2010 Kia Soul Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Good Value, Good Car by sdewolfe
This is the final entry at truedelta for this 2010 Kia Soul. Not because the car is done for! Rather, because I passed it to my son as his first car. Actually, it has been his driver for over a year now. I no longer drive the car enough to give accurate reports on the current status at 170,000 miles and counting.
What is there to say about the hamstermobile styling that hasn't already been said? Cutting edge when introduced and still charming in an "interesting box" sort of way. Now that there are many more on the road than back in the fall of '09, people no longer gawk at it as they once did. Familiarity breeds contempt. Well, if not contempt, at least acceptance. The car evokes a love it or hate it response. I personally like the car from every angle. There is no uninteresting viewing perspective. The updated versions of this body continue to add cladding and style line touches that enhance the rounded corners of the box. But the changes have not hidden the original intent of the designer.
The mechanicals have stood the test of time. ONE major repair in 170,000 miles and that was my fault for procrastinating on changing the timing belt. It should have been done at 120,000 miles and let it go. Finally, at 140,000 miles it broke, bent two valves, and cost me $1500 at my favorite inde' mechanic shop. Aside from that bone headed move and a visit to the dealer early in the life of this car, only maintenance expenses have left my pocket to keep it on the road. I don't think you can ask more from any vehicle, let alone one that costs as little as the Soul.
My son is now driving the car as his commuter vehicle. He just had the brakes done (2nd time in the entire life of the vehicle).
The carpet is toasted and has been for the past couple of years. The plastic in the interior scratches easily and shows many battle scars. But, you've got to remember this was a $13K car in 2010!
The exterior has held up very well. No yellowing on the headlights. Paint looks as fresh as when new. I doubt that anyone could tell the mileage on the vehicle from the wear on the body.
The suspension is original and is working well. The shocks may have degraded some but I couldn't tell it when I drove it last -- about a month ago. CV joints are original. All rubber bushings are original. I just cannot over state how solid this car has been and how cheap to operate. It has averaged right at 29MPG forever.
The clutch is weak; my son is aware of it and just pampers the clutch for now. I doubt that he will spend the money to replace it, he wants a "new" car. That is a shame. With a new clutch and continued regular maintenance I believe this car could go another 150,000 trouble-free miles.
Oh, I forgot to mention -- the second gear sychronizer was and is weak in this transmission. Second gear occasionally will "scratch". It has done that since new. My son reports that it grinds more often than when he first got the car from me; probably because of the old clutch and his driving style. Other than that, there are no complaints about the solid engine and transaxle.
Unless you just hate the hamster commercials and can't bring yourself to drive anything associated with such foolishness, I cannot think of a single reason to not buy this car. It satisfies as a commuter. It works like a mule; I pulled a small trailer with a riding mower on a 200 mile trip every summer month for over 4 years. I drove it to New England three times. I hauled stuff with the seats down that KIA could not have dreamed anyone would haul around in one of these. It will pack a family of four cross country in relative comfort, safety, and convenience.
If you need a do-everything, reliable, and still stylish car from the used market, don't let a low mileage example of the Soul escape your inspection.
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