Kia has been producing and selling the Kia Soul all over the world since 2008. It is one of Kia’s best-selling models, as it is a dependable and value-packed crossover.
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However, despite its lovely features, not all Kia Soul model years offer the same experience for owners.
We explore the best and the worst model years below. Read along to know which model year to opt for when purchasing a used Kia Soul.
The Best and Worst Years for the Kia Soul Are:
The best Kia Soul model years are those from 2010, 2011, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. These model years have gotten the least complaints so far.
However, the model years 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 have gotten the most complaints and concerns from owners, making them the worst model years.
What Kia Soul Years Are the Most Reliable?
2010 Kia Soul
The 2010 Kia Soul is a dependable car, according to reports from most owners and car critics. Compared to other model years, this model year has received fewer complaints than most cars.
So far, some owners claimed their 2010 Soul is yet to experience any significant issues even after logging over 115,000 miles.
According to Car.com’s consumer reviews, the 2010 Soul has a rating of 4.6 stars overall ratings from 97 reviews in total. 93% of owners recommended the car according to the survey.
According to J.D Power, the 2010 Kia Soul has a quality and reliability rating of 77 out of 100, and an overall rating of 78 out of 100, while U.S. News rated it 8.5 out of 10 scores.
All these ratings proved the 2010 Kia Soul is quite reliable.
However, getting a 2010 Kia Soul means it is crucial to maintain routine maintenance because some owners, though few, have reported needing to repair the brakes more frequently than expected.
2011 Kia Soul
Another model year that has gotten one of the best reviews is the 2011 Kia Soul. From reports, this Soul model year has only minor electrical and braking issues for up to 250,000 kilometers.
It has proven to be a dependable car and has above-average owner satisfaction ratings. According to Cars.com, the 2011 Soul has 4.7 stars out of 5 according to its consumer review. 96% of 112 owners also recommend the car.
U.S. News awarded this car an 8.4 out of 10 overall score, while the NHTSA awarded it 4 out of 5 stars for safety. J.D. Power also awarded the car a quality and reliability score of 82 out of 100.
There have been two recalls for the 2011 Kia Soul. These recalls include issues with the sunroof and airbag system. However, despite these problems, many owners still favor and find the 2011 Kia Soul to be a dependable vehicle.
2018 Kia Soul
The 2018 Kia Soul offers a long list of standard and optional features, an attractive/spacious cabin passenger, low ownership cost, and good reliability ratings, among others.
According to Cars.com, the 2018 Kia Soul has an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 stars from its consumer reviews. 97% of 411 drivers also recommended the Soul.
According to J.D. Power, the 2018 Kia Soul has an above-average expected reliability rating of four out of five.
U.S. News also awarded it first place in its 2018 Best Compact Car with a score of 8.8 out of 10 and it received a 5-star rating for crashworthiness from the NHTSA.
The 2018 Soul has gotten only one recall so far. It involves airbags that don’t deploy properly. However, overall, there are only a few reports of issues from owners.
Some have complained about, stiff rides and noisy interiors. However, despite these problems, the Kia Soul has received mostly positive reviews.
2019 Kia Soul
Another Kia Soul model year with the least complaints from owners is 2019.
With a low starting price, a fantastic warranty, a stylish interior with simple control, and a lot of intriguing features, the 2019 Kia Soul provides buyers with excellent value.
According to Cars.com’s consumer review, the 2019 Soul has an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, and 96% of recommendations out of 150 reviews.
According to U.S. News, the 2019 Soul ranks number 1 in the 2019 Best Compact Car and has a score of 8.6 out of 10. J.D. Power also ranked this car 90 out of 100 in quality and reliability.
The 2019 Kia Soul got a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also named it a Top Safety Pick.
There is only one recall for the 2019 Kia Soul. However, according to owners and car critics, the 2019 Kia Soul is an impressive vehicle to opt for.
You should also explore how long Kia Souls last.
2021 Kia Soul
The 2021 Kia Soul has received a commendation for its unique and funky style, spacious cabin, advanced safety technology, high-tech cabin, good mileage, and others.
According to Cars.com consumer reviews, the 2021 Kia Soul has 4.7 out of 5 stars, and 90% recommendations from 72 reviews.
It won the U.S. News’ Best Sub-compact SUV of 2021 with 8.3 out of 10 scores and got awarded the predicted reliability rating of 89 out of 10o.
J.D. Power awarded the 2021 Kia Soul the “Highest Ranked Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle in Initial Quality” winner in their 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study.
NHTSA also awarded the 2021 Kia Soul a 4-star overall safety rating, which is above average and a good safety score.
So far, the 2021 Kia Soul also has only one recall. Overall, the Kia Soul is a popular sub-compact crossover that has received mostly positive reviews from consumers.
2022 Kia Soul
The 2022 Kia Soul is another model year with the least complaints so far, which can be owing to it still being new.
However, the 2022 Soul owing to the reliability scores of previous model years, we believe the 2022 model year should be able to perform just as most car critics.
So far, the car has received preference for its peppy base powertrain, good fuel economy, attractive boxy styling, and lots of features for the price.
According to a Cars.com consumer review, the 2022 Kia Soul has only 7 reviews so far and got a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. 57% of the reviewers also recommended the car.
U.S. News reported the 2022 Kia Soul has a predicted reliability score of 87 out of 100, which is above average.
The 2022 Kia Soul has received a 4-star overall rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. It has no recall yet.
What Kia Soul Years Should You Avoid?
Note that these Kia Soul model years are not bad in their entirety, but they have received the most complaints from owners and critics so far.
2012 Kia Soul
Though few owners have issues with their 2012 Kia Soul, it is one of the Soul model years with the most complaints.
Car Complaints recorded 69 complaints from 2012 Kia Soul owners on its site, and over 500 complaints combined with reports from NHTSA.
Most complaints involve issues with the engine, which cause it to misfire and stall.
Some owners also reported issues with the electrical system, including the power mirrors, locks, and windows, and issues with the automatic transmission, causing a jerky shifting and delayed engagement.
There are also reports of steering issues, causing the car to clunk during turns, and locking of the steering, among others.
The Kia Soul has 2 recalls from NHTSA. The first recall relates to an engine defect, while the second recall is owing to an issue with the structural design affecting airbag deployment.
For the reliability ratings, the Kia Soul scores 3.5 out of 5 from J.D. Power. Consumer Reports also rated the 2012 Kia Soul a 3 out of 5 overall reliability rating.
Note some critics also offer the 2012 Kia Soul better reliability ratings. For example, Cars.com awarded the Kia Soul 4.5 out of 5 stars.
However, going by multiple reviews, it isn’t a great model year.
2013 Kia Soul
The 2013 Kia Soul has 60 complaints overall from owners on the Car Complaints platform. It, however, increased to almost 600 complaints when combined with the complaints owners lodged with NHTSA.
While this is not too much compared to some car models, it is one of the model years with the most complaints from owners.
Complaints include engine problems, where the engine fails, handles roughly, makes a ticking noise, jerks/stops, and more.
There are also
- Electrical issues that cause the battery to go dead constantly
- Clunking noise in the steering
- Issues with brakes
- Body/paint issues, and more
According to the NHTSA, there were two safety recalls issued for the 2013 Kia Soul. The first recall is owing to a sunroof issue while the second relates to an engine control unit logic issue.
It has a reliability rating above average from most car critics. Such is the J.D. Power reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.
2014 Kia Soul
The 2014 Soul has 81 complaints on the Carcomplaints platform and around 1,000 complaints combined with complaints on the NHTSA platform. So far, this is the most complaints from owners.
Most of these complaints involve issues with the engine, where the engine knocks or loses power while driving, among others. There are also issues with the lights, electrical problems, brake problems, and more.
Most critics, however, rated the 2014 reliability ratings good scores, with a quality score of 4.5 out of 5 in the J.D. Power ratings.
This model year also recorded the most recall from NHTSA. It has 5 recalls regarding issues with the
- Airbag control unit
- Engine compartment fire
- Front impact sensors
- Catalytic converter and
- Steering gear assembly
2015 Kia Soul
- Engine issues
- AC/Heater problems
- Electrical issues
- Suspension issues
According to the NHTSA, there were 4 safety recalls issued for the 2015 Kia Soul. These recalls include issues with the
- Accelerator pedal
- Pinion plug
- Catalytic converter
The 2015 Kia Soul has a slightly above-average reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power and a rating of Good from IIHS.
What Are Some Typical Problems With the Kia Soul Models?
So far, owners have reported a few common issues in their Kia Soul over the years. We listed them below.
- Transmission problems
- Electrical Problems
- Problems with the engine
- Problems with the suspension
For more information, check our article on the common issues with Kia Soul.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.