Since its introduction over a decade ago, the Kia Soul has won the hearts of more than just hamsters! The Soul’s quirky design mixed with a low price point and great utility has been a big hit for many buyers throughout the US. For 2023, Kia has given the Soul an updated look and a whole slew of new standard features. So, does the Soul still reign as the king of the boxy car world? Keep reading to find out!
What’s New for 2023
- Refreshed design
- One powertrain option
- Smaller trim line-up
- More standard features
LX -> S -> GT-Line -> EX
Detailed Exterior Review
The most obvious changes to this refreshed Kia Soul can be found by looking at the exterior of the vehicle. The Soul retains the same overall design, however; some elements have been trimmed down to look more modern. Each trim will have a slightly different “face,” with nicer mesh finishes being added to the top models. Halogen reflector headlights without fog lamps will be standard on all Soul trims, unless you opt for the LED headlights and fog lamps on the GT-Line trim.
Heading to the side of the Soul, you will find each trim level with a different set of wheels, starting with 16-inch steel wheels on the LX and going all the way up to 18-inch alloys on the GT-Line. These wheels will cover 11-inch vented disc brakes in the front and 10.3-inch solid discs in the rear. Up to the mirrors, you will find power adjusting mirrors on all trims, black mirror caps on the GT-Line, and power adjusting only on the EX trim. The side retains its classic boxy design, measuring in at 165.2-inches, perfect for you and your hamsters. The rear of the car has also seen some sharpening of body lines to provide a more modern look. LED taillights will only be an option for the GT-Line trim, which will also be the only one sporting a standard exposed exhaust.
The Soul will be equipped with Kia’s long-lasting 5 year, 60,000 mile basic warranty and a 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Now standard for 2023 will be all of Kia’s basic safety systems, including:
- Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection
- Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Following Assist
- Driver Attention Warning
- Lane Departure Warning
- High Beam Assist
- Rear Occupant Alert
The GT-Line Technology Package will also throw in Smart Cruise Control and Highway Driving Assist.
Next, we’ll head to the interior, where Kia has continued to throw in some more updates.
To get inside this refreshed 2023 Kia Soul, keyless entry will be standard on all trims, however; smart entry, remote start, and push button start will be standard on the top three trims. When it comes to interior materials, the lower trims will be cloth only, while the upper two trims will come with a SynTex and cloth combo, all offered in differing shades of gray and black. The driver’s seat will be 6-way manual adjusting for the LX, while the S and above will come standard with a 10-way power seat.
The 2023 Soul will have a full-digital gauge cluster, but the previously offered heads-up display will no longer be offered. Sitting in front of the gauges will be a urethane wrapped steering wheel on the LX/S trims and leather on the GT-Line/EX, while heating is also no longer offered. Exclusive to the GT-Line are paddle shifters and a flat-bottom steering wheel. Rain-sensing wipers are not available on any of the trim levels.
Technology will be plentiful within the Kia Soul’s cabin, starting out with standard dual-zone climate and wireless charging on the S trim and above. Heated seats will only be standard on the EX trim. Optional to the GT-Line will be heated seats, as well as a premium 10-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, up from the standard unbranded 6-speaker audio. At the center of the Soul’s cabin is a large digital display on all trims: 8-inches on the LX and 10.25-inch with navigation on the S and above. No matter the screen size, a backup camera is standard along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A moonroof is standard on the GT-Line and EX trims.
The rear seats will continue to capitalize on the Soul’s boxy design.
Legroom: 38.8-inches Headroom: 39.5-inches
Other than that, few amenities will be offered for a vehicle in this price point. The tailgate will be manual opening, with 24.2 cu. ft of space without the seats folded, and 62.1 cu. ft with the seats folded down.
Powertrain & Driving Impressions
Kia has made some more changes here in the engine department. For 2023, only one powertrain is available for the Soul now. This option is a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 147 hp and 132 lb. ft of torque. Paired with this engine is an CVT transmission and standard FWD only. The Soul remains quite the economical car, coming in at 28/33/30 MPG for the LX, S, and GT-Line and 29/35/31 MPG for the EX.
Behind the wheel of the Soul, we found the driving dynamics to be nimble, yet a bit sluggish when it came to the only available option. Not ideal for a track day, but I doubt that’s what you were looking for when you clicked on this article. To get an in-depth perspective on our full driving impressions and more, watch our full review down below!
Prices have not increased much for 2023, however; there is much less variability due to the axing of multiple trim levels and options.
Overall, this refreshed Kia Soul continues to impress when it comes to practicality and value, offering quite a few features for a price well under 30k. With the absence of many trim levels, such as the ultra-sporty Turbo model, we’ve seen some more premium and fun features, such as more power, make their exit as well. Although not ideal, it seems that Kia is better understanding the demographic best-suited to this iconic boxy ride.