2020 Kia Soul test drive

The third-generation 2020 Kia Soul represents the latest model of one of the Korean automaker’s funkier and most popular offerings. Originally introduced in 2008, the Kia Soul was late to the cute-box Crossover/SUV party, but most of its competitors (Nissan Cube, Honda Element, Scion Xb) have all fallen by the wayside. Part of the Soul’s staying power lies in Kia’s ability to keep the boxy design fresh. 2020 Kia Soul
New for 2020, the Soul has grown by 30-mm in the wheelbase and 55-mm in overall length, however, width and height remain the same. The latest  Soul continues to ride atop the second-generation Kia Cee’d platform, which has been strengthened to improve road manners and reduce road noise.
Subtle tweaks to the sheet metal, as well as playing with trim pieces and lighting, has kept the Soul looking current and modern. The basic box hasn’t changed much since Mike Torpey first penned it in early 2005 at Kia’s California design studio.
A base 2020 Kia Soul starts at $21,995 CDN, comes standard with a dash mounted seven-inch LCD touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth audio connectivity, heated seats, air conditioning, 60/40-split rear seats and a dual level rear cargo floor. Our tester was the top of the line GT Line Limited, which adds $8,000 to the bottom-line, comes with dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled leather front seats, heated steering wheel and rear seats, heads-up display (from a plastic sheet that rises from the instrument binnacle), intelligent adaptive cruise control, a larger 10.25 inch LCD screen with satellite radio, a fantastic Harmon-Kardon premium sound system and interior lights that can flash along to the beat of the music.
Safety equipment on the base LX model includes anti-lock brakes, rear backup camera and stability control. Higher trims levels include blind spot detection, lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, rear cross traffic collision avoidance. The two top models get an enhanced forward collision avoidance system.
Our top-of-the-line GT Line Limited included thin LED front headlights, which appear to squint at onlookers. The rear taillights are equally eye-catching, as they seem to sparkle while framing the rear hatch opening. Exterior paint choices, such as the rich Neptune Blue, as well as slick 18-inch alloy wheels round out a decidedly upscale look. The GT Line Limited has two exclusive colours, said Neptune Blue and Inferno Red.
Inside, the cabin there was a pleasant mix of soft and hard plastics, in varying textures. A 10.25-inch touch screen that houses the radio, navigation and vehicle control systems dominates the centre stack. Heating and air conditioning controls are, thankfully, still analog dials. Overall, the controls are easily reached and make sense to drivers and passengers alike. 2020 Kia Soul GT Line Limited
The leather seats, both front and back, proved to be quite comfortable. On the Limited trims, the seats are not only heated, but also vented with cooling air (not so much of a need during our winter test drive!).
Now this 2020 Soul is called the GT Line and not a GT for a reason. It’s a trim level and not a performance model. All 2020 Kia Soul models in Canada come with the same engine and transmission, a 2.0L normally-aspirated four-cylinder engine, paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has eight pre-programmed shift points. The format is designed to mimic the feel of a regular automatic transmission. No manual transmission option is available. The engine produces 147 horsepower at a high 6,200-rpm and 132 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. As always, the Soul is only offered with front-wheel-drive — it was and continues to be its biggest complaint.

From the driver’s seat visibility is quite good, the only issue being the high rear window, which is remedied with the included rear view camera. The test vehicle was fitted with a full suite of driver safety assists. At times, the chiming of the lane departure system got a bit annoying when changing lanes or peeking around cars ahead. All in all, the system works as advertised and can prove helpful if drivers get a bit careless.
The ride of the new Kia Soul benefits from the stiffer chassis of the Global Cee’d platform. The suspension is relative firm, but comfortable and the cabin is a pleasant and generally quiet place as long as you don’t accelerate hard trying to access peak power at 6,200 rpm.
Overall, the quirky-but functional 2020 Kia Soul stands out in a field of cookie cutter vehicles. In the lower- to mid-range trim levels, the Kia represents good value, especially considering the premium features offered as standard equipment and the design elements brought to this entry level of the marketplace. The higher end trims do come with generous equipment levels, but at a price premium.