6 Best And Worst Years For The Kia Soul

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Compared with other subcompact SUVs, the Kia Soul is a relatively new vehicle. It was announced in 2008, being available in the market soon after.

But, within its short lifespan, it has earned the respect of thousands of people. It is an excellent and affordable option.

Although this SUV has been in the market for a short time, it has had varying performance over the years.

The recent models of the SUV have been more reliable. The same was the case with the older variants too. In between, some of the models had a huge drop in reliability.

This article will be looking into all of the best and worst years for Kia Soul, so you can understand which one will be more suitable for you.

Let’s list down all of them before I discuss them further.

Best Years for Kia Soul:

  1. 2022
  2. 2021
  3. 2018
  4. 2019
  5. 2017
  6. 2010

Worst Years for Kia Soul:

  1. 2014
  2. 2012
  3. 2015
  4. 2013
  5. 2016
  6. 2020

Now that all important models of the SUV have been listed, let’s get into the details of all of them to understand why they have been given their respective positions.

So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it!

List Of The Best Years For The Kia Soul: What Years To Buy

Are Kia Souls good vehicles to have? Learn from the list of that vehicles by year

The best years of the Kia Soul are the reliable ones.

If you are interested in buying one, you should consider one from the list below.

These models are not only reliable but also are packed with features.

You will know more once you read this section thoroughly.

#1 Best Year: 2022 Kia Soul

Taking the lead is the latest model of the compact SUV. The 2022 Kia Soul is a fantastic option for people looking to buy a small SUV that has a ton of features while being affordable.

The turbocharged engine is good enough, and you will not feel any lack of power while driving.

The comfort level of the Kia Soul is pretty good. You will not feel the need to take a rest, even after long drives.

The suspension system is excellent too. It provides decent shock absorption. The interior is simple and easy to get used to.

The technology is pretty good, with decent safety features in all variants except for the base model.

#2 Best Year: 2021 Kia Soul

Coming up next is the predecessor to the 2022 Soul, 2021 one.

This model came one year after the generation bump. It ironed out most of its issues, allowing it to earn the second spot on this list.

The 2021 Kia Soul has an amazing drive, thanks to its 2.0L engine. Its acceleration is not that great, but it is powerful enough to feel like it is lacking.

The comfort level is the same as the 2022 model. It is extremely good. The cargo space is also spacious enough that it beats other small SUVs.

The only caveat is that the sound system is not that good due to a lack of bass.

#3 Best Year: 2018 Kia Soul

Coming in third place is the 2018 Kia Soul. This model belongs to the older generation of the famous SUV. It is a great option for those that don’t want to spend too much on a new Soul.

The main issue of this model is that the seats are stiff. They are decent enough for long rides, but they certainly cannot be compared to what is included in the newer models.

The cargo space of this model is more than what competitors offer. The technology is great, and the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto has been welcome.

Although plastic has been used for the interior, it still feels premium. You don’t need to worry about any corners being cut.

#4 Best Year: 2019 Kia Soul

The successor to the 2018 model has scored a lower place. This one is also part of the previous generation unveiled back in 2014.

The 2019 Kia Soul is a great option for those who prefer the previous generation’s shape. It is also cheaper than a new one.

This model is vastly similar to the previous one, so the 2018 one is preferred because it is cheaper. The drive is great, thanks to the 1.6L inline engine.

The comfort level is a little stiff but is enough for long travels. Finally, the interior is also the same. It looks and feels premium, despite it being made mainly from plastic.

#5 Best Year: 2017 Kia Soul

I am approaching the end of this list, and the competition between the models is going strong. Once again, another model of the 2017 Kia Soul is a part of the previous generation of the SUV.

Although it is a great vehicle overall, it does have poor fuel economy, which is why it has earned the fifth spot on this list.

The ride of this model is also a bit stiff, which some of you may not like. The cargo space is more than enough for most use cases.

You don’t need to worry about getting less technology when talking about Kia. Although this model is five years old, it still has many features.

#6 Best Year: 2010 Kia Soul

If you want to get the two-generation old Kia Soul, there is nothing better than 2010 one.

This model has earned the last spot because its cargo space is less compared to offerings from competitors.

It is another great option for people on a budget who don’t want to compromise on major features.

The 2010 Kia Soul has basic safety systems, such as ABS, traction control, and airbags.

The 2.0L engine is good enough, and you won’t feel like there is a lack of power. The interior of this two-decade model is pretty good and colorful. It is also spacious.

List Of The Worst Years For The Kia Soul: What Years To Avoid

Next is the list of the worst years of the Kia Soul that one can buy.

There have been many years of the SUV which should be avoided at all costs. All of the models were mentioned above.

Now I’ll be getting into the details of all of them, so you can know exactly why they should be avoided.

#1 Worst Year: 2014 Kia Soul

Taking up the first spot is the model of the 2014 Kia Soul that has frustrated users the most. It was plagued with issues, varying from engine ones to electrical ones.

Engine issues included knocking sounds while driving. There were also reports of the engine losing power when on the road.

The electrical system on this eight year old model was also not reliable. Like Honda, there were issues of rodents chewing away from the soy based wiring.

There were complaints that the battery would die very quickly. There were some reports of brake failure too, which is why it is recommended to stay away from this model.

#2 Worst Year: 2012 Kia Soul

The model of the 2012 Kia Soul that came two years earlier was also not a good one. It had many issues, all of which made driving it impossible.

Owners of this model complained about the steering clunking when turning. It would also lock up, preventing the vehicle from turning.

The engine on this two generations old Kia Soul was also not great. There were reports of unexpected engine failure. It does not end there.

Owners were frustrated because the SUV would drive rough, and the engine would produce clicking noises when stepping on the accelerator.

#3 Worst Year: 2015 Kia Soul

If you thought that Kia would have fixed most of the issues of the 2014 model in a year, you would be wrong.

This model also had the engine and electrical issues but fewer complaints about them. Engine failure was also present.

Oil leakage was also a common issue with the 2015 Kia Soul. One unfortunate owner’s vehicle even caught fire.

The AC system was not designed properly. It would produce so much vapor that you could see humidity on the windows.

The AC vents would also give off a bad odor, making the driving experience unpleasant.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Kia Soul

The 2013 Kia Soul model was also not particularly great. Although the 2013 model was the final model of its generation, it had too many issues.

There were issues related to the engine and the steering, which made this vehicle unbearable. Users reported a similar complaint of engine failure.

The engine would also produce a constant ticking sound. The battery on the 2013 Kia Soul would also die very quickly.

Other issues included the tire pressure warning light malfunctioning and USB ports not working. Many reported the clunking noise coming from the steering wheel when turning.

#5 Worst Year: 2016 Kia Soul

Even the more recent models of the subcompact SUV were not great. There were engine and exhaust system issues.

Frustrated owners complained about the engine being completely blown. It would also produce a knocking sound while driving.

The electrical system on the 2016 Kia Soul was not reliable. It would create random problems, such as the horn working on its own or not working.

The mileage indicator would also be inaccurate, making it unreliable. The catalytic converter, for some owners, burned out completely, making the replacement expensive.

#6 Worst Year: 2020 Kia Soul

You wouldn’t have expected one of the more recent models of the Kia Soul to end up on this list. Although the 2020 Kia Soul was a pretty decent vehicle, it did have its fair share of issues.

This model had transmission issues, which were expensive to fix. The system would fail or act erratically, with RPM surges or not shifting properly.

The 2020 Kia Soul also had a few engine problems. There were reports of the engine dying unexpectedly.

This model is also known to consume oil at a high rate. You need to be aware of if you want to purchase this model.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Kia Soul?

With the most important twelve years being discussed in detail above, I thought it would be beneficial for you to read about the common problems people have faced.

These issues have frustrated users the most, and if you want to buy the Kia Soul, you should be aware of them before you make the final decision.

1. Engine Ticking Noises

Out of all that users faced, the most common issue was ticking noises coming from the engine. Many people reported it.

After further research, I found out that the issue is related to the coolant system. There is no exact part of the system that has the problem.

I know you didn’t expect this to be the solution. The problem is, with issues like this, Kia recommends replacing the engine entirely.

Only the coolant system cannot be changed. It is an expensive replacement, and the installation will also not be cheap.

So, you should be ready if your engine starts emitting similar noises.

2. Electrical Issues

The previous generation of the Kia Soul, which ended in 2013, had many electrical issues. Owners complained that the vehicle’s technology would malfunction.

Issues from USB ports not working to the radio system producing a popping sound were very common. The AC system, on some units, would also fail.

So, what could be the reason for all of these problems? It has been found out that the electrical harness that Kia used would fail at low mileage.

The soldering job was also not the best one, and the loosening of the wires resulted in these problems. The only fix is to replace the entire electrical system.

3. Engine Failures

Engine failures have also been extremely common in older models of the Kia Soul.

The most common occurrence was related to coolant leakage, which was not indicated by any light. This meant that the engine would overheat and then unexpectedly turn off.

Constant overheating can cause the engine’s lifespan to be shortened drastically. If the problem is not fixed for a long time, there is no other solution than a full engine replacement.

It is an expensive process and is the only way to keep the vehicle usable.

If you ever see smoke rising from the hood, you should immediately shut your SUV down and get the leak repaired.

Related: Why Won’t My Kia Soul Start?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Many Miles Should A Kia Soul Last?

You might be expecting the lifespan of this compact SUV to be small. Regardless of the model you choose, it will easily last more than 200000 miles.

You can push this limit even further, but some major work may need to be done to keep it in good condition.

You can expect the SUV to last you more than a decade without too much trouble.

Q2. What Year Kia Soul Is Being Recalled?

There were a few models of the SUV that Kia recalled due to serious issues. The 2016 model had steering issues.

The same model also had engine issues, such as inadequate cooling. Most recalls were seen in the 2015 model.

There were the engine, acceleration pedal and steering issues. This model is also on the worst model list. You should avoid it unless you are looking to spend a lot on repairs.

Q3. Is Kia Soul A Good Car For Seniors?

The Kia Soul comes with features such as emergency braking, lane assist, blind spot detection, and collision warnings, which means that it is a perfect choice for senior people.

Even the seats have lumbar support, which means they will not have back pain while driving this SUV.

The latest generation is preferred for seniors because them having all of the features above.

Q4. Are Kia Souls Expensive To Fix?

The Kia Soul beats the industry average by a decent amount. You can expect to pay around $7000 for the first ten years of keeping this SUV. The average is $1000 higher.

Another interesting thing to note is that there is only a 21.1% chance that the Kia Soul will require a major repair during the mentioned period. That is very impressive.

Q5. Is Kia Soul Good In Snow?

Although the Soul has a front wheel drive, it still performs well in snow. The main reason for this could be the engine’s weight, which may help in increasing the traction.

But you do need snow tires to make sure your Kia Soul will work flawlessly in those conditions. Without them, the performance can be bad. So, it is better to not risk it.


The Kia Soul is one of the better-known subcompact crossovers in the market. Even though it has been on sale for a few years, it still ranks well in reliability and features.

Like all other vehicles, there are best and worst years for Kia Soul. They have been discussed thoroughly in this article.

As of writing this article, the 2022 model, which is the latest one, is the clear winner. It is reliable, and it also has many features, which is why I recommend that you buy it.

I hope this article helped you decide if the Kia Soul is a good vehicle for you.