Pre-loved: Kia Soul 2009-2020

2017 Kia Soul 6

Two very different buyers are likely to be attracted to the Kia Soul as a used car. 

If you’re young and trendy you might like to get one in a bright colour with added customisation. 

If you’re a member of the sex-drugs-and-rock n’ roll generation, but now have a ‘7’ in front of your age, you might like to get a Soul in a bright colour with some added customisation.

Yep. Two different groups both looking for the same thing. Love it!

Kia Soul has large, comfortable seats at just the right height for ease of access another factor that appeals to those whose knees are now on the creaky side.

It has a high driving position and there’s good visibility all round with narrow pillars that minimise areas of you can’t see. 

Four adults can travel in reasonable comfort thanks excellent head space.

Legroom in the rear isn’t too bad but tall folks may have to comprise. 

A fifth occupant will need to be on the slim side to get comfortable back there.

The boot is on the small side but the rear seat backs can be lowered to significantly increase room.

February, 2014 saw the launch of the second generation.

Its shape was toned down a little, but there’s still no doubt it’s not a mainstream design.

The tailgate is wider than gen-one and gives easier access to the load area. 

A new generation has recently been launched overseas but may not be imported to Oz as sales have never been strong here.

Originally Kia Soul came with the choice of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a turbo-diesel with the same capacity.

Both with a five-speed manual or four-speed auto. 

In 2011 a 2.0-litre petrol with a six-speed automatic was added to the range. That auto was also offered in the diesel. 

Diesels in small cars don’t appeal to Aussies so the 2014 Soul’s range was trimmed to 2.0-litre petrol only, with six forward ratios on both manuals and automatics. 

The booming demand for SUVs saw Soul discontinued from October, 2020.

All Kia vehicles for quite a few years now have Australian input in their suspension and steering, with the gen-two Kia Soul getting even more changes than the original.

It certainly doesn’t have sporty performance but it is safe and competent. 

South Korean vehicles have an excellent reputation for quality and reliability.

Kia was significantly increased its number of dealers in Australia as sales rapidly increased.

There’s the usual high concentration in major metropolitan areas, but quite a few country cities have joined the group.

Other than their unusual shape Kia Souls are a simple, routine design under the skin and good home mechanics can do a fair bit of the work themselves.

Have all safety related work done by professionals. 

We have heard of no major problems with parts availability and prices are generally reasonable. 

It pays to shop around for insurance. Keep in mind that maintaining a long relationship with one company may provide benefits if there’s a marginal case for a claim sometime in the future.

2017 Kia Soul 3


Diesel engines won’t start as quickly as petrol ones, but if one seems too slow have it checked out by a mechanic.

During your test drive check for diesel smoke from the exhaust when accelerating hard.

A few seconds is probably okay, any longer is not.

Gear shifts in the manual should be smooth and easy.

As the gearbox wears the shift down into second gear is often the first one to play up.

Try a few fast down changes during your test drive.

The automatic should be smooth in its changes, not shift gears unnecessarily, or hold on to them for too long.

As with any car used to cart kids the Soul can be damaged in the interior through rough use.

Check all areas, with particular attention to the plastic and paint as their quality was built down to a price. Not a criticism, this is a low-cost car.

Take a close look at the body for signs of customising decals that may have been removed.

Crash repairs can cause ripples in the body panels — look at them end-on in good light.

Also check for over-spray on non-painted areas like the glass and badges.

2017 Kia Soul 5


Expect to pay from $3000 to $6000 for a 2009 Kia Soul; $4000 to $7000 for a 2011 Soul+; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2013 Soul+; $8000 to $13,000 for a 2016 Si; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2017 Si; and $12,000 to $17,000 for a 2020 Si.

2017 Kia Soul 4


Used car prices have generally increased during the period of new car stock shortages so hunt around for the best deal.

Start looking at adverts for used vehicles several months before you intend buying.

That way you can see the prices being asked and whether they are rising and falling as dealers need to clear stock due to overcrowding.

Keep an eye on adverts for new cars that say there are specials on particular models.

These can mean a lot of traded-in cars are taking up too much space in the yards and will be discounted to get rid of them.

If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot. 

This can give you an insight to the quality of vehicles in which the dealer specialises.

If buying privately ask for proof of ownership of the vehicle and make sure it is covered for you taking a test drive.

Take a slow walk around any car you’re considering, looking for obvious defects.

It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details, only to later discover a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.

Ideally any road test of a car you’re getting serious about should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is best.

In their later years, cars with a reputation for being long lived and trouble free sometimes attract buyers who have no intention of ever servicing them. The next owner may suffer as a result.

2017 Kia Soul 1


To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:



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