2023 Kia Soul

2023 Kia Soul
2023 Kia Soul 1
2023 Kia Soul Interior Overview
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Photos

2023 Kia Soul Review: The Korean Loses Quirk

by Michael Butler

Buyers in the USA loves a safe bet; look at how many Ford Explorers and Toyota Corollas roam our nation's streets. There are, however, some who like a more daring design, and the Kia Soul compact crossover has for years been the go-to for those looking for something a bit more quirky yet equally as safe, practical, and reliable as any other subcompact crossover. Unfortunately, the new Kia Soul compact crossover takes a step towards the mainstream with its 2023 styling revamp, and that punchy 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 201 horsepower gets dropped, with only the more pedestrian 2.0-liter naturally aspirated mill remaining. Despite this, it is still a cool-looking and affordable option that brings a lot to the table and offers more than stiff competition for the brand-new Honda HR-V. Every test-drive, reliability, comparison, and safety review of the Kia Soul and its competitors still rates it highly, but has the loss of the performance engine dimmed the appeal of the quirky little crossover?

Read in this review:

9.0
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2023 Kia Soul Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Soul?

The Kia Soul's quirky looks get softened for the new model year. The grille and foglights get a sleeker look and are joined by a set of new daytime running lights. The rear bumper, fascia, and taillights have also seen a slight redesign, and fresh 17- and 18-inch wheels are offered. There are new colors, namely Clear White, Surf Blue, and Fusion Black, and available on select trims only. Previously optional driver-assistance features that are now standard on every 2023 Soul are automatic high beams, forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep and -following assist, driver-attention warning, and rear-occupant alert.

A new GT-Line Technology package is now available with a host of features bundled together, the most notable of which are forward-collision avoidance assistance with junction-turning ability, Highway Drive Assist, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, and LED headlights and taillights.

The rugged X-Line has been discontinued but the most unfortunate change for 2023 is the fact that Kia has dropped the fiery 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, leaving us only with the tepid 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Many of the features previously offered on the X-Line and Turbo are now found in the remaining trims.

Pros and Cons

  • Lots of space
  • Now all the important driver assists are standard
  • Good value for money
  • It still looks cooler than the rest
  • Fun to drive
  • Only the weedy 2.0-liter engine remains
  • Rivals are more economical
  • No AWD option
  • Slightly below-par crash ratings

What's the Price of the 2023 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 $19,790. 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 $22,290 and the GT-Line has an MSRP of $23,390. The Kia Soul EX costs $24,090. None of these prices include the $1,295 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2023 Kia Soul

2023 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
$19,890
S
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,390
GT-Line
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,490
EX
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,190
See All 2023 Kia Soul Trims and Specs

2023 Soul Exterior

2023 Kia Soul Front Angle View KIA 2023 Kia Soul Rear Angle View KIA 2023 Kia Soul Lateral View KIA
2023 Kia Soul Front Angle View
2023 Kia Soul Rear Angle View
2023 Kia Soul Lateral View
See All 2023 Kia Soul Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • 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

  • Fusion Black +$345
  • Snow White Pearl +$345
  • Clear White w/Black Roof +$345
  • Surf Blue w/Black Roof +$345
  • Steel Gray
  • Inferno Red
  • Gravity Gray
  • Steel Gray, Build Out: 05/31/2022.
  • Neptune Blue, Build Out: 04/30/2022., *PRICE TO FOLLOW*
  • Undercover Green
  • Surf Blue
  • Mars Orange, Build Out: 07/21/2022.
  • Mars Orange, Available: 08/01/2022.
  • Neptune Blue
  • Steel Gray, Buld Out: 05/31/2022.
See all 16 colors

2023 Soul Performance

2023 Kia Soul Driving Front Angle KIA 2023 Kia Soul Rear View Driving KIA 2023 Kia Soul Engine KIA
2023 Kia Soul Driving Front Angle
2023 Kia Soul Rear View Driving
2023 Kia Soul Engine

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.0L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

2023 Kia Soul Handling and Driving Impressions

The Soul might look like a brick on wheels, but it drives surprisingly well and stands out in a market stuffed with other competent crossover cars. The Soul has an elevated driving position, but it never feels top-heavy; in fact, this little Korean is rather sporty. The steering provides good feedback but still feels light enough to dart through city traffic. We're disappointed that Kia dropped the Turbo model for 2023. This 201-hp turbo was fun to drive, and although not a true hot hatchback, was far more entertaining than the gutless 2.0-liter that tends to run out of breath on the highway. The CVT does a decent job of keeping the engine on the boil and will adroitly select a lower ratio to get the car going, unlike some other CVTs that seem to just increase the drone factor. Despite its best efforts though, the lack of power is frustrating at higher speeds.

2023 Soul Interior

2023 Kia Soul Dashboard KIA 2023 Kia Soul Infotainment System KIA 2023 Kia Soul Back Seats KIA
2023 Kia Soul Dashboard
2023 Kia Soul Infotainment System
2023 Kia Soul Back Seats
See All 2023 Kia Soul Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • 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

2023 Soul Trunk and Cargo Space

2023 Kia Soul Glove Box KIA 2023 Kia Soul Door Storage KIA 2023 Kia Soul Trunk Space KIA
2023 Kia Soul Glove Box
2023 Kia Soul Door Storage
2023 Kia Soul Trunk Space

2023 Soul Safety and Reliability

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

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Kia Soul A Good SUV?

The Kia Soul has retained its instantly recognizable boxy shape for over a decade, despite the updated interpretation of its 2020 redesign. It continues to deliver the goods despite being softened around the edges and adopting a somewhat more generic look for 2023. The Soul is a spacious, practical, and well-equipped car that blends iconic styling with solid reliability and even offers a good time behind the steering wheel (RIP turbo option). The interior also screams style and is unlike anything the competition has to offer. Add an excellent safety record and solid value for money in the entry-level trims, and you have a quirky winner. But if you crave punchy performance, the excellent Mazda CX-30 has a big advantage over the Korean, now that the Soul has lost its turbo engine.

What 2023 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 LX despite its attractive asking price and newly standard driving assists, because it makes do with those drab steel wheels and misses out on desirable features such as the significantly better infotainment system with the big screen, navigation, dual-zone climate control, and power driver's seat. The S model has all these features as standard, tipping the balance in its favor. There is not much substance to the GT-Line's additions besides the large wheels, sporty appearance package, and sunroof, but considering that it looks very fetching and only adds $1,100 to the price of the S, many people would consider this the sweet spot.

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