2015 Kia Soul

Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4 man trans

2015 kia soul Reviews and News

Compact Cross Utes Lead
Americans love utility vehicles, no matter the size or shape. That idea of a multi-use box on wheels that can carry your stuff and your friends with ease is irresistible. But considering how much the SUV ideal has changed since the truck-based Explorers and 4Runners of the 1990s, today’s rising tide of crossovers is disappointingly homogenous. They’re all just blob-shaped, all-wheel-drive appliances that are becoming harder and harder to tell apart.
You can always count on more change, though, and a new crop of even smaller boxes is bringing a bit of excitement to the party. This group of so-called “subcompact crossovers”—including the 2015 Kia Soul, the 2015 Jeep Renegade, the 2016 Honda HR-V, the 2016 Mazda CX-3, and the 2015 Nissan Juke—is not boring. Though they’re all based on subcompact car chassis, no one formula for this type of car has yet emerged as the one to beat (that is, copy). A broad range of powertrain setups and sizes, in addition to glaringly different personalities, keeps things interesting.
Compact Cross Utes Group
We gathered this group to decide which one we’d most like to park in our garage. Lacking a clear rubric to grade vehicles in this fresh segment, we simply did what we do best: Drive too fast, fiddle with every button and touchscreen, and pile into every back seat. These being (or at least claiming to be) utility vehicles, we also made sure to load them every which way with all manner of stuff. Here’s how they stack up:
5. Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade Limited 4 4 Front Three Quarter In Motion

+Distinctive, rugged appearance
+Nicely finished interior
+More off-road capable than the others
-Lazy, slow-shifting transmission
-Expensive
-Poor fuel economy
For many people, the Jeep Renegade’s looks alone will be enough to put it at the top of their list. We don’t blame them. More distinctive than any of the other four competitors inside and out, the Renegade manages to communicate classic Jeep coolness into a small and affordable package. Jeep design cues such as the slatted grille combine with a well-proportioned, boxy shape to create a convincingly rough-and-tumble trucklet. If you simply want a cheap Jeep, this Fiat-based crossover is a no-brainer—and a smarter buy than a Wrangler unless you plan on serious off-roading.
2015 Jeep Renegade Limited 4 4 Cabin 01
But if you’re looking for a small crossover for any practical purpose, you can do better. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is thrashy, and the nine-speed automatic makes the engine’s 180 horsepower unavailable most of the time. “It takes so long to shift I could time it in minutes,” complained daily news editor Jake Holmes. On the bright side, we do like the Renegade’s steering, and its relatively planted ride and handling make it feel far less tippy than you’d think given its 66.5-inch overall height (nearly half a foot taller than the diminutive Mazda).
There isn’t as much space inside the tall, boxy body as we expected. We couldn’t fit a bike in without taking the front wheel off, as the narrow cargo opening and high liftover height make it difficult to use the entirety of the relatively capacious 50.8 cubic feet of space (with the seats folded). At least that space is nicely trimmed, with a pleasing color scheme and plenty of cutesy Easter eggs that play up the Jeep brand’s heritage.
The Jeep also returns poor fuel economy considering its size. It can’t even manage 30 mpg on the highway, which is less surprising when you realize it weighs 400 to 500 pounds more than the lightest in this group, the Mazda and the Kia. As senior editor David Zenlea said, “When you strip away the Jeep charm, you’re left with a fat, unrefined Fiat.”
2015 Jeep Renegade Limited 4 4 Rear Three Quarter In Motion

2015 Jeep Renegade Limited 4x4 Specifications

Base Price: $27,790
Price As Tested: $31,810
Engine: 2.4L DOHC 16-valve I-4/180 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 175 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
Transmission:9-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: 21/29 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 166.6 x 74.2 x 66.5 in
Wheelbase: 101.2 in
Cargo Room (Seats up/down): 18.5/50.8 cu ft
Weight: 3,348 lb
0-60 MPH: 9.0 sec
Top Speed: N/A

4. Nissan Juke
2015 Nissan Juke SL AWD Front Three Quarter In Motion 01

+Punchy turbo engine
+Sporty, responsive handling
+ Offbeat styling (if you like it)
-Offbeat styling (if you hate it)
-Small inside
-Dated interior
The funky little Nissan Juke is the oldest car here, but its fun-loving character hasn’t worn out its welcome. Neither has the flat-out weird styling. Some will hate it; others, us included, will love it. Do beware that the Juke’s sloping rear end severely limits space in the cargo area, and the rear seat is decidedly cramped for two, let alone three passengers.
2015 Nissan Juke SL AWD Cabin
The spunky styling is also backed up by some real verve: We’re fans of the punchy, 188-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, which combines with a responsive CVT (yes, there is such a thing) to provide strong mid-range torque. The handling is fun, too. “The Juke has a nimble, tossable feel to it, and the steering is precise and accurate,” noted daily news editor Eric Weiner.
The Juke’s age starts to show on the inside, where the tiny touchscreen and subpar plastics remind us too much of a ratty old subcompact. And yet the Nissan still costs $28,225, the second-highest here, and lacks active safety features such as the blind-spot monitors found on the Mazda, the Jeep, and the Kia. The cabin isn’t completely devoid of party tricks, though—we delighted our friends with the center stack buttons that magically switch from climate controls to drive-mode switches on command, and the 360-degree camera view is useful in parking lots.
The Juke has never been easy to categorize, and its appeal defies its low ranking. If space is not your highest priority and you like the look, the Juke will still put a smile on your face.
2015 Nissan Juke SL AWD Rear Three Quarter In Motion

2015 Nissan Juke SL AWD Specifications

Base Price: $27,765
Price As Tested: $28,225
Engine: 1.6L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/188 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 177 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
Transmission:Continuously variable
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: 26/31 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 162.4 x 69.5 x 61.8 in
Wheelbase: 99.6 in
Cargo Room: 10.5/35.9 cu ft
Weight: 3,209 lb
0-60 MPH: 7.4 sec
Top Speed: N/A

3. Honda HR-V
2016 Honda HR V AWD EX L Front Three Quarter In Motion

+Cavernous, configurable interior
+Strong value for money
+Smooth ride
-Sluggish CVT
-Outdated, unintuitive touchscreen
-Uninspired styling
The Honda HR-V makes the most sense of any vehicle here. Its eminently configurable and spacious interior offers incredible utility in a small package and lives up to Honda's reputation for genius packaging. With the bottom seat cushions flipped up, we stood up two bikes in the rear seat while still leaving all 23.2 cubic feet of space in the cargo area wide open. Take it camping, load it up with friends, fill it to the brim with your monthly Costco bounty—the HR-V seems like it's up for anything.
2016 Honda HR V AWD EX L Cabin
Up for anything, that is, except for having fun. The powertrain is a letdown, with an unresponsive CVT that’s loath to let the 1.8-liter four-cylinder rev anywhere near its torque peak. "Lots of unrefined noise without much acceleration in return," senior editor David Zenlea said. Light steering helps with parking-lot maneuverability but combines with the soft suspension for lazy, boring driving. It’s hard to believe this is based on the zippy Honda Fit. To its credit, the HR-V does provide a comfortable, composed ride, and matches the Mazda for the best fuel economy ratings of the bunch.
The Honda also offers good value. Our loaded, all-wheel-drive EX-L model comes in at $26,750, the second-cheapest in this group, and comes with features such as navigation, heated seats, a sunroof, and Honda’s blind-spot camera system. However, all this good sense is spoiled by a frustrating touch-sensitive interface. The counterintuitive infotainment screen unnecessarily complicates tasks as simple as adjusting the stereo volume. What happened to Honda’s commitment to simple, easy-to-use interiors? The dashboard's sleek look certainly isn't worth the compromise in usability, especially considering it comes in such a bland package.
If you're dead-set on an HR-V and its class-leading practicality, it’s best to forgo the EX-L’s extra features and choose the base LX model, which has more traditional controls and can be had with a stick.
2016 Honda HR V AWD EX L Rear Three Quarter In Motion

2016 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L Navi Specifications

Base Price: $26,720
Price As Tested: $26,720
Engine: 1.8L SOHC 16-valve I-4/141 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 127 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm
Transmission:Continuously variable
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: 27/32 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 169.1 x 69.8 x 63.2 in
Wheelbase: 102.8 in
Cargo Room: 23.2/55.9 cu ft
Weight: 3,109 lb
0-60 MPH: 9.5 sec
Top Speed: N/A

2. Mazda CX-3
2016 Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring AWD Side Profile In Motion

+Crisp, fun handling
+Sharp design inside and out
+High-quality interior materials
-Cramped rear seat
-Tiny, impractical cargo area
-Limited outward visibility
The attractive Mazda CX-3 is a foil for the dowdy-looking Honda; in the CX-3, function is clearly less important than form. Our knees rubbed against the front seatbacks while sitting in the rear, and the rising beltline means that your passengers have a pillbox view outside. We had trouble fitting much stuff in the cargo area, too. It’s not just the paltry amount of space available (only 10.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats)—the tailgate opening is also the smallest of all these cars, and the liftover height is among the highest.
2016 Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring AWD Cabin 01
Yet for all those objective shortcomings, Mazda's smallest crossover overdelivers on just about every subjective category. It drives better than any other car in this comparison and looks sharp enough inside and out to warrant a premium badge. And unlike the other fashion-first vehicle in this test, the Renegade, it has the substance to back up its style. Its sophistication is evident in everything from the quick-shifting automatic transmission and the accurate steering to the solid-feeling infotainment control knob, which wouldn’t be out of place in a Mercedes-Benz. “I'd rather go to a job interview driving this than any of the others,” said photographer Patrick Hoey. For all that, the Mazda is still affordable to buy and operate. Our well-equipped Grand Touring model costs $27,120 and gets impressive fuel economy even with all-wheel drive.
What to make of such a good car that happens to be a terrible crossover? Zenlea likened the CX-3 to a sort of budget alternative to the Range Rover Evoque, pointing out that the Mazda is “expressly designed to look unconventional, not to be utilitarian.” This stylish, sporty little box is certainly likable, but more than any of its competitors—even the silly Juke—it makes us ask, “Why?” Unless the CX-3’s crisp styling and all-wheel drive are must-haves, you’re better off buying a cheaper, more efficient, and just as fun-to-drive Mazda3 hatchback.
2016 Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring AWD Rear Three Quarter In Motion

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD Specifications

Base Price: $27,120
Price As Tested: $27,670
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/146 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 146 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm
Transmission:6-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: 27/32 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 168.3 x 69.6 x 60.7 in
Wheelbase: 101.2 in
Cargo Room: 10.1/42.3 cu ft
Weight: 2,952 lb
0-60 MPH: 8.6 sec
Top Speed: 118 mph

1. Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul Front Three Quarter In Motion 01

+Swanky interior with lots of kit
+Comfortable rear seat
+Refined ride and powertrain
-No AWD option
-No handling verve
-So-so fuel economy
The Kia Soul has been playing this game a little longer than the others in this comparison. Now in its second generation, the fast-selling Soul has matured into a refined, attractive, pleasant-to-drive box that does just about everything well while asking for fewer compromises than any of its competitors. It is nearly as nice as the Mazda inside and out, but is nearly as practical as the Honda. Its refined four-cylinder pairs with a fast-responding six-speed automatic that is never caught flat-footed. The fine art of suspension tuning has long eluded Kia engineers, but the Soul finally gets it just right with a composed, quiet ride.
2015 Kia Soul Cabin 02
One major shortcoming for some will be the Soul’s lack of optional all-wheel drive. Kia officials say it’s coming. In the meantime, this Michigan-based staff is confident that with a good set of winter tires, there are few places this high-riding front-wheel-drive box won’t be able to take you.
You’ll definitely have cash leftover for tires because the Kia is the cheapest car in our test (and would remain so even if you were to add a hypothetical $1,500 for all-wheel drive). It’s paradoxically one of the best equipped. For our test car’s price of $24,750, you get a heaping load of luxury features, including a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, and heated rear seats. It’s all thoughtfully arranged and handsomely appointed. “Not only is the infotainment system useful, clear, and attractive, there is handsome stitching and leather all over,” noted Weiner.
All in all, the Soul looks and feels like something more than just a little car, which is, we suspect, the most important point in this young segment.
2015 Kia Soul Rear Three Quarter In Motion

2015 Kia Soul + Specifications

Base Price: $19,515
Price As Tested: $24,750
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/164 hp @ 6,200 rpm, 151 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission:6-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD wagon
EPA Mileage: 23/31 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 163.0 x 70.9 x 63.0 in
Wheelbase: 101.2 in
Cargo Room: 18.8/49.5 cu ft
Weight: 2,837 lb
0-60 MPH: 8.6 sec
Top Speed: 118 mph
2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul

New for 2015

The 2015 Kia Soul adds the UVO eServices package as an option to the Base trim, and the Umber Color Package to the Exclaim trim.

Vehicle Overview

The Kia Soul is a five-passenger four-door compact hatchback that fits above the Rio and, in price, alongside the compact Forte in the automaker’s lineup. A zero-emission electric Kia Soul is also available.

Summary

The front-drive 2015 Kia Soul hatchback can be equipped with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The base engine is a 1.6-liter I-4 that makes 130 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque, and is good for an EPA-estimated 24/30 mpg city/highway with either available transmission. The more powerful engine, a highly recommend upgrade in our books, is a 164-hp 2.0-liter I-4 that churns out 151 lb-ft of torque, and is rated at an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg, only comes paired to the automatic, and can be equipped with an eco-package (Plus trim only) that bumps city mpg to 24. We'd go with the 2.0-liter I-4 engine, which comes standard on the mid- and high-level trims is roughly matches the fuel economy of the smaller engine.
The 2015 Soul has a number of interesting standard and optional features -- some not available at any price on its competitors. A three-mode adjustable steering system is standard, while a sound system with color-changing speakers, navigation on an 8-inch screen, an engine stop-start system, hands-free keyless access, Nappa leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, HID headlights, and a panoramic sunroof are all optional.
The 2015 Kia Soul received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and is considered a 2014 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

Soul EV

The Soul EV is powered by a 109-hp electric motor that produces 210 lb-ft of torque, and feeds the power through a single speed transmission to the front wheels. The EPA rates the Kia for 93 miles of driving range, putting the Soul EV second to only the Tesla Model S in the segment. Three charging ports allow for a range of charge times: 120-volt in 24-hours, 240-volt in 4-5 hours, and at a fast-charging 480-volt station takes just 33 minutes to charge to 80%.

What We Think

The Kia Soul has been an unexpected hit in the small car category, bringing value and versatility to the segment. Revisions in 2014 made the Soul’s ride quieter and more stable, while the steering has been improved. In a Comparison between a 2014 Kia Soul and a 2014 Corolla LE Plus the Kia was selected as the better car because it is more of a total package. One editor said, “This is the first Kia I’ve driven that has good steering weight and overall dynamics.” We called the suspension “planted and solid,” even over rough Michigan roads.
In the Soul EV we noted that Kia planned an electric version of the hatchback from the design stage of the second-generation car, which means the battery is placed low below the seats. The lower center of gravity, and the relatively mild loss of storage space, meant for a less compromised vehicle than is typical with electric versions of popular compacts. The low center of gravity also helped the balance of the Soul EV, contributing to a planted feeling that lacked body roll. No matter the flavor, the Soul is a refreshing take on the compact car, infusing some crossover elements of versatility, without losing the value expected in the segment.
You’ll Like
  • More powerful 2.0-liter I-4 matches the fuel economy of the smaller engine
  • Electric version fun to drive
You Won’t Like
  • Fuel economy not class leading
  • Getting the base 1.6-liter
  • Can only get EV in select markets
Key Competitors
  • Nissan Juke
  • Fiat 500L
  • Mini Countryman
  • Honda Fit
  • Toyota Corolla

Rating

4
Kia Trailster Concept Front Three Quarter
The Kia Soul is already a huge hit in the U.S. -- over 145,000 units were sold here in 2014 -- and what better way to broaden this boxy hatchback’s appeal than to jump onto the growing crossover wave with an all-wheel-drive, CUV-like version of the Soul?
Kia Trailster E AWD Rear Teaser
Last week, we saw a teaser photo of Kia’s debut for the 2015 Chicago auto show, and we now know that this all-wheel-drive, Kia Soul-based concept is called the Kia Trail’ster.
Kia Soul Concept Teaser Chicago
The popular Kia Soul will spawn an off-road-oriented concept variant if this teaser photo is any indication. Kia says this new “rugged runabout” concept vehicle has all-wheel-drive and is set to debut at the upcoming Chicago auto show February 12.
2015 Kia Soul IIHS During Test
After lackluster crash-test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Kia has revised the 2015 Kia Soul and 2015 Kia Forte models to improve performance on the difficult small-overlap test. The 2015 Soul now qualifies as an IIHS Top Safety Pick thanks to its improved performance, although the 2015 Forte still falls short of this award.

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New 2015 Kia Soul Pricing

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$14,890
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
$15,100
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2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
24 MPG City | 30 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
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1
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2
2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
24 MPG City | 30 MPG Hwy
rank
3
2015 Scion xB
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
22 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
rank
1
2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
$15,100
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
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1
2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
$15,100
rank
3
2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
130hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
rank
3
2015 Kia Soul
2015 Kia Soul
Base FWD 4-Dr Wagon I4
130hp

2015 Kia Soul Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
1.6L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
24 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
30 MPG
Horsepower:
130 hp @ 6300rpm
Torque:
118 ft lb of torque @ 4850rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
60,000 miles / 60 months
Powertrain
100,000 miles / 120 months
Corrosion
100,000 miles / 60 months
Roadside
60,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:51
Component
STEERING
Summary
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2014-2016 Kia Soul and Soul EV vehicles manufactured January 18, 2014, to September 30, 2015. In the affected vehicles, the adhesive used to secure the steering pinion gear to the steering gear assembly may have insufficient strength, and as a result, the pinion gear may separate from the steering gear assembly.
Consequences
If the pinion gear separates, there would be a loss of steering which could increase the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the pinion plug that secures the pinion gear. Dealers will also install a set bolt for additional reinforcement. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin December 22, 2015. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC125.
Potential Units Affected
256,459
Notes
Kia Motors America


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:50
Component
VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL:ACCELERATOR PEDAL
Summary
Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Soul and Soul electric vehicles manufactured July 21, 2013, to January 8, 2015. A section of the accelerator pedal may bend and fracture.
Consequences
If the vehicle has a bent or broken accelerator pedal, the driver may have difficulty accelerating the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will add a supporting rubber underneath the pedal stopper, free of charge. The recall began on March 24, 2015. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC116.
Potential Units Affected
208,858
Notes
Kia Motors America


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
5
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
4
NHTSA Rating Front Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Overall
5
NHTSA Rating Rollover
4
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
IIHS Best Pick
1
IIHS Rear Crash
Good
IIHS Roof Strength
Good
IIHS Front Small Overlap
Good

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2015 Kia Soul

Depreciation
30.1%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$8,333
30.1%
Insurance
$6,255
22.6%
Fuel Cost
$8,994
32.5%
Financing
$1,606
5.8%
Maintenance
$1,940
7%
Repair Costs
$170
0.6%
State Fees
$343
1.2%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $27,641 What's This?
Value Rating: Above Average