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Redesigned 2020 Kia Soul retains personality, affordability Featured

Posted On Saturday, 15 June 2019 20:59 Written by
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The 2020 Kia Soul gets a redesign, but maintains the signature boxy look of the vehicle. The 2020 Kia Soul gets a redesign, but maintains the signature boxy look of the vehicle. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

As an endless slew of entries continues to arrive in the subcompact crossover category, there are some mainstays that continue to stand tall, literally and figuratively.
One of those long-term entries is the Kia Soul, which gets a redesign for the 2020 model year. I recently spent some time in a 2020 Soul and I’m back with a full report on how the new version measures up in the category.

Despite the redesign, the heart of the 2020 Kia Soul remains the same. It’s still a five-passenger, four-door hatchback. The unique boxy shape remains, as does its short snub-nose design, and tall seating.

Among the changes are a 1.2-inch increase in the wheelbase and 2.2 extra inches in length.
The rear lighting encircling the back window is a look rarely seen. and is sharply designed. The Soul also offers plenty of great color options, including the Snow White Pearl exterior with black interior on my test vehicle.

Interior space is impressive, and the Soul’s back seat is roomy for the segment. There is adequate head space for the segment, and plenty of storage space with the back seats down (62 cubic feet to be exact).

The Interior has a pretty basic setup with cloth and plastic materials, not surprising given the price range. If you opt for the X Line trim level, you get upgraded exterior body cladding, front fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. All user controls are well-placed for the driver to manipulate, and easy for anyone to figure out.

Most 2020 Kia Soul trim levels feature a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, which is usually paired with an automatic transmission (though manual is an option at some levels). Numbers on the powerplant are 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. For those seeking extra Soul power, if you opt for the GT Line Turbo trim level and choose the 1.6-liter turbo engine, you’ll get a more peppy 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft.

The 2020 Soul comes in FWD only. No AWD option is offered … while most competitors do have it, which is a drawback. Hill start assist control is offered.

In my testing, while the powerplant was definitely not powerful, it also wasn’t a chore to get moving. I was able to go 0-60 mph in roughly 7.5 seconds.

Sport mode does improve the overall driving experience considerably, and Soul pilots will experience a relatively smooth ride. Road noise does get a bit noisy when speed gets higher.

Also, the Soul’s ground clearance is an impressive 6.7 inches.

The 2020 Kia Soul is well stocked in the safety and technology realms. It features front, side and side curtain airbags, and is equipped with anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control and a tire pressure monitoring system.

It also comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, for phone mirroring capability. The Soul also features remote keyless entry, auto on/off headlights, and Bluetooth for streaming audio and calls.

The infotainment system has a simple-looking design, but the menus are very easy to navigate and the system is user-friendly. The 7-inch touchscreen also serves as a rear camera for help when backing up. You can also upgrade to a 10.3-inch widescreen layout.

The 2020 Kia Soul X-Line that I tested also featured advanced safety features such as: Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning; and Lane Change Assist.

The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2020 Kia Soul came in at 27 city/33 highway/30 combined. These numbers proved pretty accurate in my testing, where I averaged 29 mpg.

Compared to the many other subcompact SUVs available (Nissan Kicks, Ford EcoSport, Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500L, Toyota C-HR, and Mazda CX-3, among others), the fuel mileage is stellar on the Soul. Only one or two rivals can claim better numbers, and not by much.

The 2020 Kia Soul I tested was priced just under $23,000, and base price starts around $18K. The Soul is among the most affordable vehicles in its class. Also, for people who want an affordable vehicle that isn’t a sedan, this is one of the best options among small SUVs for affordability.

Prices start as follows: LX, $18,485; S, $21,285; GT-Line, $21,285; X-Line, $22,485; EX, $23,685; GT-Line Turbo, $28,485.

Warranties are as follows: 10-year/100K miles limited powertrain; 5-year’60K limited basic; and 5-year/60K roadside assistance.

Featuring a wholly unique look, nimble ride quality and decent tech offerings for the segment, the Soul should continue to have a strong audience with its 2020 model. It’s one of the best options in the segment to consider, especially for younger buyers and those without a large family who don’t need a larger SUV. can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Kia Soul
  • Price as tested: $22,960 (starts under $18K)
  • Best feature: Attractive design, spacious, affordability
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Subcompact SUV buyers who want a quality ride with some design character
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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