2022 Kia Soul

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2022 Kia Soul Review: A Heart-Shaped Box

by Deiondre van der Merwe

The big-hearted box is back for another year, and we're welcoming it with open arms. The Kia Soul has always been in a league of its own in terms of practicality and unique style, but the newest version, redesigned for the 2020 model year, packs in impressive tech and has a class-leading interior to boot. The choice between the two improved engines is also a plus for the line-up, offering up to 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque from the 1.6-liter turbo mill, so the Soul is a pro at zooming around the city. Once targeted at the parents of college-goers as an affordable and safe utilitarian, the new Kia Soul has come a long way. It's now a crossover to be reckoned with amongst contenders like the Honda HR-V and the Hyundai Kona and appeals to a whole new range of shoppers in the subcompact segment.

Read in this review:

2022 Kia Soul Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs the 2021 Kia Soul?

The Soul was redesigned for the 2020 model year and received only subtle changes last year. This year, the changes are again limited and the only one obvious from the outside is the use of the modern new Kia logo in place of the old oval one. Infotainment is upgraded, with the base LX's display increasing in size from seven to eight inches and a 10.3-inch display nou standard for all the other models. Alloy wheels and more safety equipment are also offered optionally on the LX in the shape of the Technology package, which includes blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keep assist. The S, X-Line, and GT-Line trims now all get dual-zone climate control, wireless smartphone charging, an additional two USB ports, and push-button start. The manual transmission is dropped from the lineup for 2022 too. Lastly, Sparkling Silver is replaced by a new paint color called Steel Gray and Solar Yellow is dropped altogether, along with another few changes to paint availability per trim.

Pros and Cons

  • Spacious interior
  • Choice between two engines and three transmissions
  • Impressive fuel economy figures from the CVT
  • Top trims are well-stocked with convenience features
  • Funky cabin with loads of modern tech
  • Bare-bones base trim
  • Not a lot of additional packages
  • Top trim level is far more expensive than the rest

Best Deals on 2022 Kia Soul

2022 Kia Soul Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,290
S
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$21,590
X-Line
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,690
GT-Line
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,690
EX
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,590

Soul Exterior

Once plain and resemblant of your kid's lunch tin, the Kia Soul has since come a very long way, though the current design still stays true to the character of the very first model. The Soul is a modern car that's cleverly clad with gloss black bits and slim headlights for a futuristic appearance. The zippy little city car looks like it could turn into a Decepticon at any given moment. LED headlights are reserved for the apex trim and only the GT-Line, EX, and Turbo get a power sunroof. The base model sits on 16-inch steel wheels, the S on 16-inch alloys, the EX on 17-inch alloys, and the GT-Line, X-Line, and Turbo trims rest on 18-inch wheels. The Turbo trim also gets a unique center-exit exhaust and it's the only model to get LED headlights and LED fog lights.

2022 Kia Soul Front Angle View CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Front Angle View 1 CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Front Angle View 2 CarBuzz
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Dimensions

When size is considered alone, the Soul goes up against the Hyundai Kona and although it has a big presence, is still on the small side. The Kia measures 165.2 inches from nose to tailgate and stands at 63 inches in height, width comes in at 70.9 inches. The wheelbase measurement comes in at 102.4 inches. If you regularly take the road less traveled, a ground clearance of 6.7 inches means that it is unlikely to struggle on rougher terrain. At its lightest, the Soul has a 2,844-pound curb weight and at its heaviest in Turbo trim, it weighs 3,036 lbs.

  • Length 165.2 in
  • Wheelbase 102.4 in
  • Height 63.0 in
  • Max Width 70.9 in
  • Front Width 62.0 in
  • Rear Width 62.4 in
  • Curb Weight 2,844.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

The extensive color palette available for the Soul highlights its fun intentions, with several bright and bold colors to choose from. Some models get specific availability to certain hues: the LX and S trims make available Inferno Red, Snow White Pearl, Cherry Black, Mars Orange, Gravity Gray, and the new Steel Gray that replaces last year's Sparkling Silver. The GT-Line and Turbo trims add Neptune Blue to the mix but removes Steel Gray and Mars Orange. The X-Line loses Cherry Black and gets access to Undercover Green and two duo-tone combinations, namely Mars Orange with Cherry Black and Neptune Blue with Cherry Black. The EX gets the same colors as the two base trims, but with Mars Orange swapped out for Undercover Green. It also loses last year's combinations of Platinum Gold paired with Clear White or Gravity Gray. Solar Yellow is no longer offered for 2022 models.

  • Snow White Pearl +$345
  • Cherry Black +$345
  • Neptune Blue/Black Roof +$345
  • Mars Orange/Black Roof +$345
  • Inferno Red
  • Undercover Green
  • Gravity Gray
  • Steel Gray
  • Mars Orange
  • Neptune Blue

2022 Kia Soul SUV Performance

Some aspects of the Soul's performance will depend on your choice between the 2.0-liter and 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, with the latter delivering a good bit of extra punch. It's not a sports car, however, but the performance is plentiful enough for a subcompact crossover. That being said, the performance of the Soul is impressive with either engine equipped. The absence of all-wheel-drive may be viewed as a downfall by some, especially since most of its competitors offer the drivetrain, but the brave little Kia will hold its own on wetter days. With the punchy 1.6-liter turbo equipped, the Soul made the run from 0 to 60 mph in a sprightly 6.5 seconds in independent testing. The naturally-aspirated variant did a bit worse with an 8.3-second run but manages to match, if not beat, rivals like the base-level Hyundai Kona and Honda HR-V.

2022 Kia Soul Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Gear Shifter CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

You have the choice between two engines for the Soul. All models are powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-lite four-pot, except for the Turbo. The base model LX loses its six-speed manual transmission this year and all trims up to EX now use the same CVT automatic. The 2.0-liter engine produces 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, exactly the same figures it does in the Hyundai Kona. The turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder drives 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The engine in the Turbo is worth the extra cash, as it boosts the Soul's eagerness enough to push it ahead of many contenders in the segment. The dual-clutch transmission may not be especially refined, but it does well at making itself relatively unknown in traffic and shifts quickly and precisely. Both engines have their benefits. But the turbo wins in terms of pep and overall enjoyment. It's just a pity it's locked behind the paywall of the highest trim level.

  • Engines
    1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    7-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Handling and driving experience are where the Soul shines through in the sea of crossovers - competition is plentiful in the segment. The subcompact feels more like a high-riding hatchback from behind the wheel, and X-Line and GT-Line models get improved shocks to soak up the bumps a little better. Comfortable ride quality can also be expected from other trim levels, but the higher ones just do it better. As comfortable as the suspension is, Kia has managed not to sacrifice a sporty touch, especially on the Turbo. It's not exactly a hot hatch, but it holds its own in and out of the bends better than you'd expect if judging by its appearance.

There's a decent amount of feedback from the steering wheel, though it's on the lighter side. Kia even added some paddle shifters to the mix on the Turbo for use in Sport mode, controlling the impressive seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. When driven by the 2.0-liter engine, the Soul gets around town with ease but runs out of breath a little if you're going uphill. Regardless of the engine choice, the Soul is fun to drive and hides its below-$20,000 price tag pretty well from behind the wheel.

Soul Gas Mileage

Unsurprisingly, the Soul ships with decent fuel economy figures. As a vehicle designed specifically for practicality and efficiency, it's a must to boast impressive figures in this department. All 2.0-liter models mated to the CVT delivers 28/33/30 mpg figures, attesting to the excellent efficiency offered by this transmission.

The 1.6-liter turbo delivers figures of 27/32/29 mpg, which is less efficient than the similar engine found in the Hyundai Kona 1.6T FWD that returns 29/35/32 mpg. When the 14.3-gallon tank is full, you can expect around 429 miles with the 2.0-liter engine, while the turbo engine allows for 415 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 28/33 mpg
* 2022 Kia Soul LX IVT

Soul Interior

This is yet another area where the Soul steals the hearts of many shoppers; the interior of the little Kia is remarkably fun and rather impressive in terms of quality. You wouldn't expect an interior of this caliber from a car at this price point, yet the Soul utilizes decent materials and injects some excellent modern tech into the cabin. Its boxy design allows for a good deal of space inside, and the design of the interior is far more flowing and rounded than the exterior would have you believe. Is it luxurious? Not exactly. But the inside of the Soul is truly impressive when you compare it to some of its key rivals.

2022 Kia Soul Dashboard CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Steering Wheel Controls CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Head Up Display CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

As we mentioned before, the boxiness of the Kia Soul SUV was no doubt a purposeful move from Kia to offer as much space as possible from the inside. The plan worked, and the Soul is still one of the roomiest contenders in the segment at the moment - it's far more spacious than the Hyundai Kona. Front seating is comfortable on the lower trims, but it's the Turbo trim that gets some extra bolstering for a sporty feel. Ten-way power-adjustable seating with two-way lumbar support is reserved for the EX and the Turbo, while a four-way manually-adjustable passenger seat is standard across all models. In terms of measurements, headroom of 39.4 and 39.5 inches front to rear (38.3 in front with the sunroof) and legroom of 41.1 and 38.8 inches, respectively, is downright massive for the segment.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.1 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.5 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The interior materials used in the Soul aren't inherently plush or luxurious, with most models favoring cloth upholstery. But the materials are durable and not unattractive, making it less of a downfall. The base LX trim comes with the choice between Black or Gray two-tone woven cloth upholstery, while the S and EX offer the same colors in Tricot cloth and the GT-Line's Tricot cloth is Black only. The X-Line comes exclusively with black woven cloth upholstery, while the Turbo comes with a combination of black SynTex synthetic leather and cloth. Hard plastics are cleverly disguised, thanks to coats of glossy black paint and some imaginative layouts.

Soul Trunk and Cargo Space

If you find yourself hauling things around quite regularly, the Soul is the one for you. The crossover has a big trunk, with 24.2 cubic feet available behind the rear seats. This virtually matches the FWD Honda HR-V's 24.3 cubes and it's also an improvement over the Hyundai Kona's 19.2 cubes. If you need to carry taller items, the Soul is also your best bet, thanks to its flat roofline. With the seats folded, a total of 62.1 cubic feet becomes available, making it a true utilitarian. A double-level cargo board is fitted in the trunk of the GT-Line, EX, and Turbo.

In-cabin storage is befitting of a crossover intended for family use, with a decent-sized glovebox up front, deep door pockets, and dual cupholders. An overhead console is also standard with a spot for your sunglasses.

2022 Kia Soul Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Trunk Space CarBuzz
2022 Kia Soul Trunk Space 1 CarBuzz

Soul Infotainment and Features

Features

All Kia Soul models are well-equipped, but true convenience is reserved for the higher trim levels. The entry-level LX and S trims come with remote keyless entry, and a multifunctional tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with cruise control is standard. Drive mode select is also standard, along with electric windows. The LX gets manual air-conditioning and one USB port, while all the other models get dual-zone climate control, an additional two USB ports in the center console, push-button start, and wireless charging. The GT-Line adds a leather-clad flat-bottomed steering wheel, dual sun visors with vanity mirrors, a 12-V power outlet in the trunk, and a dual-level cargo board. The top three trims get a conventional leather-clad steering wheel. The X-Line doesn't add anything in the way of in-cabin convenience and loses the GT-Line's illuminated vanity mirrors, dual-level cargo board, and trunk power outlet. The EX is where the features improve noticeably. This model adds true keyless entry, remote start, a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a rear-seat folding armrest with a cupholder, and rear-seat adjustable headrests. It also regains the GT-Line's illuminated vanity mirrors, dual-level cargo board, and trunk power outlet. Piano black trim inserts are reserved for the Turbo, along with LED interior lighting, and a heated, flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Infotainment

The Soul is well-stocked with modern technology even in entry-level models, but it's the top two trims that get the best features. The LX gets a new eight-inch touchscreen display (up from last year's seven inches) and all other models come standard with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display. Android Auto, Apple Carplay, Bluetooth streaming, and AM/FM radio are standard on all trims. Base LX trim gets one USB port and the other trims get three, and the LX also misses out on the other trims' standard SiriusXM, HD Radio, wireless phone charging, and navigation. A six-speaker sound system is standard on all trims but the Turbo, which gets a premium Harman Kardon sound system with speaker lights that enable multiple ambiance themes; Turbo is also the only trim to get a head-up display and supervision meter instrument cluster with an LCD trip computer. Images from either screen are of high quality and the Harmon Kardon system is sure to impress.

Soul Problems and Reliability

With not even one recall from 2017 to 2020, the Soul scores high on the reliability meter. There was a single recall in 2021 for potential engine damage resulting from improperly manufactured piston rings. The 2022 model was still free from any recalls at the time of writing. Kia also offers a five-year or 60,000-mile basic warranty and a corrosion warranty is valid for the same time and mileage limit. The powertrain is also covered for ten years or 100,000 miles, and roadside assistance is standard for five years or 60,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

2022 Kia Soul Safety Ratings

The Kia Soul's crashworthiness ratings are what one would expect from the brand known for safety. In the US, the NHTSA's crash-test reviews of the Kia Soul resulted in a four out of five-star overall safety rating, with the front passenger side receiving four stars for a frontal crash. The IIHS doesn't seem to agree with the Soul being anything less than exemplary and awarded both the 2020 and 2021 Soul with a Top Safety Pick award. So far, the 2022 model achieved "Good" scores in all the IIHS crashworthiness criteria, with only the base headlights marked "Poor".

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Another advantage of the Kia Soul is that it comes with decent safety features, even when you opt for a lower trim level. From the S trim onwards, forward-collision avoidance is standard along with lane keep assist, driver attention warning, and blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic collision assist, and lane change assist. Pedestrian detection is reserved for the Turbo, along with smart cruise control and a head-up display. All models come with dual front, front side, and side curtain airbags. From this year, buyers who want to opt for the base LX can opt for the LX Technology Package that includes all the S trim's driver-assistance features and throws in a set of 16-inch alloys for good measure.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Kia Soul a Good SUV?

There's a reason America keeps coming back for more with the Kia Soul. The boxy icon has offered practicality and efficiency for over a decade since its inception, and all in a very unique package. In review, the Kia Soul has always had a distinct style that made it unmistakable, and this rings true even with the redesign. Kia was even careful to keep the history alive, making sure the square, compact dimensions weren't compromised. Regardless of engine choice, the Soul is a delight to drive. Comfortable ride quality and a welcomed hatchback-feel contribute to the fun, and the little Kia is a pro at getting occupants where they need to be on time. Beyond performance, the Soul has an undeniably funky interior, with a rounded design and bright colors. The cabin isn't just nice to look at, either. It's functional and the layout has been kept simple. If the marvelous appearance inside isn't enough, the roominess will be enough to convince you. Pair all of its merits with a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and how much value you get for your money, and you have yourself a remarkably well-rounded subcompact crossover SUV.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Kia Soul?

One of the main appeals that the Soul has is that it's extremely affordable. At the base level, the Kia Soul LX is priced at just $19,190. At this base price, the Soul manages to be quite a bit more affordable than the Kona's entry-level SE model. Moving up to the S will cost $21,490 and the GT-Line has an MSRP of $22,590. The Kia Soul X-Line costs the same as the latter, and the second-highest trim available, the EX, will cost $23,490. The Turbo's price skyrockets in comparison to the rest, but is definitely still affordable at $27,790. None of these prices include the $1,175 destination charge.

New 2022 Kia Soul Models

There are six trims in the 2022 Kia Soul lineup: LX, S, GT-Line, X-Line, EX, and Turbo.

All trims except for the Turbo share an identical powertrain, consisting of a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four engine with 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, driving the front wheels only through a CVT automatic transmission.

The base trim is LX and it comes as standard with 16-inch steel wheels, a black grille, and automatic headlights. Inside, it has manually adjustable front seats, cloth upholstery, keyless entry, cruise control, electric windows, and manual air-conditioning. The newly upgraded infotainment system has an eight-inch screen and includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming, one USB port, and a six-speaker audio system. Standard safety features include a backup camera, stability control, hill-start assist, ABS, and six airbags.

The S trim is similar on the outside, but additionally adds 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, and push-button start. The infotainment system is a big step up with a 10.25-inch screen, navigation, SiriusXM, HD Radio, two additional USB ports, and wireless phone charging. It also comes with a suite of driver-assistance features that include forward-collision avoidance, lane-keep and lane-change assist, driver attention warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

GT-Line comes with cosmetic upgrades such as the GT-Line exterior kit with unique bumper fascias, side sills, and a silver rear skid plate for a more dynamic appearance, as well as a power sunroof. It also gets 18-inch alloys, shares its leather-trimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel with the Turbo, and also gets a 12-V power outlet in the trunk, a dual level cargo board, and illuminated vanity mirrors.

The X-Line costs the same as the GT-Line and also runs on 18-inch wheels, but has a model-specific body kit, fender cladding, and roof rails for a more adventurous look. It has a normal round leather-clad steering wheel and loses the GT-Line's sunroof, cargo board, trunk power outlet, and illuminated vanity mirrors.

The EX runs on its own set of 17-inch alloy wheels and doesn't have either of the GT-Line's or X-Line's model-specific exterior features, but has the interior equipment of the GT-Line and a lot more. Additional features include heated exterior mirrors, remote start, a center rear armrest with a cupholder, a cargo cover, a ten-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and adjustable rear headrests.

The Turbo is the top trim and it comes with the GT-Line's 18-inch wheels and exterior style package, a chrome-tipped center-exit exhaust, LEDs for the headlights, front fog lights, mirror-mounted indicators, and taillights. It is mechanically unique in being the only trim with the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 201 hp and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Inside, it adds LED lighting, leatherette/cloth upholstery, a heated steering wheel, piano black trim, and themed speaker lights. The infotainment system gains a Harman Kardon audio system and a supervision meter instrument cluster with a trip computer. Added safety features include pedestrian detection and a head-up display.

See All 2022 Kia Soul Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There aren't many options when it comes to customization, presumably because there are so many trims that you should be able to find one that suits your needs pretty easily. Nevertheless, there are a few available options. Most importantly, you can order the suite of driver-assistance features that are standard on the S trim for the base car as part of the $900 LX Technology Package, which also includes the S trim's 16-inch alloy wheels. You can opt for sporty pedals for the base model for around $100 or a rearview mirror with Homelink and a compass for $350. Remote start is available separately for $425 on trims that don't have it.

πŸš—What Kia Soul Model Should I Buy?

If you are absolutely determined to save every penny, the S model is a grand choice. We'd avoid the bare-bones LX despite its attractive asking price, but it's worth mentioning that it is excellent value - and safe - with the LX Technology Package added, which still brings it to only just over $20,000. However, the S model has these safety features as standard and adds a significantly better infotainment system and alloy wheels, tipping the balance in its favor. If your purse strings are a little looser, however, you can opt for the top-level Turbo that adds an impressive turbocharged engine and far more convenience and luxury to the mix.

2022 Kia Soul Comparisons

Hyundai Kona Hyundai
Jeep Renegade Jeep
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Kia Soul147 hp28/33 mpg$19,290
Hyundai Kona 147 hp27/33 mpg$20,500
Jeep Renegade 177 hp24/32 mpg$24,695
Honda HR-V 141 hp28/34 mpg$21,870

2022 Kia Soul vs Hyundai Kona

The Soul and the Kona are similar in many ways, but there are a few characteristics that set them apart. They both boast a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, but the Kona comes with a better warranty. When the 1.6-liter turbos go against one another, it's the Soul that delivers more powerful figures, but the Kona gets better fuel economy from its four-pot. In terms of ride quality, the Soul can't really be beaten, but the Kona is a close second. The Soul has more interior space, but the Kona makes AWD available. In terms of overall quality and driving experience, the Soul wins this one.

See Hyundai Kona Review

2022 Kia Soul vs Jeep Renegade

The two crossovers are similar in size, but the Renegade lays claim to the larger dimensions. When both are at base-level, the Jeep offers higher power outputs of 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, but is less fuel-efficient than the Soul. The interior of the Renegade does not feel as premium as the Soul, with the latter offering a more modern infotainment set-up. They both offer a manageable amount of space inside, but the Jeep's trunk doesn't hold a candle to the Soul's class-leading cargo capacity. The Soul is arguably the more attractive of the two and it's the more affordable option, with the Jeep coming in at just under $25,000. With all things considered, the Soul is the better buy of the two.

See Jeep Renegade Review

2022 Kia Soul vs Honda HR-V

When two of the USA's most affordable favorites go head to head, there's bound to be a couple of sparks flying. Both the Soul and the HR-V offer practicality at very accessible prices, so what sets them apart from each other? The Soul offers a range of engine and transmission options across more trims, allowing for some extra customization. Both engines are also more powerful than the 141-hp engine that the HR-V employs and the Soul is more fun to drive than the lackluster HR-V. The Soul offers the same trunk size but it lacks the HR-V's flip-up rear Magic Seats - or its AWD option. With a 2023 HR-V already on the horizon, the aging current model falls out of contention, and even if you need the AWD, there are better rivals in this class. The Soul takes it.

See Honda HR-V Review

Kia Soul Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2022 Kia Soul:

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