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2020 Kia Soul: First Look

  • Gasoline-fueled versions of the 2020 Kia Soul is coming in first half of 2019.

  • An electric version is coming second half of 2019.

  • No pricing for the 2020 model has been announced.

  • The iconic shape remains for the 2020 model.

Once upon a time, a little Soul turned Kia around, and the 2020 Kia Soul revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year lives up to that original. Kia credits the original Soul with taking the carmaker in a new direction that has totally changed how we view it. Styling, quality and technology are now associated with the Kia brand. That wasn’t the case before the Soul. And, believe it or not, there probably wouldn’t be a Kia Stinger if there hadn’t been a Soul.

Several square vehicles like the Nissan Cube and the Scion xB have come and gone, but the Soul is still standing — and it’s still mostly square.

Not More of the Same

Yes, we get it: The Soul is square in shape. But the 2020 model is actually a bit rounder than the last generation, at least in the front. The 2020 Kia Soul gets new slit headlights with thin daytime running lights above a larger grille. Three-dimensional wrap-around tail lamps and airplane-wing-shaped C-pillars highlight the nearly vertical rear of the car. About two inches longer than the current Soul, the next one is about the same width and height. Oh, and the cargo opening is wider and lower.

Making the Go

If you want to get technical, there are three ways to power the 2020 Kia Soul. Standard is a new 147-horsepower 2-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to the standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT, which Kia calls an Intelligent Variable Transmission or IVT. There is a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder carried over from the current car. It gets a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Finally, there is the fully electric 2020 Kia Soul EV that now uses the same electric-drive system as the Niro EV and the Hyudai Kona EV, with its liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery and motor that generates 201 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque.

Lots of Technology

Available as options or on upper trim levels are all manner of connectivity and driver-assist technologies, such as a 10.5-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a head-up display and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Kia’s available Drive Wise system is a suite of safety/driver-assist technologies, including forward-collision avoidance, lane-keep assist, lane-changing assist, driver-attention warning, blind spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, smart cruise control and high beam assist.


There are three core grades of the 2020 Kia Soul: the LX, the S and the EX. There are also three special lines: the Soul GT-Line, with a number of sporty upgrades, the Soul X-Line, with its crossover-like enhancements, and the Soul EX Designer Collection, with two-tone paint and bigger wheels. There’s a little Soul for everyone.

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More

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