We had the chance to review the 2020 Kia Soul recently. Here’s our thoughts on why you should or shouldn’t buy it.
The Kia Soul is back, completely revamped, but still a box-on-wheels. It gets a whole new, bolder looking fascia with a larger grille, modern, horizontal headlights that make it look like it’s squinting, and new wheel designs. Size-wise It’s bigger, too. It gained 55 millimetres in length along with a 30 mm larger wheelbase.
The 2020 Kia Soul is not only about funky colours and dancing hamsters. It built a reputation for being quite reliable and technologically advanced, targeting younger, urban buyers. Plus, it comes back this year with an EV model that gained quite a bit of capability.
The 2020 Kia Soul is offered in an array of trim levels, LX, EX, EX+, EX Premium, GT-Line Premium, EX Limited and GT-Line Limited.
Here’s why you should – or shouldn’t buy a 2020 Kia Soul.
Why you should buy a 2020 Kia Soul
- Good engine/transmission pairing. The 2020 Kia Soul is powered by a naturally aspired four-cylinder, 2.0-liter powerplant that generates 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Nope, it ain’t exactly Christmas under the hood. But this small engine is bolted to what Kia calls an “IVT”, which is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that uses a chain instead of a belt to transfer the drive torque along the conical pulleys. The duo seems to be a good recipe.
The accelerations are surprisingly healthy, and the response is swift in city driving conditions. Yes, it loses a bit of breath on the highway. But the Soul being the “Urban Utility Vehicle” as Kia likes to call it, it provides enough power for that. Although we haven’t driven the Soul EV yet, it gained quite a bit of power on paper from the outgoing model, offering up to 91 more horsepower under the hood and a bit more than 200 kilometres more in the range department.
- It has good driving dynamics. At first, the 2020 Kia Soul looks top-heavy and narrow. But running it through its paces in the corners showed us that it handles itself pretty well. The stiffer body structure is one of the elements that make it perform well in corners, with minimal body roll.
- It is very well-equipped for the price. For example, the base LX variant comes with standard heated front seats, air conditioning, a 7” display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth. But for only 1700$ more, the EX gets you a bunch of driver aid systems like Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lanekeep Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Alert and Assist along with Halogen projector headlights and a wireless cell charger, among other things. Many of these gizmos would come at a much higher price with other models.
Moreover, the slightly bigger exterior dimensions translate to more legroom, headroom and more room for luggage. And if you a reminiscent of the dancing hamsters, the EX Premium model gets the “signature” music-based mood lighting…
Why you shouldn’t buy a 2020 Kia Soul
- No turbo engine. The 2020 Kia Soul doesn’t come with the 1.6-liter, 201 horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged engine like it does in the U.S. With the interesting handling capabilities, it would’ve been an even better deal and a more performance-oriented one as well, with longer-lasting power on the highway.
- Considering it wants to be popular in Canada, the 2020 Kia Soul should eventually add an AWD option. More and more entry-level vehicles get it, and it is not only an attractive skill to have in the winter, but it can also significantly contribute to driving dynamics in the summer.
Even if you’re not into the whole “boxy style” cars, the Kia Soul could be a good option if you’re looking for a lot of technology in a small package. There might not be a lot of performance under the hood, but the powertrain seems well dialled-in and sufficient for day to day driving in the city.