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Hey Y’all,
Proud owner of a 2015 Kia Soul! I loved it for the past 3 years(bought used). It’s loaded with leather, blue tooth and back up camera. Again, love it! But and this has been bugging me....I want a more rugged car. I’m on the verge of buying a 2007 FJ Cruiser but I don’t think I’m 100% convinced. I don’t need to go Off Roading but dirt road would be great. Also more storage. So can you please give me some feedback:
1) Any tried and try ways to make my Soul more rugged? I’m not sure if lifting and putting more meaty tires is possible?
2) Is there a great roof rack that I can add for a basket or general camping gear?
3) is there a “go to” hitch where I can add a bike rack or even a carrying basket?
4) How do I add more light to the hatchback? Lack of light is so annoying...especially when your older.
Any help and suggestions that would help so I can keep my Soul would be amazing.
Thanks!!!
 

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1. Don't lift it. You'll burn through bearings, control arms, etc. I have not found an all-terrain tire that fits a Soul without going to a different size. I've upsized tires on other vehicles and you just wear everything out faster. Maybe just a really good all weather tire is enough.
2. Kia's oem crossbars are actually pretty nice-- I have them on my 202. You can then attach most baskets to them. Or SSD makes siderails and then you can go for any aftermarket name brand crossbars. Once you have crossbars, you can add any roof basket you want.
3. There's a few hitch options out there. I hear people mention the Curt ones as they are cheap and reliable.
4. What kind of extra rear lighting? You could convert to LED, I guess.

I wouldn't get rid of a 2015 vehicle in lieu of any 2007 vehicle. That age is when cars become money pits. If it's because of price, I would trade in the Soul for a newer used Crosstrek or Rav4 awd-- seems like those would be better compromises and have what you need.
 

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And stiffening up your suspension is another thing to consider. You can add stiffer front struts and shocks but the rear is torsion beam suspension-- I'm not quite sure if you can do much about that.
 

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I absolutely love our 2015 Kia Soul EX GDI 2.0 litre, AT precisely because the clearance is so low and it hugs canyon and mountain highways so well.

@OP If your gravel roads are smooth and well maintained, keep the Soul. Wash it out at a do-it-yourself car wash more often. Monitor your suspension components a little more carefully. Reduce the drain and replace intervals for axle and differential fluids.

If not, get a FWD vehicle with higher clearance. From what I read above, you do not require a serious off-road 4WD vehicle. You would be amazed at the off-road trails that one can drive with a FWD compact car (with a bit of clearance). I did it for decades.

If you have money to burn and/or prestige is important, then get a 4X4 but just make sure it is an on-frame, truck-style vehicle. None of those uni-chassis mall crawler units. They are marketed for pansies, sissies and wimps. Or virtue and status signallers with cash to burn.
 
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Hey Y’all,
Proud owner of a 2015 Kia Soul! I loved it for the past 3 years(bought used). It’s loaded with leather, blue tooth and back up camera. Again, love it! But and this has been bugging me....I want a more rugged car. I’m on the verge of buying a 2007 FJ Cruiser but I don’t think I’m 100% convinced. I don’t need to go Off Roading but dirt road would be great. Also more storage. So can you please give me some feedback:
1) Any tried and try ways to make my Soul more rugged? I’m not sure if lifting and putting more meaty tires is possible?
2) Is there a great roof rack that I can add for a basket or general camping gear?
3) is there a “go to” hitch where I can add a bike rack or even a carrying basket?
4) How do I add more light to the hatchback? Lack of light is so annoying...especially when your older.
Any help and suggestions that would help so I can keep my Soul would be amazing.
Thanks!!!
1. No. You can get a more aggressive tire tread if you want that but that's about it.
2. Plenty of roof options.
3. The Curt hitch works really well. I have one on the 2012. It's tough to install by yourself, you really need a second set of hands to put everything in just at the same time as you have no wiggle room. It works well; I have a bike carrier for the hitch so that my wife can take her bike out on the trail, and it will hold 2 bikes.
4. Easiest answer to that is a battery-powered stick-on LED light wherever you want it in the back.

If you are just talking about driving on a reasonable dirt road to go hiking or take your bike, you don't need an FJ Cruiser for that. I drive my base model 2013 on all kinds of crappy roads here in the mountains, and I just have street tires. If you are wanting to go 4-wheeling, then you need another vehicle. I have a 4WD truck for the winter and serious mountain backroad driving, roads that you can't traverse without a 4WD. But that doesn't sound like your setup.
 

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Odd statement to make in this forum considering everyone except Kia Soul owners say that about Souls.
Must admit I found your post odd. We live in a village and region full of 1/2 tonne and 3/4 tonne pick up trucks.

If anything folks are impressed with the vehicle. I see more and more Souls on the road in the region as the years pass.

Being financially disciplined and targeting a cost-effective transportation solution strikes me as smart and forward looking.

My comments reflect the snooty, condescending attitudes of those in the 4X4 community and those who either work in the bush or have worked in the bush.
 
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Being financially disciplined and targeting a cost-effective transportation solution strikes me as smart and forward looking.
Maybe it's an Arizona thing but "smart and forward looking" might as well be synonymous for "pansies, sissies, and wimps" in my area. I'm not saying I agree it with as I generally find calling anyone a pansy or sissy as ignorance that I refuse to tolerate.

I will say this-- my last vehicle was a large old SUV and I find that I'm treated far worse on the roads in the Soul. Trucks speed up to not allow me to pass or cut me off much more than before. Like I said, it may be an Arizona thing-- the Kia Soul just seems to offend the white trash of the American southwest.
 

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It's not a Soul thing, it is a small car thing. I have the same experience when I drive the Miata. When I am driving my Ram 4WD crew cab, virtually everyone gets out of my way, whereas they act a lot more aggressive around the small cars. The Ram (2019) is a huge vehicle that doesn't feel a lot different than a big rig and drivers treat it that way.
 

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I bought a roll of 12v led light strips from Amazon.
Was like 15 bucks for 10ft years ago.

Ran it around the inner hatch and opening and then spliced it into the existing lights wiring.
So when you open the hatch it comes on and its very bright.

I bought the ssd roof rails back when they were steel tubes.
Bought aluminum and made my own roof rack to carry stuff
 
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