2021 Kia Soul

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2021 MODEL
$17,490 - $27,490
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2021 Kia Soul Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist


Being a carryover model, the 2021 Kia Soul is expected to remain similar to the 2020 model overall. However, there might be minor upgrades in terms of features and the line-up. With an expected release date of late summer in 2020, the 2021 Kia Soul will go against its rivals such as the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, and the Subaru Crosstrek. With an estimated base price of $17,600 which is slightly higher than the 2020 model, its time to see what the 2021 Soul will have in store for us.

See detailed review »

Pros

A complete value for money car

Top-notch safety package

Healthy list of standard features

Good fuel efficiency

Cons

Looks can be polarising

Cabin is not the most spacious

What's New?

Redesigned last year, the Kia Soul is expected to be a carryover model with minor updates and changes to features lists


Pictures & Videos

exterior
interior
Videos
2021 Kia Soul Detailed Review video
2021 Kia Soul Interior video
2021 Kia Soul Exterior video

Styles

2021 Kia Soul in Neptune color 2021 Kia Soul in Inferno Red color 2021 Kia Soul in Black Cherry color
Neptune

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine And Performance

8.0

Fuel Economy

5.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

9.0

Final Verdict

8.5

7.5

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Kia Soul LX

LX

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$17,490 - $18,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6M) Starting at $17,490 MSRP (25/27/3) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed manual front wheel drive 5
LX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $18,990 MSRP (25/27/3) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Soul S

S

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$20,290


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $20,290 MSRP (25/27/3) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Soul GT-Line

GT-Line

power
201 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$20,290 - $27,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
GT-Line 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $20,290 MSRP (25/27/3) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5
Turbo 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $27,490 MSRP (25/27/3) 201 hp @ 6000 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
7-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Soul X-Line

X-Line

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$21,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
X-Line 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $21,490 MSRP (25/27/3) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Soul EX

EX

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$22,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $22,690 MSRP (25/27/3) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.5

Overall Rating


Kia’s Soul is one of the most value for money crossover you can buy in the US market today. Hence, it is not difficult to see why the Korean carmaker has managed to sell so many of these. It was a car designed at a design center in California as Kia wanted it to do well in the global market and not just Korea. The Soul was first showcased at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and in 2014, Kia introduced an electric variant of the Soul in America as well as Europe. The excitement about Kia’s crossover has again started to soar with the 2021 Kia Soul soon to be launched.

2021 Kia Soul Wagon Front View
2021 Kia Soul Wagon Rear View

7.0/10
Features

8.0/10
Engine and Performance

5.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety

9.0/10
Competition

8.5/10
Final Verdict


2021 Kia Soul Features

7.0/10

Kia’s strategy of carpet bombing the segment with an array of trims shall continue with the 2021 Kia Soul as well. It is expected to receive the same number of trims as the 2020 model but there can be some subtraction and addition of features in the list. Hence, the 2021 model will offer the same five trims namely; LX, S, GT-Line, X-Line, and EX.

Kia has hence made sure that it has a Soul for every customer that walks into its showroom. The LX being the base trim only offers some quintessential features. It is the S trim that gets a proper list of useful and safety features. The X-Line on the other hand is all about giving a rugged crossover look to the car. The GT-Line gets you more performance under the hood while the EX trim is all about a more luxurious experience. There is also the optional sixth trim called the GT-Line Turbo, which offers better performance as well as luxury.

Trims

LX

S

GT-Line

X-Line

EX

GT-Line Turbo

MSRP (Manual)

$17,600

$20,290

-

-

-

-

MSRP (CVT)

$18,990

$27,490

$20,290

$21,490

$22,690

$27,490

Key Features

6-Speed Manual Transmission

All the Features in LX included and

All the Features in S included and 

All the Features in GT-Line included and 

All the Features in X-Line included and 

All the Features in EX included and 

 

7-inch Touch Screen Display

Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW)

18-inch alloy wheels

Fog lamps

10.25-inch touch screen with navigation system

7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters

 

Privacy Glass

Intelligent Variable Transmission(IVT)

High Gloss Black Exterior Trim

Roof Trim

LED Positioning Lights

Chrome Tipped Center Exhaust

 

Rear Camera Display

Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)

Unique Exterior Appearance including red accents.

Rugged Black Exterior Trim

Heated Outside Mirrors

Sunroof

 

All around power windows

Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Assist.

Automatic day and night rear view mirror

Push Button Start

17- inch wheels

SOFINO and Cloth seats

Which trim should you go for?

As the 2021 Kia Soul shall offer the same level of trims our recommendation shall remain the same which will be the EX trim. Even though priced on the more expensive side of the trim spectrum, the EX trim is still a bargain. It gets you the best of features that the Soul has on offer and with its armrest and adjustable headrests it shall be more comfortable for the rear passengers as well. It also gets a 10.25-inch infotainment screen instead of a 7-inch one along with an inbuilt navigation system. Hence with its excellent CVT, it is the most fuel-efficient as well as feature-loaded car in its segment.

Expected Price and Release Date of the 2021 Kia Soul

We expect the base price of the Kia Soul to remain at $17,490 as it will be a carryover model. However, the prices of the top trims could increase by a slight margin due to the added features. Expect a price bump of around $1000. The car is expected to be released online in the late 2020 and shall be available for booking by December 2020.

2021 Kia Soul Engine and Performance

8.0/10

As there is no change in the trim lineup and hence the 2021 Kia Soul will be getting the same engine options as the 2020 one. All engines on offer are quite similar to the Hyundai-Kia family and there is no news about Kia tuning differently this time as well. The base engine is the 2.0L inline-4 engine that puts out 147 hp of power and 132 pound-feet of torque. Available only with the base trim it is available only with a front wheel drive. It is an engine meant mostly to be driven within city limits and works the best when driven sedately. Mated to a CVT, it feels quite refined and provides excellent fuel-efficiency.

2021 Kia Soul Wagon Engine Bay

​The second or the last engine option is the 1.6 Liter, Turbocharged, 16-valve, In-line 4-cylinder pot which is much more powerful than the 2.Liter unit. Developing 201-hp of power and 195 lb-ft of torque, it is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and only available with the top trim. However, you might think that this engine option shall be the better option for you, well it depends. The gearbox is a let down as it is quite good for driving the car hard and fast, but feels a bit clunky at slow city speeds. Hence, we do expect Kia to tune it better with the 2021 model. It is a delight to push around corners as well as on the highways. Both engines offer brilliant levels of refinement but none come with an all-wheel-drive setup.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

MSRP

$17,490

$20,100

$20,620

$21,895

Engine

2.0L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

1.8L Inline-4

2.0L Flat-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

AWD

Transmission

6-speed Manual

6-speed Shiftable Automatic

CVT-Automatic

6-speed Manual

Power (hp @ rpm)

147@6,200

147@6,200

141@6,500

152@6,000

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

132@4,500

132@4,500

127@4,300

145@4,500

*2020 figures used for reference purposes only

The 2021 Soul and Kona being corporate cousins offer the same level of engine performance and refinement. The Subaru Crosstrek is the most expensive car in its segment but it offers more power and also an all-wheel-drive setup. The Honda HR-V on the other hand is the weakest car due to its smaller engine size and power output.​

How quick will be the 2021 Kia Soul?

As the 2021 Kia Soul is expected to ship with the same engine option and transmission, we expect its 0-60mph timing to remain the same. But that is no bad news as the Kia Soul offers the best sprint figures in its class. While the manual transmission is good, the CVT is great for the most part and drives akin to a traditional automatic. The lightweight as well as sharp throttle response helps the Soul gain momentum quickly. It is capable of doing a 0-60 mph sprint in 8.4 seconds which is sure to put a smile on many of its customers.

2021 Kia Soul Wagon 0-60 MPH in Just 8.4 sec

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

0-60 MPH (sec)

8.4s(est.)

9.7

8.6

8.7

Quarter Mile (sec)

16.5

16.3

16.3

16.3

Top Speed (MPH)

128

132

N/A

N/A

Engine

2.0L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

1.8L Inline-4

2.0L Flat-4

*2020 figures used for reference purposes only

What is surprising is the fact that the Soul is faster than the Subaru Crosstrek in the 0-60 mph run. However, it loses out in the quarter-mile to the Subaru due to its lesser power. The Hyundai Kona on the other hand is the slowest of the lot even while being an identical twin of the soul. The Honda HR-V on the other hand gains over the Kona due to its lighter weight.

How well does the 2021 Kia Soul brake?

The 2021 Kia Soul will offer disc brakes on all four wheels and all the electronic help that the segment has to offer. The current model offers the same set-up with the front discs being ventilated and the rear is solid. The Kia Soul is quite light for a subcompact crossover at 2802 pounds. It has faired quite well in all our brake test and offers confident braking performance. The pedal feels progressive and the brake bite is quite reassuring as well.

2021 Kia Soul Wheel

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

Brake Rotors Front (in)

11

12

11.5

11.6

Brake Rotors Rear (in)

10.3

11.2

11.1

10.8

60-0 MPH (ft)

N/A

133

N/A

131

Curb Weight (lbs)

2802

2890

2902

3113

​In terms of the braking performance, the Subaru Crosstrek offers the best all-around braking performance due to its bigger brake rotors. The Honda HR-V provides the best braking feel as the brakes have been tuned quite well especially for panic braking situations. The 2021 Kona offers drum brakes at the rear as standard which results in poor braking performance compared to the rest of the cars.

How well does the 2021 Kia Soul Ride and Handle?

Kia is not expected to make any changes in terms of the 2021 Soul’s ride and handling setup. It is a car tuned for urban driveability and hence it provides excellent bump soaking ability. Kia has tuned its suspension for comfort rather than sportiness. The trade-off is not a lot as you can still push the Soul hard around the corners. From the inside, the passenger will appreciate the Soul’s calm and composed ride. The soul remains glued to the road even at high speeds but the body roll around corners is evident. 

In terms of handling, the steering remains light under city conditions and its easy maneuverability in tight spots helps it park easily in tight parking spots. The steering gains satisfactory heft as you gain speed and it feels confident over on the highway. With a ground clearance of 5.9 inches, don't expect the Kia Soul to do well on the detours through the country roads. It shall remain a true urban crossover and there is much more to appreciate with its ride and handling rather than despise.

2021 Kia Soul Fuel Economy

5.0/10

The 2021 Kia Soul shall remain at a strong contender for the top spot when it comes to fuel efficiency. The current model offers respectable fuel efficiency and the Soul is a light on pocket urban crossover. The base model with its smaller wheels offers even better fuel efficiency numbers than the other trims. However, no matter which trim you choose the Soul will remain a frugal car for everyday city use. With a combined MPG figure of 27, the Soul strikes a good balance between performance and efficiency.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

MPG (City)

25

27

28

23

MPG (Highway)

31

33

34

29

MPG (Combined)

27

30

30

25

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

14.3

13.2

13.2

16.6

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) (mi)

358/443/386

356/436/396

370/449/396

448/548/415

**MY2020 figures used for reference purposes only

The Soul offers the second biggest tank in its segment which makes it a good highway cruiser. However, the Kona and the HR-V take the crown for being the most efficient cars in the segment. The Subaru Crosstrek is utterly unimpressive in terms of fuel efficiency owing to its heavier weight.

2021 Kia Soul Interior

8.0/10

​With no major changes being made to the 2021 Kia Soul, we do not expect any changes on the inside except some minor additions. Being a compact car on the outside, the Soul does not feel very compact on the inside. Kia has been able to liberate quite a lot of space on the inside due to its boxy design. It is one of those rare compact crossovers that can actually seat five adults comfortably with plenty of room remaining for their luggage. 

2021 Kia Soul Wagon Front and Rear Seats

​The cushioning of the seats is spot on as it is neither too soft nor too hard which is suitable for long trips. Lower trims get manual adjusting driver’s seat while the upper trims get power adjusting unit. The overall fit and finish are also good for its class but the dashboard layout can look a bit boring for some. The quality is materials used is just about average but the Soul offers a 7-inch infotainment screen even with its base trim. Hard plastics are everywhere and the overall visibility is good but not great. 

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V LX*

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i*

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.4/55.5/41.1

39.6/55.5/41.5

39.5/56.8/41.2

39.8/56.7/43.1

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.5/54.7/38.8

37.8/54.7/38.8

38.3/54.5/39.3

38.0/55.6/36.5

If you want the most posh cabin in the segment then the Subaru Crosstrek is the car for you as it comes with better materials on the inside. Soul’s cousin, the Hyundai Kona also offers a slightly better-looking cabin and feels more premium. On the other hand, the Honda HR-V proves to be the most spacious car on the inside even though it is the most compact car here.

What about the infotainment system of the 2021 Kia Soul?

One of the highlights of the Kia Soul has always been its touchscreen infotainment unit which is available even with the base trim. The 2021 Soul is expected to get the same system but Kia might offer a new or a better-looking interface. It is fluid to use and comes with all features which are expected at its price point like Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility. The audio from the 8 speaker unit is crisp and at par with its segment. Kia has also added physical buttons which makes it quite user friendly.

2021 Kia Soul Wagon Infotainment Display

How much cargo can the 2021 Kia Soul carry?

If cargo space is your topmost priority then the Kia Soul is the ultimate crossover available for its price. It simply offers one of the biggest cargo area in the segment which is also quite practically laid out. It simply gobbles up your luggage and can easily haul a weekend worth of your luggage. 

2021 Kia Soul Wagon Cargo Area

The additional feature of 60:40 split seats liberate enough space to move in household items. However, the loading lip is a bit on the higher side.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V LX*

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i*

Cargo Capacity (ft3)

24.2

19.2

24.3

20.8

Honda has always been the best at managing space in the cabin and hence the HR-V inches slightly ahead of the Soul in terms of the boot space. The most disappointing car remains the Kona which due to its shorter length suffers in terms of space. if you fold the seats, then the Crosstrek inches ahead to steal the second spot due to its bigger size.

Some of the Interior Features are:

  • Power Windows with Driver One-Touch Auto-Down
  • Power Windows with Driver & Passenger One-Touch Auto-Up/Down and Anti-Pinch
  • Power Door Locks with Two-Turn Entry System
  • Remote Keyless Entry with Folding Key and Illuminated Ignition Ring
  • Smart Key w/ Push-Button Start and Immobilizer
  • Air Conditioning
  • Automatic Temperature Control with Cluster Ionizer
  • Glove Box with Illumination
  • Front-Seat Center Console with Armrest
  • Rear-Seat Folding Armrest with Cup Holder
  • Dual Front Cup Holders
  • Front & Rear Door Bottle Holders
  • Day/Night Interior Rearview Mirror
  • Interior Lighting with Delay
  • LED Interior Lighting
2021 Kia Soul front seat
2021 Kia Soul front seat
2021 Kia Soul cockpit area
2021 Kia Soul cockpit area
2021 Kia Soul Dashboard
2021 Kia Soul Dashboard
2021 Kia Soul interior
2021 Kia Soul interior
2021 Kia Soul center console
2021 Kia Soul Center console

2021 Kia Soul Exterior

8.0/10

​The 2021 Kia Soul is expected to offer minor additions on the outside to set it apart from the 2020 model. It shall get a newly designed alloy wheel along with a front grille. Apart from this, we expect the 2021 Soul to and it carry forward the current design. The Soul looks boxy but unlike boxy cars, it comes with an interesting design. 

2021 Kia Soul Wagon Side View

There are quite a few lines across the car that cleverly hide its boxy looks and budget car lineage. At the front, its nose resembles the other cars in Kia’s. The GT-Line gets a sleeker look and treatment with red accents all around. From the rear, the vertical tail light set up gives it an MPVish look. Overall, the Soul looks quite unique in terms of design which many customers will appreciate.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V LX*

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i*

Curb Weight (lbs)

2802

2890

2902

3113

Length (in)

165.2

164.0

170.4

175.8

Width (in)

70.9

70.9

69.8

71.0

Height (in)

63.0

61.0

63.2

63.6

Ground Clearance (in)

6.7

6.7

7.3

8.7

Wheelbase (in)

102.4

102.4

102.8

104.9

With different trims, you get a slightly different look for example the X-Line gets chunky cladding while the GT-Lines look sportier. The biggest car in terms of physical dimension is the Subaru Crosstrek and hence the best crossover if you want more road presence.

2021 Kia Soul
2021 Kia Soul
2021 Kia Soul front
2021 Kia Soul front
2021 Kia Soul rear view
2021 Kia Soul rear view
2021 Kia Soul headlight
2021 Kia Soul headlight
2021 Kia Soul tire
2021 Kia Soul tire

2021 Kia Soul Safety

7.0/10

The 2019 Kia Soul was a part of IIH Top Safety Pick but has not been tested since then. It comes with an array of top-notch safety features that allow some room for error by the driver. However, we advise you not to go for the LX trim as it does not get many necessary safety features.

Safety features include:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
  • Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW)
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Assist (RCCA)
  • Lane Change Assist (LCA) 
  • 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

2021 Kia Soul Competition

9.0/10

 Hyundai Kona 

The Hyundai Kona is the Korean Cousin of the Kia Soul and hence there is a lot of part sharing as well as similarities end there. The Kona offers a more premium experience on the inside and offers a more comfortable ride In spite of having similar powertrains, the Soul is the better car in terms of handling and performance. The Soul has better space management on the inside as well. Once you factor in the pricing, the Kia Soul takes the cake for being a better car overall.

2021 Hyundai Kona

Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is quite a practical and a small nimble city car. It offers better handling and fuel efficiency as well. It feels quite spacious on the inside while being compact on the outside. However, it simply cannot match the performance of the Soul and feels a bit overpriced when compared to the Kia. Hence the Soul offers a better package that the HR-V

2021 Honda HR-V

Subaru Crosstrek 

The Subaru Crosstrek is the best car when it comes to the fun to drive factor and performance. It is also the biggest crossover in this comparison and hence is spacious on the inside as well. However, the heavier weight makes it burn more fuel and it lacks behind the Soul in that department. In comparison, the Soul is a better value for money car but the Crosstrek is the better car here.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

2021 Kia Soul Final Verdict

8.5/10

The 2021 Kia Soul is expected to be launched late in 2020. As there are no major changes we would recommend you to go for the 2020 model if you plan to buy one right now. However, no matter which model year you go for the soul is a versatile car and comes with no big deal-breaker. It is a practical and balanced car that is sure to keep the urban drivers happy.

2021 Kia Soul FAQs

What will be the price of the 2021 Soul EV?

We expect the 2021 Soul EV to retail for $35,000 which is nearly the same as the 2020 model.

What is the basic warranty offered with Kia Soul?

The Kia offers a 5-year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty with the Kia Soul.

Can I book the Kia Soul online?

Yes, you can book the Kia Soul online at their official website.

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