Crossover & Midsize

Don’t Spend Over $20,000 for a Used Kia Soul

The Kia Soul has a pretty good reputation, but some would argue it’s not worth its full MSRP. The base Soul trim has only minimal technology offerings, and the highest trim costs over $27,000. It doesn’t make sense to buy a brand-new Kia Soul when there’s a better one for thousands of dollars cheaper.

U.S. News lists the 2017 Kia Soul as one of the best cars you can buy for under $20,000. It was the site’s best compact car for 2017 in terms of value and family friendliness. What’s so great about the 2017 Kia Soul?

New powertrain option

In previous years, the Kia Soul only had two engine options. The weakest of these is a 130-hp four-cylinder, and there’s a slightly better 160-hp motor for middle trims. For 2017, the highest trim got a new engine, a 201-hp turbo-four paired with a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission.

The Kia Soul Exclaim is more light on its feet than the lower trims, with faster acceleration and an improved throttle response. However, a review from CNET said the car still struggles to keep up with other cars on the highway. The turbo engine gets the best gas mileage, returning 28 mpg combined city/highway. A used Soul Exclaim might break the $20,000 mark, but it’s worth it if you’re all about performance.

New available features for the Kia Soul

Higher trims also got some more optional features this year, most notably smartphone integration. You could also spring for a panoramic sunroof, built-in navigation, leather seating, a better audio system, and a larger touchscreen. The base 2017 Kia Soul doesn’t have a touchscreen at all.

The bare-bones 2017 Kia Soul still has some good technology, including Bluetooth, satellite radio, and one USB port. Some safety features like blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert were also made standard for this model year. It’s the cheapest model you can get right now, starting at around $13,000.

A classy interior

For a vehicle at its price point, the 2017 Kia Soul is surprisingly upscale. The standard trim comes with cloth seats, but Consumer Reports says that the leather seats give better support. CR also appreciated that there were many soft-padded surfaces throughout the cabin.

The Kia Soul’s cabin also has a few quirky touches, like colored lights that pulse in time to your music. Except for the exposed sun visor screws, every other component fits neatly into place.

The roomiest subcompact SUV

RELATED: The Kia Soul Saw a Dramatic Dip in Popularity This Year

Just like every other Soul, the 2017 model is spacious enough for lots of passengers and cargo. It can seat up to five occupants, with plenty of headroom and legroom for all. Even models with the sunroof don’t compromise headroom because of the high roofline. 

However, Consumer Reports complained that three adults might be a little too snug in the backseat during longer trips. Cargo space is also quite generous, up to 61 cubic feet of space with the second row folded. It also comes with an underfloor storage compartment and a net for holding more items.

Reliable and safe

The Kia Soul’s reliability declined sharply after its redesign in 2020, but earlier models are more dependable. The 2017 Kia Soul has the highest reliability rating from Consumer Reports plus a great score from J.D. Power. It also performed well in all its crash-test scores, with a five-star rating from the NHTSA.

Of course, the latest model also has great safety scores, but it might not last as long as its predecessors. It doesn’t have all the latest options, but the 2017 Kia Soul is one of the best versions of this SUV.