2023 Kia Soul GT-Line Limited Review: Cute & Quirky

The Kia Soul was introduced in the first decade of the 21st century, a time when these tiny “utes” were all the rage. We had cars like the Honda Element, Scion xB, Nissan Juke and Cube, and the Kia Soul. For some reason, all of these little CUVs other than the Soul didn’t last too long. In the 2020s, these little CUVs are all the rage again, now called sub-compact CUVs. However, they’re not as funky looking as the above-mentioned, not-with-us-anymore cute-utes.

The Kia Soul is in its third generation, with the third generation going on sale in late 2018 as a 2019 model. Last week we had the opportunity to review a 2023 Kia Soul GT-Line; below are my thoughts on this funky little “CUV.”

2023 Kia Soul Canadian Prices

In Canada, the Kia Soul is offered in five trims, with the base LX trim starting at a very reasonable $22,595 and the top trim, GT-Line Limited, starting at $29,495. Freight and PDI of $2,399, which is on the higher side, are not included in the above prices. Below is a list of prices for all five trims of the Kia Soul:

TrimsKia Soul Prices
Soul LX$22,595
Soul EX$24,495
Soul EX+$25,295
Soul EX Premium$27,195
Soul GT-Line Limited$29,495

Our review car was the top GT-Line Limited trim with the optional Surf Blue paint ($250) for a total price of $32,244 before taxes.

2023 Kia Soul Engine/Driving

All trims of the 2023 Kia Soul are powered by 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines, producing 147 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. An Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) sends power to the front wheels. AWD is not an option on the Soul. The Soul was offered with a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine in the USA a few years ago. That engine is no longer available, which produced 201 HP.

The current 2.0-liter engine is adequate; it’s slow from a standstill but does have some pep once you move up the rpm band. It’s not going to win any drag races from one stop light to the next. I would’ve liked the availability of the turbocharged engine, maybe just on the top trim for those that want a bit more fun because the Soul is a fun-looking vehicle but isn’t as fun to drive as it looks.

It’s not a bad vehicle for the target audience, which I’m assuming is seniors or younger people that shouldn’t be driving fast cars, to begin with. It gets you from point A to B without any hassles, which is what most of the competition in the sub-compact class also does.

The Kia Soul is also offered as an EV, with an advertised range of 383 kilometers on a full charge. The Soul EV is powered by a 134 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque electric motor.

2023 Kia Soul Styling

The Soul is known for its styling, it was quite funky when it was first introduced, and it’s still quite funky. It has undergone an extensive makeover multiple times since 2008, but the overall boxy formula remains the same.

There have been some changes to the exterior design since we last reviewed the 2020 Kia Soul. The headlight design is different now, with the fog lights moved up from the bottom of the bumper, leaving more room for an even bigger grill. The rear features a semi-boomerang type of taillights, starting on the rear hatch and going all the way up to the roof, reminiscent of Volvo SUVs and wagons and the Honda CR-V.

Our bright blue painted Soul was quite the head turner; I caught quite a few people doing a double take as I drove past them. I like the design, but it’s a bit too feminine for me, especially in the blue paint, but there is a decent-sized market for these types of vehicles.

2023 Kia Soul Interior

The Kia Soul might look small on the outside, but it’s quite roomy on the inside. Thanks to the boxy design, there is more room than you’d expect in a compact vehicle like this. At 5’8” in height, I found ample room in the front and rear seats, and people as tall as 6’ should find enough leg and headroom in the front and back seats. The boxy shape also provides lots of headroom and allows for more upright seats, which make getting in and out of the Soul quite easy.

The interior layout is pleasing to the eye with simple controls. At the center is a 10.25” touchscreen with crisp graphics that is easy to use. Below the screen are volume, tuning knobs, and physical shortcut buttons for maps, radio, media, and setup. Below is a separate section for the dual-zone HVAC system.

Like most/all vehicles in this class, the interior materials on the Soul are hard plastics, but they don’t look cheap and work just fine in the Soul.

The top-of-the-line Soul GT-Line comes with some of the latest tech features found on more expensive vehicles. Stuff like LED headlights and taillights, blind spot monitoring, smart cruise, forward collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, wireless charger, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, and more.

Final Thoughts on the 2023 Kia Soul GT-Line

The Kia Soul is a quirky little hatchback/CUV, a type of vehicle we don’t see too often. There are many other competitors in this segment, but none of them have the same happy go lucky personality. It’s a good car for those looking for a higher seating position without the need for AWD.

Visit Kia’s official Canadian website for more information on the Soul and other vehicles.




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When I'm not reviewing the latest cars, I'm busy checking out the latest gadgets and watches by the world's best manufacturers. Cars, gadgets, and watches... that's all a man needs to get through life.

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