Kia Soul, which sold the most cars in the US in 2019, is facing a huge lash back from the existing clientele for the never-ending Kia soul problems. Although this is a budget-friendly vehicle to buy but is it a good investment? You will get an answer to this question along with many others, related to Kia soul problems, what models have different problems, which was the worst vehicle manufactured by the company, and many more.
However, before we dive deep into the analyses of the Kia soul vehicles, let’s find out about the company and its brief history.
Kia soul background
The initial designs of the first vehicle were designed in California, which was publicized in Paris Motor Show that was held in Paris in 2008. The company started manufacturing in its country of origin, South Korea at first. The big idea behind these cars was to attract the youthful population with their colorful and retro-futuristic design.
Kia Soul is a sister company of Hyundai, which is also one of the most popular car brands among Americans. It is why; Kia Soul includes many models of Hyundai as well, including Hyundai i20, Kona, etc. However, in 2014, Kia decided to launch its electric-based cars separately, which became popular among the customers with the name, Kia Soul EV or e-Soul. Moreover, it also shares its platform with the models of its sister companies; Hyundai Kona and electric vehicles by Kia Niro.
As of now, you are aware of the background of Kia Soul. If you own any of the models or are planning on buying any model, we recommend you to read through this article, because you may or may not change your mind by the end.
The Kia Soul problems started occurring since from its 2010’s model, however, the reports say that the models between the years 2012 and 2016, Kia Soul car models were the worst cars, if compared with the models of the previous and the post-2016 models.
Before we go into specific problems according to each model, let us give you a quick general overview, of what kind of problems you must expect from a Kia Soul car. Moreover, the reviews are based on Kia Soul models with a combustion engine and not EV engines.
What are kia soul problems?
Although Kia Soul has been one of the nominees for the top car manufacturers in terms of maintenance and reliability, it is not an imperishable vehicle.
According to major sites like CarComplaints.com and US National Highway Traffic Safety, the most common problems that the Kia car owners faced were early wear and tear of the build materials, for example, trim pieces falling off, etc. Not only this poor build quality build issue is one of the worst issues, but it also leads to expensive repairs, which makes its affordability go void.
The statistics show that 60 owners who owned the 2014 model of Kia Soul reported problems with their vehicles. However, the 2015 model remains the worst, although it had only 45 complaints that are lesser than the 2014 model. The reason being, out of 45, 15 complaints were due to the engine failure.
Below you will find a detailed overview of what problems did each year’s model had. Moreover, the list includes cars from both the 12th generation and 2nd generation. If you are an existing owner or are a potential buyer, then look at each of the headings below carefully as it may warn you before your car starts causing problems, if you are an existing owner. Alternatively, you will know which model is with the least problems, if you are planning to buy one.
Kia soul problems with 2010 model
Although Kia Soul went live in 2008, the first international launch of the company’s car was in 2010. Since the launch, CarComplaints.com recorded 9 complaints, whereas NHTSA reported 114 complaints. Among all the sold vehicles, 3 vehicles were recalled due to severe problems.
Faulty stop lamp switch
One of the common issues was a faulty stop lamp switch. Due to this, it led to other problems such as brake lights not working under breaking mode, disengaging cruise control, and more. Other than this, stop light switch malfunction can also lead to push-button ignition malfunctioning.
Apart from the faulty stop light switch, there were many electrical problems reported, such as the car lights would switch on automatically while driving. Some electrical system components, like air conditioner, power windows, wipers, and more would stop working suddenly. Other than this, the wiring of the temperature sensors wiring becoming loose. The faulty electrical work by Soul also led to short-circuits as well.
Fault in suspension and engine
The 2010 model also showed signs of fault in suspension and engine as well. The complaints mentioned that the suspension failed prematurely after 25000 miles, and some of the major components of the suspension system including joints, shock absorbers, bearing, and more, wore out before time.
Leakage of coolants
Other than this, there were reports containing complaints against leakage of the car’s coolants and the engine dying out without the warning light blinking.
Kia soul problems with the 2011 model
After the 2010 model complaints, the customers thought, Kia Soul would make better models to avoid the Kia Soul problems that happened with the previous model. However, the 2011 model proved to be even worse.
CarComplaints.com reported 12 complaints and NHTSA reported more than 195 complaints. The irony is the most reported problem was of stop light switch, which was the main cause even in the 2010 model.
More electrical problems
Other than existing electrical problems, the 2011 model had additional problems related to engine, transmission, and airbags. The electrical problems were not limited to stoplight switch only, but it included alternator malfunctioning prematurely, wiring, and faulty horn. However, the major electrical problem was issues with cars, electronic stability control, ESC. It means that the drivers were losing control of the vehicle suddenly and the gears were malfunctioning as well.
The engine of the 2011 model was worse than the 2010 model, as many owners reported that the engine seized and the car stopped while they were on the road. The reason behind it was usually a broken oil pump or oil pan leaking.
Issues related to thermostat and head gaskets
Other than this, many reports also reports complain about failing thermostats, and broken head gaskets as well. As far as the airbags are concerned, owners reported that airbags weren’t reliable as they didn’t deploy on time, which could become a serious threat for the driver.
Problems of transmission and clutch
Moreover, some owners complained that they had to go through expensive repairs due to failing transmission. Some complained about the clutch, while some faced issues with the flywheel. Other than this, some reported transaxle failure, which caused leakage of the transmission fluid.
Kia soul problems in 2012 model
The quality of Kia Soul cars deteriorated even more with this next model. The overall number of complaints was more than 408 as per the data extracted from CarsComplaint.com and National Highway Traffic Safety. Apart from the consistent engine problem, this model had even more major issues.
High exhaust temperature
The primary fault in these cars was of high exhaust temperature, which led to worsening the catalytic convertor. Other than this, there were steering problems, shifting issues, and bonnet unlatching automatically while driving.
More engine-related issues
As far as the engine-related issues are concerned, it has been consistent since the 2010 model. However, the faults and damage worsened in the 2012 model. The engine failed without giving prior warning through check engine light, which caused the health of the engine to deteriorate until it seizes, without the owner knowing, which led to expensive costs.
Malfunctioning of the combustion system
Moreover, the combustion system was also malfunctioning. This is the most dangerous thing to happen because it could lead the car to catch fire.
Problems related to steering
Other than this, the steering problems included fault in flex coupling, which led the steering to go loose or hard abnormally. Furthermore, the steering made unusual sounds as well. Not only the driver had a hard time due to steering wheel issues, but one faced lurching as well. This happened due to weak transmission or damaged heat sensors. To eliminate the issues, the owners had to replace the gasket on the gearbox, which is not a cheap repair.
Complaints about bonnet
Apart from that, many Kia Soul 2012 owners complained that the bonnet of the car would unlatch automatically while they are driving. This damaged the windscreen severely, and the owners had to not only get the bonnet repaired but change the windshield as well.
Kia soul 2013 model issues
Similar to the previous models, Kia Soul didn’t disappoint in worsening the build quality of their new 2013 model. The reported complaints increased even more and reached 438 as per the reports by CC and NHTSA.
Failure of catalytic converter
One of the major problems that the purchasers of the 2013 model faced was the failure of the catalytic convertor. Other than this, there were steering problems as well.
The faulty catalytic convertor led to many other engine problems such as damaging the exhaust system and riding the exhaust temperature.
Ticking noise in engine & more issues
Moreover, many also complained about the engine making a ticking noise. The steering issues were carried forward from the 2012 models.
Other than this, the 2013 model also got other problems like wiring issues, drivetrain issues, and more from its predecessor.
Issues with kia soul 2014 model
The 2014 model was the 2nd generation model. However, the first, 2nd generation model by Kia Soul also became the worst model. With more than 780 complaints recorded just by CarComplaints.com and uncountable by NHTSA.
Although the manufacturers resolved many of the issues that were with the first-generation models, the new generation model came with new problems. The three major issues were consistent;
- Faulty engine
- Problems with the steering wheel, and
- Electrical malfunction
From 738 complaints recorded, 284 complaints were solely for the engine-related issues, and most of the problems and faults were what are described above already, catalytic convertor being the main cause.
Apart from this, some of the complaints stated that the engine failed and the owners had to replace the whole engine, which is one of the most expensive repairs. Oil leakage, puncture engine block, abnormal noises and more, were the most commonly reported issues.
Failure of electrical components
Other than this the electrical components failing to operate was another major setback for the first 2nd generation model. Until 2013, Kia Soul models showed problems with internal light’s wiring.
In the 2014 model, the exterior lights would come to lose and the subpar bulb connector would burn out or blink frequently.
Malfunctioning of steering coupler
Moreover, the steering coupler also malfunctioned, which caused noises whenever one would turn the steering in any direction. In some cases, due to this, the steering would break apart and the driver lost control completely.
Kia soul problems with the 2015 model
2015 was the official year when Kia Soul got a nomination for the worst car in terms of reliability. The main reason was, not only some issues were present in the previous models, but the reports contain that the four cars that were recalled, one of the main reasons was that engine caught the fire.
Apart from that, the major issues remained the same, which included, catalytic convertor failure, steering pinion gear malfunctioning due to pedal separation and accelerator pedal being fractured.
Faulty air conditioner and heater
The reports by CarComplaints.com showed that the number of complaints decreased from 780 of the previous year to 570. However, the issues became severe. Other than the mentioned problems, the car showed fault in air conditioner and heater.
Clogging in a/c units
The reports show that many owners complained about the hose of A/C units getting clogged and moisture blowing out of the vents. Apart from this, some were concerned due to their car not starting and the battery dying out immaturely. Other battery-related problems included, batteries causing sparks and more.
Kia soul 2016 model
2016 model was a breakthrough for Kia Soul problems. The new model had lesser complications than the previous models.
Less reported complaints
There were only 2 recalls and that was due to the failure of the catalytic convertor. This problem is existing since day one, however, there were fewer complaints this year, which were only 304, as per the reports by CarComplaint.com and National Highway Traffic Security.
Some consistent faults
Other than existing engine-related issues, some of the Kia Soul problems faced by the owners were similar. For example, faulty steering pinion gear, electrical problems, etc. Other than that, cars showed faulty A/C and Heater, the car not getting started and the car making abnormal noises while driving.
2017 model kia soul
The 2017 model was far better than the previous models and was with lesser problems. The number of complaints also decreased to 90 complaints according to the statistical data by NHTSA and CarComplaint.com.
However, the new model also had a few faults. Even though some of the major electrical issues and transmission issues that the owners faced with the previous year models were eradicated, the engine problem remained consistent.
Some of the reports by the owners include engine failure, abnormal noises from the engine, smoke coming out from the engine, or in very few cases engine dying completely. Regardless of engine issues, the 2017 model did show some improvements.
Kia soul 2018 model
After years of introducing problematic cars, Kia Soul was finally able to improve the reliability of its cars with the 2018 model. This was the first year when there were zero recalls and several complaints decreased to only 76, as per the data shared by NHTSA and CarComplaint.com.
Although this model was less problematic than the previous ones, the 2018 models caught fire. Some reports indicated, due to some electrical complications, led to the fire in a few cars only.
Kia soul 2019 model
Eliminating most of the problems from previous models, Kia Soul became one of the best 2nd generation cars. It only has 31 registered complaints and no car has been called back.
One of the major problems that many car owners faced were inefficient brake pedals. Many owners complained that their car’s brake would either get stuck or pinned while on road. This has also caused many Kia Soul, 2019 model drivers, to rear-end other cars.
Moreover, many owners tried to resolve the problem by pumping up the pedal, but the outcomes are not desirable and the problem remains unsolved.
Kia soul 2020 model
Bidding farewell to the 2nd generation cars, Kia Soul introduced its first, 3rd generation car in 2020. Although the number of complaints cannot be used for estimation of, how well it is performing in the market. However, the engine and transmission problems returned.
Apart from that, the car did not show any other problem and proved to be better than the previous year’s cars. All in all, Kia Soul cars are reliable, yet some issues have cautioned the new car owners.
If we were to choose which Kia Soul model was the worst, then we would choose the 2015 model, which was nominated as the worst car officially not only for the existing Kia Soul problems but also from a reliability point of view as well.
However, in the next models, the manufacturer made sure to upgrade their product quality and cleared out their name from the list of unreliable car manufacturers.
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