The 2020 Kia Soul is back for a third generation with more trims, greater rates and a mean face that’s oddly similar to the current Chevrolet Camaro And while it might not have the sport creds of a Camaro, even in its sport trim, the brand-new Soul has a trim lineup with more tastes than your regional ice-cream store– and practically as many mood-lighting modes.
( Full disclosure: Kia spent for travel to San Diego for the Soul launch, together with lodging and a number of meals.)
What Is It?
The 2020 Soul is the newest variation of Kia’s blocky little spending plan cars and truck, which has blown through two generations given that its 2009 launch This 3rd generation keeps the cars and truck’s shape, but changes its previously wide-eyed front end with a squinty grimace and gets a wider series of trim levels.
Kia calls the Soul a “compact crossover,” but its put on the marketplace isn’t that easy. It utilized to have boxy, lower- priced front-wheel– drive hatchbacks like the Scion xB and Nissan Cube to take on. Those have all passed away off, though, leaving the newest generation of the Soul in a world of its own.
Kia said at the 2020 Soul launch that its primary rivals now are the curvier however similarly priced Toyota CH-R and Nissan Kicks crossovers. However of the top 20 carmakers in the U.S. as of early in 2015, as charted by the Wall Street Journal, none other than Kia have a spending plan, two-row blocky hatch– leaving the Soul in its own valley in between smaller sized, curvier hatches and the lower end of the flourishing crossover sector, neither of which can be thought about direct competitors to the Soul in every purchaser’s scenario.
A lack of direct competition does not indicate the Soul is undesirable; it’s just various, from a looks standpoint, which’s better than being dull.
Specifications That Matter
The 2019 Soul had three trims in addition to a $34,000 electric vehicle: the base model, the ” ,” and the turbocharged “!” trim, with base MSRPs that ranged from $16,490 to $22,990 With the 2020 comes the replacement of those less-than-stellar names, and the introduction of more trims with higher MSRPs.
Now, the Soul has more trims plus an upcoming EV version. There’s the LX, S, the GT-Line with the basic engine, the X-Line, EX, EX Designer Collection, and, at the top, the significantly more effective turbocharged GT-Line.
All however the turbo variation features a 147- horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-four engine and Kia’s “Intelligent Variable Transmission,” which is just a expensive method of saying “continually variable transmission.” The turbo engine in the top trim has 201 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque, according to the spec sheet, which means it has the exact same output as the outbound turbo Soul.
The base 2020 Soul LX can still be ordered with a six-speed manual, and the GT-Line turbo gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 130- HP, naturally aspirated 1.6-liter engine is gone, and the 2.0-liter base in the 2020 Soul trades some power for economy. While the last one had 161 HP and 27 mpg in combined driving, the brand-new 147- HP variation is expected to be able to get 30 mpg in every trim but the routine EX, where it’s ranked at 31 mpg.
While that tradeoff seems reasonable, the glaring concern with the new Soul is the premium on the turbo and DCT that didn’t exist in the last model year. In 2019, a turbocharged Soul “!” listed at $22,990 with the choice to include more pricey options somewhere else. But for 2020, a purchaser needs to go all in with the leading GT-Line’s functions and $27,490 MSRP if they want a turbo or DCT at all, because there’s no alternative for a turbo listed below that cost point.
The Turbocharged GT-Line
The turbo GT-Line is the top trim in the new Soul lineup, in prices and in functions, and the just one with a turbo. “GT-Line” badges, red accents and larger disc brakes differentiate it from the majority of other trims on the outside, but the most significant upgrade is the extra 54 HP.
The turbo has a “sport” mode, which improves engine noise but does not appear to do much else. The sound needs an enhancement from regular mode, too– on that setting, it’s strangely peaceful for a cars and truck with sport badges.
The seven-speed DCT moves quickly and smoothly, and although the trim does not come in a stick, a driver can pretend by using paddles or the tossing the shifter into manual mode. Downshifts sound happily aggressive, either method.
Power from the turbo feels sufficient but not overwhelmingly quick, and the vehicle doesn’t precisely drift over rough roadways. The “sport-tuned” suspension is far from unsusceptible to rattling over bumps or diving into that ghastly downward slam on moderate pits, and there’s wind noise at higher speeds, however a peaceful radio setting can drown it out.
Inside, red accent stitching lines a black interior that, only on the turbo, features a 10- way power chauffeur’s seat and the option to turn on colored speaker lights to support the music that’s playing. Kia’s particularly happy of this state of mind lighting, declaring that you can pick between settings called “Hey! Yo!,” “Celebration Time,” “Taking a trip,” “Love,” “Midnight City” and “Cafe.”
But the Soul’s black interior lacks contrast and circulation without those lights, and is a bare, open hole compared to its funky outside. It has wacky shapes, like the rounded rectangular shape encasing the infotainment screen, however they’re difficult to discover when nearly whatever is either glossy black, matte black or textured black.
It also has a decidedly economy-car feel– disappointing, thinking about the near $30,000 MSRP– and the old and wrinkly black texture covering most surface areas, light-gray headliner and hollow-sounding on the plastic door trims don’t do it any favors. The seats have a sporty-on-a-budget ambiance, with leather reinforces and a corduroy-textured fabric center where a smooth Alcantara would be if this were an even more pricey automobile.
Although the interior looks bare, innovation and functions on the turbo design aren’t. It comes basic with front seat heaters, a heated guiding wheel and car windshield wipers, which don’t have the best judgement– in some cases, they’ll aggressively clean the windscreen for a slight mist or not wipe it at all if water constructs up on the car at a stoplight. But the heated wheel is a nice touch, warming a motorist’s hands and sense of fanciness in their higher-priced Soul.
The functions list on the 2020 turbo is comparable to the optional technology package Kia offered on the 2019 turbo, which brought its base rate approximately $26,000 and included specific driver-assistance functions, an eight-inch touchscreen, heated power seats, and a heated wheel. Rates and options from the 2019 “!” trim considered, the $27,500 turbo GT-Line is about even with the outgoing vehicle, but the big loss is that buyers can no longer purchase a turbo and DCT without the additional features– a move that, at almost $5,000 more, will price some individuals out.
The 10.25- inch infotainment screen, which comes standard on 2019 EX designs and the turbo GT-Line but isn’t available on other trims, is big. 3 widgets, like music or navigation, can fit across it, and included widgets can be traded out or exploded to the length of the screen. The system is easy to find out how to work, and Apple CarPlay is a breeze to utilize on such a long surface.
There’s likewise a heads-up screen that emerges from the control panel when switched on, which is has an excessive tinted screen and a lime-green speed forecast. It comes basic along with adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection, but only on the turbo GT-Line.
Falling in the middle of the lineup in pricing however not necessarily in functions, the X-Line is the Soul with “ off-road” styling, and is more representative than the turbo of what the other trims will look like. But “styling” is essential there, considering that even Kia recognized at the launch that it doesn’t have four-wheel drive or much else associated to off roading.
The X-Line looks the part, however, with body cladding and a more rugged exterior look. The interior has a comparable setup to the much more pricey turbo model, matching fit however not in innovation.
For $6,000 less, the X-Line has a lot fewer comforts than the leading trim. It has an essential start compared to the turbo’s button, entirely fabric seats, no double climate manages up front, a smaller sized infotainment screen, no seat heating systems, certainly no steering-wheel heating system, and, obviously, the less effective 147- HP engine.
The seven-inch infotainment screen on the X-Line isn’t anything to grumble about by itself– it works, for an economy automobile. But it’s a substantial downgrade from the larger screen on the turbo, which isn’t even offered as an optional function on trims it doesn’t come standard on.
Like on the turbo, the X-Line has a decent exhaust note in sport mode. It sounds aggressive however natural, unlike activated noise in a great deal of modern cars and trucks. But with 147 HP, it’s all snort and no go– or a truly slow go, if we’re being great. It also has a manual setting on its shifter but no paddles, with a comparable aggressive “downshifting” experience to the one on the GT-Line. (CVTs do not truly shift up or down, per se, however the result can still be simulated.)
The X-Line also has driver-assistance functions, although not as numerous as other trims. It has lane-change help and blindspot warnings, however it doesn’t have forward crash avoidance or lane-keep help, which are, curiously, standard on the less expensive S and non-turbo GT-Line trims.
The 2020 Kia Soul has a lot going on, however not all of it is for the finest.
The turbocharged GT-Line, overall, looks as much like a stylish hatch on the outdoors as a directly shaped car can, and does a decent task of living up to the buzz with its engine– even if it would be more fun with a stick. But it seems like that’s where all the time was spent, and the interior styling was left majorly doing not have. There’s some redemption in the feature lineup inside of the automobile, but provided the abundance of fabric and hollow plastic, almost $28,000 is a tough sell.
When It Comes To the other trims, they use a good quantity of innovation for their lower costs, like driver-assistance functions, touchscreen and automatic headlights basic at a near $20,000 MSRP. The X-Line is strange, however, considered that it lacks a few of the features trims below it have but still handles to cost more.
However the Soul is all about choice, specifically now that it’s the only vehicle in the U.S. carrying the boxy-hatch flag with a spending plan asking rate. And, while Kia did put the turbo on a price aircraft of its own for 2020, the Soul’s big trim lineup still offers a great deal of versatility for such a little car.