2019 Kia Soul Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Structure, fuel system and brake issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Everyone wants to experience fun on the road, which is why some customers turn to the 2019 Kia Soul. The newer models claim to be “outgoing and adventurous,” but our research shows nothing enjoyable coming out of the complaints. In fact, this model seems to suffer from a poorly-built structure, defective fuel system, faulty visibility and malfunctioning service brakes.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 Kia Soul

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Engine
12
Unknown Or Other
8
Air Bags
5
Electrical System
4
Service Brakes
4
Visibility/wiper
3
Fuel/propulsion System
3
Structure:body
3
Seat Belts
2
Electrical System:alternator/generator/regulator
1

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

The 2019 Kia Soul is known as a budget-friendly option, but it shouldn’t sacrifice a solid build to keep the costs down. Yet, that’s precisely what seems to have occurred.

Here is one Edmunds review that talks about some of the troubles. “After owning several Toyota products I decided to try Kia- what a disappointment-ride is rough, seats are small and uncomfortable- biggest complaint is with the paint- chips extremely easy-brought up to service manager only to hear -I’m sorry- not feeling much soul—- update— sold my Kia Soul- front of car was severely chipped up by stones- ride was just to choppy for me.”

It turns out that this is just the beginning. Service Bulletin #TSBBOD187_R1 shows that Kia is instructing technicians to apply sealant to the driver’s and passenger’s side bulkhead to protect against water intrusion into the cabin. This isn’t something customers should be worried about while driving in the rain. After all, if owners wanted an Amphicar, that’s what they would have bought.

Problems with the Fuel System

While the engine is a vital component of the vehicle, it is nothing without a properly running fuel system. Again, it’s clear that the Soul can’t provide these basic necessities to users.

Here’s one NHTSA complaint to consider. “The vehicle stalls and no response when gas pedal is depressed. After about 4 or 5 seconds, the engine responds to gas pedal. This happens at speeds of less than 5 mph when turning or in stop and go traffic. When turning across oncoming traffic and it happens, then it is a safety problem.”

While no one wants to think about this problem happening to them, it’s more important to look at this communication. Kia Service Bulletin #SC182_OWNR states that there was a safety evaluation campaign done to determine if a low pressure gasoline fuel line connector was leading to an increased risk of fire. So, not only do drivers have to wonder if they can pull out in traffic, they must also consider the possibility of the vehicle exploding.

Problems with the Brakes

Just as important as moving in a vehicle is the skill of stopping. Having properly working brakes makes this possible, but this is also another system that the Soul can’t seem to get right.

Here’s yet another NHTSA complaint. “I can be stopped on the road with the brake pedal pushed all the way and the car still moves forward. At some point at stop lights I put my car in Park so it won’t move forward. This has happened a lot since I have bought the car in October of 2018.”

The company declined to issue any bulletins about this problem, but there are multiple complaints across the internet. It seems that the Soul is more of a Jekyll and Hyde than we know. Sometimes it propels itself forward and other times it won’t move at all.

Problems with the Visibility

With all of the other complaints, it would seem nothing else could go wrong with the Kia Soul, but that’s not the case.

Just take a look at this NHTSA comment. “Front glass panel of sunroof shattered and far right/left corners are caving in.”

So it appears that either water is leaking into the cabin, the car is spontaneously combusting, operating with a mind of its own or causing glass to shatter all around the occupants. Altogether it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

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Complaint Data

CategoryEngine
DateOct 18, 2022
StateNC
Description
Oil plug fell out damaging engine
CategoryEngine
DateOct 18, 2022
StateGA
Description
The contact owns a 2019 kia soul. The contact stated that while stopped at a traffic light, the vehicle lost motive power and stalled with the check engine warning light illuminated. The contact pulled over on the side of the road, restarted the vehicle, and the vehicle operated as designed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and notified of the failure. The contact was informed that the vehicle was out of warranty. No further assistance was provided. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateJul 16, 2022
StateAR
Description
This happened july 8th, 2022. I was 2 hours away from home. I was driving on the highway and the vehicle shut-off. Before the car shut off, I heard a knocking sound. I got the car started, it went a few miles, and shut off again. It did this several times. It never over -heated. The oil light and check engine light came on once after the failure, and abruptly went off. The car did not start again. My son had to push the vehicle off the highway. I did an oil check and it was extremely low. I had my car towed to the local kia dealership. The mechanic there said my kia soul had a rod hanging. He also said I needed a new engine that would cost 01. 01. I was told that someone else had just brought a kia in with the same problem. There were no warning lamps or messages prior to the failure to alert me of any engine problems like low oil or overheating.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateJul 07, 2022
StateMN
Description
There was no warning! Kia does not inform their customers that there is no security system on the car. The back doors do not alarm when opened and ignition can be bypassed in seconds many cars are stolen and they have not alerted customers to the problem
CategoryElectrical System
DateJun 20, 2022
StateOH
Description
The dash had a electrical burn smell then smoke started coming out. There were children in the car. Unsure if the dash was on fire we stopped and started removing the area the smoke was coming from. The knob that controls the fan speed for the heat/ac had burnt and melted the plug the sensor to the knob as well as inside the back of the knob. We immediately unplugged it to prevent further damage or fire. After checking the internet I saw many forums stating the fan would only blow if they fiddle with the knob between setting 3 & 4 which is how mine started. Also on this panel is the plug to the light for the passenger airbag. This is my main source of transportation and a very dangerous situation. I took it back to the dealership where I bought it brand new in 2019 and was informed it's my problem and my responsibility to pay for this electrical issue. Giving other people are having the same problem I believe it should be looked into before someone's car catches on fire. This is a manufacturing problem as it's obviously something I could not have done and too many other complaints. I mentioned to the service man perhaps maybe it should be reported and looked into as a recall issue and was informed there's no way because he's never heard of anyone else having this problem or seen this before. I explained perhaps they just haven't brought theirs in or reported it yet or they simple don't know that's the problem and this is the result. This is very dangerous please look into it. I am unsure if there was ever a small fire or it just became so hot it melted and we happened to smell and see the smoke.
CategoryEngine
DateJun 10, 2022
StateTX
Description
Car began to experience knocking sounds from engine. Was told by independent mechanic it was the lifters and the vehicle was burning oil. On the way to the dealership, while driving uphill on a road with no shoulders, the vehicle started smoking and lost all power. There was a line of cars behind me and coming in the lane of opposite traffic. The vehicle would not regain any type of power to the engine to make it up any hills to a safe space. If it wasn't for a random driveway my vehicle would've likely rolled back downhill and caused a many car collision which could have seriously injured myself, my young child, and drivers in other vehicles. There is a tsb reported with this issue, but unfortunately most consumers are not notified of active tsbs. The dealership was able to replicate the problem after having it towed there. We were told it would be in excess of 00 to repair as the engine sustained some damage. I have read of others experiencing similar situations, which could kill a passenger or driver if they lost power in a freeway or a road with no shoulder.
CategoryElectrical System:alternator/generator/regulator, Steering
DateMay 10, 2022
StateNY
Description
The contact owns a 2019 kia soul. The contact stated that while driving approximately 50 mph, several unknown warning lights illuminated and the power steering became inoperable causing the driver to lose control of the steering and nearly crashed into a second vehicle. Moments later, the vehicle lost motive power. The vehicle was towed to the local dealer who diagnosed that a screw within the alternator had failed causing the alternator to malfunction. The alternator was replaced. No further information was available. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 33,000.
CategoryAir Bags, Engine
DateApr 18, 2022
StateFL
Description
Tiene problemas de bolsas de aire y se enciende el bombillo constantemente
CategoryAir Bags
DateJan 07, 2022
StateGA
Description
Air bag did not properly inflate in collision. This caused impact to steering wheel which resulted in severe bruising. Has not been reproduced or inspected. Accident occurred december 32, 2021. No warning of failure, and no recall from manufacturer.
CategoryElectrical System, Exterior Lighting, Seat Belts
DateJan 05, 2022
StateNJ
Description
Seat belts do not lock in place when braking, but randomly lock in place while cruising. Severe electric discharge from vehicle, as well as power surges causing lights to burn out repeatedly.
CategoryUnknown Or Other, Visibility/wiper
DateAug 21, 2021
StateOH
Description
Rear windshield spontaneously shattering - 11:10pm est august 20th. I left my residence and approached my car from behind in the parking lot. It was dark but my rear windshield was definitely in one piece and had not previously had any damage. I opened the driver door. As I sat in the seat, I heard what sounded like pebbles spilling. I looked behind me and noticed that the entire rear windshield had shattered and fallen out. This could have caused great harm and surprise especially while driving on the freeway, or with passengers in the back seat. A police report was collected.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJun 30, 2021
StateIL
Description
The vehicle stalls when trying to pick up speed and when trying to accelerate from a traffic light or stop sign. The vehicle also gets stuck in park and the release button does not work and takes it takes a long time to get the car out of park when it is stuck. The signals also go out at any given time and this problem can last up to an hour.
CategoryEngine
DateJun 29, 2021
StateGA
Description
Bought a 2019 kia soul+ and after hitting a few hundred miles outside the 60,000 warranty the engine dies to the point kia has to replace the whole engine.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateMay 28, 2021
StateMD
Description
I was backing out of a parking spot. As I tried to brake in order to slow down and turn my car around to leave the lot, the brake seemed to be stuck against the floor and wouldn't work, the steering wheel also locked, and I couldn't shift from reverse to drive or park. Before I knew it, my car had rolled back and came to a stop on a metal pole, causing moderate damage to the back corner of the driver's side.
CategoryEngine
DateFeb 22, 2021
StateNJ
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2019 kia soul. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the check engine warning light illuminated and an abnormal odor appeared. The vehicle was taken to kia service center 1137 u s 46, ste a, clifton, nj 07013 (973) 779-7000 where it was diagnosed that the vehicle needed an oil consumption test. The vehicle oil was replaced however the failure recurred. The vehicle was seen 3 additional times at the dealer. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was burning 1 quart of oil every month. The manufacturer was not noticed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 35,000.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJan 30, 2021
StateTX
Description
The fuel injectors get stuck open causing the engine to flood with gas. One was diagnosed as faulty by moritz kia in hurst texas in october and they replaced it however they only replaced the faulty one l. Today a second one was diagnosed as faulty. So 2 out of the 4 fuel injectors were faulty on a car that's not even a year and a half old. I plan to replace all the original fuel injectors so it will not be a problem in the future however I believe this part is beyond just a accidentally faulty one. The chances of having half the injectors in one car be bad is unbelievable.
CategoryAir Bags, Structure:body
DateDec 08, 2020
StateMD
Description
I was traveling southbound on rte 13 with my 4 children. The speed limit is 55mph and the flow of traffic is between 55-60 mph... Which is the speed I was driving. As im approaching to proceed pass intersection rte 13 & eden allen rd there's a car at the stop sign which is supposed to wait for rte 13 to clear before entering. The driver decided to dash out to go across directly in front of me. I slammed on my breaks and tried avoiding collision but it wasn't enough time. None of my airbags deployed causing my upper body to slam against steering wheel causing injuries. Myself and my passengers where taken to the hospital for evaluation. My vehicle was taken to caliber collison where to this day im being told that nothing was wrong with my vehicle and the repairs are almost complete. Because of the accident myself along with 2 of my passengers were injured. Two of us are in therapy. I submitted images below but was unsure to upload police report since it has sensitive information. Either contact state farm with my name, etc or my email for police report and further information.
CategoryEngine
DateDec 08, 2020
StateTN
Description
Vehicle driving at highway speeds experienced a sudden and complete loss of power followed by flashing check engine light. Driver was able to coast and the exit highway via off ramp. Driver contacted roadside assistance and vehicle was towed to parkside kia in knoxville, tn. Initial diagnostic indicated failed ignition coil on cylinder #1 at approximately 22,300 miles.
CategoryAir Bags
DateDec 02, 2020
StateMD
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2019 kia soul. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph and going through and intersection, another vehicle failed to yield the right-of-way and pulled out into oncoming traffic. The contact depressed the brake pedal however, the vehicle crashed into the driver's side rear of the other vehicle. The contact stated that the driver's side air bags, passenger's side air bags, and front and rear side curtain air bags in her vehicle failed to deploy. The contact stated that the other driver's air bags deployed. The contact stated that there was a passenger seated in the front passenger's seat, and also three passengers seated in the rear seat of the vehicle. The front seat passenger was uninjured. The driver's side rear seat passenger sustained back and neck injuries requiring medical attention. The rear middle seat passenger sustained injuries to his legs and knees. The contact stated that two days later the middle seat passenger had a hernia which was attributed to the crash which required medical attention. The passenger's side rear seat passenger was unable to communicate whether or not he was injured due to a medical condition. The driver sustained injury to the clavicle, right elbow, pain and pressure underneath her left breast, upper chest and upper back and neck pain, and migraine headaches requiring medical attention. A polce report was filed. The vehicle was towed to a collision center. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and informed of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.
CategoryEngine, Power Train, Unknown Or Other
DateNov 05, 2020
StateKS
Description
Delay throttle response. When driving and you need to accelerate the vehicle takes several minutes to respond and you have to put the petal to the floor. No reaction to accelerate the car but rpms in red. Also when stopped at a stop light , stop sign etc and go to go the car delays again and you have the gas petal to the floor and again rpms in red and yet car not moving causing highly severe safety issues when driving and puts consumer at risk. We bought this car brand new started in june of 2020 with this issue and had 22, 000 miles on it. Still happening in all 3 drive modes eco, normal and sport. Dealership told us just don't drive in eco well now all modes do it.
CategorySeat Belts
DateSep 12, 2020
StateMN
Description
I was driving down a highway during the summer where the outside temperature was 95 degrees. The seat belt light down there by the console came on. It stayed on for five minutes until I was able to park the vehicle and turn it off, then turn it back on again. It happens again less than a year later. This time the light came on three times in ten minutes. The outside temperature was again 95 degrees. I did take it to a dealership and they were not able to duplicate the conditions to see if it would do it again.
CategoryEngine
DateAug 06, 2020
StateGA
Description
While in park or when driving and the brakes are pushed down for red lights and such the car will shake and 'skip' uncontrollably.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateDec 11, 2019
StateTX
Description
The vehicle stalls and no response when gas pedal is depressed, after about 4 or 5 seconds the engine responds to gas pedal. This happens at speeds of less than 5 mph when turning or in stop and go traffic. When turning across oncoming traffic and it happens, then it is a safety problem. I have not taken vehicle in to dealer yet.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateNov 04, 2019
StateAZ
Description
After starting the car and placing the car into reverse or drive the car shutters or shakes horribly to the point it shuts off/ dies. One time it did shut off on me I have also noticed that turning on the a. C. At idle sometimes mimics the engine shutter/shaking or this could be linked to two different things
CategoryService Brakes
DateSep 29, 2019
StateIN
Description
I can be stoped on the road with the break pedal pushed all the way and the car still moves forward. At some points at stop lights I put my car in park so it won't move forward. This has happen a lot since I have bought the car in october of 2018.
CategoryEngine, Fuel/propulsion System
DateAug 19, 2019
StateMD
Description
Drain plug missing which caused a leek in vehicle, which caused engine to break while drivivng car stopped working, was towed then found the drain plug was missing please help I have been reading and found other cases like mine on the kia soul. My car was stationary on thre highway. I had to get it towed to a gas station where I slept in the car over night then call a tow company to take me to the closest kia dealership. There they told me their findings. I had an oil change on 05/20/19, at a kia dealership in md. Where I believe that my car was not handeled professionally hence the cause of my problem
CategoryAir Bags, Service Brakes, Structure:body
DateJun 28, 2019
StateTN
Description
I have a totaled car due to a wreck. The airbags did not deploy even though the car was hit multiple times extremely hard.
CategoryService Brakes
DateJun 24, 2019
StateGA
Description
Brake failure causing wreck, coming on to a red light, hit brakes and car did not slow down. I swerved to miss hitting the cars in front of me, thinking hitting someone from behind would cause a number of injuries. I missed both of these cars, but had to ru n a red light. There was one car in left hand turn lane on the right. I thought if I could get through the intersection I might could let the car slow down on its own in a field across the street. The car in the turn lane blocked my view on oncoming trafic. A truck going 45 or 50 miles per hour hit me in right front totaling my car and causing me some back and neck injuries. I had my seat belt on and my foot was still on the brake. The air bags worked perfectly, but my car was destroyed. Both vehicles had to be towed off non drivable . I will get photos later. I had a problem earlier in the week, with the brake pedal almost going to the floor before the car would stop.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateApr 13, 2019
StateTX
Description
Car was parked under carport all night. Got in this afternoon to go grocery shopping, started car, closed driver's door and the rear hatchback windshield exploded. It did not implode, it exploded. No body damage, no tree limb, no rock, nothing hit or touchef the car while under carport. Car was stationary when this happened. I took pictures and video with my phone.
CategoryService Brakes
DateMar 30, 2019
StateOH
Description
While braking, the brake pedal is going to the floor board: scary. Not every time--intermittently. What if the brakes fail altogether? We bought the car new and within the first 400 miles experienced the problem. It was in the shop from 3/16 to 3/21 they replaced the master cylinder and cylinder assembly. They finished it just in time for my husband's planned vacation. The vacation included driving the kia over 2000 miles. On the way back, still over 700 miles from home and just prior to travelling through the smokey's, the brakes have the same problem. I'm typing this as I fret about whether he will make it home safely. I called the shop he is scheduled to go back in on monday. I hope he makes it home safely to get to that appointment and that they can really correct the problem.
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateMar 27, 2019
StateNH
Description
Front glass panel of sunroof shattered and far right/left corners are caving in
CategoryEngine
DateMar 22, 2019
StateNY
Description
When idling at a traffic light or stopped in traffic, with foot on brake in normal position, car occasionally jumps and inches very slightly forward. To prevent this from happening driver must be pressing very very firmly on brake to the point where driver feels tension in her leg. This has happened approximately a dozen times since car purchased in february.
CategoryStructure:body, Visibility/wiper, Wheels
DateMar 07, 2019
StateAL
Description
Wall triana hwy madison was being paved on wednesday 2/27/19. They had sprayed some type of liquid tar on the road for prepping. My car is covered with the black substance and I am unable to get it off. It has covered my rear window and back of car. It is also on my side door panels and under my vehicle,tires and rims. This is a brand new car.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateFeb 21, 2019
StateFL
Description
The kia backup camera does not work properly when its dark. You cannot see anything you cant distinguish a garbage can from a person. I went to the dealer with this problem and they said this the way they are. I believe this problem is a safety issue. I checked other kia souls and they had the same problem. When in total darkness the problem gets even worst.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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