Buyer's Guide

2021 Kia Soul
Select a Different Model (7 Available): EX
Fuel Economy $ 28 / 33 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 24/62 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 5/5
Horsepower 147@6,200
See All Specs
Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer
2021 Kia Soul MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Great ride and handling
  • Spacious interior
  • User-friendly infotainment system

Cons

  • Turbo engine is clunky dual-clutch automatic
  • Big touchscreen limited to EX and Turbo models
  • Still no AWD option

The Soul might just be the most recognizable model Kia makes. The quirky yet boxy small SUV (or hatch, depending on your view) continues to offer an excellent blend of character and practicality in its third generation. Available in multiple flavors, there's a Kia Soul to suit your needs ranging from an excellent commuter car to a sporty Turbo model.

Unfortunately, the Kia Soul still lacks an AWD option. You'll need to opt for the new Seltos if you want a subcompact SUV from Kia with available AWD.

What's New

  • The GT-Line Turbo model has been renamed the Soul Turbo with new badging on the front grille, tailgate, and steering wheel.
  • The standard rear occupant alert reminds you to check the rear seats before leaving the vehicle.
  • EX and Turbo models get remote start as standard.
  • X-Line and GT-Line models get new shock valves to improve ride comfort when equipped with 18-inch wheels.
  • The X-Line model adds forward collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist.

What We Think

The Kia Soul remains one of the strongest entries in the subcompact SUV class. Blending practicality, agreeable road manners, and attitude, the Soul proves you don't need to spend a fortune to drive something distinctive. All variants provide great ride and handling, giving the driver confidence when the road gets twisty. Surprisingly good body control keeps the Soul from feeling overly tipsy even when pushed. The base 147-hp 2.0-liter I-4 offers respectable power and never feels lacking. Credit the well-tuned CVT for keeping the engine in the sweet spot.

Should you need more power, the Soul Turbo offers a significant bump in straight-line performance. Kia's 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four adds a nice dose of power while maintaining good fuel economy. Just make sure you're OK with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic's clunky operation at low speeds. The Turbo model's sport-tuned suspension improves the Soul's handling without hurting ride comfort too much, even with the standard 18-inch wheels.

Rounding out the Kia Soul's appeal is the interior. Although there are plenty of hard plastics, they feel well put together, especially considering the starting price of under $20,000. Kia's infotainment system remains one of the best thanks to its user-friendliness. Even with the optional 10.3-inch touchscreen, the interface is easy to understand. The boxy greenhouse provides superb visibility and plenty of space for people and gear. However, you get a bit more wind noise because the shape is less aerodynamic.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Two engines are offered on the 2021 Kia Soul, including a 2.0-liter I-4 with 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque on the LX, X-Line, S, EX, and GT-Line models. At the top of the lineup, a 1.6-liter turbo-four rated at 201 hp and 195 lb.-ft sits under the hood of the Turbo variant. The 2.0-liter can be paired to either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic, while the 1.6-liter is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2.0-liter are 25/31 mpg city/highway with the manual or 28/33 mpg with the CVT. The Eco Dynamics model, which is essentially a CVT-equipped base-trim Soul, is the most efficient at 29/35 mpg. Turbo variants don't sacrifice much in the fuel economy front and are rated at 27/32 mpg.

Safety

NHTSA: 4 stars (out of a possible five)
IIHS: 2020 Top Safety Pick

Every 2021 Kia Soul except the base LX grade gets a generous range of standard driver assistance technologies. X-Line and above get standard forward collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The range-topping Turbo model adds adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection.

Cargo Space

The 2021 Kia Soul offers up to 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats up. With the standard two-level cargo floor in its upper position, capacity shrinks to 18.7 cubic feet of capacity behind the rear seats. Capacity expands to 62.1 cubic feet with the second row folded and removable cargo floor removed.

Technology

The 2021 Soul features two versions of Kia's latest infotainment system. On the LX, S, X-Line, and GT-Line grades, the interface features a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system. EX and Turbo models get a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen, built-in navigation, and wireless charging. Turbo models also add a Harman Kardon audio system and a head-up display. We've generally been fans of how easy Kia's infotainment systems are to use.

Recommended Trim

Consider the EX grade because it gets many features found in the range-topping Turbo model (like the large 10.3-inch touchscreen) and nearly every driver assistance feature except adaptive cruise control. Additionally, you get the base 147-hp 2.0-liter I-4 and CVT combo, which is smoother than the optional turbocharged engine while still offering sufficient power.

Key Competitors:

2021 KIA SOUL SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 2.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, 6 Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Trim
EX
Class
Compact Utility
Horsepower
147@6,200
Standard MPG
28/33
Body Style
SUV/Crossover
Drivetrain
FWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
100,000
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
60
Powertrain Warranty Miles
100,000
Full Warranty Miles
60,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
120
Full Warranty Months
60
Roadside Assistance Miles
60,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
60
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 66 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 02-01-2021
$0 0.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 02-01-2021
$0 1.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 75, 84 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models. 02-01-2021
$400 Kia announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible military personnel. 02-01-2021
$2000 Kia announces Customer Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 02-01-2021