Everything the Cheapest SUV of 2024 Gets Wrong and Right
The 2024 Kia Soul immediately makes itself distinct by being the cheapest SUV on the market. But that title is not the only noteworthy thing about this subcompact SUV. Kia packs a lot of useful features inside the Soul’s small frame, and while it is far from perfect, it offers more than enough to please most drivers.
2024 Kia Soul: The cheapest SUV for the 2024 model year
Kia confirms the budget-friendly pricing for the 2024 Soul. The base LX model only costs $19,950, and the other trim levels — the S ($22,490), EX ($24,290), and GT-Line ($23,590) — are in the same range.
Each Soul shares the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The EPA estimates the fuel economy to be 30-31 mpg combined.
The LX trim comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Upper-level trims come with a 10.3-inch screen and additional features such as SiriusXM satellite radio, real-time traffic updates, and in-dash navigation.
More expensive models can also come with a sunroof and a wireless smartphone charging pad. The Soul GT-Line can upgrade the standard six-speaker stereo system with a premium Harman Kardon setup.
Since the Soul received a midcycle refresh with the 2023 model, changes to the 2024 one are minor or optional. Kia now provides an optional EX Designer Package that adds 18-inch wheels and new interior designs to the GT-Line and the Smart Key option now has a sleep mode as an extra security measure.
Standard safety features for the Soul include forward collision mitigation, lane departure mitigation, automatic high beams, rear occupant alerts, and driver attention warning. The SUV received a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Some of this SUV’s features leave something to be desired
Most of the 2024 Soul’s drawbacks come down to its solitary engine option.
It obviously doesn’t provide a lot of power, and while the vast majority of drivers know that before they get behind the wheel, it still needs to be pointed out. The lack of versatility means what you see is what you get in terms of performance. And unlike other subcompact SUVs, the Soul doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The fuel efficiency also might not live up to Kia’s reported numbers. Edmunds reviewers say they “found it difficult to replicate these numbers in our real-world driving evaluation tests.”
The site also found that the upright windshield generates a noticeable amount of wind and tire noise when driving at highway speeds, though the engine itself doesn’t create much of a racket at full throttle thanks to simulated gearshifts.
But Kia got many things right with the 2024 Soul
It feels unfair to hone in too closely on the Soul’s less impressive features, considering the low price at a time when the cost of a new car is rising across the industry.
Kia gets the most out of the Soul’s boxy shape. It has seating for five people as well as an impressive amount of interior space (120.9 cu. ft) and cargo volume (62.1 cu. ft with the rear seats folded). There’s also enough headroom and legroom for drivers and passengers to be comfortable wherever they sit in the vehicle.
The Soul doesn’t handle like a sports car, but solid handling, a height-adjustable front seat, and a range of steering wheel adjustments contribute to a reliable driving experience.
It also comes with a pleasing level of style thanks to an exterior highlighted by textured door-panel inserts and customizable two-tone paint options, and an interior featuring synthetic leather and soft-touch plastic that feels more luxurious than one would expect from a vehicle with this price tag.
The warranty Kia offers for the Soul is also excellent. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is five years or 60,000 miles, powertrain protection is for 10 years or 100,000 miles, and roadside assistance is for five years or 60,000 miles.