2018 Kia SoulShould you buy? Well, it depends..
What's New for 2018
A new, spicy Wild Orange paint color option is now available on the 2018 Kia Soul, but the improvements to this vehicle go beyond the surface. One great new feature is the addition of autonomous emergency braking that's now offered on the mid-level trim. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights are also included and power-folding outside mirrors make it easier than ever to get into tight spaces. Be clear about your intentions with the mirror-mounted LED turn signal indicators, too. The 2018 Kia Soul is primed and ready for action and now you get more with mid-level trims.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Kia Soul – The Pros
1. Massive Power in a Small Package
The base level trim of the 2018 Kia Soul offers plenty of economic power with its 130 horsepower engine. Upgrade to the "+" trim and you'll bump that to 161 horsepower. This in itself is impressive for a small car like this, but for just a little more money you can get the "!" trim and go full throttle with an impressive 201 horsepower.
2. A Dual-Clutch Transmission
The "!" trim level offers a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. In plain English, this equates to a transmission that will have you pulling to the lead with ease and the capability of making fine adjustments with smooth control even at low speeds. Dual-clutch transmissions give you smoother accelerations and virtually eliminates the shift shock of many traditional automatics.
3. Room Enough for Five
Store your gear and head off into the sunset with 61.3 cubic feet of cargo space and room for five companions. 101 cubic feet of space is what you're getting in the 2018 Kia Soul, and you'll find more ways to make use of your storage space with its folding rear seats that are a breeze to adjust.
4. Automated Braking and Cruise Control
Even the best driver can't see everything all the time. The 2018 Kia Soul has options for automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. Automatic braking can reduce and potentially prevent an accident by applying the brakes when the vehicle senses an imminent collision. Adaptive cruise control works by monitoring the distance between you and other vehicles on the road to maintain a safe distance.
5. An Upgraded Infotainment System
With the Convenience package, you can enjoy an upgrade to the already stellar infotainment system. The new system uses the UVO3 system. Using a 7-inch touchscreen display, you'll get premium navigation features and an HD radio to make your travels more enjoyable.
6. Hands-Free Communication
While many competitors are starting to include Bluetooth connectivity in their vehicles, it's still a great value to see Android Auto and Apple CarPlay included in a smaller vehicle. These features make it incredibly easy to enjoy a more fulfilling driving experience while keeping your eyes on the road.
7. Theater Quality Sound
The base level models on the 2018 Kia Soul offer an incredible 6-speaker system with dash-mounted tweeters. Upgrade to the Harmon/Kardon award-winning audio system and you'll get an improved sound, subwoofer and external amplifier to make the most of your driving experience.
8. Power Door Locks and Windows
Going beyond your typical power doors and windows, the 2018 Kia Soul offers one-touch auto-down features on the base level model. Upgrade and you'll get the convenience of the two-turn entry system. One turn of the key unlocks your door, turn it again and all the doors unlock. The upgraded windows also feature auto up and down plus anti-pinch technology.
9. Heated Seats All Around
The 2018 Kia Soul offers heated seats as an option for the driver and front passenger. You can also get heated rear seats as well so that all of your passengers can remain comfortable. Add a heated steering wheel and you'll enjoy one toasty ride. These features are one reason to upgrade from the base level model to enjoy enhanced convenience and comfort.
10. Blind Spot Detection
Avoid an accident using the novel blind spot detection system. The side and rear areas of the vehicle are constantly monitored for potential collisions. Using radar, the vehicle gives you auditory or visual indications of objects that you might not otherwise see lurking in your blind spot.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Kia Soul – The Cons
1. All-Wheel Drive Functionality
While it isn't typically expected of a compact vehicle, if you want an all-wheel-drive option you'll need to look elsewhere. All-wheel drive isn't offered on any of the trim levels. Even though an all-wheel-drive system does typically provide better stability, it's less important for a vehicle of this size.
2. Typical Cargo Space
While the vehicle does seat five and has a decent amount of storage space, Kia isn't winning any awards here. Cargo space is typical of what you would expect in a vehicle of this size. The Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 are a few examples that slightly edge out the Soul.
3. Overall Handling Impressions
In a driving comparison, the Mazda3 and Honda Civic both offer a zippier feel. But, the vehicle stacks up well to the competition, especially when you factor in the turbocharged engine and overall value of this vehicle. There is also an 18-inch wheel package that can make this vehicle sing.
4. Geared Towards a Young Audience
The Soul is engineered to appeal to a younger crowd. It has modern technologies, a youthful feel and a stylish exterior that an older professional might feel uncomfortable driving. However, it's a fully-capable vehicle with a lot to offer, but the fresh and funky styling might put off more experienced drivers.
5. Base Level Features
If you want a base level option, this vehicle won't offer much more than a capable ride. You'll be missing the enhanced engine, many convenience features and options that make this vehicle more reliable and safe. However, upgrading to the mid-level option is just a drop in the bucket cost-wise, and it shouldn't deter most drivers.
How it Stacks up to the Competition:
Every vehicle has its pros and cons, but the Soul comes out ahead in most areas. This vehicle is very similar in ride and handling to the Nissan Juke and Hyundai Elantra GT. It won't give you the same kind of turn on a dime handling of the Ford Focus, but it does hold its own especially when you factor in safety and technology options.
The turbocharger provides a nice boost and you'll enjoy a firm set of shocks and springs that make the vehicle feel stable. When it comes to pricing, this vehicle beats other vehicles on the market for its comprehensive safety offerings on all trim levels and its enhanced styling. For a zippy and fun ride, you can't go wrong.
• Why buy a 2017 Kia Soul? w/ pros vs cons