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At my age, I've owned many cars - mostly used - and many would fall under the category, "What Was I Thinking?" However, I have owned new GM vehicles - Cavalier, Malibu, and last GM was a 2002 Impala bought used from a Chevy dealer. That car served me well but started having electrical issues at 175000 miles. Looking for a small SUV - narrowed down to either a used Jeep Renegade or used Kia Soul. I chose a used 2013 Kia Soul with 20000 miles - the base model with automatic transmission - from a Kia dealer. Kept the car for 4 years and ended up with 65000 miles. Last month, I went back to the GM dealer where I purchased my previous cars and traded it for my current Trax with 17000 miles.

Why? Well, after a few weeks with the Soul I happened to be applying Armor-All to the underside of the dash and noticed the exposed steering wheel column was coated with rust. No one else in the Kia Soul Forum had this issue. I checked the rest of the interior and the metal-work was bright - no rust. Engine compartment seemed OK also. However, I noticed the cloth seats seemed to easily stain from a drop of water - led me to suspect embedded salt. But nothing on CarFax indicated flood damage however if the previous owner did not make an insurance claim, I don't think CarFax would know anything. During the time I had it, the only other issue was excessive bulb burn-outs. However, there was a big uproar over the GDI high pressure fuel injection engine - prone to catch fire - seemingly for no reason. It was determined that when repairs involving the high pressure fuel system were made, the accessory hardware had to be replaced also. Some dealers and private mechanics reused the existing fittings which could allow high pressure fuel to spray onto the catalytic converter and . . . poof! Finally, in my car, and for other users in the forum, electrical issues started popping up. The buttons to redirect air flow had to be pressed more than 10 times before working.

I've had the Trax for about 1 month now and here are my initial thoughts:
  • My insurance rate when down for the same coverage - the Trax has a larger footprint and I do feel more secure inside - also with the knowledge of the 5-star rating.
  • The ride is actually more harsh than the Soul.
  • The seats are nicer in appearance but very firm leading to some discomfort during longer rides.
  • Back-up camera is a treat - was not available in the 2013 base Soul.
  • The cargo area is a big disappointment. The Soul has a deeper well which gives you more space.
  • The doors do not open wide enough. With the Soul, I could move the front passenger seat forward, open the rear passenger door and easily drop a folding bike into the rear passenger floor. I can do this with the Trax but it takes too much maneuvering.
  • Comparing dealers - I would say the Chevy dealer was more concerned with the condition of the used cars it put up for sale. I know the way car dealers market and "prep" used cars is a whole other issue.
 
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