The Kia Soul stands out thanks to a simple blueprint that has played true for the company for nearly 10 years, funky styling, fun dynamics, and accessible at a fair price. The 2020 Kia Soul has been completely redesigned, now in its third generation, it looks sharper, is more fun to drive, and casts a wider net with additional models in this review we take a look at the X-Line.
The 2020 Soul starts at $17,490. That makes it the most affordable vehicle in its class, more than $1,000 cheaper than the next-most-affordable Nissan Kicks ($18,640). Move up to this X-Line model and the base price rises to $21,490, but the Soul gets new standard features like 18-inch wheels, rugged trim pieces, upgraded fog lights, a bit more leather, and some extra safety features. The only option on our tester was carpeted floor mats ($130). At $22,610 out the door, the X-Line is more affordable and stylish than most other vehicles in the segment. If you want the look of an SUV without the price, the Soul X-Line is a great option.
Now to looks the 2020 Soul is a sublime follow-up style-wise to the last-generation. It is more-defined up front with sharper light fixtures and a bigger grille, the back has a new interpretation of the Soul’s iconic “boomerang taillights,”. The X-Line trim ups the style ante, making things look a little more off road and rugged. This trim adds plastic fenders all around, extra cladding up front, matte silver accents, and trim-exclusive 18-inch wheels. However don’t try taking it to the trails though, all of the updates are visual rather than functional.
The interior looks and feels premium. As expected, there’s a lot of black plastic on the dash and some silver trim thrown in for good measure. But most, if not all of the trim pieces, are soft to the touch and well finished. Nothing looks or feels cheap. The triangular air vents are a nice touch too and catch the eye. And the seats, though they’re just cloth, have a nice two-tone black and grey texture to them.
You also get a good amount of standard tech, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as the same 7.0-inch touchscreen from the base model carries over. The X-Line also lacks navigation and Kia‘s more advanced UVO link infotainment, which are only available on the larger 10.25-inch screen that comes on the EX model and up. But for $22,000, it’s still a good setup and competitive for the class.
The Soul’s boxy styling makes it one of the roomiest subcompact crossovers. The high-rising roof provides an open, airy feel, and tons of visibility, resulting in 39.6 inches of front headroom and 39.5 inches of rear headroom. Alternatives like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR, both with smaller interior dimensions, feel cramped in comparison. The Soul feels generously sized inside considering it’s classified as a subcompact.
The Kia Soul has a roomy trunk for its size with 24.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, this is more than sufficient to hold an extra-large suitcase or two. Under the cargo floor is a spare tire. With the rear seats folded, that cargo volume expands to a generous 62.1 cubic feet.
The 2020 Kia Soul has two engines: a base 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder, although the range-topping GT-Line is available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder. Our X-Line’s 2.0-liter works alongside a continuously variable transmission or what Kia calls “Intelligent Variable Transmission and produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s a perfectly adequate engine and gearbox combo that does exactly what you want it to. Handling is where the Soul stands out, it’s not as lively but the direct steering input, responsive chassis, and quick throttle allow drivers to dart around town. The car tackles corners with poise, belying its shape. Most surprising part of the Soul is its ride quality. Little noise seeps into the cabin even at highway speeds and the Soul remains composed over uneven surfaces.
On higher trims, the Soul offers active safety equipment like automatic front braking, lane centering technology, adaptive cruise control, and others (some of it standard, depending on the trim). But the X-Line limits safety features to items like blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist. The X-Line model is efficient at 27 mpg city, 33 highway, and 30 combined.
The Kia Soul is a fun and very affordable car with a surprising amount of usable space. We can see how everyone from a recent graduate to a retired couple might love the many features the Soul line has to offer. We would recommend the Kia Soul to many different shoppers, due to its fun nature, it is just a great car to have in the city or around town. Throw in Kia’s 10-year, 100K mile powertrain warranty, and well it is a hard choice to turn down.