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Do people buy the most recommended version of the 2023 Kia Soul? One trim level is more popular than all the others. Every version of the Kia SUV is a viable option, but some are better than others. Some experts say the best Soul trim level is also the most expensive. Most experts recommend one of the 2023 Kia Soul trims that costs more than all the rest.

2023 Kia Soul: Consumer Reports review
2023 Kia Soul | Kia

According to Edmunds, the most popular 2022 Kia Soul trim is the LX model. Out of four available options, the cheapest is the one people usually buy. In its most affordable form, the Soul costs $21,085. However, opting for the higher trim levels costs anywhere from $23,585 to $25,385. No version of the Soul is very expensive, but do the best ones sit at the top of the lineup?

All Kia Soul models use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. In addition, front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is completely unavailable. Buying the most popular LX base model gets owners a fully digital instrument cluster, cloth seats, an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a center console USB port, remote keyless entry, automatic headlights, and more. Finally, safety features included with all Soul models are the following:

  • Forward collision mitigation
  • Lane departure mitigation
  • Automatic high beams
  • Rear occupant alert
  • Driver attention warning

Edmunds recommends a more expensive Kia Soul trim

A light blue Kia Soul in front of a festive background.
2023 Kia Soul | Kia Media

According to experts like Edmunds, the best 2023 Kia Soul trim to buy is the EX model. “It ups the hatchback’s comfort factor with premium cloth upholstery and heated seats and still comes in at a reasonable price.” Starting at $25,385, the EX trim sits atop the Soul lineup, offering plenty of equipment upgrades.

Each 2023 Kia Soul EX has upgraded cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, heated mirrors, a sunroof, a rear center armrest with cupholders, and a cargo area privacy cover. The only other similarly priced model, GT-Line, contains mostly styling upgrades to make the Soul more sporty. This value is why Edmunds thinks the EX trim is the Soul to buy.

Another expert recommends the 2023 Kia Soul GT-Line

Contrarily, the experts at Car and Driver recommend the 2023 Kia Soul GT-Line. Slightly less costly than the EX, it starts at $24,685. Although like every Soul model, it remains affordable, it’s a few thousand dollars above the most popular base model. The GT-Line gets you 18-inch alloy wheels, body-color mirrors, unique front/rear bumpers, a chrome-tipped center exit exhaust, a body-colored rocker panel trim with silver accents, foglights, faux leather and cloth seats, and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

Although purely cosmetic, C/D likes the GT-Line because “it looks sportier than its stablemates, with its own wheel design and body-color trim. It comes standard with a suite of driver assists that includes automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.” While this is true, it’s also true for every other version of the Kia Soul.

Are the most expensive Kia Soul trims the best?

In conclusion, we think the best version of the 2023 Kia Soul to buy is the EX model. Surprisingly, every model in the affordable hatchback’s lineup is well-equipped. However, the bottom and top of the lineup are so similarly priced it seems silly to buy the one with fewer features. The difference in a monthly payment for a $21,085 vehicle versus a $25,385 is pretty minimal. As a result, we can’t see a reason to recommend any version of the 2023 Kia Soul but the EX trim.