Used car of the week: Kia Soul

The quirky-looking, oddly named Kia Soul is a surprisingly affordable and practical way to get around

Words By Claire Evans

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Kia Soul

Whether you like or loathe the Kia Soul's striking looks, there’s no denying that its slab-sided exterior gives it the edge over rivals, such as the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke when it comes to interior space.

It has more room for back seat passengers than either of these rivals and its boot is a useful square shape.

The Soul isn’t the last word in driver enjoyment though, with a fidgety ride and rather vague steering. It’s available with a choice of 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines; the diesel is gutsier than the petrol, but both are noisy when worked hard.

If you want a Soul, but can't afford a brand new one, it's worth considering the previous-generation model. Read on to find out how much you should pay for a used Soul and which model to choose.

What budget do I need?

Just Β£3000 is enough to buy an early petrol-engined Soul, although we’d advise splashing out Β£1000 more to get a diesel instead. Budget to spend Β£6000 or more if you want to get a facelifted (post-2012) version.

You’ll also need to be prepared for higher than average running costs, especially if you opt for a pre-facelift example, because neither the petrol or diesel have great fuel economy.

What version should I go for?

The original Soul was produced from 2009 to 2014 and facelifted in 2012; if you can afford it we’d recommend one of the later cars.

The most important improvements centred on the engines – the petrol unit was given more power and the diesel was replaced by a smoother and more efficient alternative.

We’d opt for the new diesel engine because it has by far the lowest running costs. As for trim, look out for a special edition, such as the Inferno, which will give you more standard equipment.

Any problems to be aware of?

The Kia Soul has been impressively reliable, so as long as you’re looking at a car with full service history and reasonably low mileage, it shouldn’t have any problems.

It’s worth checking the interior trim for splits and tears though, because the Soul has always been popular with families, so used examples could have had a gruelling life.

There have been three recalls affecting this Kia Soul generation; the most significant relates to the seatbelt pre-tensioners in 2011-2012 models, so check that this work has been carried out on any potential purchases.

What next?

Read our used Kia Soul review, or click here to read our new Kia Soul review.

Want to buy a Kia Soul? Click here to buy a new car with What Car?

Previous used cars of the week

Mini Countryman

Land Rover Discovery

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Kia Soul

What Car? Says Rated 3 out of 5
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The Kia Soul is a small SUV offering plenty of space and decent driving dynamics. It’s commendable, but some of its rivals do things better.