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2020 Kia Soul First Drive – Meeting Expectations Nicely

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2020 Kia Soul

Once you take a look at a Kia Soul, you probably peg it for simply what it’s – a boxy, utilitarian commuter vehicle. You wouldn’t anticipate it to be a blast to drive, or full of coddling luxurious supplies and content material.

Typically, what you see actually is kind of what you get. That is a type of instances, with some nice surprises alongside the best way.

The up to date Soul has new exterior duds, a re-imagined cabin, and a newly out there turbo mill.

Kia is making the Soul obtainable in seven trims (LX, X-Line, S, EX, EX Designer Assortment, GT-Line 2.0L, and GT-Line 1.6T), they usually gave us the keys to an X-Line and a GT-Line throughout our first drive.

(Full disclosure: Kia flew journalists to San Diego, put us in a pleasant lodge, requested us to put on a music-associated T-shirt to dinner, and fed us. They provided to make a customized T-shirt; I didn’t take them up on the supply).

The rationale these two trims have been the one Souls available? Kia believes they would be the two best-promoting trims. An electric model of the Soul may even be out there, however that launch is scheduled for later this yr.

2020 Kia Soul

My day began within the X-Line, with the two.zero-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder from the Kia Forte – dubbed Nu in Kia-converse – underhood. The specs sound weak – simply 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. However whereas just a little extra oomph can be good for passing, it’s in any other case lots wonderful for commuting obligation. The most important situation with this motor is refinement – it’s buzzy and loud.

The constantly-variable automated transmission it pairs with known as Clever Variable Transmission by Kia. No matter you name it, it has six ratios and the texture of a traditional “step” transmission (learn: typical automated), and it’s a tad sluggish to downshift. It does appear to carry on to the decrease gears in Sport mode, although.

Kia dialed in good heft to the steering, in each Sport and Regular drive modes, though really feel is a bit synthetic. The result is a car that’s fairly partaking to drive, if not a sleeper compact sport hatch.

2020 Kia Soul

That steering really feel principally carries over to the turbocharged GT-Line car, however the GT felt slightly extra buttoned-down in corners. Physique roll is current on each automobiles, which isn’t shocking given the boxy roofline, and there’s a little bit of understeer once you push.

The 1.6-liter turbo 4 makes 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, and the extra energy is welcome. This motor can also be smoother than the two.zero, making it the popular selection. Whereas the Soul is a reasonably good utility compact with the two.zero, it’s a a lot better car with the turbo.

Kia did miss a chance – the 1.6 turbo is simply out there with a seven-velocity twin-clutch automated. Just like the CVT within the base car, it too holds on to gears in Sport mode (Sport mode in each automobiles appeared to vary throttle and transmission inputs greater than steering). That’s not the missed alternative, although – this car could possibly be an actual hoot to drive with a guide transmission. A six-velocity stick is obtainable within the base trim solely.

2020 Kia Soul

Journey high quality on principally clean California roads is usually good, and even rougher stretches of pavement don’t disturb a lot. However street and wind noise was a problem in each trims, along with the X-Line’s engine noise.

Leg and headroom are aplenty up entrance, and the seats are cozy sufficient for a day’s driving. The X-Line is brief on some content material – no XM, actually? – and each automobiles have gentle-contact dashes marred by onerous plastic alongside the underside half.

2020 Kia Soul

I just like the ovoid form that surrounds the audio/infotainment system and the cool design touches alongside the highest and entrance of the entrance doorways, simply forward of the door handles. It’s a useful cabin with aptitude.

I’m additionally a fan of the general look. It’s evolution over revolution – the form stays unmistakable. However I just like the bigger grille, the horizontal mild bar throughout the entrance, and the wraparound taillamps.

Each the GT-Line and X-Line have visible cues that set them aside from the remainder of the road. For the X-Line, meaning overfenders, physique cladding, accents alongside the roof rail, fog lamps, 18-inch wheels, and obtainable two-tone paint.

2020 Kia Soul

The GT is about aside by totally different entrance and rear fascias, 18-inch wheels, pink accents on the entrance fascia and aspect sills, fog lamps built-in into the entrance grille, black aspect mirrors, D-formed steering wheel, particular badging, chrome middle twin exhaust finisher (not a real twin exhaust), greater brakes, and sport-tuned suspension.

The Soul positive factors a bit over an inch of wheelbase size and is 2.2 inches longer. Entrance legroom is up a tiny bit, and cargo area is up 5 cubic ft to 23.eight. Talking of cargo, the liftgate strikes up shortly – watch your head.

Key obtainable content material consists of Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a ten.25-inch infotainment display, two-gadget Bluetooth connection, eight-inch head-up show, sunroof, twin-zone local weather management, heated seats, heated steering wheel, push-button begin, satellite tv for pc radio, tilt and telescope steering wheel, USB, and 640-watt premium audio system with amplifier and 10 audio system.

2020 Kia Soul

Out there safety ninnies and nannies embrace ahead-collision avoidance, lane-hold help, lane-change help, driver-consideration warning, blind-spot collision warning, rear-cross collision warning, smart cruise management, and excessive-beam help.

Pricing is as follows: A guide-transmission Soul LX will value you $17,490, and an LX automated will pop you for $18,990. An S goes for $20,290, and so does a GT-Line with the two.zero-liter 4-cylinder. An X-Line checks in at $21,490, and an EX at $22,690. Go for the GT-Line with the 1.6-liter turbo 4 and also you’ll should pony up an honest chunk of change: That car is priced at $27,490. All trims have a $995 vacation spot charge.

Gasoline-financial system is listed at 27 mpg metropolis/33 mpg freeway/30 mpg mixed for the two.zero-liter with IVT, 25/31/27 for the stick, and 27/32/29 for the turbo.

The top result of Kia’s modifications to the Soul is a pleasing commuter car with simply sufficient sportiness (particularly in turbo fashions) to keep away from being boring. Boxy styling isn’t for everybody, however for these in search of an reasonably priced round-city grocery-getter that may additionally ferry you to work with out placing you to sleep, the Soul is value a glance.

Additionally, if Kia/Hyundai continues to insist on reminding us that Albert Biermann works there now, perhaps they will sic him on a brand new challenge – a hopped-up efficiency model of the Soul. That may make me take discover.

In addition to maybe exceed my expectations.

[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC, Kia]

– 2020 Kia Soul First Drive – Meeting Expectations Nicely –

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