2023 Kia Soul Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, steering, and engine issues are some of the causes of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Since it was first released in 2008, the Kia has sold more than 1 million Soul SUVs worldwide. As it continues into the 2023 model year, Kia says it has “as much fun, practicality, and style as ever.” But when brakes fail, the steering doesn’t work as it should, and the engine is unable to power the SUV, owners become alarmed, as complaints to the NHTSA indicate.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2020   2021   2022

Most Common Problems with the 2023 Kia Soul

Since September 2022, there have been 5 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Kia Soul.  This represents more or less one per month. Not a lot you may say. But this is a newly released SUV and the complaints are across the board, indicating issues with at least 9 components and systems. These are the electrical system, engine, exterior lighting, forward collision avoidance, fuel system (gasoline), land departure, parking and service brakes, and steering.

While most of the complaints are listed under 2 or 3 categories, at the top of the list in terms of numbers are the engine, service brakes, and steering. Interestingly, of the 6 manufacturer communications shared with the NHTSA by Kia, 4 relate to the electrical system, 3 to engine and engine cooling, and 1 each to the powertrain and seats.

At this stage, it’s difficult to identify exactly which problems are likely to escalate, and which components will cause the most serious issues long term. But there is a lot to be concerned about right now, particularly those that relate to the brakes, steering, and engine.

2023 Kia Soul Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Engine
6
Electrical System
5
Steering
5
Unknown Or Other
5
Air Bags
2
Lane Departure: Warning
2
Power Train
2
Service Brakes
2
Exterior Lighting
1
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
1

Confusing Warning Messages

The very first complaint to the NHTSA was from an owner in New Jersey. The incident happened on September 24, 2022, while he was driving on the highway. There was no construction work and no traffic. The Soul was cruising. No problems.

“I get a dashboard warning ‘Wrong Way! Turn around safely.’ It was on for at least 10 minutes. Very worrisome. But the lane assist was still working.”

Multiple Problems

An owner in Missouri experienced multiple problems in her 2023 Kia Soul when it had only 400 miles on the clock.

For example, while driving at about 45 mph, “the vehicle went into limp mode and stalled.” On another occasion, “the vehicle started to vibrate after the accelerator pedal was depressed and the front driver’s and passenger’s side headlights failed to operate.”

The complaint states, the vehicle “lost power steering functionality.” This happened suddenly with no warning or error messages. This time, when the vehicle was taken to the dealer, the failure could not be duplicated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but did not offer or provide any form of assistance.

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Steering, Brakes and Engine Failing

An owner from Georgia says that on January 7, 2023, he was parked outside a house with the engine running. He tried, unsuccessfully, to reverse. Instead, the “car kept getting closer to the car in front of me until I was touching the car.” The owner of the car in front moved the vehicle.

“With difficulty, I turned the steering wheel left and rolled out into the street but couldn’t turn left when I tried. I was sitting in the middle of a four-way intersection and people had to go around me. I sat there for about 20 minutes with the engine running, unable to move. Finally, the car started to move and I was able to drive and control the car again. It was very frightening.” The complaint ends, stating the car has not yet been inspected. “I’m trying to get in contact with the dealer to have it looked at.”

Alarming Brake Problems

When parking brakes disengage for no apparent reason, any driver will be alarmed. An owner from New Jersey states that twice when the Soul had less than 1,000 miles on the clock there were problems with the brake system.

The owner had been driving. Then, “I put the transmission into Park. With my foot still on the brake pedal, I applied the parking brake.” The complaint states that this particular model has a manual brake that you pull, unlike an electric brake. Essentially a hand brake, it is also known as the emergency brake.

“After a few seconds, with my foot still on the brake pedal, I heard a loud bang and the parking brake disengaged all by itself, all the way back down. It just slipped. If the vehicle had been in neutral it could have rolled away. (It) just so happens that both times this happened I was on a relatively flat surface, but the vehicle could still have rolled slowly.

Vowing to contact Kia and escalate the issue if it happens again, he says, “In the meantime, I will make sure to park on a surface that is as flat as possible and, of course, make sure to keep the transmission in Park.”

Dangerous Exterior Lighting Problems

An owner from Oregon highlights the fact that the headlight system is a new design for the 2023 Kia Soul model year. But it doesn’t work at night, as the owner discovered when driving in the dark for the first time. To make it even more difficult, it was also raining.

“The headlights absolutely suck! I’ve had daytime running lights that were brighter! I’ve had 6-volt headlights that were brighter! I probably have flashlights that are brighter! It’s seriously dangerous, in my humble opinion. There were times when the painted road stripes were worn down, no street lights, and I was literally driving blind. I was worried about driving off the road, or into oncoming traffic, as I could not see the road ahead of me.

“I will not drive this vehicle at night again. It’s not safe.”

What to do if your 2023 Kia Soul is a Lemon?

Every year automakers like Kia buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of people who find they have bought cars that are lemons. The law makes Kia pay the legal fees for lemon-related legal fees, so it’s not going to cost you anything to pursue a settlement through a lemon lawyer.

Lemberg Law has helped a large number of vehicle owners get settlements from various manufacturers. If you’d like us to assess your 2023 Kia Soul problems free of charge, call our Helpline or fill out a contact form now.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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.

See more posts from Brian Jones
1 COMMENT
  • Catherine F

    I have an electrical problem with my security alarm, some times the horn works sometimes it doesn’t, my dashboard lights go off…have to reset the whole car by unscrewing the battery terminal from car wait a few seconds and it’s back up, but what a inconvenience. I have buyers remorse! Mind you I bought this car at East Syracuse NY Kia, and it’s a 2023 Kia Soul…this is a garbage car!

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