identified a defect with the vehicle’s steering gear assembly that could cause a loss of steering-wheel control. Before buying a used Soul, make sure this recall has been addressed.

See more information on Kia Soul safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Kia Soul Is Best?

The 2016 Soul is part of a generation that began with the 2014 model and includes the 2018 model. Kia improves the Soul each year. For 2016, it added more advanced safety features to the options list. A turbocharged engine arrived in 2017, along with blind spot monitoring, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Adaptive cruise control was made available in 2018. If the extra off-the-line punch or available tech doesn't excite you – and you're more focused on getting a reliable small car – consider saving some money and choosing a 2014 or 2015 model instead. Each earns very good overall scores.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Soul »

Which Used Kia Soul Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Kia Soul comes in three trim levels: Soul, Soul + (Plus), and Soul ! (Exclaim). The base Soul comes standard with a satellite radio, a USB port, Bluetooth, cloth seats, air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, and alloy wheels. The Soul Plus is a better choice. It adds a more powerful engine, a 4.3-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, and fog lights. The Soul Exclaim trim adds leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Available features are mostly limited to the Plus and Exclaim models and include an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, and heated and ventilated seats.

The Kia Soul EV is also available in three trim levels: EV-e, EV, and EV + (Plus). The EV-e trim largely shares its standard features list with the base model Soul, but with the addition of heated front seats. The EV trim adds a rearview camera, an 8-inch touch screen, and navigation. The EV Plus trim adds parking sensors, fog lights, leather upholstery, and heated and ventilated seats.

See 2016 Kia Soul trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. 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 comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts after the five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Soul?

The 2016 Soul has great safety scores. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Soul a 2016 Top Safety Pick. It received an Acceptable rating, the second-highest score, for small overlap front crash safety (passenger-side) and Good ratings, the highest offered, in all other categories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the hatchback a perfect five-star rating for overall, front, and side impact testing, as well as four stars in rollover crash tests.

The 2016 Soul is available with a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. The Soul EV is available with a rearview camera and parking sensors.

See Soul safety scores »

2016 Kia Soul Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Soul or 2016 Mazda3?

The Soul is a reasonably fun-to-drive car, but it can’t match the handling of the 2016 Mazda3. The Mazda is one of the sportiest cars in this class, and it provides far zestier engine performance. It also dusts the Kia in fuel economy with up to 30/40 mpg city/highway. Both cars are great options in this class, but the Soul is more practical. It offers more seating and cargo space, as well as a better reliability rating. Used Souls are typically less expensive as well.

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Soul or 2016 Honda Civic?

The redesigned 2016 Honda Civic is another great option in this class. The Civic boasts a large suite of advanced safety features and lovely cabin materials. It’s also more athletic than the Soul and more fuel-efficient (earning up to 31/42 mpg). That said, used Civics are often much more expensive, and the 2016 Civic isn't available as a hatchback (Honda didn't introduce the Civic hatchback until the 2017 model year). Overall, the Soul is a more practical option.

Compare the Soul, Mazda3, and Civic »

2016 Soul Performance

How Does the 2016 Kia Soul Drive?

The Soul has two engine options: a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 130 horsepower (base model) and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 164 horsepower (Plus and Exclaim models). A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard in all but the base model, where a six-speed manual is standard and the automatic is available. The Soul EV is front-wheel drive as well, but instead of a gas engine it has a 109-horsepower electric motor.

The 1.6-liter engine offers adequate pep for running around town, but it feels underpowered at highway speeds and on steep hills. The 2.0-liter engine provides zippier acceleration and more confident passing power. Better still, it earns comparable fuel economy. Like the base model, the Soul EV isn’t particularly quick, though it does provide an excellent 93-mile all-electric driving range. No matter which model you choose, the Soul rides comfortably and feels composed around turns. Additionally, its steering is nicely weighted and responsive.

Does the 2016 Kia Soul Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Soul’s 1.6-liter engine gets 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is low for a compact car. The 2.0-liter engine raises this rating to 24/31 mpg city/highway.

Read more about Soul performance »

2016 Soul Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Soul Seat?

The Kia Soul has five seats. The front seats are comfortable and provide adequate support on long drives. Head- and legroom are generous in both rows, even for taller adults. Cloth seats are standard; leather, heated, and ventilated seats are available. The Soul has quality cabin materials and an attractive interior design. Its boxy shape does generate considerable wind noise at highway speeds, though.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Kia Soul?

The Soul has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the LATCH system an Acceptable rating, the second-highest mark, for ease of use.

2016 Kia Soul Features

All models come standard with satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a six-speaker stereo. Available features include a 4.3- or 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system. The 4.3-inch screen is small, but it responds instantly to commands. The larger 8-inch display boasts crystal-clear graphics, quick response times, and simple on-screen menus. It’s one of the easiest systems to use in this class.

See 2016 Kia Soul specs »

Read more about Soul interior »

2016 Kia Soul Dimensions

Kia Soul Cargo Space

The Kia Soul has 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats and 61.3 cubic feet with its rear seats folded, which is exceptional for a compact car.

2016 Soul Length and Weight

The 2016 Kia Soul is 13.6 feet long. It has a curb weight of 2,714 pounds when equipped with the manual transmission and 2,837 pounds with the automatic. The Kia Soul EV is far heavier at 3,289 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Kia Soul Built?

The 2016 Kia Soul was built in Gwangju, South Korea, along with the 2016 Kia Sportage SUV.


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