Best Years For Kia Soul: Here’s The Complete Guide

Are you thinking of buying a Kia Soul? If so, how far you should check the timeline to help consider if the Kia Soul is a great car? The Kia Soul is among the most efficient SUV cars in the market. Since the car debuted, it has received excellent reviews regarding spaciousness and effectiveness.

The vehicle has been in its third generation since it was launched. However, the Kia Soul has different models each year. Some of them are great, while others should be avoided. Read through the article to understand the model to get and one to avoid.

Here is a brief answer about the best and worst models for Kia Soul.

The best Kia Soul models produced were in 2010, 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2022. The worst Kia Soul models were made in 2012, 2014, and 2015. If you are purchasing a Kia Soul model soon, taking note of the years before buying is essential. They will help you in decision-making.

What Are The Best Years For Kia Soul?

The Kia Soul models have received positive reviews from happy customers for many reasons. Here are the top five best Kia Soul models.

1.     2010 Kia Soul

The 2010 Kia Soul model began its journey in the US. The car is highly recommended for having unique features. For instance, the vehicle was spacious to fit a big family with 4-5 members. During its release, the car was arguably the most customizable.

The 2010 model comes with fewer economic risks and serves owners for an extended period. Out of the five car models, the 2010 Kia Soul has the highest Kelley Blue Book customer ratings of 4.5/5. The car’s angular shape also attracted most people. The interior design is spectacular.

Lastly, the 2010 Kia Soul has standard safety equipment. shared their data whereby the 2010 Kia Soul model received nine complaints that regarded engine and transmission issues.

2.     2018 Kia Soul

The 2018 Kia Soul model has a quirky design but has excellent features. The main intriguing parts of the model are:

  • Automatic temperature control
  • Latest KIS UVO system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

The main advantage of the 2018 model is that it has a spacious interior, intuitive control for tech features, and excellent crash test ratings.

If you love technologically enhanced cars at an affordable price, you can always go with the 2018 Kia Soul model.

2018 Kia Soul + Wagon Aux Jack with Media Player Shown.

The car received eight complaints, according to, regarding electrical issues. Out of the five models, the 2018 model was ranked 2nd in all vehicle review sites, where it is 4.4/5 in Edmunds, 84/100 in JD Power, and 4.4/5 in Kelly Blue Book.

3.     2019 Kia Soul

The 2019 model never failed the other models where customers experienced minor tweaks. The model has advanced technology compared to many cars during the time. The interior design of the 2019 Kia Soul is stylish and offers comfort to the users, and is easy to maneuver. The vehicle has heated outside mirrors that can easily fold.

The 2019 Kia Soul has a 5-inch touchscreen, abilities to recognize voices, and a rearview camera. The statistics from show that the model has received eight complaints about electrical and brake problems. Out of the five Kia Soul models, 2019 was ranked the highest in JD Power consumer ratings at 86/100.

4.     2021 Kia Soul

The 2021 Kia Soul is commonly known for its high value on lower trims and turbo engine power. Boxy vehicles are currently rare, like in the past years, but the 2019 Kia Soul is here to remind us about them.

The car has an extra spacious design that allows 4-5 passengers and is easy to drive, especially for beginners. It has a four-cylinder engine that includes a turbo. The model also gives you a choice between manual or automatic transmission.

From Kelly Blue Book consumer ratings, the model was rated at 4.5/5, the highest of the five models, tying with the 2010 and 2022 Kia Soul models.

Complaints from are three where they are about brakes issues, engine problems, and steering issues.

5.     2022 Kia Soul

Most people state that the 2022 model is a standard redesign of the 2021 Kia Soul model. However, the car has much better interior design features and has the most advanced driver-assist technologies. It has a 10-inch touchscreen and updated navigation features. The model is excellent in features compared to the other Kia Soul models.

The car offers drive mode options and has wireless Bluetooth technology whereby the steering is mounted with calling buttons. The vehicle can easily connect with your smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Out of the five options, the 2022 model has the highest rating in Edmunds, with 4.9/5. In Kelly Blue Book consumer rating, the model also secured the highest rating of 4.5/5, tied with the 2010 and 2021 Kia Soul models. The 2022 Kia Soul has received one complaint about interior accessory issues.

What Are The Worst Years For The Kia Soul?

The Kia Soul model has also received several complaints regarding some models. As good as some models are, there are those Kia Soul models you should keep off your mind when purchasing.

1.     2012 Kia Soul

The 2012 model was built to become the successor to the previous 2010 and 2011 models. However, there were significant issues that the users stated cornering the model. First, the users noted that the car produced too much noise even when driving on the highway. It further has less cargo space compared to the competitors at that period.

The car also had complications when transmitting to an automatic and rubbery manual transmission. The steering had a darty feeling, and the driver had to keep on rectifying it. The cushions are not comfortable for a long drive, making the users exhausted and tired. The engine base was said to be weak upon use.

Female hands on steering wheel.

The 2012 Kia Soul model received 66 complaints, according to data collected from There were 421 further problems, according to The main problem of the 2012 model was the steering.

2.     2014 Kia Soul

The 2014 model received several negative reviews and low user ratings for the poor ride and drive quality. The car was named among the most problematic model during the year. The primary issue for 2014 was the harsh riding quality as the car had large wheels. The users also complained about the high expensive when it came to adding desirable technologies.

The model also lacked the keyless entry which disappointed most drivers.

The 2014 Kia Soul allowed for UVO system voice control and navigation system, but it is impossible to get them all together. The car also experienced issues when going up hills which was related to engine issues.

The car has a thick rear pillar which served as a hindrance when changing lanes. The base Soul model does not have a back camera to help when reversing the car.

The 2014 Kia Soul has 77 complaints according to data acquired from and 892 problems according to The main issue of the car model was engine problems.

3.     2015 Kia Soul

The 2015 model performed as poorly as the 2014 model, but with the 2015 model, the main issue was fuel economy. The car had a 26mpg combined average. Other issues of the 2015 Kia Model emerged from poor riding quality which was a result of huge wheels. The add-on features installation was expensive and did not come installed upon purchase.

The model also had thick rear pillars that caused obstacles when changing lanes due to poor visibility. The boxy exterior design is not much enjoyed in the current world. Most people also declined to buy the car due to the boxy design and large wheels.

The car lacked enough cargo space that limiting people who love traveling around with their belongings. The model is not a sports car; thus people who want to experience fun could not acquire it. The car encountered sluggish acceleration due to the engine.

According to, the model received 61 complaints and 744 problems from The primary issue of the car was the engine.

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several models from Kia Soul that have received complaints. Here are the main models and the complaints.

1.     2014 Kia Soul

The model has the highest number of complaints resulting in 892 according to and 77 from

Most users stated that the brakes of the car were producing a squeaky noise. When driving, the brake pedal can fail which could lead to crashes.

The car has excessive oil consumption which drains the user’s pocket, especially when traveling for long period. The steering system lost power and produces some weird sounds. Some users noticed that the steering can detach from the column which can lead to a lack of control when driving.

Most users complained that the accelerator pedal was fracturing when driving which could lead to loss of control. Most car users complained that the engine start-stop system failed when they were required to jumpstart the car.

2.     2015 Kia Soul

The model has 744 problems according to and 61 complaints from

According to the main issues arises from:

  • A/C heater problems
  • Brakes issues where brakes could fail to function, thus leading to accidents
  • Steering problems where the steering was a bit hard to control
  • Light problems cause visibility issues, especially at night
Car driving at night.

3.     2016 Kia Soul

The model received 34 complaints according to and 479 problems according to

Most users complained about the sluggish acceleration and sometimes there was a total engine failure. Overheating problems were also experienced which led the engine light to come on and could stop without signaling the driver. The engine also lost power and other issues related to oil such as excessive consumption and low pressure after a short period.

There was a minimal number of drivers who complained about speed control issues where the car could slow down when the driver did not intend to do so.

4.     2013 Kia Soul

The model has 479 problems according to and 55 complaints from

The users mostly commented on the issue of the potential risk of fire which can cause accidents. Some cars had faulty converters where the car could overheat leading to engine failure. The car also produced funny noises and vibrations when above 70mph.

There were minimal complaints about starting the car and brakes could prematurely wear out. Approximately 96,000 users were affected by the issue of detaching headliners.

5.     2012 Kia Soul

The model has 421 problems according to and 66 complaints from

The main complaint about the car is that the cargo room is smaller compared to other competitor models. There were cases of the cheap interiors where the owners had to spend more to get the desired type of interior design. The car has a weak engine performance from the 4-cylinder engines.

The car is said to be stiff and noisy on the highway which causes discomfort when driving for long distances. The car produces clunking noise when turning.

Other drivers experienced transition shifting issues which were caused by the low levels of fluids where the user had to spend $200 to change them. There were witnessed engine failures due to high gas temperatures which could ruin the piston and rods. Replacing them could cost around $5,000.

What Problems Do Kia Souls Have?

Kia Souls have several problems when used. Here are the main issues.

2016 Kia Soul.

1.         Cruise control surge states that most Kia Soul models mostly tend to surge. This issue is seen mostly in the 2018 model. Most owners reported that the car would surge to speed and then afterward, slow down to 3 miles per hour. The drivers stated that with cruise control involved, the car could act normally.

2.         Engine starting failure

The issue of engine start has been mentioned in most Kia Soul models, especially the 2016 model. The engine could fail to start after traveling for over 10,000 miles. Some owners stated that the issue emerged one month was over after buying the car. The engine failure to start for the Kia Soul models has transmitted several negative reviews.

3.         Engine failure

Engine failure is worse than when the engine fails to start. This issue has affected the 2016 model, 2012, and 2015 models. The owners reported that the cars lost power when driving and the car stopped immediately. The most affected user’s experienced the issue after driving for 70,000- 80,000 miles.

4.         Oil Leaks

The Kia Soul models have joined other models with the common issue of oil leaks. You can easily notice oil leaks in the puddles under the car. The main source of oil leaks is poor oil system components. To ensure that the issue does not affect your car, have a frequent oil change routine. You are also advised to use quality oil to prevent high levels of oil leakage.

If you notice a smell of burning oil from the engine, then the oil leak must be coming from the top of the engine which could be caused by a defective valve cover.

5.         Catalytic converter failure

The catalytic converter issue is among the top problems experienced by Kia Soul owners. The catalytic converter is responsible for filtering and cleaning exhaust air before leaving the car.

With a failed catalytic converter, the car can experience fire hazards . When the converter is blocked, the back pressure is increased which lowers the efficiency of the engine leading to a breakdown.

6.         Poor suspension

The issue of poor suspension has been reported by Kia Soul users frequently. The front wheel and the suspension wheels are now experiencing failure. In addition, a driver can experience failure to tie the rod systems and steering pins.

With the poor suspension, the drivers experience poor driving quality which can sow the journey or cause discomfort.

Here are some common signs of weak suspension:

  • Dipping when applying the brakes
  • The car sits lower on one side after parking
  • Bumpy experience when driving
  • The driver experiences difficulties when steering

What Are The Best Alternative To Kia Souls?

With the wide car market, there is a wide variety of alternatives for the Kia Soul models.

What Years Did Kia Soul Have Engine Problems?

Although the Kia Soul had an initially positive reception, it also had years with an increase of issues resulting in complaints.

Auto experts recommend you avoid buying a Kia Soul made in the following years:

1.     2012 Kia Soul

Owners of this model reported a clunking noise when turning the steering wheel. Others reported rattling noises when driving – especially on bumpy roads.

Some owners also reported the hood unlatching while driving.

2.     2013 Kia Soul

Some 2013 owners reported a banging noise from the engine, while others had the engine spontaneously shut off.

Although some owners reported a lesser problem (a ticking noise from the engine,) it still resulted in a costly repair.

3.     2014 Kia Soul

Due primarily to a faulty oil pump, there were multiple incidences of engine failure. The oil pump in this year’s Soul consumed more oil than average cars.

Add to that a loud ticking noise while driving, and you’ll see why this model year should be avoided at all costs.

4.     2015 Kia Soul

These Kias are also subject to engine problems. Once this model reaches 80,000 miles, its engine typically failed. The failure was preceded by an increase in oil consumption and a ticking noise.

5.     2016 Kia Soul

This year is often cited as the worst model year, and the culprit is engine failure. This usually occurred at 90,000 miles. In addition, the car often wouldn’t start – due to battery issues.

Luckily for Kia owners, subsequent years of Kia models have shown the make has higher safety and dependability ratings. But it’s good to know which years should be avoided.

What Year of Kia Soul Is The Most Reliable?

When it comes to buying a car, you’ll want to take the right amount of time to do your research. One of the things you may want to know is what year of Kia Soul is the most reliable. Choosing a car that gets good gas mileage and looks attractive at an affordable price is something you’ll want to consider.

Studies indicate the Kia Soul which was made between 2017-2020 is by far the best to choose. This is the time that Kia really seemed to focus on quality, reliability, and safety for the driver.

If you’re looking for a vehicle that will get you where you need to go, you may want to consider a Kia Soul that was made during this time. You’ll likely have a much safer venture regardless of where you may have to drive. The last thing you should ever worry about is breaking down on the way there.


The Kia Soul models are common cars that most people opt to purchase. When selecting the Kia Soul model to buy, will speak more about your personality. The main advantage of the Kia Soul cars is that they have plenty of room to accommodate families with members between 4-5.

The Kia Soul cars deliver the best rides and great features that make you yearn to live with them for years. However, before buying any model, it is best to carry out research about their best and worst models. Further, ensure to look at the features of the cars to avoid buying a car that does not match your expectations.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!

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