2015 Kia Soul Expert Review

4.4 Overall Score
Performance 4.2 Comfort 3.8 Styling 4.4 Value 4.6

Editor's Overview

There's nothing on the road quite like the 2015 Kia Soul. With its funky exterior design and interior roominess that both come thanks to this vehicle's boxy design – not to mention its sub-$16,000 starting price – Kia's 5-passenger rectangle on wheels is appealing as both an economy car and style statement. For 2015, a plug-in electric version joins the party.

You'll Like The 2015 Kia Soul If...

Whether you desire value, practicality, stylish looks or surprising technology and amenities in your economy hatchback, the 2015 Soul checks all the boxes. The new plug-in Kia Soul EV, meanwhile, offers all that in an electric car with an EPA-estimated range of 93 miles.

You May Not Like The 2015 Kia Soul If...

Though the latest Soul feels better on the road than its predecessor, it doesn't provide quite the zest of the turbocharged Nissan Juke or Mini Countryman. And while the Soul's shape leans toward utility, this is not built for going off-road like an SUV.

What's New

The big news is the new 2015 Kia Soul EV electric car, initially for sale in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Other than that, the Soul receives only minor updates such as UVO telematics packaging for base models and available Nappa leather seating in top trims.

Interior Features

The 2015 Kia Soul features a 2-row, 5-passenger cabin whose looks and functions improve as you climb the three trim levels, from cloth seats in base models to available Nappa leather in top-line versions. The 2015 Soul does an admirable job of blending practicality and whimsy. This hatchback's boxy shape and folding rear seats make it surprisingly spacious, while features such as speaker lights that pulsate to the beat are nothing if not different. The optional panoramic sunroof is an unexpected treat in such an economy car. The electric Soul features bio-friendly materials and an efficient organic LED instrument screen.

Exterior Features

The latest Soul retains the original's tall, rectangular profile, but stays fresh thanks to a reworked front end and tall taillights. The Soul’s tall profile offers function in addition to fashion. Along with abundant headroom and luggage space, the high roof allows for raised seating positions and good visibility for all inside. Top-line models further stand out with LED turn-signal indicators in the side mirrors, projector-beam headlights and LED taillights. The Soul electric car sets itself apart with a hidden charging port up front and a 2-tone paint scheme initially consisting of white with a blue roof or silver with white roof.

Driving Impressions

With its 29-percent-stiffer chassis and reworked suspension, this latest-generation Kia Soul is far more graceful than the first-gen model that exited in 2013. The cabin is quieter and the suspension does a better job of absorbing all but the largest of road imperfections. While it's true that Kia's funky 5-door hatchback offers the Flex Steer feature to let you tailor steering resistance among three levels, all remain poor conduits of information from the front tires to the driver. Even so, the Soul steers predictably and corners with more confidence than prior versions. Acceleration is merely adequate when overtaking traffic or merging on the freeway, even with the more powerful 2.0-liter engine. Like its gasoline counterpart, acceleration isn't a strong suit of the new Soul EV, but the all-electric Kia did prove quiet and showed respectable handling and responsiveness in our initial test drive.

Pricing Notes

The 2015 Kia Soul has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at a tantalizing $15,900. Keep in mind that is for a base model with manual transmission. Opting for the automatic transmission on the base model is an extra $2,000. Top-line versions of the Soul begin at around $21,500 and can hit $27,000 fully loaded. The all-electric Kia Soul EV starts at $34,525 before incentives (such as the $7,500 federal tax credit). Even with an automatic transmission, the Soul's entry cost undercuts the base price of the Fiat 500L, Nissan Juke and Scion xB. Pricing for the Soul EV is still to be announced. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Kia Souls. Resale value is expected to be very good for the Soul, though still trailing that of the xB in the long run.

Notable Equipment

The 2015 Kia Soul comes in three trims: Base, Plus (+), and Exclaim (!). The Base trim includes basics like air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, power windows and doorlocks, Bluetooth wireless technology, and 6-speaker audio with USB input. Plus models add a larger engine and automatic transmission, plus cruise control, keyless entry and upgraded cloth trim. Top-line Exclaim Souls include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power-folding outside mirrors, Kia's UVO eServices, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat. EV models include an 8.0-inch touch screen with navigation and a suite of EV-centric controls.

Notable Options

Upgrades vary by trim level but include an 8.0-inch touch-screen display and navigation, rearview camera, leather seating, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, LED interior lighting, push-button start, and automatic climate control. Premium tunes can be heard via an Infinity audio system with a prominent center speaker. Drivers looking to eke out fuel economy have the option of the Idle Stop & Go system, which cuts engine power when the vehicle is stopped, such as at traffic signals.

Favorite Features

UVO eSERVICES

UVO is the name for Kia's infotainment suite, which includes everything from audio entertainment and Bluetooth phone pairing to navigation and vehicle diagnostics. For 2015, UVO adds Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score, all of which can be especially helpful for keeping track of younger drivers and their habits.


VENTILATED FRONT SEATS

A sweat-free posterior is a wonderful thing. How cool is it, then, that the glorious comfort of ventilated front seats is available in the Kia Soul – a car with a sub-$16,000 base price? Sure, the ventilated seats cost extra, but man are they worth it.

Under the Hood

Two 4-cylinder engines are available in the 2015 Soul. Base models come with a 1.6-liter, while the two higher trims use a larger and more-powerful (and more-recommendable) 2.0-liter. All Kia Souls are front-wheel drive, and all except the base model come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Base models use a 6-speed manual (the automatic is optional). The Soul EV uses no gasoline at all, but rather an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery pack. Power is sent to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. Range is estimated to be 93 miles per charge, which is expected to take from 24 hours on a 120-volt outlet to under five hours on a 240-volt outlet. A DC fast-charging unit can offer an 80-percent charge in about 30 minutes.


1.6-liter inline-4

130 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm

118 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/30 mpg


2.0-liter inline-4

164 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm

151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg, 24/31 mpg (with Idle Stop & Go)


AC synchronous electric motor

27kWh lithium-ion battery pack

109 horsepower

210 lb-ft of torque

EPA-estimated range per full charge: 93 miles

EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 120/92 mpge

Editors' Notes

There's nothing on the road quite like the 2015 Kia Soul. With its funky exterior design and interior roominess that both come thanks to this vehicle's boxy design – not to mention its sub-$16,000 starting price – Kia's 5-passenger rectangle on wheels is appealing as both an economy car and style statement. This wasn't always the case. When the Soul launched in 2009 it faced rivals such as the Nissan Cube, Honda Element and Scion xB. With the Cube and Element now gone and the xB aging rapidly, the Soul is now the standout among small, boxy cars. Fresh off a revamp, Kia's 5-door hatchback returns for 2015 with impressive technology and creature comforts, plus a new all-electric version available in select states.

Road Test Video Reviews

2015 Kia Soul Owner Reviews

4.5
439 Reviews
62% 28% 9% 1% 1 star 0%
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Roomy, Reliable, and Road Trip Ready

I am the second owner of my Kia Soul and have owned it for almost two years. I love this car! It is very roomy on the inside for being a smaller vehicle. Every passenger I have had has commented on how much bigger it feels on the inside than it looks on the outside. I can fold down the rear seats and fit a bicycle, coffee table, or other larger objects inside. I love how reliable it is. I have not had to have anything more than typical maintenance done on my Kia Soul. The climate where I live is very cold and snowy in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. Even when it got down to -15 degrees, my car had no trouble starting and in the hot summer the air conditioning is always fast and cold. I mostly use it to commute to work and it has been perfect for that, and it gets very good gas mileage. My boyfriend and I did drive it ten hours straight to visit family in another state and it was very comfortable. Because it sits up a little higher than a typical sedan as well as having the roomy interior and great gas mileage, it was a wonderful road trip car. The one and only issue I have experienced is that it is a little harder to drive in extreme wind conditions than a lower profile vehicle. I couldn't have purchased a better car for the price point and definitely think my next vehicle will be another Kia Soul.

- Bari R

Oh how I love my (Kia) soul.

I feel safe in my car. It is the right size for my son and me. It is not too low to the ground and not too high off of it either. I wish it had better gas mileage, but I cannot complain about filling up once a week compared to what I have done in the past. I have saved money by having to do very little maintenance in the almost 5 years I have had the car. I have only needed to do the usual routine maintenance and nothing more severe, yet. I love the Caribbean blue color of my car it gets a lot of compliments. It does well in ice and snow if you know how to drive in those conditions. I love the two speakers that light up, it can set the mood. Speakers themselves are as good as any. Great sound whether the volume is high or low. I wish you didn't hear the volume of calls outside of the car though when your phone is connected through the speaker. It is very reliable and plan to keep it until it becomes too much to maintain.

- Jessica L

Great on gas and maintenance.

I have never owned a SUV or anything similar. I saw the Kia soul on the road, and I really wanted to make that my next vehicle. I liked the look of it. I went to the dealership and test drove it, I fell in love with it! I liked the way it drove and I liked the sporty look. It is perfect for me because I only have one child. Plenty of floor space and back seat. I love the hatch, I purchased the cargo holder to put small bags and other essential items in. The soul is great on gas and it has a maintenance plan. No problems using my maintenance plan and the Kia dealership I use is great. I can get appointments scheduled a my convenience since I work full time. I am still loving my soul and it is been 2 years! I am considering purchasing another Kia in the future.

- Deborah P

Efficient and Comfortable Small Car

I purchased this car used at 32,000 miles in 2017. I now have more than 64,000 miles on it. In this time I have had no problems with any mechanical issues. I keep up on scheduled maintenance and any factory recall issues. This car is very comfortable, spacious for a smaller vehicle, and drives well. My only concern is driving in snow and ice. It is somewhat high profile with a narrower wheel base than my last car and can feel a little unsteady when roads are slippery. It is also boxy, which means that the wind can sometimes be very noticeable. Overall, I feel that this car is giving me very good service.

- Marcia P

Weather is no problem with the Kia Soul

We have experienced no problems with the Kia Soul in terms of performance and reliability.. It warms up quickly and the interior cools quickly in warm weather. The seat warmer and cooler feature is wonderful for individual comfort. I love the heated steering wheel feature. The only problem I have had was not with the working of the car, but with the design. I recently had knee surgery and was unable to bend my knee, so I was unable to get into the front seat. I also don't like the angle of the headrest, but since they are removable and I don't drive leaning back, it is rarely a problem.

- Lyn H

Spacious Soul for the win!

I actually bought my Kia Soul pre owned so I expected to have a few issues here and there, but I've had it for 6 months now and drive 70+ miles a day and have had NO issues! It fits my family of 5 comfortably, plenty of legroom in the front and back seats! I was a little worried because it's higher off the ground than my previous vehicle so I was afraid it would be a big adjustment but it rides like a charm! The trunk is spacious enough to grocery shop, carry an infant stroller or anything you need! I love my Kia Soul, if I ever trade vehicles I will definitely trade into another Kia Soul!

- Danielle S

My car has a major design flaw with the AC bolts, which causes a rattling noise.

The audio quality of the Bluetooth wireless function is terrible. I can plug the same device into a USB port and the quality is much better. The vehicle itself is very loud, and the bolts and plates holding the AC actually rattle when it's running (had it inspected, Kia dealership confirmed it was a design flaw and there isn't anything that can be done about it). The car's seats are also very hard and dense; it would be nice if there was additional, softer padding. I do enjoy how the car has an 'eco mode' option, which helps save gas, and I enjoy the smoothness of the drive.

- Hannah S

It is now a piece of my Soul Kia.

I am very happy with my Soul. It is good on gas handles well it is a little late I wish it was a little bit more substantial but it is got room it is got the highest ratings with safety considerations of any of the other vehicles in that class it was fun responsive customer service they're here was incredibly cool am I am completely happy with my Soul and we get another one in a heartbeat but I am very happy with Kia I did a lot of research on my car before I bought it I checked out the safety ratings power chains backs and this was a far away the stand out in the group.

- Michelle D

My favorite car ever, ever!

Absolutely fabulous car it runs good rides smooth and gets awesome gas mileage. Its a 6 speed manual shift and it's like driving a mini sport car. I love the space inside of the Soul. My boyfriend and I have plenty of room for weekend adventure. We can pack the tent and whatever need in it for a quick weekend getaway. Also if we want to take a friend and go out to dinner we have lots of legroom for them. We have grandkids and 2 large car seats fit great no problems. Love the safety features come on give it a try I bet you fall in love with it.

- Tammy S

Kia Soul is a great, fuel efficient car.

We got this car brand new back in 2015 and since then it hasn't caused me many problems other than the usual issues. The tires and the brakes were really good and lasted until this year and I haven't had to fix anything major. The gas mileage is amazing, definitely one of my favorite features of this car. My other favorite is probably how much space there actually is, considering from the outside it looks like a small car. Overall, I am incredibly happy with this purchase and definitely recommend it to anybody looking for a fuel efficient car.

- Ben B

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