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2015 Kia Soul

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/24/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Kia Soul gains some minor changes such as a new UVO eServices Package for base models, and a new Cloud White exterior color and Umber Color Package for the Exclaim trim. A new electric vehicle (EV) model with 93 miles of estimated range arrives for the 2015 model year. Powered by a permanent magnetic electric motor making 109 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque, the EV is backed by a lithium-ion polymer battery.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Kia Soul is a compact four-door hatchback sold in three trims. It is also available as an EV for the 2015 model year, but only available in California.


Gas-powered 2015 Kia Souls are offered with two four-cylinder engines: a 1.6-liter with 130 hp and 118 lb-ft and a 2.0-liter rated at 164 hp and 151 lb-ft. Both are paired to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Fuel economy with the 1.6-liter is rated at 24/30 mpg city/highway and the 2.0-liter at 23/31 mpg. An available Eco Package for the Plus trim, which adds an engine stop/start system, improves gas mileage to 24/31 mpg. The 2.0-liter is the better of the two engines since the smaller 1.6-liter has no fuel economy advantage and is down 33 hp and 33 lb-ft to the larger I-4. Acceleration is sluggish even with the 2.0-liter and the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic due to the hatchback's weight.

Refinement is good with better sound insulation, which makes the 2015 Soul better for long-distance driving due to the lower noise levels. Space is ample for passengers and cargo with up to 61.3 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats folded down. Tech and convenient features are plentiful with an easy to use UVO infotainment unit with an optional navigation system, panoramic sunroof, upgraded audio system, heated front and rear seats, and leather seats.

While the Soul excels in city driving, it suffers at higher speeds from a jittery ride.

The 2015 Kia Soul has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars; EV models have not yet been tested) and is considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, earning a good rating on all crash tests (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

Exterior design remains one of the Soul’s selling points because of its distinctiveness and the availability of eye-catching colors. However, we noted in a long-term update review that this doesn’t limit its practicality, since its boxy shape gives it a roomy interior for cargo and passengers. The car's quiet and well-appointed cabin also makes it a nice place to spend time due to the low levels of exterior noise. Additionally, in a 2014 First Test, we said that the 2.0-liter engine “provided a good amount of pep” but “fell flat midrange” particularly going uphill where the engine would “groan in pain.”

You’ll Like

  • Quiet cabin
  • Distinctive exterior styling
  • Generous interior space

You Won’t Like

  • Weak powertrains
  • Jittery on the highway
  • Sluggish acceleration

Key Competitors

  • Nissan Juke
  • Mini Countryman
  • Hyundai Veloster
  • Scion xB
  • Fiat 500L


3 star


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