By on September 27, 2017

Alien Green 2018 Kia Soul

Korean automakers built their foundations on these shores by offering cars priced much more aggressively than established competition yet packed to the gunwales with features. Kia has come a long way since opening up shop with their first dealerships in – where else – Portland, Oregon. Keep it weird, Portland.

Even with the by-all-accounts superb Stinger and the not-offered-here funky Stonic pointing Kia in a bold new direction, the company stays true to its roots by continuing to offer an array of products squarely in the Mr. Noodles price range. One of the most popular? The Kia Soul, of course.

Is there a base model? Of course there is. This time, it’s right there in the name.

Behind the pug-tastic snout we find Kia’s 1.6-liter inline-four, deploying four valves per cylinder and making 130 horsepower. This figure is leagues ahead of what I endured in the base penalty boxes of my youth. A six-speed manual is standard equipment with Hill Assist helping out new drivers who find themselves near Pike Place Market in Seattle. The automatic, at $1,600, adds nearly 10% to the sticker price. You don’t need it.

Disc brakes are found at all four corners. Why am I mentioning something seemingly mundane? Well, even today, certain models of the vaunted Toyota Corolla still have archaic drum brakes out back. Seriously. Go look it up. I’ll wait.

Alien Green 2018 Kia Soul

While the pedantic folks amongst us are hitting up the build-and-price tools to confirm that, now would be a great time to mention the Soul’s tires, appropriately sized at 205/60/16 and guaranteed not to hoover your wallet clean come replacement time. Best of all, they’re mounted on alloys, not steelies.

Look inside your Soul and you will find the holy trinity of air conditioning, USB ports, and satellite radio. Economies of scale is always one’s best friend on a base car and it delivers again in the form of power windows and a tilt/telescope steering wheel in this $16,100 Kia.

The usual trifecta of bleak colors are on tap: Clear White, Bright Silver, and Shadow Black. While I personally know several people whose Souls are quite black, your author would definitely choose the Cosmic Snot Alien Green shown above. All four colors are $0 each. Dandy.

At trade-in time, I’d be sure to find a dealership employing a person named Neville, simply for the privilege of saying — for the rest of my days — that I sold my Soul to the Neville.

I’ll show myself out.

[Images: Kia Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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38 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Kia Soul Base...”


  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I think the deal maker/breaker for me is whether or not the base models comes with a giant plush hamster. My dog would lose his mind over one of those.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    How can you not like a company that uses a Motorhead song in one of its commercials?

  • avatar
    deanst

    The most interesting side of this car is the rear. The rest is still awkward, but seems to get a bit better with each generation.

    30 mpg on the highway is pretty sad for a 130 hp vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      It’s not. Their fuel economy has known to be low mostly due to the barn door front profile (they struggle to get 30 mpg actually, I’ve heard). It’s not really a highway car, though the refresh was known to have made it much more comfortable than the first gen. Glad to see alloys in base configuration. I’ve always had a soft spot for these, and this would compete with a used Prius for my non-highway, putter-around-town, move-things second car of the household.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      At least it’s not the asymmetrical Nissan Cube.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      But when you throw a turbo on the 1.6 4cylinder. Its rated at 26 city and 31hwy for the manual.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      A couple years ago, I rented a “Ford Focus sized” vehicle, and was given a Rio with the explanation that it’s grown in size over the years, and hey, “It gets 40mpg on the highway!” My trip was mostly highway from Indy to Nashville and back, with some driving in Nashville, and was lucky to get 30mpg both highway and city. At least it was consistent.

      Fast forward to this summer, I learned my lesson and requested a “Full size” vehicle, and was given a Hyundai Sonata. It had the 2.4l I4. I got 36mpg on the trip from Indy to the Meadowlands, with some mountain driving in PA dragging me down. From Eastern PA back to Indy, I got 40mpg. City driving was an expected 27mpg. Plus it had cruise control and a lot of extra room.

      I think the 1.6 is just a dog. I’m not sure why it’s so much worse, but I guess there’s no money in upgrading it for a segment that has small margins to begin with.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      As an owner of a Kia Soul (+ not Base) gas mileage can be a sore point. My 2014 was rated at 25/city; 31/hwy. I can manage a solid 29-30 hwy if I keep the speed under 80. Also the MPG meter in the car is a little generous – to itself. If I calculate the mpgs myself it is usually 1 to 1.5 mpg under what the readout says.
      Oh, and the + is the 2.0 engine with the auto. A stick is only available in the base.

      • 0 avatar
        tmport

        Huh, I also have the +, and I can easily get 35 MPG on the highway. I rarely venture there, however, so I typically get about 23-24 in the city. Not great, but exactly as advertised.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Just got the EX+ for the air, cruise, fogs, and auto. Wanted the side mirror mounted turn signals and sunroof, but it was too big a jump cost wise. Very happy with it. Easiest car to drive I’ve ever had.

    It’s seating position is kinda, sorta, but not really like a little “jeep”. My spouse loves the height, it’s about the same as an Escape. I’m doing the break-in, then we swap and it’s back to the Accent (which I understand is on a related platform).

    I was leery about trying the Korean cars, after getting 20 years out of my Swift, but Suzuki was gone, and I needed something just big enough to tow with. They’re robust like German cars with the reliability of Japanese ones, and the service rates and costs are reasonable. I recommend Hyundai/Kia. I think they are good value.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Pretty amazing… it’s a box, but not a penalty???

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    If you’re near Pike Place Market, you’re not in too bad of a spot – that’s all regrade and the hills are rather gentle (2nd and Virginia just north is the highest point of the regrade). Further south, going East on Spring – *that’s* the test of a stick driver.

  • avatar
    Bconroy284

    I Own a 2014 Kia soul + with the Primo Package (Panoramic roof, cooled seats, navigation , premium stereo) and has been a great car for 32,000 miles so far. The ride is great , mileage daily stop and go is around 18mpg but on the highway I have gotten 29.8mpg . Traded up from a 2008 Dodge Avenger R/T (as a first car was great). Only have had one issue with regards to maintenance which was a lever in the sunroof broke and causing it to operate slowly or not at all but it has been fixed under warranty. My only issues are that I went through a set of tires and brakes ( I do drive hard) and the paint is a bit thin. Have scratches in the clear coat and chips ( though did do 80% long distance for the first year of ownership from Long Island to Westchester NY for school every other day). The dealer network has been good but the dealer I bought it from was not taken over by a new network and we will see how the service is after a few more times. For the first two years received free oil changes and Inspections, and have not had any other problems. Comfort wise it is great (though the cheap tires I put on it have hurt the ride somewhat) the Cooled seats are awesome and work great on hot days ( though If its 90 or 100 out they struggle ) the fact that it has Android auto now is even better then the already great Kia uvo nav system. Stereo is loud and clear and the Panoramic is a great party trick to impress people in the back seats. Love the Car ( Emma ) but next car will be something that can tow a travel trailer.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Towing; that’s actually a reason I chose it. Geared transmission and decent wheelbase length. The bonus is it has a back-up camera, which makes hitching easier. My trailer is a little pup utility though. I wouldn’t want to tow a travel trailer bigger than a teardrop type or maybe a Scamp.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      Whoa, never cheap out on tires. I might be the cheapest person all my friends know, but tires need to be top shelf. You know why already. ;)

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    I just had a Soul for a week in Portland, OR, and it’s a fantastic vehicle for the city. It’s maneuverable and very easy to park, and would be equally excellent here in Philly.

    I believe I had the 160hp 2.0L, which had decent power, and I was surprised how well it did on the highway both for passing and road noise. The stereo sounded darned good as well. For the most part, I’d be happy to have one as a replacement for our deceased Mazda5 microvan, but I wish it had more cargo space. Of course, that might make it larger and defeat its urban appeal, but it’s an issue.

    And I love the ad with the Motorhead track. The Soul should come with the Ace of Spades album pre-loaded into the stereo!

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned that there are two non-turbo motors for these, the 1.6 and the 2.0. Even the rental cars I’ve seen have the 2.0, but sadly it’s automatic only. Anybody driven the manual car? How slow does it feel?

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      I test drove a base with the stick. It drove nicely but slowly. The gear transitions were very smooth but it is definitely not spirited. The 2.0 in the + was much better even with the auto-only trans.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    This $16,100 Soul must be close to the ones which my local dealer constantly advertises for a little over $12K. No wonder the roads are clogged with souls driving Souls.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      This is an amazing price. Kia stopped selling the ordinary Soul here in Norway, and only pushes the electric version. It’s comparatively cheap at 28k$ base, but a world apart from US prices.
      http://www.kia.com/no/modeller/soul-ev/opplev-soul-electric/

  • avatar
    vvk

    Very competent cars, probably the best model Kia has. Very distinctive design. Just yesterday I saw one in the parking lot. It was almost completely blocked from view by another car, I only saw a very small part of the driver side headlight. I immediatelly recognized it! I was really thinking about it as I was walking by, how distinctive and recognizable the Soul is.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Don’t discount the Niro and the Rondo (not available in the USA) which although not as distinctive as the Soul are also probably the ‘best’ vehicles in their respective niche markets.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        And the Picanto and the Sorento.

        Also, the Stinger isn’t off to a bad start.

        C&D ranked it after the 3 Germans and Alfa (which is a great driver, but has its issues), but ahead of the competition from Jaguar, Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, etc.

        Rumors that the next gen Soul may get the long-awaited AWD (may be an e-AWD system).

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        The Niro is quite certainly the most rational new car in its class in Europe. Unbeatable combination of car building skill, reliability/quality and price. It’s really impressive!

  • avatar
    volvoguyincanada

    Kind of reminds me of the Nissan Juke.. only not a death trap. The Soul on the other hand, gets Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Nice results on that small frontal overlap.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Maybe not a homerun, but the Soul seems like a solid triple, particularly for Kia. The one failing most often mentioned in reviews is it being underpowered, which would apply most to the 1.6L in the base model. But if someone really wants to cure the problem, there’s always ante-ing up for the new turbo.

    Then there’s the inspired hamster-themed ads, which are rather VW-like. It’s just hard not to like the Soul, and that’s certainly evidenced how the car cuts a very wide swatch across the car-buying demographic. Even all the geezers driving them, which is traditionally the kiss of death, doesn’t seem to faze sales. Whether being driven by a geezer or millenial, the Soul is still able to retain its hipness.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Basically the “last man standing” among the “box-utes.”

    No more xB, Cube or Element (albeit, the Element being larger than the rest).

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “Disc brakes are found at all four corners.”

    Rear-Disk-brakes-on-everything meme needs to die. For a small economy car like this, I’ll take drums that I will basically never have to open up in the lifetime of the car, versus disks that will inevitably rust rotors by year 6-7 and/or rust calipers that jam up the pads (causing uneven wear), or even freeze up the caliper entirely.

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