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2020 Kia Soul First Drive Review

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2020 Kia Soul First Drive Review

It is exhausting to consider, however the Kia Soul first went on sale a decade in the past, hitting the marketplace for the 2010 mannequin yr to problem the brand new-to-America Nissan Dice and the wheeled field pioneer Scion xB. We’re unsure, of the three, we might have put our cash on the Soul to outlast the remaining, however right here we’re. The xB and Dice are lengthy lifeless, and the Soul is on its third-era, able to tackle the newest crop of subcompact crossovers which have changed the previous packing containers.

The brand new era is totally redesigned from the bottom-up, sporting daring however recognizable appears. Underneath the pores and skin is a brand new standard engine, and the lineup features further trim strains, every with distinctive styling. We tried out two variations of the brand new Soul, the crossover-impressed X-Line with a brand new naturally aspirated engine, and the sporty GT-Line with the optionally available turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. What we found was a spunky, funky hatch that is a fantastic selection all-round in a single guise – and a questionable selection in one other.

Kia Soul X-Line

The Kia Soul X-Line is roughly a mid-degree mannequin, beginning at $22,485, and it features the powertrain that the overwhelming majority of Souls could have: a inline-4 making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-ft of torque coupled to a CVT. That is a $four,000 step up from a base, guide LX, and the price distinction is attributable to styling tweaks – plastic fender flares and silver-painted trim meant to evoke skid plates – plus the addition of blind-spot warning and rear cross-visitors warning. Regardless of the quasi-crossover seems, there isn’t any additional floor clearance nor the choice of all-wheel-drive. We do not think most consumers will thoughts, an excessive amount of, since most Souls will in all probability by no means depart pavement anyway.

2020 Kia Soul X-Line

The 4-cylinder engine is about par for the phase. Acceleration is sluggish with loads of noise, however throttle response is snappy, and the sounds it does emit is pleasantly growly. Gasoline financial system for many CVT-outfitted Souls is available in at 27 mpg within the metropolis, and 33 on the freeway, which matches the previous naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter mannequin’s metropolis financial system and improves on the freeway by three mpg. That places it forward of the Toyota C-HR and tied with the CVT-outfitted Subaru Crosstrek. The EX model of the Soul manages a powerful 29 mpg within the metropolis and 35 on the freeway, coming near matching the Nissan Kicks that will get 31 mpg on the town and 36 on the freeway. Selecting a guide within the Soul brings fuel financial system right down to 25 within the metropolis and 31 on the freeway.

The engine could also be common, however the CVT impresses, partly as a result of it spends its time simulating a silky clean automated. Popping it into guide mode enables you to shift by way of predetermined ratios that by no means fluctuate. This not solely reinforces the sensation of getting actual gears, however it makes the powertrain really feel extra responsive and allows you to benefit from engine braking. If you end up able to shift, the change comes easily and responsively.

We would not usually go on a few CVT like this, however it was certainly one of two key features that made this comparatively plain Soul surprisingly enjoyable on mountain roads round San Diego. The opposite was the Soul’s cheerful chassis. On winding roads, the Soul barely leans, and it modifications instructions shortly and easily. The Soul stays nice off the mountain roads because of a nicely-damped experience that falls a bit on the agency aspect. The one drawbacks are numb, imprecise steering, and a little bit of busyness over bumps that could be a aspect-impact of the Soul’s torsion beam rear suspension. Neither have been annoying sufficient to place us off the Soul.

2020 Kia Soul X-Line2020 Kia Soul X-Line

The Kia Soul’s driving expertise can also be enhanced by the hatchback’s nicely laid out, snug interior. The excessive-seating place supplies nice visibility, and the excessive roof retains you from feeling like your head is within the ceiling. There’s loads of adjustment within the wheel and seat, so a cushty place is a breeze to seek out. Whereas they do not have a lot form, the seats are nonetheless cozy because of mushy thick cushions that make the journey much more snug. Area is bountiful for all occupants, and your 5-foot ten-inch writer simply match behind himself within the rear seats that feature a pleasant reclined form and 38.eight inches of leg room. That occurs to be greater than the additionally capacious Subaru Crosstrek. Cargo area can also be plentiful at 24.2 cubic ft. The infotainment system features a standard seven-inch display and Hyundai and Kia’s easy and efficient working system.

It is only a disgrace Kia did not make this handy interior as characterful because the exterior. It definitely tried to funk it up with triangular patterns within the doorways, a squircle-formed middle stack and tweeters nestled towards the air vents, however Kia rendered all of them in shades of black or darkish gray, hiding them even additional in a colorless, drab interior.

Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo

Now we come to the opposite Soul, the GT-Line with the turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. Just like the X-Line, the GT-Line sports activities distinctive physique work with massive grilles, deep spoilers, pink accents and a candy middle-exit exhaust. However the focus right here is the powertrain and the standard gear.

At 201 horsepower and 195 pound-ft of torque, the turbo Soul is welcome in a category of great sluggish pokes. And numbers apart, the engine is sort of clean, and the robust mid-range torque is very entertaining on the town. It is about all of the Soul can deal with, too, as we have been noticing some torque steer when tramping on the throttle.

Energy goes to the entrance wheels via a seven-velocity twin-clutch transmission that is good, however not exemplary amongst comparable transmissions. Gear modifications are immediate and clean, however not as quick as German models, and at take-off, clutch engagement is not fairly as fast. On the plus aspect, this Soul improves on its predecessor with the inclusion of steering wheel paddles. It would be improved extra with a guide transmission, and a Kia consultant left the door open for one if the market calls for it. Sadly, we doubt the market will demand it.

Kia additionally claims that the turbocharged GT-Line will get sportier suspension, however we did not discover a lot distinction in the way it rode and dealt with. As we mentioned with the X-Line earlier, that is not essentially a nasty factor, because the regular fashions strike such a very good stability already.

2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo2020 Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo

The GT-Line’s different attraction is that it has principally each potential feature out there for the Soul. It has a standard sunroof, heated seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise management, Harmon Kardon stereo, energy driver’s seat, heated mirrors, (deep breath) heads-up show, keyless entry, push-button begin and twin-zone automated local weather management amongst others. It additionally will get the huge 10.25-inch infotainment display that operates about the identical because the smaller one, however, you already know, greater. All issues mixed, that is definitely the nicest Soul obtainable.


You could have observed that we hadn’t introduced up pricing but, and that is as a result of it is what makes one sort of Soul a strong worth, and the opposite fairly questionable. The clear worth winner is just about any naturally aspirated Soul with least expensive beginning beneath $19,000, and the costliest beginning slightly below $24,000. The X-Line we tried begins at $22,485. As such, any Soul is true on par in pricing with a lot of the subcompact crossover competitors such because the Toyota C-HR, Nissan Kicks, Ford EcoSport, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, and lots of extra.

Then there’s the turbo mannequin that rings in a not insubstantial $28,485. That is some huge cash, and whether or not it is value it’s going to rely upon what you are on the lookout for in a vehicle. In the event you simply need a loaded small crossover with wholesome energy, it is a sensible choice, particularly contemplating that you would be able to spend simply as a lot cash on a lot much less highly effective choices such because the EcoSport and C-HR. However should you’re on the lookout for an entry-degree scorching hatch, it is a horrible deal. That very same cash might get you a Volkswagen GTI, Ford Focus ST or perhaps a Hyundai Veloster N, all of which supply extra energy and higher dealing with. If Kia decides to supply the turbo engine on a extra naked bones Soul GT-Line, it may be extra interesting to lovers.

Ultimate Ideas

The subcompact crossover phase is so crowded it might be in violation of fireside code, so it is troublesome to face out. However the Soul does stand out – a trendy little crossover with sufficient variants to attraction to only about any purchaser. Not solely that, nevertheless it’s extremely practical and it is surprisingly enjoyable to drive. The one gripe is the Turbo’s poor worth proposition in comparison with some extra enjoyable automobiles at roughly the identical size and price level – and that is partially forgiven by its ample energy and standard gear. However in any other case, the Soul line represents some offbeat enjoyable and a superb worth.

Kia Soul Info

Kia Soul

– 2020 Kia Soul First Drive Review –

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