If you see a subcompact, box-shaped vehicle driving down the road, then you can expect it to be the Kia Soul. Known for its standout, unique exterior, the Kia Soul is one of those vehicles you manage to see EVERYWHERE. While some people may buy the vehicle solely for its aesthetic, the majority of drivers buy the Kia Soul for its reliability. The Kia Soul has been commercialized as a vehicle that is fuel-efficient, budget-friendly, and practical. From driving around the city to driving on the highway, the Kia Soul is able to provide power with fuel savings.
The great thing about the Kia Soul is that they purposely match it with anybody’s lifestyle. Whether you are going for a surf trip, a hike, or driving to work, the Kia Soul is able to provide comfort and reliability in every environment. The drive itself is comfortable and spacious due to its boxy dimensions. With improvements in each generation of models, the Kia Soul continues to be a favorite amongst those who love a colorful and dependable drive.
1st Generation 2008 – 2013
The original Kia Soul was inspired and designed by Mike Torpey in Kia Korea. After watching a documentary on wild boars in Korea, Torpey began sketching and brainstorming ideas of how to implement the idealism of the boar into a vehicle. It was reported by the New York Times that Torpey wanted to highlight “the boar’s attitude of strength and capability” and wanted the latest model to be “aimed at hip urban youths”. After a couple of years of planning and designing, the Kia Soul was off to production. The 1st Generation of Kia Souls could seat five passengers with an adjustable rear flat-folding bench seat to accommodate for more space. As for technology, it was equipped with the latest six-speaker stereo system, CD player, USB port, and Sirius Satellite Radio. As newer models were released, the listed features became more advanced and enhanced. From new colors and racing stripes to 1.6-liter engines and LED running lights, the 1st Generation of Kia Soul’s was gaining popularity on the streets. As a result of strategic marketing and the highest 5-star safety reviews, the 1st Generation of Kia Soul’s was an instant hit in the U.S. markets. This only set the ongoing pace for the 2nd Generation of models.
2nd Generation 2014 – 2019
Following the success of the 1st Generation of models, the 2nd Generation of Kia Souls stayed true to its recognizable shape and well-loved features. Through their minor exterior and interior enhancements, the Kia Soul designed an upscaled and updated rendition of their original success. The 2014 model hit the U.S. markets with a choice of 1.6-liter Gamma GDI or 2.0-liter Nu GDI engines with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Aside from the engine enhancements, the Kia Soul created a more comfortable ride. A wider chassis allows for better handling and better passenger space. As technology advances, so does the technology utilized in the 2nd Generation of models. The updated Kia Souls gained six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio and heated mirrors. In 2014, the Kia Soul showcased its first-ever electric vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show. This Kia Soul Ev further proved Kia’s dedication to urban roaming without any emissions. The 2nd Generation of Kia Souls continued to earn awards and positive safety reviews with each model. While people either loved the design or hated it, there is no denying the model continued to gain popularity.
3rd Generation 2019 – Present
Similar to previous generations, the 3rd Generation of Kia Soul’s has continued to add more engine and trim options. Between the 2.0-liter I4 and the 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, drivers continue to save on gas mileage and maintenance for the vehicle. While the Kia Soul continues to excel with their gasoline model, the real star of the show is the electric model. The 2020 Kia Soul Ev has become a best-seller for all the right reasons. From the liquid-cooled 64 kWh battery to its independent suspension, the Kia Soul Ev keeps up with the competitive electric car market. As for safety ratings, they continue to maintain their high standards in the charts. To enhance its already stellar safety ratings, the Kia Soul added a toughened chassis to provide extra protection in accidents. Just as the original model aimed to have attributes of a wild boar, the 3rd Generation of Kia Soul continues to uphold its strength and capability through their reliable vehicle. As for what’s next in this 3rd Generation of models, we will just have to see!
Aside from the standout appearance of the vehicle, one of the most notable aspects of the Kia Soul is the way it has been marketed. Since it hit the markets in 2008, the Kia Soul has not missed a beat in their commercials. Through their commercials, their goal was to attract a younger, millennial audience. Kia was able to implement this through their slogan “A New Way to Roll” and little hamsters dancing. They implemented top hit songs, a concert series, video games, and a dance contest into their Kia Soul campaign. As a result, their Kia Soul hamster videos racked up over 11 million + views on YouTube. Year after year, Kia was receiving awards for their advertising and marketing of the Kia Soul. The success of their advertising and marketing showed exponentially in their sales. To this date, their best year in U.S. sales was in 2015 with 147,133 Kia Souls sold (The KEEA). From 2011 to 2018, over 100,000 Kia Soul units were sold each year making it the best-selling subcompact car in the market (Kia Media). By implementing a successful marketing campaign from the start, the Kia Soul has kept itself relevant for over 14 years.
Check out the YouTube videos below of some of the most popular Kia Soul commercials featuring the dancing hamsters:
Kia Soul in the Future
As for the future of the Kia Soul, we can expect to see more of a focus on electric cars. The Kia Soul EV should be getting a replacement that will have enhancements from the original model. This updated electric model is expected to be hitting the markets in 2023 at the earliest. Unfortunately, the all-electric vehicle was intended to be released a few years ago but there were some production delays. Despite the delays, the newer models of the Kia Soul will tap into advanced new technology that may offer driverless car capabilities. This will be a massive step towards making safe and reliable driverless cars more affordable. Until then, we will continue to see how Kia enhances their already solid foundation with their Kia Soul models.
High Mileage Stories
One of the best ways to determine the reliability of a vehicle is through high mileage stories. While the average vehicle is expected to have between 60,000-70,000 miles after 5 years, the Kia Soul has proven itself to exceed that expectation. In a Kia Souls Forum chat, many users reported having driven well over 100,000 miles with their Kia Soul. Forum user, @gr8pumpkin, reported having 260,000 miles on their 2010 Kia Soul. Talk about a reliable vehicle! While some may get more miles or fewer miles, the Kia Soul is able to combine a reliable drive with the right price. If you are interested in reading more high mileage stories or just information on the Kia Soul, check out the official Kia Soul forum link here.
How to Prevent Potential Kia Soul Problems
Like any vehicle, car problems are inevitable. By knowing how to prevent potential Kia Soul problems, you will be able to avoid as many as possible. Take a look at some of the top-listed complaints or common problems with the Kia Soul and let us tell you how to prevent them!
- Parts Falling Off. In the earlier models of the Kia Soul, drivers complained about the quality of the build. It was reported that interior trim pieces were falling off and the exterior trim was wearing down. In order to prevent this from happening, we recommend avoiding the model years between 2012-2016 since they were the models that were complained about the most. Since then, the Kia Soul has readjusted their design and materials so that this is no longer a problem.
- Engine Failure. Before 2016, previous Kia Soul models faced engine problems and for some, engine failure. This was quickly resolved by the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. In order to prevent engine failure in your Kia Soul, we recommend getting regular maintenance checks, oil changes, and check for leaks. Before buying a Kia Soul, you can check to make sure the engine is what you need for how much you intend to drive.
- Car on Fire. In 2019, Kia recalled 380,000 Kia Souls due to a defect that caused the car to potentially catch on fire. These models were made between 2012-2016. Kia has since resolved the problem and has replaced older models that were built with this defect. The newer models of the Kia Soul have avoided any issues with fire, so it is recommended to buy from the newer models.
Should you be worried about any of these potential Kia Soul problems? Not at all. The Kia Soul is known for its reliability throughout all generations of models. While every vehicle has problems of its own, the Kia Soul has done a great job at eliminating most of those. Still, it is recommended to keep in touch with your Kia dealer to find out if there are any recall notices. Additionally, it goes without saying that many of these common problems can be easily prevented by regular maintenance and gentle care. The Kia Soul was designed to provide drivers and passengers with ease on the road.
“It is a fun car that is practical for an active life. I am able to carry my kayaks on top, with a lowish roof easy to put them on top. Also with the seats down, it has plenty of room to carry camping equipment or bicycles. It is a safe car with good visibility, large brake lights, and Yes I have the ‘Alien’ green color that keeps other cars away from me. In 2014 they had a manual transmission; so I was able to teach my daughter how to drive stick… awesome! The car has been very reliable and minimal upkeep maintenance in 7 years. It is good on gas mileage too, so low cost to own with a long commute every day.” – David Layer
“The Kia Soul straddles the line between subcompact SUV and hatchback. Whatever you want to call it, the boxy Soul is versatile, roomy, and an excellent value. It’s one of the best ways to get a new car that stands out from the crowd on a modest budget. Just a few things we love about the Soul include the funky look, shockingly roomy interior, and one of our favorite infotainment systems in the business.” – Kelley Blue Book
“Kia has created a very high-quality product in their 2017 Soul EV. It is a fantastic winter car, with heated seats, and steering wheel, iPhone app to warm it up while plugged in. We use it as our urban car in a two-car household. You may not even need a 220-volt charger, ours works fine on the supplied 110-volt charger. We leased it but we plan to purchase it at lease end.” – Jeff
Buy Kia Soul Replacement Heads at Clearwater Cylinder Head
With over 50,000 happy clients and 25+ years of business, Clearwater Cylinder Head prioritizes customer satisfaction through our top-quality cylinder heads. Just like the high mileage stories, we are all about producing a reliable product that is worth your money. Our employees are dedicated to manufacturing, inspecting, restoring, and replacing cylinder heads on all vehicles. If you are looking for a replacement cylinder head or just an inspection, then Clearwater Cylinder Head is the place to call. Our team is happy to assist you with any questions regarding cylinder head selection.
Please call us to inquire about new cylinder heads for your vehicle by calling us toll-free at 1-800-572-1963. We look forward to serving you!