5 Best And Worst Years For The Kia Soul

Compare between good and bad model years of the Kia Soul

The Kia Soul was mainly manufactured in South Korea but has seen a lot of popularity in the United States, so much that it has its own US line of models. Additionally, the car also has an electric variant.

While this is all impressive, it does not change that the Kia Soul had quite a few issues in the middle of the lineup’s life. This would hurt the image of the car.

For this reason, I will be looking into the best and worst years for Kia Soul.

Worst Years for Kia Soul:

  1. 2014
  2. 2012
  3. 2015
  4. 2013
  5. 2016

Best Year for Kia Soul

  1. 2021
  2. 2019
  3. 2018
  4. 2017
  5. 2010

If you want to learn about these models, you have come to the right place. I will be talking about all these years in great detail, which is why you should read this article until the end.

What Are The Worst Years For The Kia Soul? Which Years To Avoid

These years for the Kia Soul have been the ones that have struggled the most. They are full of problems and issues, so I have compiled them all in this one list.

You should try your best to avoid the models listed below.

1. 2014 Kia Soul

I have placed the 2014 Kia Soul at the top of this list because of the massive issues it had related to the engine. Many people who had this year’s Kia Soul suffered from this issue.

On top of this problem, the model was riddled with other problems and issues, which only propelled the reputation of the Kia Soul downwards.

The dreaded engine had a habit of knocking, often losing power while driving, and would not even go over 30 miles per hour.

Excessive oil consumption, in combination with the motor seizing up, leads to the engine blowing up or failing; this would result in a very expensive replacement.

Lastly, the lights, in general, were also faulty, with the headlights not working properly and the brake lights going out.

2. 2012 Kia Soul

Having the second-highest complaints in the entire lineup, it made sense to place the 2012 Kia Soul in second place on this list.

The majority of these complaints were about steering problems as well as engine problems. These were usually accompanied by transmission issues as well as exterior problems.

What made the steering so bad was the mostly defective coupler. The steering was clunky in general while the wheel was turning.

When it came to the engine, you could see hints that the situation would devolve and turn into the engine, as was seen in the 2014 Kia Soul.

The engine of the 2012 Kia Soul was prone to engine failure. As I have mentioned, this is a very expensive problem and requires you to replace your engine.

Lastly, the car would stall and run rough, sometimes operating at a loss of power.

3. 2015 Kia Soul

Coming off the massive disappointment of the 2014 Kia Soul, people wanted the next year to make up for the issues caused by the previous model.

This would not be the case as the 2015 Kia Soul would retain the same major issue that made the 2014 model so bad; engine issues.

Engine failure was once again a very common issue, with oil loss being a close second. The engine would shut down often while the car was being driven and the idle was extremely rough.

While the rest of the issues of the 2014 Kia Soul were not as common, they still existed within the car and helped to bring its position up in this list.

Some issues in the 2015 Kia Soul were in the electrical system, preventing the car from starting. The AC would lead to extreme humidity in the car, negatively affecting visibility.

4. 2013 Kia Soul

The 2013 Kia Soul was slightly better than the 2012 and the 2014 models, which is why the car could sit comfortably between the two.

It also had a slight edge over the 2015 model, which is why the 2013 Kia Soul takes the 4th spot on this list.

Despite this, it still suffered from various issues which plagued the engine and the electrical system.

Once again, engine failure was extremely common. A near-constant ticking noise could be heard from the engine, especially while idling, which it would do very roughly.

This year’s Kia Soul battery was also not up to par, often going dead. The brake lights were also becoming an issue as they would not work in many instances.

The steering also had a few issues, with the car having a clunky noise.

5. 2016 Kia Soul

The final model on this list is the 2016 Kia Soul, and I have placed it in this position simply because it was able to get on top of most of the issues related to the lineup.

Unfortunately, it could still not rid itself of the various engine problems, which is why it still gets to be a part of this list.

Furthermore, this year for the Kia Soul also brought some electrical issues that users had to deal with, which is sad to see this fair into the life of the lineup.

Engine knocking and shutting down while driving was still a highly complained issue.

Excessive oil consumption was also a major problem, and the car died while driving. Eventually, it would end the same way, and the engine would fail or blow up.

What Are The Best Years For The Kia Soul? Which Years To Buy

If you want the best models for the Kia Soul lineup, you should read up on this section of this article. These years have been widely considered the best of the lineup.

1. 2021 Kia Soul

Featuring competent handling and a lavishly spacious interior, the 2021 Kia Soul, despite being recently put out, has been all the rage over the car community, which is why I decided to place it at the top of this list.

The turbo engine’s power is really strong, especially if you can get one on a lower trim. This and you can get really good value for lower trims.

This year also brought six different trims for the Kia Soul, which is another great thing if you want to browse your options and get a particular feature.

Moreover, 2021 Kia Soul only has a front-wheel drive, but that does not stop it from delighting fans with the choice between a wide range of four-cylinder engines that can also have a turbo.

Coming with many standard features such as an android auto and apple car play, the 2021 Kia Soul can give a lot of value, even at lower trims.

This, combined with a lack of general problems, has made this year stand out in my eyes.

2. 2019 Kia Soul

Two years before the 2021 Kia Soul, people were ecstatic about the 2019 model, which was, at the time, the best model in the entire lineup.

While the 2021 model would beat it, it still can hold its own, which is why it gets a good spot in second place.

The highlights of this year’s models are the heated steering wheels and the panoramic moon roof.

While the year only brought three different trims for the Kia Soul, they all were jam-packed with quality features like the ones mentioned above.

This combined with stellar interior quality, made 2019 an instant favorite for fans of the lineup.

Additionally, this version of the Kia Soul also comes in an electric version that might interest you.

3. 2018 Kia Soul

This boxy and compact hatchback can steal the 3rd spot on this list because of its nice range of engines, great quality-of-life features, and overall performance.

The 2018 Kia Soul laid the groundwork for the 2019 model, which would improve it.

You had three different trims when it came to the 2018 Kia Soul, and each of them was better than the last.

Coming with automatic emergency braking along with a variety of other safety features, the 2018 Kia Soul was able to maintain a nice and safe environment on the road.

It also had a distinct lack of issues. Any issues that it would have would be fixed in the 2019 version.

4. 2017 Kia Soul

The 2017 Kia Soul was definitely a solid car offering a lot of features; however came at a very steep price.

Due to its struggle with driving refinement, the car would be improved upon in next year’s models, but until then, it was still a bit ahead when it came to previous models.

This is why the 2017 Kia Soul gets the 4th spot on this list. This model was also only available in 3 different trims, which limited choice, but the top-level trim was a standout when it came to the year.

Improved outward visibility and many up-scaled features made this car a breath of fresh air since the lineup was coming right after the fiasco with the 2016 Kia Soul.

The turbocharged engine was introduced here, and people immediately complimented its power and performance. 2017 brought a lot of nice content for the Kia Soul.

Its overall maneuverability and visibility made it a nice choice for navigating in the city.

5. 2010 Kia Soul

The last year that I would like to talk about is the 2010 Kia Soul. This model brought a lot of value for the money it asked for.

It also came with an impressive amount of safety features as well which further increased its value.

Combine all of this with a solid braking system and superior cabin quality, and you have yourself a very capable car that can stand the test of time.

If for some reason, it does not, you should be fine, as the car also comes with a pretty good warranty.

While the car does struggle when it comes to mileage and fuel, it makes up for this by providing you with a high-quality driving experience.

Being in 2010, it has fewer of the features you would expect in today’s day and age.

However, if you do not mind, this should not change the opinion of the vehicle. This, combined with its new and young-at-heart styling, makes it a solid car overall.

How Reliable Is A Kia Soul?

The Kia Soul is a very reliable car. Not only is it able to last a very long time, as you will see, but it also has very few issues.

Granted, you have to get a good model, but as long as you avoid the worst models listed above, you should have a very reliable car.

How Long Do Kia Souls Last?

At a minimum, the Kia Soul should last you at least 200,000 miles. You can increase this up to 300,000 miles if you take good care of the car.

This means you should expect 13 to 16 years of experience realistically.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Kia Soul

Here are a few activities that you can apply to increase the life of your Kia Soul:

  • Use quality fuel.
  • Regularly visit the mechanic for repairs.
  • Avoid overheating the car.
  • Drive the car often to avoid battery issues.
  • Regularly update the car’s fluids.

Doing this should help your Kia Soul last for a spectacularly long time.

Things That Shorten the Lifespan Of Your Kia Soul

Make sure to avoid these factors as these can shorten the life of your Kia Soul.

  • Driving on rough terrain.
  • Leaving your car in the snow.
  • Not properly attaching wires and components.
  • Using cheap components for repairs.
  • Not cleaning the car.

If you carry out any of these, then you should try to limit how much you do them and stop entirely.

3 Most Kia Soul Common Problems You Should Know

You may have already got a good idea on this, but in case you did not, here, I will be talking about the most common issues you can face with the Kia Soul.

You should know about these issues in the event you are planning to buy a model from this lineup.

1. Engine Failure

As the article has suggested, there have been numerous problems related to Kia Soul’s engine.

The engine starts off fine but develops knocking and whining and eventually gets to the point that it has to be replaced with a new one. This is not a cheap thing to do.

2. Electrical Issues

Coming hand in hand with the engine failures, various models of the Kia Soul has also suffered from electrical issues.

Some of these just affect the battery, while others can range from lighting issues to the car not even starting!

3. Steering Problems

Some models of the Kia Soul have also had issues with steering. This has been a part where the Kia Soul has always been a bit behind.

Having your steering too sensitive or in an unusable state can really degrade the driving quality of the vehicle and the riding experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Kia Soul A Good Car?

Yes, the Kia Soul is a very good car. It should be able to provide you with a lot of value if you get a good model and also be able to last a very long time.

Q2: Do Kia Souls Hold Their Value?

The Kia Soul can provide you with great value. Furthermore, it is able to retain this value for the most part. These have only 21% depreciation value after five years which is quite amazing.

Q3: How Many Kia Souls Have Been Sold?

The Kia Soul has sold more than 1,338,000 units in the United States alone since its release. These numbers however, only count from 2009 and are up to the 2021 model.

Q4: Which Kia Soul Engine Is The Most Reliable?

The Kia Soul offers a wide range of engines. If I had to pick the best engine, it had to be the 1.6 L turbocharger that has 4 cylinders, simply because of its great performance capabilities.

Q5: Is Kia Soul Expensive To Maintain?

The Kia Soul is close to the average cost when it comes to repairing vehicles, sitting at $437 compared to the $466 average per year. It is slightly cheaper but not by much.


The Kia Soul started off pretty good but soon fell into hard times. This resulted in the lineup losing a lot of the reputation it had gained.

Additionally, the wide range of problems that the middle years of the lineup brought actively hurt the popularity of the Kia Soul.

Luckily after 2016, the lineup was able to bring itself back from the dead and reestablish a good following and reputation.

Now that this article is coming to a close, you should be able to tell the best and worst years for Kia Soul and get yourself a solid pick.


Written by Kane Dan

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