Let Your Soul Shine in The Snow

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 by Cy Chowattukunnel

I really like the Kia commercials with the hamsters cruising around in the red Kia Soul. The Soul is reasonably priced and is a vehicle that gets pretty good gas mileage. However, like many lightweight front-wheel drive cars, the Soul is not great in snow since there's not much weight on the front tires. Given the Soul's lightweight and comfort-oriented suspension-tuning, most Kia Soul drivers should take a look at Studless Ice and Snow tires because the vehicle's low weight needs the superior ice and packed snow grip provided by tires in this category.

Snow Tire Sizes

The ideal winter tire size is 195/65-15 for the Soul Base and Soul Plus and 205/70-15 for Soul Exclaim and Soul Sport drivers. Both these sizes are skinnier than the Original Equipment size so they'll cut through moderate and deeper snow better. The newer sizes still match the overall diameter of the factory tire. If you have 195/65-15 or 205/55-16 Original Equipment sizing (Base and Plus), you can mount your tires on your original wheels and use the same size snow tires. But, if you have 225/45-18 sizing (Exclaim and Sport), it's critical to get different wheels because there is not a narrow 18" snow tire choice available.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Each wheel has a valve stem-mounted TPMS sensor that you can run with or without for winter driving. If you decide to run without the TPMS sensors, you'll see a warning light, but there are no functional issues associated with the light. When you reinstall your summer wheels, the TPMS will work as normal once you've activated the sensors by driving your car. And if you're in need of O.E. TPMS sensors, we have them available for $54* each. For a better understanding on using TPMS sensors, read "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Servicing."

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package
Michelin X-Ice Xi2
Most Soul drivers should take a look at the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 tire on steel wheels, as the wheel and cover help combat premature rusting of lug nuts. This Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package in the 195/65-15 size is available for $609* plus shipping. I like the X-Ice Xi2's combination of good dry road handling with good ice and packed snow grip.

*Prices subject to change

Comments on Let Your Soul Shine in The Snow

Sunday, February 3, 2013 by Mark Hall:
I have a 2012 Kia soul exclaim with 235/45/18 tires and wheels. I'm looking for a good all season tire for the front or winter treads all the way around and leave them on. Like Michelin but your suggestions.
Monday, February 4, 2013 by cy:
Mark,

It sounds like you want to utilize your Original Equipment 18x7.5 (7.5" wide) wheel. If so, this will severely compromise our choices.

If you're deep in the Snowbelt, skinnier 205/60-16 Firestone Winterforce dedicated snows on basic steel wheels at $564 plus shipping are optimal and provide good value.

Within your parameters, the best option is to run custom size shorter (25.6" vs 26.3" diameter) 215/45-18 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 dedicated winter tires. This size will fit on your stock wheels. If your run them all year round though, they'll wear at an accelerated rate.

A good all-season choice is the Continental ExtremeContact DWS available in both 215/45-18 and 235/45-18. If you only run them in front though, then your Soul might fishtail since you'll have more grip in front compared to the back. If you end up going with 2 Continental ExtremeContact DWS anyways, get 235/45-18. This way at least the overall diameter and width will match.

Thanks.
Cy

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