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Between the chip shortage, the economy, and companies still recovering from the Pandemic, picking a used vehicle just makes more sense than buying new for many car shoppers. With that in mind, many consumers find the Kia Soul to be a viable option. It’s cheap, good on gas, and isn’t hard on the eyes. There are three models you need to stay away from, due to the high maintenance costs, however.

A red 2014 Kia Soul parked on the side of the road.
2014 Kia Soul | Dünzlullstein bild via Getty Images

2014 Kia Soul

According to Car Complaints, the 2014 Kia Soul has the most complaints, with 81 owners reporting issues. Further details reveal the major issues revolve around the engine. 

There were 43 owners who confided in Car Complaints about how there were multiple problems revolving around the 2014 Kia Soul’s engines. From knocking, loss of power while driving, and a blown engine, the list of problems seems to never end. 

The top worst problem was the knocking, which costs around $5,300 to fix, and was most reported about 98,000 miles. Five people reported the engine had to be replaced, hence the expensive repair costs. Other owners didn’t have a solution for this problem.

The check engine light was the second most reported issue with a cost of $1,500, and the third was lost power while driving with a fee of $200.

2015 Kia Soul

Like the 2014 model, the 2015 Kia Soul is riddled with engine problems. In fact, 48 people reported to Car Complaints that their biggest issues revolved around the engine.

The biggest problem facing the 2015 Soul has to do with engine failure. Owners reported that it all started with a ‘ticking’ or ‘knocking’ noise, which then progressed to the vehicle stalling or the check engine light coming on. Many owners had issues getting this repaired, as they weren’t aware of a recall on the engine, and didn’t get the required repairs. Because of this, they had to pay $4,620 out of pocket.

The second most complained about problem for the 2015 Soul was the extreme humidity on windows. There was no reported data about the repair cost, but five people complained about this issue. Most people state it happens on very humid days, or when there are heavy rains.

The third top complaint was the check engine light. Out of the three people who reported complaints, only one could get it fixed. They spent $1,000 and had the engine replaced. 

2016 Kia Soul

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The 2016 Kia Soul earns the not-so-desired award of having the most expensive repair, according to Car Complaints. There were 10 complaints in total involving a blown engine. Eight out of the 10 reports stated that the only solution was replacing the engine, and this set them back $7,000.

Many owners reported it all began with excessive oil use. This ramped up until the engine wouldn’t accelerate, and then it blew, and had to be replaced. 

One frustrated owner reported, “I got my 2016 Soul 2.0L, and it was fine for 6 years, when all of a sudden a couple of weeks ago my car would only go 35 miles an hour and smoke started to come out of the exhaust pipe and then my car stopped driving. It completely died, and I had to pay to get it towed for them to tell me my engine has blown, and then I got a second opinion, and they said the same thing.”

Other issues for the 2016 Soul included an engine that won’t turn over, and engine knocking. There was no reported cost to fix with these.

Many other Kia Souls don’t have these issues, and overall, it’s a vehicle with a high-reliability rating that you should consider if you need a used vehicle. Just read reviews carefully, and avoid these model years at all costs.