Kia Soul Years To Avoid (Best and worst)

With so many options and model years to choose from, it can be overwhelming to determine which one will offer the best reliability and longevity. That’s why we’ve put together this expert guide on the Kia Soul years to avoid.

We’ll break down the worst and most unreliable model years for the Kia Soul, so you can make an informed decision when purchasing your next vehicle.

Looking for a budget-friendly option or a long-term investment, our guide has you covered.

More than a decade ago, the Kia Soul burst onto the scene with its unique and polarizing boxy design, earning itself a place in the hearts of many.

Over the years, it has continued to impress with its excellent safety ratings and a plethora of standard features.

kia soul years to avoid

Today, the Kia Soul remains one of Kia’s top-selling models and a formidable competitor in the subcompact crossover SUV market. However, it’s important to note that not all model years have been without their issues, complaints, and recalls. When considering a used Kia Soul, it’s crucial to be aware of the years to avoid.

Kia Soul Years To Avoid

We will discuss the best and worst years for the Kia Soul, specifically focusing on reliability. While the Soul has proven to be a reliable compact SUV overall, there are certain model years that have experienced more problems than others.

By highlighting the worst years for the Kia Soul, we aim to help you make an informed decision and avoid potential headaches down the road.

2012 Kia Soul

The 2012 Kia Soul is a model year that should be avoided at all costs due to its numerous issues and complaints. One of the most common problems with this year’s Soul is clunking noises while turning, which can be heard when turning the steering wheel.

Owners have also reported loud rattling noises when driving on roads or encountering minor bumps. These body integrity issues are widespread and surprising that there has been no recall to address them.

Another concern with the 2012 Soul is the possibility of an unlatched hood while driving, posing a significant safety hazard. Considering the reliability and life expectancy of a Kia Soul, it is best to steer clear of the 2012 model year.

2013 Kia Soul

The 2013 Kia Soul is a model year that should definitely be avoided due to its engine failure issues. With 495 NHTSA complaints logged, this year has been worse than the 2012 version in terms of reliability.

Engine failure tends to occur around 85,000+ miles, with owners reporting banging noises coming from the engine or the engine completely dying. Replacing the engine is the standard solution for this problem, which can cost a hefty $5,000.

Some owners have experienced a ticking sound in their Soul’s engine, ranging from mildly annoying to loud. Repairs for this issue can typically cost around $4,100.

2014 Kia Soul

The 2014 Kia Soul has the highest number of complaints among all the model years. With over 900 complaints, it is undeniably one of the worst years to avoid when considering a Kia Soul.

Consumer Reports also gives the 2014 Soul a dismal 1 out of 5 rating.

One of the most severe issues reported by owners is engine failure, which seems to be linked to the Soul’s oil pump. This problem causes the engine to consume more oil than usual, with some owners reporting that their vehicles started using a quart of oil every 300 miles.

Another recurring issue is a ticking or knocking noise coming from the engine, which typically occurs around 105,000 miles.

Despite diligent oil changes, many complaints have been filed regarding this problem. Considering the high number of complaints and these significant issues, it’s clear that the 2014 Kia Soul is not a reliable option and should be avoided.

2015 Kia Soul

The 2015 Kia Soul is a model year that you should definitely avoid. With over 700 NHTSA complaints and four recalls, it’s clear that this year has significant issues. Like other problematic Souls on this list, the 2015 model is plagued with engine problems.

The most serious problem is engine failure, which tends to occur around 80,000 miles. Owners have reported that the engine started burning more oil or making knocking and ticking noises before eventually dying.

If this happens, you could be facing a hefty cost of around $4,620 for an engine rebuild or replacement.

Another area of concern with the 2015 Soul is excessive oil consumption. When the engine isn’t failing, it consumes oil at a high rate.

Considering the numerous complaints and these significant engine issues, it’s best to avoid the 2015 Kia Soul if you’re looking for reliability and a long lifespan.

The Kia Soul’s life expectancy is impacted by these problems, making it an unfavorable option for potential buyers.

2016 Kia Soul

The 2016 Kia Soul is considered the worst model year according to, even though it doesn’t have the highest number of complaints. The primary issue plaguing this year’s Soul is engine failure.

Numerous reports have indicated that the engine is prone to blowing up, particularly around 90,000 miles. This is not only a safety concern but also an expensive problem to fix, with engine replacements costing approximately $7,000.

Additionally, Kia Soul owners have reported that their vehicles sometimes refuse to start, with signs pointing to a potential battery issue, although many complaints are unsure of the exact cause.

Read Also: Why Are Kia Souls So Cheap?

Kia Soul Best Years

Finding the best year for the Kia Soul, reliability is key. You want a car that not only looks stylish and fun but also one that you can count on for years to come.

best kia soul year

After thorough research and analysis, we have uncovered the most reliable years for the Kia Soul, so you can make an informed decision when shopping for this beloved vehicle.

From the versatile and affordable 2011 Soul to the spacious and peppy 2018 and 2019 models, these years have proven to be top choices for durability and performance.

Now that we’ve covered the worst Kia Soul years to avoid, let’s focus on the best years for this reliable vehicle.

Let’s dive into the details and discover which years deserve the title of the most reliable Kia Soul.

2011 Kia Soul

best kia soul year

When it comes to finding the best year for the Kia Soul, the 2011 model stands out as one of the most reliable choices. As the second Kia Soul ever made, the 2011 Soul has proven itself to be a durable and practical compact SUV.

Not only is it versatile and affordable, but it also offers a comfortable driving experience and a roomy interior. Car Complaints even gave it a ‘Pretty Good’ Seal of Approval, highlighting its reliability and overall quality.

With its impressive track record, it’s no wonder that the 2011 Kia Soul is one of the most reliable years for this beloved vehicle.

2018 Kia Soul

best years for kia soul

The 2018 Kia Soul is a standout choice when it comes to reliable years for this beloved vehicle.

With its cavernous cargo hold and spacious cabin, you’ll have plenty of room for all your gear and passengers.

Plus, the peppy turbocharged engine adds a fun and exciting element to your driving experience.

But what really sets the 2018 Soul apart is its excellent reliability ratings. J.D. Power gave it an impressive Quality and reliability score of 84 out of 100, proving that this year’s model is built to last.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to own one of the most dependable and enjoyable Kia Soul years.

2019 Kia Soul

best years for kia soul

The 2019 Kia Soul marks a triumphant return for this beloved vehicle. With its comfortable ride quality, excellent utility, and decent fuel economy, the 2019 model has been highly praised by experts and consumers alike.

In fact, Consumer Reports gave the 2019 Kia Soul a reliability rating of 4 out of 5, providing further reassurance of its dependability. This means you can confidently rely on the 2019 Kia Soul to get you where you need to go without any major hiccups.

Don’t let reliability concerns hold you back from enjoying all that this versatile and stylish vehicle has to offer.

Kia Soul Problems

As a popular and highly sought-after car, there are certain issues that tend to arise with this model.

By being aware of these top mistakes, you can ensure that your Kia Soul runs smoothly and avoids any unnecessary Kia Soul problems in the future.

When it comes to Kia Soul Problems, there are a few common issues that owners should be aware of.

Despite its overall reliability, some models of the Kia Soul have experienced engine failure, cruise control surges, ticking noises from the engine, clicking while turning, defective catalytic converters, flimsy suspension, and oil leaks.

Kia Soul Problems

1. Engine Failure

Engine failure is one of the most concerning Kia Soul problems that owners may encounter. Unfortunately, this issue is quite prevalent with the Kia Soul, especially with the majority of models we have highlighted in this guide.

Many complaints from Kia Soul owners detail their experience of driving and suddenly losing power, ultimately leading to the vehicle stopping altogether.

This is an unacceptable issue that can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

2. Cruise Control Surge

Have you experienced the cruise control surge in your Kia Soul? According to reports, some Soul models have a cruise control system that tends to surge, causing sudden changes in speed and even slowing down to a crawl.

This can be a potentially dangerous issue, and unfortunately, Kia has yet to address it. Stay vigilant and stay safe on the road.

3. Ticking Noises

Ticking noises can be a major annoyance for 2013 Kia Soul owners. While not the most common problem, it is still frustrating to hear loud knocking or ticking sounds coming from the engine.

Unfortunately, this is just another engine issue that some Kia Soul owners have had to deal with.

4. Clicking While Turning

Owners of the 2012 Kia Soul experienced an irritating problem when they turned their vehicles – clunking noises. This issue highlights a body integrity problem that Kia did not address.

If you own a 2012 Soul, it’s important to be aware of this issue and take the necessary steps to address it. Don’t let these clicking sounds ruin your driving experience.

5. Defective Catalytic Converter

You may have come across complaints about the defective catalytic converter, particularly in the 2014-2015 models.

Kia Soul owners have reported issues such as erratic idling, engine stalls, problems with O2 sensors, and poor emission results. It’s not just a performance concern; a faulty catalytic converter can also pose a fire hazard.

6. Flimsy Suspension

Kia Soul owners have had their fair share of suspension-related problems. Initially, the Soul’s suspension led to rough rides, prompting Kia to make modifications. However, some suspension components, such as front wheel bearings and springs, remain more prone to failure.

Symptoms of this issue include dips while braking, drifting steering, a bumpy driving experience, and the vehicle leaning to one side when parked.

7. Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can be a frustrating and concerning problem for Kia Soul owners. Unfortunately, the Kia Soul is not immune to this issue, joining the growing list of vehicles prone to oil leakage.

RepairPal indicates that the most common causes of oil leaks in the Kia Soul are leaking engine gaskets and oil system component failure. Additionally, false readings of engine oil levels may occur, indicating a potential issue with the oil level sensor.

In many cases, the most common repair for this problem is the replacement of the engine oil pan.

Is The Kia Soul Worth It?

The Kia Soul is definitely worth considering. Despite its flaws, it offers a reliable and practical option from the Kia brand. As long as you choose the right year model, you can expect excellent value for your money.

Plus, the unique square design sets it apart from other compact cars and adds to its reliability. The Kia may have some unreliable vehicles in its lineup, but the Kia Soul isn’t one of them.

In fact, it’s one of their top options. So if you’re looking for a safe and practical subcompact car, the Kia Soul is definitely worth it.

Are Kia Souls Reliable?

According to, the Soul scores an impressive 70.95, making it highly reliable and surpassing its competitors. It even outperforms the second-place Kia Sedona by more than ten points.

Another reputable source,, gives the Kia Soul a rating of 4.5/5, placing it among the top contenders in its category. In terms of repair costs, the annual average for the Kia Soul is $437, slightly below the overall average for competing subcompact vehicles.

There is a 9% chance of a severe repair, those who own a Kia Soul report bringing it in for unexpected fixes only about 0.2 times per year, which is consistent with other subcompact vehicles.

Does Kia Soul hold value?

You’ll be happy to know that it holds its value quite well. After 5 years, it will only depreciate by 21% and have a 5-year resale value of $19,673. That means you can expect to get a good return on your investment if you decide to sell or trade in your Kia Soul.

And with the chart below showing the expected depreciation for the next 10 years, you can see that it continues to hold its value over time.

Is the Kia Soul a good car for seniors?

The Kia Soul is an excellent choice for seniors due to its upright seating position and easy entry into the cabin. The car’s lower ride height makes it easier to get in and out of, and its compact size allows for effortless maneuvering in busy urban areas.

With the Kia Soul, seniors can enjoy a comfortable and convenient driving experience without any unnecessary challenges.


By examining the worst years for the Kia Soul in terms of reliability, we hope to provide you with valuable insights that will help you make an informed decision.

From the clunking noises and body integrity issues of the 2012 Soul to the engine failures and excessive oil consumption of the 2015 model, these are years you’ll want to avoid.

Additionally, the 2014 and 2016 models have experienced severe engine problems, including engine failure and blown engines.

By understanding the reliability by years and the potential pitfalls, you can ensure a more satisfying and trouble-free ownership experience with your Kia Soul.

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