Dear Car Talk:
I currently have a 2012 Kia Soul, which I bought (used) to get something higher up off the road than my old Mazda 3. I live with my mother, who has a 2011 Toyota Camry. We're talking about going to one car, this year or next, and Mom is fine with it being another (used, but newer) Soul, since I'll be doing more of the driving than she will. And I'll be doing all the night driving.
I have no problem with the Soul, but I was wondering if there were other options I should be considering that are similarly high up (or not low, at least), and in the same ballpark on cost. We do want four doors, but don't need anything much bigger than the Soul (or it will be harder to get into the garage).
Do I want something else, or do I just want a 2020 Soul, and if the Soul, which one? -- Caroline
When the Soul first came out, my late brother test drove one for a week. He came back raving about how much people loved the car. I asked him how he knew. He said that everywhere he went, people would roll down their windows and yell, "Ah, Soul!" at him.
We like the Soul, too, Caroline. It's compact, gets good mileage, is easy to get in and out of, easy to see out of, and it makes excellent use of its interior space. So, if you like the Soul, there's no reason we can think of not to get a newer one.
Kia redesigned the Soul in 2020, and unfortunately, we've seen mediocre reliability reports on the brand-new one. Previously, up through 2019, reliability was very good. So I'd look for a 2019.
If you can find a Plus trim level, that'll include the 2.0-liter engine, which produces about 160 horsepower. That's plenty for this car. More importantly, on the Plus, you can get the "Primo" option package -- hey we don't name this stuff, we just write about it -- which includes crucial safety equipment like automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning. So, as long as you can find one with all that safety equipment (I wouldn't buy a car these days without it), a Soul should be a good sole vehicle for you and Mom, Caroline.