autoevolution

2020 Kia Soul Review

Car size: sub-compact
Body type: Crossover

2020 Kia Soul specifications  

In 2009, South Korean manufacturer Kia's design center in California finished the creation of the Soul. Built as five-door subcompact crossover SUV, the crazy-looking model was a funky-car for the open-minded.
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Nearly a decade later, the Soul is still around, complete with its boxy shape and now even as an electric car. By the looks of it, the car will be around for a while more, after the introduction of the new, third generation at the Los Angeles Auto show.

1Exterior design & features

Although retaining the overall looks of the original model, the new Soul has increased slightly in size. The 2020 model year is a bit longer than the outgoing version, by 2.2 inches, for a total of 165.2 inches. The longer car was made possible by building it on a 1.2 inches longer wheelbase.

Design-wise, the changes aren't all that radical compared to what came before it, but updated elements are to be found everywhere. Kia went for a front headlights configuration with connecting trim piece as a means to accentuate width.

The larger front grille with two-tone treatment is flanked by slim-design daytime running lights and turn signal indicators, while at the back the designers went for three-dimensional wraparound boomerang-shaped taillights.

From the side, the most visible update is the design of the C-pillars that have been drawn to resemble airplane wings.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

At the interior, the new Soul is a nod to the original model. Initially, the car was created to give those riding in it unique feels thanks to the innovative way of rendering music and lights.

Just as before, the interior of the new generation comes with shapes and textures that reflect acoustic inspired elements meant to enhance the sensory experience.

The audio-visual game in the Soul continues for the 2020 model year with sound mood lighting that emits soft light from the center door panels and a unique 3D pattern surface on the upper door panels. These lights can be synchronized to the music played through the car's speakers.

Depending on how those inside feel, there are several selectable moods when it comes to lighting: Hey! Yo!, Party Time, Traveling, Romance, Midnight City, and Cafe.

3Gadgets

Aside for the interesting light and sound display, the new Soul adds other must-have gadgetry for the modern drivers.

At the heart of the car's systems lies a 10.25-inch HD color touchscreen with split screen function, as well as an 8-inch Head-Up Display.

The new Soul comes equipped with wireless charging and Bluetooth functionality that can support two devices connected at the same time.

The music that is the main trait of the Soul is rendered via a 640-watt Harman Kardon7 audio system. That's a system that comes with twice the wattage of current Soul.

4Performance

There will be two different engines powering the Soul. The entry level one is the 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder powerplant that can be linked to either a 6-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). The engine develops 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft. of torque

The top of the range unit is a twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 GDI that is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. In this configurations, the engine develops 201 horsepower and 195 lb. ft of torque.

For now, Kia has not released the details on the engines' fuel economy figures.

There will also be an electric variant of the new Soul that will be introduced at a later date. This variant uses a 64 kWh battery and electric motors that develop 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque.

5Safety

Safety-wise, the new Soul keeps true to the previous generations but adds a few more technologies meant to bring the nameplate to the next decade.

The array of safety systems deployed in the 2020 Soul include Forward Collision Avoidance, Lane Keeping, and Changing Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind-spot and rear cross Collision Warning and Smart Cruise Control.

6Conclusion

2020 Kia Soul full specs and photo gallery

The new Soul goes on sale in the first half of next year, when Kia decides how much to ask for one. When available, the car will sell in six trim levels, or seven if you count the EV variant.

Although it is not the main Kia product in the U.S., the Soul managed to impress through the number sold over the years. Since 2014, nearly 150,000 people chose the Soul each year, making the South Korean car one of the most sought after in its segment.