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A vehicle’s reliability is important to consumers. Reliable SUVs can stand the test of time and save drivers big bucks on repair costs. Affordable SUVs that are reliable are even more desirable because of their value proposition. One reliable subcompact SUV starts under $20,000.

Kia’s subcompact SUV provides value that’s hard to refuse

A blue 2023 Kia Soul subcompact SUV is parked.
The 2023 Kia Soul | Kia

The Kia Soul has been providing value to drivers for over a decade. The funky, boxy, subcompact SUV has plenty of personality. Aside from its quirky exterior design, it also has plenty to offer for drivers on a budget that need a dependable little SUV.

Don’t expect the Soul to produce exhilarating power or be packed with creature comforts. Kia does offer different configurations for drivers that want more comfort and tech out of the tiny SUV. The base model may not be for everyone, but its starting price is noteworthy. In an age where prices just keep on climbing, Kia’s subcompact SUV remains refreshingly affordable.

The 2023 Kia Soul starts at $19,890. It uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to make 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Soul achieves 28 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. U.S. News & World Report includes the Soul on a list of the 12 most reliable small SUVs for 2023. So, the Soul is clearly affordable, and U.S. News vouches for its reliability, but should you get one?

Who should get a 2023 Kia Soul?

The front of a blue 2023 Kia Soul.
The front of a 2023 Kia Soul | Kia

The Kia Soul isn’t the best option in its segment. In fact, it isn’t even the best South Korean option in its segment. Two models dominate the subcompact SUV space in 2023.

The Hyundai Kona is representing Hyundai Motor Company and its portfolio of brands. The Kona has a distinct exterior design, it’s affordable, and it’s fun to drive. The Mazda CX-30 is the next big name in the subcompact SUV segment. The CX-30 arguably provides more value than any of its competitors because of its luxurious cabin and sporty design. Its value proposition is tough to beat.

The Kia Soul is ideal for consumers that need a cheap and efficient sedan alternative to shuttle around town with. It’s built like a grocery hauler in the best way possible, and that’s exactly what some drivers are looking for. A new 2023 Kia Soul model should last the average driver for at least 10 years. That’s longer than the average new vehicle ownership period (8.4 years).

The Soul is best suited for consumers who can forego quick acceleration and snazzy cabins in favor of affordability and reliability. On the other hand, upper trim level Soul configurations jazz up the nameplate in a big way.

Which 2023 Kia Soul configuration is best?

Kia’s subcompact SUV comes in four configurations starting with the LX base model. The EX is the fully loaded model. It starts at $24,190. The 2023 Kia Soul EX is still affordable, but it may be out of the price range of the average Kia Soul buyer. Instead, the 2023 Soul S trim could provide more value for the money in the eyes of drivers.

The 2023 Kia Soul S starts at $22,390. It comes standard with smart key with push-button start, a wireless phone charger, and blind-spot collision-avoidance assist. The Soul S also includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, driver attention warning, and auto emergency braking technology. Does the Kia Soul deserve more praise?


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