There’s 1 Serious Reason Not to Buy a New Kia Soul

Very few models have exhibited the same amount of personality that the Kia Soul has. Kia boasts that its Soul is a versatile hatchback with the smoothest advanced technology. While these claims hold true in many ways, there’s an important reason why you might want to avoid buying the 2021 Kia Soul.

First, what’s new with the 2021 Kia Soul?

A red 2021 Kia Soul driving on a highway
The 2021 Kia Soul in action | Photo via Kia

Since Kia completely redesigned the Soul for 2020, there aren’t many changes for the 2021 model. The biggest news for the 2021 Soul is that every model now comes with a rear-seat alert feature, which notifies you if someone is in the backseat. Fellow writer Peter Corn says that this new gadget is the perfect feature if you ever find yourself in a horror flick situation.

The Soul’s base engine is a 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s available with either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The standard engine is ideal for everyday drives and returns good fuel economy. There’s also the more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 201-hp. This option is on the top-of-the-line Soul Turbo trim, and it’s also standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The front row of a 2021 Kia Soul .
Kia Soul interior | Kia

On the inside, the Soul impresses with generous space for five people and in-car tech. Its infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Active safety features such as forward-collision warning are available. 

The big reason to avoid the 2021 Kia Soul

Kia Soul X-Line driving on dirt trail
2020 Kia Soul X-Line | Kia

In previous model years, the Soul’s reliability ratings made it a more attractive buy. But the newest version no longer has reliability on its side, according to Consumer Reports. The Soul has officially lost CR’s recommendation due to reliability issues.

The redesigned Soul’s new CVT has presented various problems. According to CR’s 2020 member survey, numerous owners reported issues with the Soul’s transmission and had to get it replaced. Some drivers had to replace it after only 5,000 miles. 

A new car having problems like this is not a good sign. As CR says, a new vehicle should be virtually problem-free. The positive news here is that Kia is among the automakers that have actively issued service bulletins and service actions to address problem areas, as CR highlights. 

“Kia has initiated a service action to proactively address the concern. The repair is covered under Kia’s industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.”

A Kia spokesperson via Consumer Reports 

What are some alternatives to a new Soul?

A silver 2021 Mazda CX-30 driving on a highway
The 2021 Mazda CX-30 in action | Photo via Mazda

You’ll want to shop some of the Soul’s competition for a subcompact SUV with better predicted reliability ratings. Mazda’s tiny crossovers, the CX-30 and the CX-3, both have exceptional ratings for dependability. They’re quite stylish too. These two Mazdas are very similar, but the CX-30 is the more spacious option. 

A yellow 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport on a foggy field
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport | Subaru

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Additionally, you may also want to consider the Subaru Crosstrek over the Soul. CR ranks the Crosstrek as the top subcompact SUV for its overall performance, technology, and dependability. You may even want to shop for used Soul models with better ratings.