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With inflation, it can be difficult to find affordable new cars. Also, the cheapest ones typically sacrifice quality for such a low price. As a result, finding an affordable SUV and a high-quality, reliable model can be challenging. However, there is a notable exception. Only one new SUV that costs less than $20,000 is recommended by Consumer Reports: the 2023 Kia Soul.

The 2023 Kia Soul, which costs less than $20,000, is a top choice among SUVs

Side view of blue 2023 Kia Soul, the only SUV recommended by Consumer Reports that costs under $20,000
2023 Kia Soul | Kia

The 2023 Kia Soul subcompact crossover SUV, with a starting price of $19,790 MSRP, is one of the cheapest new SUVs available. The only other new SUV sold in the United States that costs under $20,000 is the 2023 Hyundai Venue, which starts at $19,500 MSRP. However, unlike the 2023 Venue, the 2023 Soul, with its excellent reliability, is recommended by Consumer Reports

The Kia Soul crossover SUV

This Consumer Reports recommendation is new for the 2023 Kia Soul. Last year, CR didn’t recommend the Soul. However, CR added the crossover SUV to its recommendation list following its recently released Auto Reliability Survey. 

Consumer Reports analyzed 17 potential problem areas during the previous 12 months for the Auto Reliability Survey, surveying over 300,000 vehicles. Examples include paint, leaks, electrical systems, engine, noises, and brakes. The organization then calculated predicted reliability ratings of all new vehicles, including the Soul — using the results of the surveys. And with the 2023 Soul’s increase in reliability, Consumer Reports now recommends the crossover SUV.

New exterior styling for the 2023 Soul

Rear view of blue 2023 Kia Soul, the only SUV recommended by Consumer Reports that costs under $20,000
2023 Kia Soul | Kia

Along with getting the coveted Consumer Reports recommendation, the affordably-priced 2023 Kia Soul crossover SUV has a refreshed exterior design. Specifically, it features a new look for the front and rear of the vehicle. At the front, the new fascia has a new grille with available LED headlights, redesigned turn signals, daytime running lights, and fog lights. Also, at the rear of the 2023 Soul, there’s a redesigned rear fascia with new taillights. Plus, the crossover SUV has new 17- and 18-inch wheel designs.

Additionally, the 2023 Soul offers two new exterior paint color options: Surf Blue and Fusion White. While the Soul has mostly the same interior, it offers a new 10.25-inch touchscreen with a navigation system. 

Furthermore, the 2023 Soul offers newly standard driving assistance technologies. This includes Driver Attention Warning, Lane Departure Warning, High-Beam Assist, Rear Occupant Alert, and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist-Pedestrian. 

However, for those who desire greater performance, there is one disappointing aspect of the 2023 Soul. The turbocharged engine is no longer available. The only engine offered is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which generates 147 hp. 

If you’re on a tight budget and looking for an affordable yet reliable SUV, the 2023 Kia Soul is a great choice. It’s the only SUV recommended by Consumer Reports that costs under $20,000.


Cheapest New Kia SUV Is 1 of the Most Affordable SUVs in America