SEATTLE — The Soul continues to be a top-seller for KIA and it’s easy to understand why. It’s affordable, chocked full of features, has a quirky enough look and is fun to drive. For the last several years, those looking for a more affordable crossover-type vehicle have turned to the Soul. For 2020, KIA has introduced a redesigned Soul that appears to be a natural progression in the evolution of the Soul.
Our test model was equipped with the standard 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine that’s good for 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a six-speed CVT (continuously variable transmission), it’s good for 27 miles per gallon around town and up to 33 mpg on the highway. While this is good fuel economy, it’s not as great as other vehicles in its price range, offer.
The redesign on the exterior are quite obvious to fans of the Soul and really go a long way for making the Soul look a bit more sophisticated. You’ll notice the front fascia moves the grill lower to the ground and has made it quite larger than on previous models. The rear end does pay homage to the original design cues, with the large, vertical tail lights, however, has made them with more of a wrap-around look.
Inside, you’ll find a roomy cabin with comfortable seating for four adults, even though you can fit a smaller person in the middle of the backseat as well. Headroom isn’t an issue with the Soul’s very high roofline and its seats are supportive as well. Rear legroom is down just a smidgen over the previous model year, however, most folks will likely never notice.
Materials used inside, include a great deal of plastic surfaces that still look cool and do a lot to add to the overall vibe. Great-looking door inlays, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather-wrapped shift knob are all on-point as well.
The default 7-inch infotainment display is responsive and includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto, standard. The default audio system is passable and does provide an okay experience, however, you really should consider upgrading to the Harman/Kardon system with the 10.5-inch display.
On the road, the front-wheel-drive system does display normal understeer, however, KIA has really picked up the suspension performance. It doesn’t exhibit the kinds of behavior of past model years around hard corners. There’s a lot less leaning and more of leaving the driver feeling more in control. While its straight line performance won’t set any records, it’s still respectable, given the power output and CVT. Expect to see 0-60 times close to the mid-eight second range.
Safety features include, blind spot indicators, air bags all around the cabin, rear cross-traffic monitoring while in reverse and a clear back-up camera.
Fans of the Soul will likely enjoy the newfound changes both inside and out. It certainly falls into the category of “weird cars” due to its polarizing shape but there’s a strong customer base for that. Starting at $22,485, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a much better value out there in a vehicle in this class. It comes with KIA’s 10-year powertrain warranty as well. Is this Soul perfect? No, however, it’s come a long way since its first introduction years ago and this natural progression is certainly a step forward for the Soul.
For more info, check out www.kia.com