The Kia Soul might look quirky on the outside, but the features that matter are highly practical. A unique, stylized-toaster exterior design masks a spacious interior and cargo area, compliant and surefooted handling, and an extended 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.
Yet there are areas in which this car has room for improvement. Kia could have done much better than providing just one engine option under the hood, especially considering that the powertrain on offer has made the Soul a bit sluggish when compared to its rivals.
Keep these factors in mind while purchasing tires for this car. The right set of tires should not only enhance the already nimble handling of this subcompact SUV. They should also make its acceleration a little less sluggish to help you make quick passes on the highway.
In this article, we’ll discuss the ten best tires for Kia Soul. All the models recommended below can be installed on all trims of this subcompact SUV. They also have the ability to make the Soul’s handling nimbler and its acceleration less listless than it currently is.
#1. Michelin Defender T+H – Best Overall
Why is the Michelin Defender T+H our top tire pick for Kia Soul? Start with the all-season tread compound that has made this touring tire an incredibly reliable performer in dry and wet conditions. The compound’s flexibility is such that you can even use this tire in light snow.
Next comes the Comfort Control Technology. Not only does this technology deflect road noise to keep things quiet inside the cabin. It also enables the Defender T+H to absorb vibrations. This is a huge plus point of this tire for anyone who drives close to the limit.
Then comes the asymmetric tread pattern, which helps this tire stay glued to the road, regardless of road or weather conditions. Add to that Michelin’s IntelliSipe Technology, which keeps this model stable at high speeds, and you end up with a competent performer.
Compared with other tires in the Defender series, the T+H is backed for a longer time period. An 80,000-mile treadwear warranty should translate into 6, 7 years of road life, or even more if you drive conservatively. A workmanship warranty is also on offer.
All these features help justify the astronomical price Michelin charges for this tire. Had that not been the case, and this model’s price outweighed its benefits, it wouldn’t have made to the top of this list.
- Excellent treadwear warranty (80,000 miles)
- Quiet and comfortable handling in most conditions
- Reliable in light wintry conditions
- Doesn’t come cheap
#2. Continental TrueContact Tour – Best Runner Up
The Continental TrueContact Tour demonstrates why people opt for premium touring tires despite their exorbitant prices. This model performs excellently in dry, wet and light wintry conditions, offers excellent fuel economy and acceleration, and is backed with a long treadwear warranty.
Start with the fuel economy as that’s where the TrueContact Tour solves a major pain point of Soul drivers. This car’s gas mileage isn’t as high as some of its rivals, and so it needs help from tires to cover more distance per gallon. Luckily for you, this tire will provide just that kind of help.
That is something that wouldn’t have been possible had this model lacked EcoPlus Technology. But the technology does far more than improving this tire’s fuel economy. It also enables the TrueContact Tour to wear evenly, helping it outlast its 80,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Data released by Continental back these claims. Internal tests conducted by the tire manufacturer reveal that the TrueContact Tour has a 27% longer wear over the TrueContact, its predecessor. Small wonder then that some of this model’s sizes are backed to last up to 90,000 miles.
Continental has also supplanted this tire with QuickView Indicators. These are markings that show when the TrueContact Tour is no longer safe for Dry, Wet, or Snow roads. An Alignment Verification System and Traction Grooves (for snow performance) are also on offer.
- 80,000-mile treadwear warranty
- Enhanced steering response and handling
- Excellent fuel economy and acceleration
- Poor ice traction
#3. General Altimax RT43– Best Budget All-Season
The General Altimax RT43 ticks several boxes for the average Kia Soul driver. This all-season tire comes at an affordable price, offers the same dry and wet performance you get from its premium counterparts, and is available in multiple (79) sizes to fit all the Soul’s trims.
A dual-layer tread compound is to credit for this model’s versatile performance. The lower layer, which is softer of the two, absorbs vibrations and noise for a comfortable ride. In contrast, the hard upper layer delivers feedback to the steering for an enhanced response.
Wet traction is another area where this shines, thanks mainly to General’s Anti-Slip Sipe Technology that give it the biting edges to grip slippery roads. However, unlike our top two picks, this model isn’t reliable enough for light snow driving. So, it’s best for dry/wet roads.
A 75,000-mile treadwear warranty and Visual Alignment Indicators (VAI’s) further distinguish this model from its mid-priced rivals, most of which lack these features. In addition, General has provided this tire with Replacement Tire Monitor (RTM), another extra feature.
All in all, if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly tire for your Kia Soul, there aren’t many better options than the Altimax RT43.
- Noiseless on the highway
- 75,000-mile treadlife warranty
- Impressive traction on wet and dry surfaces
- Not suitable to be used during heavy snowfall
#4. Michelin Premier A/S – Best Touring All-Season
Michelin tires are renowned for excellent dry/wet performance, incredible stability at high speeds, and excellent road manners. Luckily for you, the Premier A/S is no exception. This all-season touring tire has (almost) everything that you expect from the French tire manufacturer.
A sunflower oil and silica tread compound is the reason why this model performs reliably 365 days a year, including on light snow. Sunflower oil gives it the rigidity needed for a dependable summer performance, with silica giving this tire the flexibility to thrive in wet/wintry conditions.
Multiple exclusive technologies are also on offer. These include EverGrip Technology, which helps this model’s rain grooves expand upon contact with water. The expansion of the rain grooves lays bare the circumferential grooves lying underneath, helping this tire evacuate water.
Comfort Control Technology does precisely what its name implies: ensure a comfortable ride with very few road vibrations and reduced road noise. If only this model’s treadwear warranty was bigger, it’s likely that the Premier A/S would have fared a lot higher on this list.
- Comfortable and quiet ride
- Excellent traction on wet surfaces
- Performs reliably 365 days a year
- Relatively small treadwear warranty (60,000 miles)
#5. Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring – Best Grand Touring
Affordable asking price? Check. Extended treadwear warranty? Present. Reliable performance in dry, wet and light wintry conditions? Yes. Given the fact that it possesses all these features, it shouldn’t be surprising that the CS5 Ultra Touring is on this list.
Cooper’s exclusive StabiliEdge Technology helps this tire justify its grand touring credentials. It does that by interlocking the otherwise separate tread elements at high speeds. The result? Enhanced high-speed stability as well as exceptional cornering performance.
An M+S rating further distinguishes this model from your average grand touring tires, most of which don’t come with one. This rating indicates that the CS5 Ultra Touring can perform reliably on light snow and ice, giving it a heads up over most of its competitors.
Multiple circumferential grooves ensure quick and effective water evacuation, thereby reducing the risk of hydroplaning and improving wet traction. They are aided in this by the inboard and outboard shoulder blocks, which shorten this model’s braking distances.
Throw wear square indicators and an extended 75,000-mile treadwear warranty into the mix, and it would seem that the CS5 Ultra Touring is faultless. Which isn’t true given that the 75,000-mile warranty is available in only a few sizes. The V- and H-rated models are backed for 50,000 miles only.
- Available at a pocket-friendly price
- Above-average dry and wet handling
- Comes with wear square indicators
- Smaller treadwear warranty (50,000 miles) for V- and H-rated tires
#6. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 – Best Summer Performance
Most summer performance tires cost a fortune. They are also backed with meager treadwear warranties and have poor road manners. That we’re highlighting all these flaws and still recommending the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 should tell you that this tire is different.
Not only is this model available at a pocket-friendly price, a rarity for summer performance tires. It also offers excellent traction on wet pavement, thanks mainly to Firestone’s Pulse Groove Technology. So, you won’t have to replace this tire in wet weather conditions.
A 65,000-mile treadwear warranty is another feature you don’t get from summer performance tires, most of which receive zero backing from their manufacturer. A plethora of grooves (circumferential and lateral) evacuate water to keep the risk of hydroplaning to a minimum.
Yet it has all the features you expect from tires in this category. Steering responsiveness and cornering grip are exceptional, even for a summer performance tire. The cornering performance is so brilliant even novice drivers will get the confidence to attack corners at speed.
Also, like most tires in this category, the Indy 500 are unreliable in wintry conditions. Using these tires on snow and ice, no matter how light, will be akin to putting your vehicle’s stability in danger. As such, it’s recommended to keep these tires for warm and mildly wet weather.
- Highly responsive
- Usable in rainy conditions
- 65,000-mile treadlife warranty
- Unreliable in wintry conditions
#7. Continental Extreme Contact DWS06 – Best High Performance
Excellent fuel economy, affordable asking price, and plush ride quality – these are some of the features that ExtremeContact DWS06 and Kia Soul have in common. So, if you’re searching for a tire that complements this car’s qualities, look no further.
Continental has molded an all-season tread compound into an asymmetric design and punctuated it with chamfered edges and traction grooves. The result? Enhanced steering feedback and response, which shouldn’t come as a surprise from a UHP tire.
Traction Grooves work side by side with this model’s X-Sipe Technology to enhance the tire’s hydroplaning resistance and help it perform reliably in mild wintry conditions. It’s thanks to these two features that this model can hold its own on slippery/dicey roads.
Thanks to the Alignment Verification System, you don’t have to visit your mechanic every time you feel that the wheels’ alignment is off. As for the Tread Wear Indicators (TWI’s), they will let you know months before the tire needs replacement.
Yet there are areas in which this model disappoints. This model’s cornering grip isn’t as big as you get from premium touring tires. Also, it tends to slip a bit during rapid acceleration on wet roads, so you’d do well to take it easy when there’s water on the road.
- Available in 87 sizes
- Comes with a respectable treadwear warranty for a tire in this category
- Highly useful alignment and wear indicators
- Cornering grip could have been better
#8. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus – Best Ultra-High Performance
The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Plus offers the kind of performance that has made it our pick for muscle cars, such as the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. As such, if you want extreme performance from your Kia Soul, the Pilot Sport A/S+ is a no-brainer.
An advanced silica and sunflower oil tread compound has been molded into a performance-oriented design. The result? Better grip and traction in dry and wet conditions as well as the kind of cornering performance and steering feedback you expect from UHP tires.
Thanks to the aggressive-looking asymmetric pattern and outboard shoulder blocks, you’d have this tire responding to the commands from the steering within seconds.
Four circumferential grooves help with water evacuation. Their ability to eject water quickly and effectively ensures the dryness of the contact patch, increasing this model’s wet traction. In addition to that, the grooves also reduce the risk of hydroplaning.
Perhaps the best feature of this tire (and the one that helps justify its astronomical asking price) is that it’s backed with a 45,000-mile warranty. You could thus expect this model to remain with you for 3, 4 years at least.
- Exceptionally responsive in all weather conditions
- Brilliant high-speed stability
- Usable over light snow
- Long treadwear warranty
- Produces an audible growl at higher speeds
#9. Kumho Solus TA31 – Best Bargain-Basement Price
The Kumho Solus TA31 serves as proof that you don’t always have to break the bank to land a set of high-quality tires. This high-performance all-season tire delivers the kind of performance you usually associate with premium tires, even though it costs less than half as much.
Kumho didn’t opt for anything fancy while designing the TA31. An all-season tread compound has been molded into a symmetric tread pattern to deliver a comfortable ride and confident handling on all types of pavement. That means you won’t get any unexpected surprises.
The same goes for braking and steering, which are sure and responsive without any unwelcome shocks. A center rib provides the feel that only comes from centered tires, with the addition of sipes in the tread design helping this model perform reliably on snow and slush.
Nothing about this tire’s internal structure – two steel belts, a spirally wrapped nylon and polyester cord ply – raises doubts about its strength. In fact, all three improve ride comfort of this tire, helping it enhance one of the most sought-after qualities of the Kia Soul.
Yet there are areas where this tire’s bargain basement price bares its colors. The TA31 is available in a limited number of sizes between 14 and 18 inches, meaning it won’t go on all of this car’s trims.
- Available at a highly competitive price
- Enhanced steering response and feedback
- Backed with a superb 60,000-mile treadwear warranty
Available in a limited number of sizes
#10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter Tire
The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 has all the qualities to give its studded counterparts a run for their money in harsh wintry conditions. That, as well as this model’s low rolling resistance, make it one of the best winter tires on the market for Kia Soul.
A super-soft tread compound, backed with an asymmetric tread design and punctuated with multiple circumferential grooves, helps this model plow through snow and ice. The grooves help with water evacuation, with the tread design keeping this model stable.
MultiCell Technology traps snow and ice between treads to increase this model’s friction on snow-and-ice-laden roads. Another technology, referred to as EdgePerformance, widens this model’s contact patch to increase its surface area with which to grip the road.
All these features explain why the WS90 comes with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) symbol. Tires branded with the 3PMSF emblem are expected to offer improved snow traction than their M+S (Mud + Snow) rated counterparts.
- 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating
- Offer excellent traction on snow and ice
- Comes with tread wear indicators and winter wear bars
- Doesn’t come with a treadwear warranty
Best Tires for Kia Soul
All-season touring and grand touring tires are the best option for the average Kia Soul driver. These models deliver the holy trinity of features almost every driver wants: above-average treadlife, excellent fuel economy, and even treadwear. Plus, they are backed with extended warranties.
Despite possessing all these qualities, all-season tires don’t cost a fortune. This differentiates them from their performance and ultra-high-performance counterparts, which are produced in smaller amounts and are therefore priced higher by their manufacturers to balance their books.
Not everything is great about all-season tires, though, especially if you’re the sort of driver who likes pushing their vehicle to its limits. All-season tires are a bit muted when it comes to steering response and feedback. Plus, their cornering grip and performance are also a bit lackluster.
Performance tires are an excellent option for Kia Soul drivers who regularly push this car to its limits. These tires’ negligible rolling resistance will enhance your vehicle’s acceleration and help you make quick passes on the highway, solving a major pain point for Soul’s drivers.
At the same time, their enhanced feedback will give you greater response at the steering. Plus, their extreme cornering grip and traction will let you attack turns with a vengeance, with an internal construction so strong these tires won’t suffer from premature deformation.
Bear in mind though that performance tires are fuel guzzlers. They also have relatively short tread lives, especially when compared with those of touring tires.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of tires does a Kia Soul need?
All-season touring and grand touring tires can meet the requirements of most Kia Soul drivers. These tires cost less up front vis-à-vis performance and high-performance models. They are also backed with long treadwear warranties, have excellent road manners and boast excellent fuel economy.
How many miles do Kia Soul tires last?
Premium touring and grand-touring Kia Soul tires should last 5 to 6 years with ease. Meanwhile, performance and high-performance tires can come good for 3 or 4 years, even if regularly pushed to their limits.
The best tires for Kia Soul won’t just enhance the qualities of this subcompact SUV. They will also see to it that this car’s ride-related shortcomings are taken care of. As such, it’s a no-brainer to replace the Soul’s factory-installed tires with those recommended above at the first possible opportunity.