2017 Kia Soul: A Party-Rocking Yet Practical Compact Crossover

Practicality for Family Comfort

Proving that it’s more than just a psychedelic stereo on wheels, the Soul offers some creature comforts that appeal to people of all ages.

A heated steering wheel on the Plus and Exclaim keeps the hands toasty on cold mornings, while available heated seats warm front and rear seat posteriors on equipped vehicles.

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Wide door openings and high seating make getting in and out of the Soul a breeze for people of all ages and levels of athletic ability. However, Kia might be fibbing when it says the Soul will seat five people – unless two or three of them are small children. Four adults or some mix of adults with kids mixed in can ride comfortably. Front seats feature stitched bolsters with matching stitching on the dash to complete a sporty look.

Trunk space is limited with the rear seats up, but a roomy glove compartment and a rear shelf provide storage options for lighter items.

Thick C-pillars host massive brake and signal light clusters, but can make rear corner visibility a neck-twisting challenge, creating a blind spot large enough to hide Jimmy Hoffa. To be fair, this style of C-pillar is common to crossovers with modern styling. Fortunately, a wide-angle rear-view camera is available for the Base, and standard on the Plus and Exclaim to aid visibility when backing up.

Other safety features such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Blind Spot Detection are available in option packages for the Plus or Exclaim.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, allowing buyers to utilize Apple or Android smartphones for navigation or trip info using the Soul’s touchscreen.

Kia Soul Competitors

The Soul reportedly holds its value better than other similar vehicles and historic competitors, some of which are now defunct.

Competitors may include:

  • Fiat 500L
  • Mini Countryman
  • Nissan Juke
  • Scion xB (discontinued)
  • Nissan Cube (discontinued)

The Soul’s combination of practical features, combined with hip, modern styling that won’t make the kids wrinkle their noses in disdain, led it to be named Best Compact Car of 2017 by U.S. News & World Report.

Where neck-snapping acceleration and gripping agility on hairpin twists may be missing, there’s real world value to be found in the 2017 Kia Soul. Most of us don’t drive our cars like race cars. If the daily driving routine is largely commuting and runs to the supermarket or the mall, the Soul does these things well in fuel-sipping style – providing a fun ride that won’t break the bank.

Volha-Hanna Kanashyts / Shutterstock

At a Glance

Gas mileage: up to 26 city / 31 highway
MSRP starting at $16,100 USD
Seating: Five adults, but four is a better fit

Pros

A roomy-feeling interior, aided by the panoramic moonroof, creates an inviting cabin space in an audio-centric and fuel-efficient package that can transport the whole (small) family.

Cons

Styling can be a plus (no pun intended) or a minus, depending on taste. Performance is exchanged for fuel efficiency as many performance characteristics are muted, leaving the edgy-looking compact decidedly docile compared to some competitors in this class.

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