Thoughts on 2018 Kia Soul?

Long story short, I bought a new Nissan Versa a couple years ago after driving a Honda Accord that was costing me $4000 a year in repairs. It was such a nice change to be able to get to work on time! Anyhow, a couple weeks ago my Versa got trashed in a hail storm. Window glass didn’t break or anything, but, it’s got hundreds of dents. I was also a bit dumb when I bought it in that I bought the extended warranty. Now, I have a trade in quote where I will be out the door with a base Kia Soul for $20,000 after taxes and fees. That’s with rolling part of my loan over as my lien holder hasn’t gotten my insurance check yet. After they get the check, I’ll be due a refund of around $2400 from the lienholder and another $900 from Nissan for the unused portion of the warranty. I will throw most of that onto the new loan. Obviously, it’s not a steal, but, it’s not a total ripoff and the Kia comes standard with the 100,000 power train warranty so I don’t have to sweat stuff during the really long length of my payment. If not for the warranty on the Nissan, I’ve made enough extra payments where I would have broke even on the trade. When I look at what people pay, I’m paying probably about $1000 more than a good deal. I know that private party value on a 1 year old soul is about $15000 (Though in my area they are priced at $16000 +). Obviously, even after I apply the money from the warranty and insurance I will be upside down at least $1000.

But, that’s not that bad right? Back when I was younger and dumber I rolled thousands from one car into another and then was ridiculously lucky that my sister totalled the car and I had gap coverage. Then I went like a decade without a car payment and then bought the used Honda in a panic (My really reliable Saturn that never needed anything done blew up at 250
K miles) The used Honda was a total screwover. Even though it was a one owner car, it was such an unreliable vehicle. I was paying $250 a month for the payment and then paying thousands in car repairs which ended up on a credit card that is finally almost paid off thanks to having a new car. It took me two years to get enough money together to pay if off and trade it in.

I never, ever want to be in that situation again. That Honda almost lost me my job and left me with almost $10k in repair bills that I was simply trapped in.

The payment on the Soul will be about 12% of my monthly income initially. Of course, that will probably be lower after another $3000 or so gets put down on it when my checks roll in.

I’m not being crazy right? My dad thought I should keep the trashed Versa and drive it until it dies. I was originally going to keep the Versa for 10 years like my Saturn. The Versa also has a weird engine noise. If I have it fixed under warranty, than I don’t get the refund on the warranty so I haven’t done it yet. I don’t feel comfortable keeping the Versa if it’s already got a funny noise at 37,000 miles.

My Versa had a payment of only $218 which didn’t even feel like having a car payment and the Soul will have a payment of $306, but, it’s more car for the money.


(Additional details, spouse and I were lucky to buy a home during the recession at an all time low, we have a very comfy house payment and we love our house and never plan to move. Our payment with taxes and interest is less than half what rent is around here. My job doesn’t pay well, but it’s very stable with excellent benefits. We don’t have really any cash saved because in the past year we replaced the roof, flooring, central ac and water heater. )

I was feeling really good about my decision until I talked to my Dad… lol Now he’s got me second guessing the whole deal. Granted, he talked me into keeping the Honda! I was going to trade it in the first time the timing belt went. The timing belt went 3 times in the two years I owned it. One time it just went cause it was old, then the AC came apart and took the belt with it, then the master cylinder? Can’t remember. Anyways, I have plenty of reasons not to listen to him, but, he’s still in my head anyways.

Soul model is the base manual.

Nice, albeit long, story.
So what’s the question?


If money is tight, buying a new car is an unwise course. There are many fine used cars to choose from, for lots less economic stress.

Does your insurance cover the hail damage? Mine did. I may have had to pay a deductible, but the dents were fixed and years later the car is still a pleasure to drive. And no payments.


The insurance company required that I get a quote at some car shop that rents a space in a storage center. They quoted $2900 for the repairs, but told me I could use any shop for the repairs but that they won’t pay more than the $2900 quoted. I had it quoted at other shops and nobody else can fix it for less than $4000. The place they want me to have it done has terrible reviews and is downright shady, so I opted to have the check sent to my lienholder. They didn’t actually give me enough to have it fixed at a real shop and I didn’t feel like wasting the little bit of money on a poor job that everyone says peels in a couple months.

I know my post was long, but, my last used car was a lot more expensive and a lot more stressful than a new car as detailed above. I bought a one owner Honda Accord and had $10,000 in repairs in two years in addition to the higher interest of a used car payment. That car stole years of savings. I’ve finally caught up from that stupid Honda thanks to two years with a new car.

Basically, whether or not a new Kia Soul is a good idea.

Well, there’s no rush, is there? Your car runs, has hail dimples, and makes a noise. What about having the noise diagnosed?

You bought the used Honda in a panic. You now have a slightly used car that you know. Very unlikely to need expensive repairs at 37,000 miles. Maybe the warranty on the Nissan will cover some or all of what it may need.

It’s hard to imagine $10,000 in repairs on the Accord, but that’s in the past. I am skeptical about the people who led you into those repairs, though.


While the Honda was bought in a panic, the car itself had a clean carfax, was looked at by my mechanic and was a one owner car with 60K miles. There was no indication that it was going to be a bad car. The panic just screwed up the financing. I would have found a better financing deal.

Timing belt went three times. First time it was just because it had never been done. Next time the AC took it out when it went suddenly. Something seized and the whole thing ripped out. Next time it was something with the fuel pump or master cylinder and it toasted the timing belt on the way out. When the master cylinder went, all the oil was lost nearly instantaneously. I definitely got second opinions and shopped for the best price. Unfortunately, I get screwed over on repairs no matter how much I shop them. These weren’t optional “I hear a noise” repairs, these were loud and drastic incidences that left me stranded. This car never drove into the repair shop, it was always being towed with parts hanging out.

Do you mean the serpentine belt?

Yipes. I remain skeptical about the people involved in those repairs. You have provided more evidence. Stay away from them is my advice.

Nope. Timing belt. Serpentine belt is way cheaper. It was a 2002 Honda Accord EX, before they switched to timing chain.

A timing belt that is correctly installed will be unaffected by a problem with the AC, the fuel pump, the brake master cylinder… those guys are taking your money, not earning it.

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Because of the interference nature of Honda engines, that means that you had extensive and expensive engine repairs 3 times, as a result of those 3 broken timing belts. How old was this Honda when you paid to have its engine overhauled for the third time? How old was it when the engine was overhauled for the second time?

A few things do not add-up here.


I agree. The story is too murky with too many things that make no sense.

To get back to the Soul if possible, without knowing what taxes and fees are in your area I can only go by what the same car sells for here ($15,000 roughly for a base manual after incentives) or a little over $17,000 OTD.

A co worker of mine will turn in her leased Kia Soul (with everything) later this year and get a new Soul EV if her dad doesn’t talk her into a Niro EV, loves the seating and size of the Soul just part of a family who’s had EV’s since well before the Leaf and others came on the market.

I like the Soul. Or perhaps I like the hamsters.
And the stunt driver that did the first commercial (in a hamster suit) was a very attractive young lady stunt driver.

I have rented at least two Kia Souls in the past, and they performed well. Each was for a vacation rental and the vehicle was sized nicely for two people and all our stuff for a two week vacation stint. I thought the Soul drove well and would make a pretty decent commuter car if you don’t need a large amount of room.

I have noticed an increased number of Kia Souls in my area, so Kia must be continuing to do something right.

A few thoughts:

  • The others are right - something’s fishy about all your timing belt issues. An AC problem is not going to hurt your timing belt, etc. Assuming you are remembering this accurately, your mechanics are either incompetent or they’re crooks.

  • Kia Souls are good, if quirky, cars. The 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is probably useless – very, very few cars break powertrain components within the first 100,000 miles, and a lot of that is because the warranty has a very tight definition as to what the “powertrain” is. In the Kia’s case, only things inside the engine and transmission, and certain parts of the axles are covered. Those things almost never break unless you do something really dumb.

  • Your car is dented. It still drives. Why are you monkeying around with “they’re gonna owe me money once the payment comes through” when you could just wait until the payment comes through and then not have to worry about making anyone give you a refund.

  • You may wish to do some more research as to the hail repair quote. Any “body shop” operating out of a rented storage unit is not a real body shop and their quote should not be the one on which your insurance company bases their payment. Put another way, if I give you a quote that I’ll do the job for $5 despite not actually running a body shop, would your insurance company only be willing to pay you $5? That’s insane. Your insurance company needs to pay for the repair to be conducted at an actual repair facility, not Honest Earl’s Fly-By-Nite.


Vehicle owners generally aren’t capable of and shouldn’t be required to explain how a shredded A/C drive belt caught in the crankshaft can damage the timing belt or how an oil leak can ruin a timing belt. The Accord is out of the picture and there is no reason to cross examine the OP.

The Kia Soul is a good car. But it should not cost 20 grand after a trade in. I think the case should be around 16.5K or so. Add tax and fees and you are good to go.

Except that if OP is still using the same mechanics who told her the timing belt BS, she’s going to get screwed again, so it’s kind of nice to let her know that the mechanics are stupid if not crooks.

OP’s entire post shows a pattern of being taken to the cleaners in matters automotive, including being willing to plunk down 20 grand after trade-in on a $16,000 car. She absolutely does need to be “cross-examined” because she’s getting ready to grossly overpay for this thing. For reference, the mid-range model of the Soul MSRPs at what OP is getting ready to pay for the base model, and that’s without a trade-in discount.