Different people have different perspective, isn't it? Take the 2018 Kia Soul, for example: in the US, college kids love its boxy and modish look while in another part of the world, people enjoy the practicality of Soul's decent interior proportion. So, whether you are looking for a cool or practical, or indeed both, the Kia Soul is an apt and relatively affordable option to go for.
The 2018 Kia Soul is available with three different powertrain options. The Soul base is mated to a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. A pinch of extra power is available with the Plus trim's 2.0-liter four-cylinder. On top and best of the bunch is the Exclaim (!) with 201-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It also comes with leather trimmings on the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob. An automatic transmission is standard on the Plus and Exclaim and optional on the base Soul, which comes with a six-speed manual.
7.9/10 Fuel Economy
The Soul is an outstanding vehicle. It stands out form its competitors and excels in many areas. It feels solid – from its upscale cabin to its polished handling – and it’s delightful to drive. Prices for the Soul starts from $16,100 for the base trim and goes up to $22,800 for the Soul Exclaim (!).
2018 Kia Soul Features
There is certainly no shortage of trim to choose from if you are planning to buy the 2018 Kia Soul. The gasoline-powered soul is available in three trim levels: base, Plus (+) and Exclaim (!). This car is also available as the all-electric Soul EV. Prices for the Soul starts form $16,100 and goes up to $22,800 for the top trim. As every Soul edition has a different powertrain, picking the right one depends on both the features you want and the amount of pep you prefer.
Black Cloth/Leather Seat Trim w/ Orange Contrast Stitching.
Soul base comes standard with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is available for $1,600. Plus trim is powered by 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The exclaim stands out with its turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which is matched with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This top-of-the-line edition also comes with leather trimmings on the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob.
Confused? We will help you find the best trim
Even the makes up for a good choice for the price, but Kia does not offer any package with this trim. The Exclaim trims meanwhile add extra swank along with a peppy turbocharged engine. It also comes fitted with extras like leather-trimmed seats and enhanced smartphone integration.
2018 Kia Soul Engine
"The 2018 Kia Soul is fun to drive, with uplevel models exuding a hint of sportiness. Among its four powertrain options are a lackluster base engine, an animated turbocharged engine, and an all-electric Soul EV that’s available in select markets. The Soul feels stable on the highway, but it gets terrible gas mileage for a compact car." - Cars.usnews.com
Engine and Transmission
The base Soul’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder makes 131 horsepower and can be paired with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the mid-range Plus (“+”) model makes 161 horsepower, and it’s matched up to a six-speed automatic. The Soul Plus isn’t quick, but drivers will feel more confident pulling out into traffic than with the base engine. The six-speed automatic shifts lazily, though.
The best of the bunch is the turbocharged four-cylinder the Soul Exclaim (!). With 201 horsepower on tap, it’s downright quick, and a heavy-throttle start will easily spin the front wheels. When they do, don’t expect any help from the all-wheel-drive system, because the Soul doesn’t offer one.
Hyundai Elantra GT
1.6-liter 4-cylinder Gas engine
1.8LInline 4 Gas Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
2.0LInline 4 Gas Engine
6 speed manual
6 speed Manual
6 speed Automatic
130hp @ 6300 rpm
141hp @ 6500 rpm
161hp @ 6200 rpm
146hp @ 6000 rpm
118 ft-lbs @ 4850 rpm
127 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm
150 ft-lbs. @ 4700 rpm
146 ft-lbs. @ 2800 rpm
Priced the lowest the base Kia Soul delivers much less than what's already on the table. Cars lie Hyundai Elantra features 30 more ponies by adding a little more than $1500. Other cars like the Mazda CX and HR-V might feel a little over priced but they too have more power.
The base 1.6-liter 4-cylinder and the Plus’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder provide sleepy acceleration and only manages to make to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds making it one of the slowest in the segment. Respectively, the fire breather is the Exclaim’s 1.6-liter turbo-4. Its 6.5 second 0-60-mph time makes it a quick hot hatch, outclassing other in the class. The 2.0-liter provides enough power for the casual driver, but the turbo’s 201 horsepower gives the Soul the speed to live up to its youthful exterior styling.
Hyundai Elantra GT
17.0 sec @ 80.4 mph
16.8 sec @ 80.9 mph
15.5 sec @ 90.7 mph
16.3 sec @ 83.3 mph
EmissionTons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year
The power deficient engine makes the Kia Soul the slowest in the lot. The Hyundai Elanta GT is teh fastest, courtesy of the high powered engine. The Mazda CX follwed its foot steps but was a tad slower. On the other hand, the HR-V matched the Soul with simialr perfromance.
Braking and Handling
The Soul is surprisingly agile and, dare we say, it’s fun on the winding road as well. Although it takes a little getting used to, you can drive it much harder than you would expect. The dual-clutch automatic transmission in the turbocharged exclaim can be annoyingly hesitant in traffic. Otherwise, with the other trims, the Soul is very easy to drive with confidence whether you are commuting, maneuvering in a tight spot or blasting some fun roads.
The front-wheel-drive Soul isn’t quite as responsive as its styling suggests, but it’s smooth and stable on the highway. Body roll is at a minimum, and steering effort feels right at all speed. It lightens up at the parking lot and gets heavier as speed increases.
Hyundai Elantra GT
Brake pads Rear(in)
60-0 MPH (ft.)
Kia has equipped Soul with 4-Wheel Disc Brakes with Anti-Lock Braking System which is the foundation of Kia’s active safety system. The Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) uses electronic sensors at each wheel hub to detect when wheels begin to skid. If skidding under braking is detected, ABS modulates brake force to reduce skidding, which in turn allows for reduced braking distances in addition to helping you maintain control of your vehicle.
2018 Kia Soul Fuel Economy
The Kia Soul doesn’t earn the stellar fuel economy rating when compared to others in the class. The base Soul earns EPA rating of 25 mpg city, 30 mpg highways and 27 mpg Combined when it’s outfitted with a 6-speed automatic. With the available 6-speed manual, mileage drops to 24/30/27 mpg. The Plus model equipped with 2.0-liter inline-4 is rated at 25/30/27 mpg. The top trim Exclaim with a 1.6-liter turbo-4 is the most efficient hatch under the nameplate and pegs 26/31/28 mpg. Other compact SUV like the Mazda CX3 fare better than the Soul.
Hyundai Elantra GT
Mpg city mpg
Mpg highway mpg
Mpg combine mpg
Efficiency is the Soul's strong suit. You will find decent fuel economy numbers and perhaps more than what a usual buyer desire. However, the competition can deliver more. The Mazda's 31 mpg of combined mileage makes it the king of the hill in the efficiency territory, while the other 3 feature similar numbers.
2018 Kia Soul Interior
"The 2018 Kia Soul has a standout interior. High-quality materials, spacious seats, and a massive cargo area are among its highlights. Upgrades like heated seats and a user-friendly infotainment system add even more flair." - Cars.usnews.com
Seating and Comfort
The Soul has more room than subcompact SUV competitors. Its cabin feels big and spacious, even if you ignore its relatively small footprint. The rear seats are especially spacious, with plenty of head- and legroom for taller passengers. The panoramic sunroof enhances the sense of space. Soul’s tall doors help even the tallest of the rider in getting in and out a breeze, even in a tight spot.
Hyundai Elantra GT
Materials quality and construction are slightly better than expected for a car at this price. Even better materials and nicer seat upholstery can be found in the top Exclaim trim and with the Plus Primo package. You sit tall in the Soul than in a sedan, but not quite as high as in a typical compact SUV. It’s an excellent compromise that gives you a good view of the road.
Available features include:
10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
8-way power-adjustable passenger seat
Combination cloth/leather seats
Heated and ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
Heated steering wheel
“Kia’s infotainment system continues to be one of the best because it’s easy to use and logical.” -Motor Trend
The new Soul 2018 boasts a load of appealing tech features, but mostly as optional extras that add up quickly. Its UVO infotainment system is intuitive and decently responsive, which helps justify its extra cost. The base Soul comes equipped with:
Bluetooth &USB port
UVO infotainment interface (paired with either a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen)
Android Auto & Apple CarPlay,
Harman Kardon audio system
Thanks to its boxy shape, the Soul makes use of most of the available space. Going by the numbers, the Soul offers up to 61.3 cubic feet of cargo space, when the rear seats are folded down, or a maximum of 24.2 cubic feet with the rear seats in use by the people. Cargo space is ample and is better than most hatchback and subcompact SUVs, and it is even better than some compact SUVs.
Hyundai Elantra GT
Behind Second Row(cube ft.)
Second Row Folded (cube ft.)
All four cars share a similar 24 cubic feet of boot space. The difference lies in the expandable cargo bay, the Kia delivers 61.2 cubic feet of cargo bay while the other feature much less.
2018 Kia Soul Exterior
"Cheap and cheerful is no epithet. The 2018 Kia Soul fits those bills, and it carries off a fair amount of styling panache despite its economy-car roots. Now in its second generation, the Kia Soul still has the functionally blessed proportions of the original, though the details have matured in this second edition. The windshield pillar still stands at abrupt attention, and the rearward cant of the roofline relieves some of the boxy profile." - The Car Connection
Dimension and Weight
Being the shortest in the class, Kia Soul is both funky and stylish. No matter how it’s equipped, it stands out in traffic. For the 2018 Kia gave a brighter look to the Soul by the introduction of a new paint color: Wild Orange. The expensive versions of the Soul wear gloss black and red trim, and most models have body-color bumpers, which unify the look. Still, even the base models aren’t shy on style, and that’s rare for cars priced well under $20,000.
Hyundai Elantra GT
Track width(in) F/R
Non-turbo mates with 18-inch alloy wheels
Dual exhaust tips
LED fog lights
2018 Kia Soul Safety
The NHTSA merited a 5-star overall rating, though some sub-test score checks in at 4-star. According to IIHS a Soul fitted with the optional automatic emergency braking and HID headlights earns it Top Safety Pick+ award. The 2018 Kia Soul comes with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger
Overall Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Front Seat
Small overlap front driver side
Small overlap front Passenger side
Moderate overlap front
Head restraints & seats
Crash Prevention and Mitigation
Frontal Crash Prevention
Child Seat Anchors
With a 5-star safety rating, good crashworthiness a full complement of airbags provides reasonable safety measures. Now with automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control as added features, the Soul provides an even more inclusive package of active safety techs, some of which are mentioned below:
Dual Front Advanced Airbags
Dual Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags
3-Point Seat-Belts for All Seating Positions
Front Seat-Belt Pretensioners
4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/ Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)
Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Side-Impact Door Beams
Front and Rear Crumple Zones
Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)
2018 Kia Soul Competition
Kia Soul Vs Honda HR-V
Honda HR-V solitary engine is slow to accelerate as compared to Kia Soul which give you a more pleasurable drive. For the most part, Soul’s cabin is more pleasant, thanks to its comfortable seats and user-friendly infotainment system. Although, the HR-V is available with all-wheel drive, unlike the Soul.
Kia Soul VS Mazda CX-3
The Mazda CX-3 is quick and has sharp handling, making it a better pick for the thrill-seeking drivers. The cabin is upscale and modern, but it lacks the dimensions that the Soul has. For the shopaholic, who want a roomy back seat or substantial cargo space should stick to the Soul.
Kia Soul vs Hyundai Elantra GT
The Hyundai Elantra GT is about the same width as the Kia Soul. For some people, bigger is better. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll be happier with the Hyundai Elantra GT, which is slightly longer than the Kia Soul. Although, passengers in the back seat will be able to stretch out a lot more in the Kia Soul due to its greater head and legroom. When it comes to drivetrain GT and Soul do an equal job.
2018 Kia Soul Final Verdict
The Kia Soul 2018 is more appealing than some of its competitors in few ways. It has a roomier interior, with greater cargo and rear seat space than the often-cramped competition that deserves the name “subcompact”. It’s crash scores are extraordinary. The soul is also available in more power than some of its rivals with the top trim offering 201 horsepower. Then there is Soul list of comfort, convenience and infotainment items which is offered at an astounding price. You can get a lot more for your money by opting for the Soul.
The biggest drawback is that the soul does not come with all-wheel drive, which is something those subcompact SUVs typically offer. Its fuel economy, regardless of engine, also disappoints. It should be a concern for the buyer who looks at the Soul as a more compact car. As a whole, however, Soul is an attractive little package which should be a fashionable yet value-rick addition to your garage.