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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We moved to Texas from NYC last year which meant that my wife, who had been using public transport her whole life, had to learn to drive.
She has zero interest or knowledge in cars (but lately has taken a liking to the looks of the Mini) so I made all the decisions.
Initially I was looking to spend up to 12k on a used car under 3 years old and 30k miles that still had some kind of warranty for at least 2 years, but it had to meet the following requirements;
1. Small
2. No manual transmission
3. Have satnav or better yet Apple CarPlay so she could use Google maps
4. Have a reversing camera
5. Have blind spot warning

Bonus items would be:
1. Rear cross traffic alert
2. Forward collision warning or even avoidance
3. Lane keep warning or even better assist

You’ll notice the emphasis on safety items...

It quickly became obvious we would struggle to find any small car with reverse camera and satnav/CarPlay for 12k, much less with blind spot monitoring etc. not so long ago these were premium features that often weren’t available on small cars at any price.

To meet all the requirements we’d need to spend around 17k on a used car so I decided we may as well go for a new car if we can pay a little more.

I found the new Soul S had everything we wanted, plus all the bonus items, had a10/5 year warranty, a top safety rating (bar the crappy headlights but she doesn’t really drive at night and we live and drive in a well lit urban area), plus it had loads of space inside for people and surprisingly most cargo, and it even has great styling (I wasn’t the biggest fan of the previous gen and really didn’t like the first).
With the extra cost white paint, mats, tints and a few other items we were at $22k out of the door with all fees and taxes etc. not a great deal but not bad. I recon I could have gotten another $500 off if I really worked them but...

So she learnt to drive in the Soul, passed her test and now uses it for running errands and all the usual stuff. I have a large SUV we use for long trips, and while the Soul is hers, I use it to run around locally if she’s not using it at the time.
However due to COVID and a few other things the car has done less than 3,000 miles in the first year, and it’s all local use (max trip was maybe 50 minutes each way on the 75mph highway).

So with our use in mind, here are my views, and bear in mind that I’m originally from the UK and am used to living with small cars...

1. It’s great on gas. On 45mph urban roads here with lots of stop start intersections i get 37mpg on my 17.5 mile commute which takes about 45minutes.If I leave the stop/start system on that goes up to around 40mpg depending on the weather. That said when my wife was learning to drive and had poor throttle control on the same roads she would get mid 20s. I record everything religiously and find the trip computer is within 1mpg of my calculations at the pump at the end of a full tank.

2.The engine has enough power for the highway including short steep on ramps if you floor it. But being FWD and possibly with the IVT it does not like pulling out of side turnings with any urgency because any steering angle means it scrabbles and the traction control kicks seems to kick in and kill the power for ages and then you have to accelerate with cars bearing down on you. A bit sketchy but not unusual on such cars. I am very cautious pulling out of side turnings.

3. The above may also be compounded by the tyres which in my opinion are not great. I’m used to running premium tyre brands and these Nexen ones remind me of the couple of times I’ve thrown cheap tyres on a car before selling it. They’re also very noisy and they may affect the following point...

4. The car is noisy. Specifically the tyres and suspension. Not unexpected on a small economy car with small wheels but noticeably worse than more premium small cars that I’m used to. The tyres may be affecting this, but the suspension is also pretty firm and that doesn’t help with the ripples in the surface. This reminds me of the Hyundai Santa Fe I rented back in maybe 2012 which impressed me by how far Korean cars had come in such a short time but also that their suspension tuning game was still woefully short of the European brands. But again, for the cost of the car with the features it has I can forgive this. However I would not want todo long road trips in it, not that you can’t of course, but it’s a tiring experience vs larger vehicles with better suspension and larger tyres. Again, not the Souls fault, it is what it is.

5. It’s well screwed together. The roads here are reasonably well maintained but pretty rough regardless with a lot of ripples but the car hasn’t really developed any squeaks or rattles, any that do exist depend on temperature and surface combos and we experience the same in our premium SUV so again, good job Kia.

6. There is plenty of space for 4 adults. Really loads. It feels like a much bigger car and is better than any other small car I’ve ever been in.

7.There is ample cargo room for daily use. With 4 adults going to the grocery store for a weeks worth of shopping is handled no problem. We do have to put some bags on top of others if we buy a lot, but when shopping for 2 people for a week nothing is stacked. On that note... the key to good use of space is going vertical which means I highly recommend buying the false floor from a higher model as we did and using it in the upper position. That allows us to keep the tyre pump, mini jump start pack, first aid kit and other daily carry but rarely used items under that floor and have a totally empty trunk for going to the store etc. the false floor is overpriced at $160-180 but worth buying regardless.
I even went to Home Depot and bought a shop vac and a pressure washer and with the rear seats folded down they both went in even with their giant boxes.

8. The no-name sound system is perfectly clear for listening to podcasts or GPS directions or even a lot of music. If you like thumping bass you’ll be disappointed but I don’t so it works for me and is better than I expected.

9.The AC system copes with Texas heat just fine but being a small car the vents are all close to your hands while on the wheel so they get colder than I’d like on longer runs.

10. We’ve had no problems of any kind with the car, including the infotainment. Maybe three times CarPlay lost connection to our phones but on one occasion it rebooted itself and re-connected with no intervention and the two other times unplugging and plugging in the phone reconnected. This is much better than the first few months of our premium SUV which had countless infotainment issues although they were all solved with over the air updates. It’s also better than the rental Nissan SUV we had which constantly dropped CarPlay.

11. I made a conscious decision to not pay the extra for an EX as cost was a concern. This means we have a smaller infotainment screen but it’s big and clear enough so that’s fine. We also don’t have heated seats but we don’t need them. However in this day and age I would have liked keyless entry and keyless go, along with climate control so we don’t have to keep messing with the temp knob. It doesn’t bother my wife as she doesn’t know any different but it bothers me as I’m used to all that in my SUV so I really miss is. For most buyers, if you can afford it the EX is the sweet spot and worth it for those features alone, but it wasn’t for us.

12. Servicing is cheap.My local dealer wanted $55 which is great in my opinion, however they want me to come back every 3750 miles or 6 months so they can continue to put cheap Dino oil in it. I paid the uplift to fully synthetic so I will go every 7,500 miles or 1 year.

13.We suffered a flat recently (annoying on new tyres) on the rear passenger tyre and I wouldn’t have known it happened if it wasn’t for the pressure monitoring system, the car drove smooth with no increase in noise or anything even though the tyre was flat as a pancake. I pulled over as soon as I could but had already killed the tyre so a new one cost me $110. I was impressed with the jack etc that Kia provide. It was easy to locate under the sill and easy to turn. Not my experience with Ford jacks for example. My wife can now change a tyre herself unaided it was that easy use.

14. I’m tall and my wife is short, we can still adjust everything to comfortably fit either of us when driving.

15. Although she has no use for it I like that the car comes with cruise control. I don’t expect to find that on low end models of small car.

16. Both the inside and outside styling looks more upmarket than the car is. Kia could easily not have used the silver grey plastic trim to brighten up the interior here and there on a low end model, but the fact they did really does bring it up. Granted most of the plastics aren’t great to the touch, I expected that, but it looks a lot better than I would expect.

17. The headlights are dreadful. Really, really bad. If I can figure out how to retrofit the high end ones I will (assuming it costs me less than say $2k to do it).

18. The safety systems work well for the most part. The blind spot monitor is conservative and works well. The reverse camera view and guidance lines are great, the cross traffic alert is excellent. My wife makes heavy use of all these features. We haven’t needed to test the front collision avoidance but it did go off once by mistake when we were in a very tightly weaving bit of urban road just behind two semi trucks. It beeped and applied the brakes but only for a second. Other than that it has behaved itself. The lane keep warning is fine but the assist is too aggressive. It’s constantly pushing you one way or the other and is very unnerving. If the lines disappear then reappear on a curve it can get very confused. To avoid problems due to a lack of experience I turned it off for my wife.

19. We have need for a power outlet in the trunk for a powered cooler when we go grocery shopping but the S doesn’t have one so I need to figure out how to retrofit the factory one. As there is no outlet anywhere in the car except right at the front we have to run the cooler power cable all the way there which is a pita.

20. We don’t drive aggressively so the IVT is fine. I hate CVT transmissions but in normal sub half gas pedal it behaves like an auto and I like it. When we get on it it becomes a traditional horrible CVT but the car does get a move on and I’m normally dealing with merging or some other issue to need to give it that much gas so I don’t notice it as much.


That’s about it. Sorry it was so lengthy...

Overall I’d say it has exceeded my expectations and I’m very happy we bought it. I highly recommend it for anyone who prioritizes safety features in addition to the benefits we already know like space and the warranty and general reliability. Not to mention style. I still love just looking at it!
 

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2014 Titanium Stick Shift Pacific NW
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We moved to Texas from NYC last year which meant that my wife, who had been using public transport her whole life, had to learn to drive.
She has zero interest or knowledge in cars (but lately has taken a liking to the looks of the Mini) so I made all the decisions.
Initially I was looking to spend up to 12k on a used car under 5 years old and 50k miles that still had some kind of warranty for at least 2 years, but it had to meet the following requirements;
1. Small
2. No manual transmission
3. Have satnav or better yet Apple CarPlay so she could use Google maps
4. Have a reversing camera
5. Have blind spot warning

Bonus items would be:
1. Rear cross traffic alert
2. Forward collision warning or even avoidance
3. Lane keep warning or even better assist

You’ll notice the emphasis on safety items...

It quickly became obvious we would struggle to find any small car with reverse camera and satnav/CarPlay for 12k, much less with blind spot monitoring etc. not so long ago these were premium features that often weren’t available on small cars at any price.

To meet all the requirements we’d need to spend around 17k on a used car so I decided we may as well go for a new car if we can pay a little more.

I found the new Soul S had everything we wanted, plus all the bonus items, had a10/5 year warranty, a top safety rating (bar the crappy headlights but she doesn’t really drive at night and we live and drive in a well lit urban area), plus it had loads of space inside for people and surprisingly most cargo, and it even has great styling (I wasn’t the biggest fan of the previous gen and really didn’t like the first).
With the extra cost white paint, mats, tints and a few other items we were at $22k out of the door with all fees and taxes etc. not a great deal but not bad. I recon I could have gotten another $500 off if I really worked them but...

So she learnt to drive in the Soul, passed her test and now uses it for running errands and all the usual stuff. I have a large SUV we use for long trips, and while the Soul is hers, I use it to run around locally if she’s not using it at the time.
However due to COVID and a few other things the car has done less than 3,000 miles in the first year, and it’s all local use (max trip was maybe 50 minutes each way on the 75mph highway).

So with our use in mind, here are my views, and bear in mind that I’m originally from the UK and am used to living with small cars...

1. It’s great on gas. On 45mph urban roads here with lots of stop start intersections i get 37mpg on my 17.5 mile commute which takes about 45minutes.If I leave the stop/start system on that goes up to around 40mpg depending on the weather. That said when my wife was learning to drive and had poor throttle control on the same roads she would get mid 20s. I record everything religiously and find the trip computer is within 1mpg of my calculations at the pump at the end of a full tank.

2.The engine has enough power for the highway including short steep on ramps if you floor it. But being FWD and possibly with the IVT it does not like pulling out of side turnings with any urgency because any steering angle means it scrabbles and the traction control kicks seems to kick in and kill the power for ages and then you have to accelerate with cars bearing down on you. A bit sketchy but not unusual on such cars. I am very cautious pulling out of side turnings.

3. The above may also be compounded by the tyres which in my opinion are not great. I’m used to running premium tyre brands and these Nexen ones remind me of the couple of times I’ve thrown cheap tyres on a car before selling it. They’re also very noisy and they may affect the following point...

4. The car is noisy. Specifically the tyres and suspension. Not unexpected on a small economy car with small wheels but noticeably worse than more premium small cars that I’m used to. The tyres may be affecting this, but the suspension is also pretty firm and that doesn’t help with the ripples in the surface. This reminds me of the Hyundai Santa Fe I rented back in maybe 2012 which impressed me by how far Korean cars had come in such a short time but also that their suspension tuning game was still woefully short of the European brands. But again, for the cost of the car with the features it has I can forgive this. However I would not want todo long road trips in it, not that you can’t of course, but it’s a tiring experience vs larger vehicles with better suspension and larger tyres. Again, not the Souls fault, it is what it is.

5. It’s well screwed together. The roads here are reasonably well maintained but pretty rough regardless with a lot of ripples but the car hasn’t really developed any squeaks or rattles, any that do exist depend on temperature and surface combos and we experience the same in our premium SUV so again, good job Kia.

6. There is plenty of space for 4 adults. Really loads. It feels like a much bigger car and is better than any other small car I’ve ever been in.

7.There is ample cargo room for daily use. With 4 adults going to the grocery store for a weeks worth of shopping is handled no problem. We do have to put some bags on top of others if we buy a lot, but when shopping for 2 people for a week nothing is stacked. On that note... the key to good use of space is going vertical which means I highly recommend buying the false floor from a higher model as we did and using it in the upper position. That allows us to keep the tyre pump, mini jump start pack, first aid kit and other daily carry but rarely used items under that floor and have a totally empty trunk for going to the store etc. the false floor is overpriced at $160-180 but worth buying regardless.
I even went to Home Depot and bought a shop vac and a pressure washer and with the rear seats folded down they both went in even with their giant boxes.

8. The no-name sound system is perfectly clear for listening to podcasts or GPS directions or even a lot of music. If you like thumping bass you’ll be disappointed but I don’t so it works for me and is better than I expected.

9.The AC system copes with Texas heat just fine but being a small car the vents are all close to your hands while on the wheel so they get colder than I’d like on longer runs.

10. We’ve had no problems of any kind with the car, including the infotainment. Maybe three times CarPlay lost connection to our phones but on one occasion it rebooted itself and re-connected with no intervention and the two other times unplugging and plugging in the phone reconnected. This is much better than the first few months of our premium SUV which had countless infotainment issues although they were all solved with over the air updates. It’s also better than the rental Nissan SUV we had which constantly dropped CarPlay.

11. I made a conscious decision to not pay the extra for an EX as cost was a concern. This means we have a smaller infotainment screen but it’s big and clear enough so that’s fine. We also don’t have heated seats but we don’t need them. However in this day and age I would have liked keyless entry and keyless go, along with climate control so we don’t have to keep messing with the temp knob. It doesn’t bother my wife as she doesn’t know any different but it bothers me as I’m used to all that in my SUV so I really miss is. For most buyers, if you can afford it the EX is the sweet spot and worth it for those features alone, but it wasn’t for us.

12. Servicing is cheap.My local dealer wanted $55 which is great in my opinion, however they want me to come back every 3750 miles or 6 months so they can continue to put cheap Dino oil in it. I paid the uplift to fully synthetic so I will go every 7,500 miles or 1 year.

13.We suffered a flat recently (annoying on new tyres) on the rear passenger tyre and I wouldn’t have known it happened if it wasn’t for the pressure monitoring system, the car drove smooth with no increase in noise or anything even though the tyre was flat as a pancake. I pulled over as soon as I could but had already killed the tyre so a new one cost me $110. I was impressed with the jack etc that Kia provide. It was easy to locate under the sill and easy to turn. Not my experience with Ford jacks for example. My wife can now change a tyre herself unaided it was that easy use.

14. I’m tall and my wife is short, we can still adjust everything to comfortably fit either of us when driving.

15. Although she has no use for it I like that the car comes with cruise control. I don’t expect to find that on low end models of small car.

16. Both the inside and outside styling looks more upmarket than the car is. Kia could easily not have used the silver grey plastic trim to brighten up the interior here and there on a low end model, but the fact they did really does bring it up. Granted most of the plastics aren’t great to the touch, I expected that, but it looks a lot better than I would expect.

17. The headlights are dreadful. Really, really bad. If I can figure out how to retrofit the high end ones I will (assuming it costs me less than say $2k to do it).

18. The safety systems work well for the most part. The blind spot monitor is conservative and works well. The reverse camera view and guidance lines are great, the cross traffic alert is excellent. My wife makes heavy use of all these features. We haven’t needed to test the front collision avoidance but it did go off once by mistake when we were in a very tightly weaving bit of urban road just behind two semi trucks. It beeped and applied the brakes but only for a second. Other than that it has behaved itself. The lane keep warning is fine but the assist is too aggressive. It’s constantly pushing you one way or the other and is very unnerving. If the lines disappear then reappear on a curve it can get very confused. To avoid problems due to a lack of experience I turned it off for my wife.

19. We have need for a power outlet in the trunk for a powered cooler when we go grocery shopping but the S doesn’t have one so I need to figure out how to retrofit the factory one. As there is no outlet anywhere in the car except right at the front we have to run the cooler power cable all the way there which is a pita.

20. We don’t drive aggressively so the IVT is fine. I hate CVT transmissions but in normal sub half gas pedal it behaves like an auto and I like it. When we get on it it becomes a traditional horrible CVT but the car does get a move on and I’m normally dealing with merging or some other issue to need to give it that much gas so I don’t notice it as much.


That’s about it. Sorry it was so lengthy...

Overall I’d say it has exceeded my expectations and I’m very happy we bought it. I highly recommend it for anyone who prioritizes safety features in addition to the benefits we already know like space and the warranty and general reliability. Not to mention style. I still love just looking at it!
Great real impressions review LoneStar. It sounds like the near perfect car for her.

You might end up experimenting with a different tire. There are some good recommendations on this forum.

I've had that "steering wheel freeze" on my hands in Hondas especially. I think the tower vent design in Gen2 is really good. I haven't had the problem since getting mine.

Congrats on a good 1st year!
 

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Good report on your first year of ownership. Our 2020 Soul LX is just over a year old now, with 5319 miles on it. We're quite happy with it, and like it better than the 2013 Soul Base model we traded in on it.

One comment on performance. If you need to drive aggressively once in a while, just press the Mode button next to the shifter to put the car in Sport mode. In that mode, you won't have the CVT feeling at throttle settings over 1/2 throttle. In fact, sport mode moves the shift point at high throttle usage up to about 6000 RPM and shifts are crisper. It also tightens up the steering a little, which you may or may not notice. Press the Mode button again to return to normal operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tip!
I hadn’t noticed as I rarely use Sport mode, only when merging on to the highway to get that better throttle/gear response and it really does help for that.
 

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Great review. I also have a 2020 S model and I love it. my wife really likes it also and so when I am off she asks to drive it. We have over 26,000 miles on it with only one annoying issue that one tire likes to lose a couple of pounds of air pressure. I have change the air and cabin filters while the dealer does the oil changes and tire rotations. We routinely get 38 to 41 mpg using just regular gas which compared to my previous car is great and the cost savings cover half the car payment.
 

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Great review. I also have a 2020 S model and I love it. my wife really likes it also and so when I am off she asks to drive it. We have over 26,000 miles on it with only one annoying issue that one tire likes to lose a couple of pounds of air pressure. I have change the air and cabin filters while the dealer does the oil changes and tire rotations. We routinely get 38 to 41 mpg using just regular gas which compared to my previous car is great and the cost savings cover half the car payment.
That is reassuring news to the folks worried that the IVT in every 2020 Soul is going to explode before 10K miles. Our '20 Soul LX has been sitting in the garage a lot since we use our Forester to get groceries for 3 elderly people on the one day a week we go out and shop, so we only have 4,500 miles on it after 13 months.
 

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2020 Kia Soul LX
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Just passed 5k miles on mine and my experience is similar to yours. The fuel economy is great. Friends ask me if it is a hybrid. The computer indicates right @ 40 mpg for the 5k. My lowest was a tinch below 30 mpg into a stiff headwind at 70 mph. My best @ 52 mpg on a short (10 mile) level jaunt at 45 mph. (Maybe I got some of that lower ethanol fuel). My main gripes are the ISG but my wife likes it. A friend bought a 2020 Outback and apparently it is seriously difficult to turn it off. So, I am not going to complain too much. The steering is tight and fast but provides zero feedback. And the sport mode looses fuel economy. The headlights are not very good on dim. It is hard to read the street signs when you have oncoming traffic. The tech says they are adjusted to Kia specs. Maybe the Koreans don't realize we use an asymmetric beam pattern over here. The brakes are grabby. Especially at low speed and they require a soft touch. At low speed too soft a touch. Can the steering and brakes be adjusted to require more effort? Overall, a good vehicle for $17-$18 k (LX).
My wife and I really like the sound system. And the vision out of the car is really good.
 

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Oh, I forgot to include one of my main gripes. The cruise control runs +/- 3 mph. sometimes +/- 4 mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree with your views, especially the steering.
I don’t find the brakes grabby though... but maybe that’s because they are very grabby on my SUV and o can’t bring it to a smooth stop I like the Soul, so it may just be all relative...
 

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Yeah I don’t experience them being grabby either - the only reason I think I’ve even noticed it is when i now drive my wife’s minivan, for the first couple of brake pushes I apply them too hard in the van because of how different it is then when I drive my Soul
 

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I agree the Idle Stop & Start is one of the very few minor gripes I have with our '20 Soul LX with IVT.

I also don't know why your friend thinks the Subaru ISS is hard to turn off. Our '19 Forester has the same button by the driver's left knee that turns it off. Adds 1-1/2 seconds to the startup procedure.
 

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We have a 2010 Rav4 and a 2008 F150. Both require substantially more pressure on the brake pedal to slow. So, it is probably relative. Maybe sensitive is a better term.
Regarding the 2020 Outback, my friend said that he needed to go into the screen and menu to get to the point where he could disable the ISS for each trip. If I get a chance, I'll look for the button on his car.
 

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Stopping, even with OEM brake pads is NO problem for the Soul.
But, on my 2013 Soul, I put Wagner Ceramics on the front and almost doubled my stopping power.
That same pad is not currently available for the 2020 Soul. Not for the front, anyway. (rear only)

:cool:
 
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