Can A Kia Soul Tow A Camper?


The Kia Soul came a little over a decade ago. It was released almost the same time as the Honda Element, Nissan Cube, and Scion xB. It is hard to tell whether these models are wagons, SUVs, or hatchbacks, and the Soul is the only of these cars still in production. 

The Kia Soul has enough room for your family or friends and is great to take on adventures. But can the car tow a camper?

Can A Kia Soul Tow A Camper? 

No, the manufacturer does not recommend towing with the vehicle. However, a Kia Soul can tow a light pop up camper. The latest models of the Kia Soul can tow up to 2,000 pounds while earlier models can tow up to 1,200 pounds. 

Some trailers weigh as low as 900 pounds, which allows even the less powerful Soul to tow them with ease. If you decide to tow with it, you can tow one of these trailers. 

However, whichever camper you have, you need to install it with trailer brakes to keep you safe on the road. A trailer brake system reduces the braking distance, especially in the event of an emergency. With the brakes, you can tow the maximum weight of about 2,000 pounds, but you can only tow 1,200 or less pounds without brakes. 

Kia did not engineer the Soul as a tow vehicle, if you look at the user manual, the towing capacity is zero pounds. As such, you need to ensure that you equip it correctly to tow any trailer – you can go for small teardrop campers so as not to overload your Soul and affect its performance. 

What Can You Tow with the Kia Soul? 

Kia does not equip the Kia Soul with the right gear and features for towing any load. You will have to install aftermarket towing equipment to get the car ready for towing. These equipment include a trailer hitch and a harness. 

On the user’s manual, the manufacturer mentions that the car is not ideal for sustained towing. However, most Kia Soul owners online have used the car to tow, some even up to 2,400 pounds. This shows that with the right gear, it will be easy to use the car to tow small trailers. 

The problem with towing when the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it is that you will void your warranty. Again, regular towing will take a toll on your transmission system and most likely damage it. Further, the stress on the body might lead to its deformation, which will affect the look of your car. 

These damages will force you to always take your car to the mechanic for maintenance as they will not be covered under the warranty of the vehicle. 

The Soul first appeared in the Paris Motor Show in 2008. In the U.S., it launched in 2010 and has improved ever since. If you want to tow with the vehicle, you need to go for the lightest campers possible. If you can get a camper that weighs less than 1,000 pounds, this will be the best as it will cause less stress on your car. 

From the many users of the Kia Soul online, you should never tow anything more than 1,500 pounds even if other users are towing 2,400 pounds. This helps keep your Kia Soul in good shape. If you have another vehicle that can tow, you can save the Kia Soul and use the other car. 

What Features Does the Kia Soul Offer? 

The Kia Soul received a complete redesign for the 2020 model. This redesign brought forth so many great features for comfort and drivability. The small size, the responsive engine, and the convenience features make it a good car when you drive in a busy city. 

When you are driving on the highway, the car offers responsive steering and great handling that you will enjoy. Further, it has a roomy cabin with sufficient cargo space, so you can bring family and friends and some cargo. One of the things I like about the Soul is that it comes at a competitive pricing, but still offers the same quality materials. 

Although the price is great, you will have to do without all-wheel drive. This is not a deal breaker if you always drive on-road, but if you live in an area where there is ice and snow and rugged terrain, the Kia Soul will not survive. 

Kia Soul some in the following trim levels:

  • LX
  • S
  • X-Line
  • GT-Line
  • EX
  • GT-Line Turbo

Surprisingly for the trims, the X-Line, the GT-Line and the EX are all improvements of the S trim and not of each other. The standard trim, the LX, is bare bones with only the features you need to drive the car on the road. If you pick the LX with CVT transmission, you will have more features to enjoy your ride. 

The S adds a host of driver assistance features to make the Soul safer on the road. Higher on the trim levels is the X-Line, which sports a rugged look and the GT-Line, which has a sporty look. If you need luxury features, the EX and the GT-Line Turbo have these. 

All trim levels except the GT-Line Turbo run on a 2.0L four cylinder engine that generates 147 horsepower and 132 pound feet of torque. The LX comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and an optional CVT transmission. The CVT transmission is standard in all the other trims. 

If you need more power, the GT-Line Turbo offers a more powerful turbo 1.6L four-cylinder engine that generates 201 horsepower and 195 pound feet of torque. This engine mates to a dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

On the downside, all Souls come standard as front-wheel drive with no available all-wheel drive. Some of the features available on the base LX include:

  • • 16-inch steel wheels
  • • Rear privacy glass
  • • Driver’s seat is height adjustable
  • • Bluetooth 
  • • Seven-inch touchscreen display 
  • • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay 
  • • Six-speaker audio system
  • • Automatic headlights
  • • 60/40 split folding rear seat
  • • Rear view camera
  • • Hill start assist

If you decide to pick the LX model with CVT transmission, you will have other features such as an engine start/stop feature, remote locking and unlocking, selectable driving modes, body-colored door handles and mirrors, storage console, and cruise control. 

The S model has a suite of safety features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, and driver attention monitor. If you go higher the trims, you will experience more luxurious features such as leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and fog lights. 

Why is Kia Soul Not a Good Towing Vehicle? 

You can tow a light camper with Kia Soul, but this is not the best towing vehicle from the automaker. For starters, the automaker notes that the car is not engineered to tow a trailer. If you go against the manufacturer, you lose your warranty. 

However, if your car warranty has already expired, you can go for a light camper. According to most of the users online, the car did not sustain any damages after towing a light camper. However, you have to ensure that the camper has a trailer brake, and you do not exceed 2,000 pounds for new models and 1,200 pounds for older models. 

Another reason you may not consider this vehicle for towing is that it doesn’t have any towing features and equipment. As such, you have to buy aftermarket parts, and you have to be experienced in driving vehicles with a trailer behind them.

The body of the Kia Soul and the engine features do not allow it to drive off the road. If you are camping in a place where you have to drive off the road, the Kia Soul will not meet your needs. However, it offers great drivability on the highway and in the city and also works impressively for light off-roading. 

Should You Tow with a Kia Soul and What To Consider When Towing? 

I do not recommend towing with a vehicle if the manufacturer does not recommend it. However, if you decide to tow with the Kia Soul (because a number of users have done so, and they talk about it online), you can do so, but only tow light campers. 

When towing, I recommend that you go for campers that weigh less than 1,000 pounds. These are very small pop up campers that will serve a few people. Before you tow, check the curb weight and the gross weight of the model you have and see how much you can carry. 

For instance, the 2021 Kia Soul Turbo has a curb weight of about 3036 pounds and a gross weight of 4,101 pounds. For such a model, you need to keep the weight of the towed camper below 1,000 pounds. 

Closing Thoughts

Kia Soul is not recommended as a towing vehicle. If you have another option, choose that option and avoid towing with the Soul. If you have to tow with a Kia Soul, go for the lightest camper. 
Towing with the Soul puts you out of the vehicle’s warranty, and it may also mean costly repairs. Check out other Kia models that can tow and save the Kia Soul.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

Recent Posts