The Kia Soul is probably the quirkiest vehicle in the automaker’s lineup for its distinguishable boxy style. Expect this subcompact crossover SUV’s ride to be somewhat bumpy. However, Consumer Reports still praises the Soul for its generous interior accommodations and nimble handling. Sadly, the fun X-Line and Turbo trims didn’t return for the 2023 Kia Soul. The Kia Soul EX is now the fully loaded trim, but is it worth your money?
4 trims to choose from
The 2023 Kia Soul comes in four trims: LX, S, GT-Line, and EX.
Starting at $19,790 LX is the least expensive trim. Its four-cylinder engine makes 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a continuously variable transmission, the engine is EPA-rated for 28/35 mpg city/highway, making this Soul model a good option for commutes. Inside is an 8.0-inch touchscreen, standard smartphone integration, and a small selection of driver’s aids.
The Kia Soul S, starting at $22,290, has the same powertrain, but it comes with a few more interior features. Riders can enjoy dual-zone climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and wireless device charging. It also adds blind-spot monitors, lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert to the safety suite.
The Kia Soul GT-Line is clearly the sportier model, with its different body lines and flat-bottom steering wheel. It also rides on 18-inch wheels instead of the 16-inch ones on the two lower trims. And a sunroof comes standard.
You can upgrade your Kia Soul GT-Line with the Designer Package, giving the car a two-toned black and white interior. This model also includes a blue body and black roof — a color scheme that costs extra on any other trim. However, opting for this package takes away the sunroof.
The cabin gets spruced up with a larger touchscreen, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and synthetic leather seat inserts. This trim starts at $23,390. But it jumps to $25,790 with the Technology Package.
This bundle provides a Harmon Kardon stereo system, navigation-based cruise control, and LED exterior lights. Riders can also enjoy heated seats, and the driver gets more adjustability and lumbar support options.
The range-topping Kia Soul EX comes standard with those extra features.
How much is a fully loaded 2023 Kia Soul EX?
The top-tier 2023 Kia Soul doesn’t have a more powerful engine, but it rides on 17-inch wheels. It also boasts every available safety feature, plus heated side mirrors. Other new features include a cargo cover and tricot-upholstered seats.
The 2023 Kia Soul EX starts at $24,090. Kia also tacks on a destination charge of $1,295. And the Snow White Pearl and Fusion Black exterior paint colors are a $345 upcharge.
You can also add crossbars, sport pedals, a hitch, cargo management solutions, and illuminated scuff plates to your Soul EX. Also, every trim except the GT-Line can have mudguards added. All of these options cost extra: A fully loaded 2023 Kia Soul EX will likely cost you at least $27,340.
Which 2023 Kia Soul model should you buy?
According to Car and Driver, the 2023 Kia Soul GT-Line offers the best bang for your buck. Though sporty accents can’t compensate for the lack of turbo power, C/D thinks they match the Soul’s character nicely. Testers also appreciated the included safety features and 10.3-inch touchscreen.
Performance remains unchanged regardless of the Soul’s trim. Unlike Consumer Reports, C/D didn’t consider the Kia Soul’s handling noteworthy. However, testers found that this crossover offers a more comfortable ride than other subcompact SUVs.
We agree with C/D. Without a bigger engine, there’s little reason to choose the Kia Soul EX over the GT-Line. It’s cheaper to get all of the EX’s best features through the available Technology Package.