2020 Kia Soul

#3
in Wagons
2020 MODEL
$17,490 - $27,490
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6.4

Overall Rating

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2020 Kia Soul Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide


Tijo Tenson's image

Tijo Tenson Content Writer Updated on: December 3, 2019


FUNKY is what Kia stands for. It is bold enough to incorporate irrational design elements into its cars. It has a distinctive set of lineup which is both fun to drive and funky in design. Kia says that it focuses on the current generation drivers and so that's what is depicted in their design language.

See detailed review »

Pros

Fun to drive

Loads of interior space

Tech loaded to the brim!

Eye-catchy boxy design

Cons

Poor Brakes

Overpriced Higher Trims

Clunky ride due to poor transmission Tuning

Sub-par interior quality

Deceiving X-Trim

What's New?

More Efficient Base Engine

Variable-ratio Auto Transmission

Larger Infotainment Screen

Completely Redesigned Exterior


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$17490

bodystyle

4dr Wagon

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

132 lbs.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent Front Suspension

dimensions

wheelbase

102.4 in.

length

165.2 in.

width

70.9 in.

height

63 in.

curb weight

2802 lbs.

ground clearance

6.7 in.

capacity

cargo volume

62.1 cu ft.

payload capacity

1056 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

9.2 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

25/27/31 mpg

ev range

357.5 mi.

highway range

443.3 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

5 yr./ 60000 mi.


Pictures

Exterior
 2020 Kia Soul Rear View  2020 Kia Soul Right Side View  2020 Kia Soul Left Side View  2020 Kia Soul 3 Quarter View  2020 Kia Soul 3 Quarter View
Interior
 2020 Kia Soul Cockpit Area  2020 Kia Soul Rear Seats  2020 Kia Soul Front Seats  2020 Kia Soul Center Console  2020 Kia Soul Shift Knob

Styles

 2020 Kia Soul in Black Cherry color  2020 Kia Soul in Gravity Grey color  2020 Kia Soul in Inferno Red color  2020 Kia Soul in Neptune color
Black Cherry

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.0

Engine

5.0

Fuel Economy

6.0

Exterior

8.0

6.4

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Kia Soul LX

LX

power
147hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$17,490 - $18,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 6M) Starting at $17,490 MSRP (25/27/31) 147hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed manual TBD 5
LX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $18,990 MSRP (27/30/33) 147hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line

GT-Line

power
201hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
29 combined

$20,290 - $27,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
GT-Line 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $20,290 MSRP (27/30/33) 147hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
GT-Line Turbo 4dr Wagon (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $27,490 MSRP (27/29/32) 201hp @ 6000 rpm, 1.6 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
7-speed automated manual TBD 5

 2020 Kia Soul S

S

power
147hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$20,290


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $20,290 MSRP (27/30/33) 147hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic TBD 5

 2020 Kia Soul X-Line

X-Line

power
147hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$21,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
X-Line 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $21,490 MSRP (27/30/33) 147hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic TBD 5

 2020 Kia Soul EX

EX

power
147hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$22,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $22,690 MSRP (27/30/33) 147hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, inline 4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic TBD 5

Expert Review

6.4

Overall Rating


With a rather unconventional boxy design and sleek headlights, Kia is bold enough to bring out creativity in design. The highlighting feature of Kia Soul is how well contradicting features are put in harmony. It also made sure that equal weight be given to aesthetics and powertrains.

The Soul is powered by two sets of engine-powertrain setups. The base and most of the line up is powered by a 2.0L naturally aspirated inline-4 pumping out a generous 147 horses and 132 lb-ft of torque. This is coupled to either an old-school 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT transmission which Kia calls Intelligent Variable Transmission(IVT). The GT-Line Turbo is the trim on steroids with a turbocharged 1.6L inline 4 which pumps out 201 horses and is coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2020 Kia Soul front view
2020 Kia Soul front view
2020 Kia Soul rear view
2020 Kia Soul rear view

8.0/10
Features

 

5.0/10
Engine

 

6.0/10
Fuel Economy

 
 

8.0/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

2020 Kia Soul Features

8.0/10

Kia has defended their late arrival in the market with a funky lineup. According to the automaker, it’s focused on the young and energetic new generation. This is graciously visible from the Kia Soul which boldly flaunts the new sleek design and predominant curves while retaining its boxy shape. The Soul is available in six variable trims which have varying characteristics.

A 2.0L inline-four naturally aspirated engine dominates most of the lineup with a 1.6L turbocharged inline-four only available for the top of the line trim. The power is transmitted via a 6-speed manual for the old-school. A much more potent 7-speed Dual Clutch to handle the extra power from the 1.6L Turbo pot.

All the trims have their fair share of features to keep it appealing for the audience. The base variant doesn’t boast many features but has android auto and apple car play, automatic headlamps and a 7- inch infotainment system to start with. 

Trims

LX

S

GT-Line

X-Line

EX

GT-Line Turbo

MSRP (Mannual)

$17490

$20290

-

-

-

-

MSRP (CVT) $18990 $27490 $20290 $21490 $22690 $27490

Engine

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

1.6L Turbo I4

Features

6-Speed Manual Transmission

All the Features in LX included and

All the Features in S included and 

All the Features in GT-Line included and 

All the Features in X-Line included and 

All the Features in EX included and 

 

7-inch Touch Screen Display

Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW)

18-inch alloy wheels

Fog lamps

10.25-inch touch screen with navigation system

7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters

 

Privacy Glass

Intelligent Variable Transmission(IVT)

High Gloss Black Exterior Trim

Roof Trim

LED Positioning Lights

Chrome Tipped Center Exhaust

 

Rear Camera Display

Lane Keeping Assist

(LKA)

Unique Exterior Appearance including red accents.

Rugged Black Exterior Trim

Heated Outside Mirrors

Sunroof

  All around power windows

Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Assist.

   

17- inch wheels

SOFINO and Cloth seat trim

         

Push Button Start

Harman Kardon premium Audio

         

10-way power-adjustable driver seat

Heads up display

         

Driver Attention Warning

Adaptive Cruise Control

Which candy should you go for?

The EX trim is the best bargain of the lot as it comes loaded with all of the much-needed safety features as standard. It also incorporates the best features from the previous trims. It gives importance to the rear passengers with armrest and adjustable headrests. The infotainment screen has also grown to 10.25 inches with an inbuilt navigation system. It also comes with the automatic transmission setup which is more fuel-efficient than the manual. This makes it the most loaded SUV in this price bracket as well.

2020 Kia Soul Engine

5.0/10

The boxy hunk is powered by either a 2.0L inline-four or a 1.6L inline four-pot. This has bought in a lot of relief when compared to the confusing three engine options which was present on the outgoing model. The power produced is decent for city runs and weekend getaways.

A 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic does the work of translating the power to the wheel in a linear fashion. This duo of gearbox makes it a car that is fun to drive. 
Engine and Transmission

2020 Kia Soul engine
2020 Kia Soul powered by either a 2.0L inline-four engine

The majority of the trims are powered by a 2.0L inline-four engine which produces a generous 147 horses and 132 lb-ft of torque. The more powerful 1.6L turbo produces 201 horses and 195 lb-ft of torque. The naturally aspirated unit is coupled to a 6-speed manual and a CVT which Kia likes to call Intelligent Variable Transmission(IVT). The IVT helps in extracting the better fuel economy of the motor. 

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

MSRP

$17490

$20100

$20620

$21895

Engine

2.0L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4

1.8L Inline-4

2.0L Flat-4

Transmission

6-speed Manual

6-speed Shiftable Automatic

CVT-Automatic

6-speed Manual

Horsepower

147hp

@6200rpm

147hp

@6200rpm

141hp

@6500rpm

152hp

@6000rpm

Torque

132lb-ft

@4500rpm

132lb-ft

@4500rpm

127lb-ft

@4300rpm

145lb-ft

@4500rpm

*2019 figures used for reference purpose

The Kia is surprisingly powerful when compared to its competition. It’s twin, the Hyundai Kona boasts the same output but costs more. Honda HR-V is costlier yet less powerful. Subaru Crosstrek is the most powerful of the lot but it's premium pricing takes away the upper hand.

How quick is the Kia Soul?

Kia is a small car. This also helps in shedding a lot of weight which eventually makes it quicker. It sprints to 60mph in 8.4 seconds and crosses a quarter-mile in 16.5 seconds. This is not mind-blowing quick but for a car of such caliber, this is impressive and sufficient for city runs.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

0-60 MPH

8.4s(est.)

8.3s

8.6

8.7

Quarter mile

16.5s

16.3s

16.3

16.3

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15k mi/yr)

6.5

5.9

5.9

7.0

 How does the Kia handle?

Kia has worked on the chassis of the Soul and has made it sturdier and stiffer. It features an Iso-structure compound of advanced high-strength steel which improves the rigidity and reinforces the body's integrity. In Spite of having an unconventional boxy design, Soul is very agile and stable. It can gulp in miles without a hiccup. The small footprint also helps it to be nimble in cities.

The turbo engine is a lot more fun but the price bump doesn’t make sense and so most of the customers opt for the naturally aspirated one. Kia has managed to squeeze out most of this engine with the well-timed IVT which makes the ride both fuel-efficient and peppy. 

Is the braking as bright as the looks?

The braking on Soul is snatchy as the brakes act in too quickly. So the input should be linear to avoid being abrupt. The front rotors are 11 inches in diameter and the rear at 10.3 inches. 
 

2020 Kia Soul wheel
2020 Kia Soul brake calipers

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

Brake Front (in.)

11

12

11.5

11.6

Brake Rear (in.)

10.3

11.2

11.1

10.8

60-0 MPH (ft)

N/A

133

N/A

131

*2019 figures used for reference purpose

Braking on all of the competition is in the same vicinity. All the cars have similarly specced brakes but the Subaru takes longer to come to a stop due to its weight.

2020 Kia Soul Fuel Economy

6.0/10

The Soul is fuel-efficient with 25 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway. With a combined fuel economy of 27 MPG, Kia doesn't fair well in being fuel efficient but it’s not bad either. The 2.0L engine is pretty efficient when compared to struggling smaller engines. This is largely because of the well-tuned CVT transmission which balances performance and efficiency.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V*

Subaru Crosstrek*

MPG (city)

25

27

28

23

MPG (highway)

31

33

34

29

MPG (combined)

27

30

30

25

*2019 figures used for reference purpose

In Spite of having the same underpinnings, Hyundai Kona manages to give better fuel efficiency than the Soul. Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona gives a combined MPG of 30. Subaru is the least fuel-efficient with a combined MPG of 25. This is hugely due to the extra weight.

2020 Kia Soul Interior

Kia Soul has a very basic interior layout with basic amenities fulfilled. The boxy design has made the cabin a very comfortable place to be in with ample headroom and legroom even for the second row of seats. The window lines are low which gives a better outward view. An optional mood lighting makes the interior a lively place.
 

2020 Kia Soul Seating
2020 Kia Soul has a very basic interior layout with basic amenities fulfilled

The seating comfort in the Kia Soul is decent, to say the least. There is no dedicated lumbar or side support but it doesn’t make you feel lethargic on long rides. The rear seats are comfortable and provide good under-thigh support. The ride is firm and so doesn’t feel snappy on rough terrains. The single-zone manual climate control would make the rear passengers feel the heat on hot days. The upright position of the windows generates wind noise which can be irritating at times. Poor sound insulation also makes way for tire noise into the cabin.

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V LX*

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i*

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.4/55.5/41.1

39.6/55.5/41.5

39.5/56.8/41.2

39.8/56.7/43.1

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.5/54.7/38.8

37.8/54.7/38.8

38.3/54.5/39.3

38.0/55.6/36.5

*2019 figures used for reference purpose

Kia Soul offers impressive cabin space in spite of having a small footprint. This is mostly because of the added headroom. This also helps in retaining cargo space. 

How's the infotainment system and features?

The base trim is equipped with a 7-inch infotainment system with a standard 6 speaker setup. It comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard. A Harmon Kardon audio system comes in as standard with an external amplifier for added boom. 

2020 kia soul infotainment display
2020 Kia Soul is equipped with a 7-inch infotainment system

Interior Features

  • 6-way adjustable Driver Seat
  • 60-40 Split Rear Seats
  • 7-inch Infotainment System
  • Steering mounted Bluetooth controls
  • Day/Night Interior rearview mirror
  • Dual Front Cupholders
  • Glove box with illumination
  • Soft Touch Dashboard
  • Mood Lighting
  • Android Auto and Apple Carplay

How much cargo can the small hatch carry?

Kia Soul has a generous cargo space of 24.2 cubic feet which is impressive given its dimensions. This is because of a cavity which increases the volume, unlike the others. A cover for this is available after the X-Line. This makes added cargo space limited when the rear seats are folded down on lower trims.

2020 Kia Soul cargo space
2020 Kia Soul has a generous cargo space of 24.2 cubic feet

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V LX*

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i*

Cargo Volume (cu.-ft)

24.2

19.2

24.3

20.8

*2019 figures used for reference purpose 

2020 Kia Soul interior
2020 Kia Soul interior
2020 Kia Soul instrumental cluster
2020 Kia Soul instrumental cluster
2020 Kia Soul center console
2020 Kia Soul center console
2020 Kia Soul rear seat
2020 Kia Soul rear seat
2020 Kia Soul rear seat folded
2020 Kia Soul seat folded
2020 Kia Soul steering
2020 Kia Soul steering

2020 Kia Soul Exterior

8.0/10

The design and quirky exterior elements are what make the Kia Soul stand out from the crowd. The boxy design has always been Soul’s trademark. The Soul has been completely redesigned for 2020 with sleek Headlights and boomerang taillights being the highlighting features. Kia made sure not to fiddle with the basic body structure which is a good move. 

 Does the Soul demand a second look?

Kia was bold enough to slap on a boxy design onto a chassis and build one of a kind car out of it. There is no other car in the market which looks as quirky as the Kia Soul. Kia offers a staggering 16 color options so that your car can never go unnoticed. The X-Line trim also has beefed up claddings with exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels which gives it an off-road appeal. The boxy design helps Kia stay slim with the least length of the lot. This makes maneuvering the car in tight spots a breeze while providing excellent outward visibility.

2020 Kia Soul Side view
There is no other car in the market which looks as quirky as the 2020 Kia Soul

Models

Kia Soul LX

Hyundai Kona SE

Honda HR-V LX*

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i*

Length (in)

165.2

164.0

170.4

175.8

Width (in)

70.9

70.9

69.8

71.0

Height (in)

63.0

61.0

63.2

63.6

Ground clearance (in)

6.7

6.7

7.3

8.7

Wheelbase (in)

102.4

102.4

102.8

104.9

Track width (in) F/R

62/62.4

62/62.4

60.4/60.6

61/61.2

Curb weight (lbs)

2802

2890

2902

3113

*2019 figures used for reference purpose 

The Kia is the shortest of the lot thanks to the boxy design. It doesn't sacrifice on the width and height to provide better cabin space. It weighs the least at 2802 pounds. The Subaru Crosstrek has the largest dimensions while weighing in at 3113 pounds.
Exterior Features

  • Auto on/off Headlights
  • Power Adjustable ORVMs
  • Locking Fuel Filler Door
  • Solar Glass
  • Roof Rack Mounting points
  • Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
  • Positioning Lights
  • 16-inch wheels
2020 Kia Soul
2020 Kia Soul
2020 Kia Soul side view
2020 Kia Soul side view
2020 Kia Soul rear view
2020 Kia Soul rear view
2020 Kia Soul exterior
2020 Kia Soul exterior
2020 Kia Soul headlight
2020 Kia Soul headlight
2020 Kia Soul taillight
2020 Kia Soul taillight

2020 Kia Soul Safety

The Soul is high on safety for a car of this price bracket. Except for the base LX variant, Kia has been generous to load it with all the needed gizmos to keep the occupants safe and sound.

Safety Features

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags
  • Electronic Brake Force Distribution(EBD)
  • Electronic Stability Control(ESC)
  • Front Seat Belt Pretensioners
  • Vehicle Stability Management
  • Hill Start Assist Control(HAC)
  • High Line Tire Pressure Monitoring System(TPMS)
  • Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags

2020 Kia Soul Competition

Hyundai Kona SE

Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul share the same underpinnings but their similarities end there. In spite of having the same powertrains, both cars have different performance and handling dynamics. The Soul has better space management on the inside as well. The last generation had a lot of downsides which made the Hyundai dominant. But Kia made amendments to rectify it and they have a better player. All of this while costing less than the Hyundai makes The Kia Soul the better car.

2020 Hyundai Kona
2020 Hyundai Kona

Honda HR-V LX

The Honda is a better car in terms of handling and fuel efficiency. But in spite of having larger dimensions, it still gets undercut in space management by Kia. It is underpowered and overpriced when compared to the Kia. The Soul makes for a better overall package which makes it the better choice of the two.

2020 Honda HR-V
2020 Honda HR-V

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i

Subaru is the costliest of the lot which puts it in a very risky position. It has the most power but by a margin. In spite of having the largest dimensions of the lot, it still has interior space which is at par with the Kia. A heavier body also makes it burn more fuel. All of this is not enough to justify its price and make it a better choice. 

2020 Subaru Crosstrek
2020 Subaru Crosstrek

 

2020 Kia Soul Final Verdict

Kia has finally got the formula right with the 2020 Kia Soul. It has a balanced combination of power which gives its competitors a run for its money. The styling is Kia’s strong point with which it truly stands out. The boxy design also helps it to extract the most out of interior space on the inside. If you are that guy who likes to get noticed and at the same time have fun driving it, the Kia Soul is the buddy for you.