For the refreshed 2023 Soul, Kia giveth, and Kia taketh away. The automaker's boxy hatchback gets new headlights and taillights, as well as some fancy new wheels and colors, but the Soul also loses its turbo engine and X-Line styling packages for 2023, the automaker announced Wednesday.
Available in LX, S, GT-Line and EX trims, every 2023 Soul will be powered by a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated inline-4. This engine produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, and drives the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. Official Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings for the 2023 Soul aren't yet available, but a 2022 Soul with this same engine was expected to return 28 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined.
Obviously, I'm lamenting the death of the Soul's 1.6-liter, turbo I4 engine, which made 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. No, it didn't turn the Soul into any kind of hot hatch, but it was still a super compelling powertrain, and with fuel economy ratings of 27 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined, the added power didn't come with a major consumption penalty.
I won't miss Soul's tough-guy X-Line styling treatment quite as much, however, especially since it didn't actually improve off-road capability. Instead, I'm digging the 2023 Soul's updated nose and tail, and like that Kia is keeping two-tone color options alive. The base Soul LX rides on 16-inch wheels, but higher-end models get 17- and 18-inch options.
Inside, the 2023 Soul isn't much different than before. The base LX trim has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but every other Soul gets a larger, 10.3-inch display. Standard driver-assistance technologies include forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning and a driver attention monitor. The top-end trim adds Kia's Highway Drive Assist tech, which combines the Soul's adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping systems.
Some refreshes command extra coin from consumers, but Kia isn't asking for much here. A 2023 Soul starts at $21,085 including $1,295 for destination, which is just $500 more than the 2022 Soul. The next trim up, the Soul S, rises by $700 to $23,585. The GT-Line also gets a $700 price hike, settling at $24,685. At the top of the food chain is the Soul EX, which mirrors the base model with its $500 window-sticker enlargement, and that one will set you back $25,385. The 2023 Soul lands at dealerships later this summer.