The modernization of the Soul’s exterior includes a fantastic band of lighting surrounding the liftgate. The front end is in step with the look, although the size of the lower grille opening is quite disproportionate. Photo: Kia

The modernization of the Soul’s exterior includes a fantastic band of lighting surrounding the liftgate. The front end is in step with the look, although the size of the lower grille opening is quite disproportionate. Photo: Kia

Who says fun and funky can’t also be practical?

The Soul does the utility-vehicle dance differently than just about every other nameplate on the market

The Soul does the utility-vehicle dance differently than just about every other nameplate on the market. It’s a formula that has been attempted by other automakers — think about the Honda Element — but none as successfully as Kia’s smash-hit funky wagon.

The urban runabout was designed primarily for the youth market, but has wound up in the driveways of wider swath of buyers since its 2010-model-year launch. The Soul’s attention-getting bodywork was updated four years later and for the 2020 model year the vehicle receives a complete overhaul, including a new structure, updated content and revised powertrain choices.

The new Soul retains the quirkiness of previous models, but the front end — previously the least-attractive spot — now displays a minimal grille above a large air intake that appears influenced by current Toyota models. There are also slimmed-down headlights and dominating running light/fog light pods positioned below a rounder hood. Somehow, Kia’s designers found a way to make these disparate features sync together.

Vertically shaped taillights are conjoined to a light bar extending across the roofline that almost completely encircles the wider hatch opening, providing a squared-off appearance.

The interior has likewise been updated, with modern graphic displays for the gauge cluster and an available 26-centimetre touchscreen. The previous dual speakers that were set about dashboard’s air vents have been relocated to the front door panels and are part of an available mood-lighting system. Its six different settings, with names such as Party Time, Romance, Hey! and Midnight City, will pulse to the beat of whatever music being played through the audio system.

The 2020 Soul receives a lighter and stiffer platform that results in the car’s capacities changing, however slightly. Overall length increases by about five centimetres and the distance between the front and rear wheels gains a bit more than an 2.5 centimetres. Likewise, cargo capacity behind the rear seat is up a touch, while both body width and height remain unchanged.

Ground clearance measures 17 centimetres, or slightly more than that of the previous model. This despite the fact that the Soul remains a front-wheel driver and is not designed to go off road.

The bottom line: The Soul is just as spacious as it has always been, with plenty of head and legroom for even the tallest occupants and a commanding view of the surrounding scenery.

The Soul’s three available engine picks have been reduced to two for 2020.

The previous base 130-horsepower 1.6-litre four-cylinder and the optional 161-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder have been replaced by a single (and new) 2.0-litre that makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque.

The optional turbocharged 1.6 carries over from 2019 at 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the base Soul LX, while a continuously variable unit (CVT) is available on that trim and is standard with the S, X-Line, EX and GT-Line 2.0L.

The top-level GT-Line 1.6T is the only model equipped with the turbo engine, which is mated to a seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission.

For best fuel economy, the 2.0 four-cylinder with the CVT is rated at 8.6 l/100 km in the city, 7.1 on the highway and 7.8 combined.

The Soul LX starts at $23,000 (including destination fees), with the GT-Line Limited 1.6T and topping out at $31,400.

Also in the lineup is the Soul EV ($44,500), with 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque (previously 109/210). Maximum range jumps to 383 kilometres from 178.

The EV and the gasoline-powered Souls are indicative of Kia’s efforts to keep the boxy attention-getter as a popular pick in its class, even if that class has only one bona fide member.

What you should know: 2020 Kia Soul

Type: Four-door, front-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle

Engines (h.p.): 2.0-litre DOHC I-4 (247); 1.6-litre DOHC I-4, turbocharged (201)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; continuously variable (CVT); seven-speed automated manual (std. with turbo I-4)

Market position: For the past decade, the Kia Soul has turned the small-utility-vehicle class upside-down. It’s a case of practicality running headlong into offbeat styling that makes this hard-to-categorize model so desirable.

Points: Second-generation model keeps its unusual looks, but has matured somewhat. • Elevated interior content is now more up to date. • New base engine is more powerful and fuel efficient, while optional turbo I-4 makes for a sportier drive. • Upcoming EV version should give the competition a run for its money in performance and range.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); emergency braking (opt.); drowsy-driver alert (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 8.6/7.1 (2.0, MT); Base price (incl. destination) $23,000

BY COMPARISON

Nissan Kicks

Base price: $20,150

Small, tall wagon comes with FWD and a 125-h.p. four-cylinder.

Toyota C-HR

Base price: $25,500

Stylish FWD model could use a bit more power. Cargo capacity is average.

Jeep Renegade

Base price: $30,450

Distinctively styled model gets a new turbo-I-4 option. 4×4 drivetrain is standard.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The available mood-lighting system has six settings that pulse to the beat of the music being played through the audio system. Photo: Kia

The available mood-lighting system has six settings that pulse to the beat of the music being played through the audio system. Photo: Kia

A new 2.0-litre four-cylinder base engine replaces the previous 1.6 and 2.0, while the optional turbocharged 1.6 carries over from the 2019 model. Photo: Kia

A new 2.0-litre four-cylinder base engine replaces the previous 1.6 and 2.0, while the optional turbocharged 1.6 carries over from the 2019 model. Photo: Kia

The interior gets new graphic displays for the gauge cluster and an available 26-centimetre touch-screen. The round button hubs on the steering wheel and the fan-shaped vents on the dash fit the unique stature of the Soul. Photo: Kia

The interior gets new graphic displays for the gauge cluster and an available 26-centimetre touch-screen. The round button hubs on the steering wheel and the fan-shaped vents on the dash fit the unique stature of the Soul. Photo: Kia

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball coaches (l-r) Bryan Fraser and Cisco Farrero continue to help their players develop their skills, despite the cancellation of competitive play for the 2020 academic year. (Submitted file)
Winter 2021 Avalanche volleyball season cancelled

Pacwest has curtailed competitive play for the winter 2021 semester

RDEK reminds public to register for their emergency notification system. File photo.
RDEK reminds residents to register for East Kootenay Evacuation Notification System

Provincial Alert system cannot be used for local emergencies

RCR’s snow making is one of the bulk water users in Kimberley. Matt Mosteller file
Kimberley bulk water rates to rise 20 per cent if bylaw adopted

Bylaw given first three readings this week

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Most Read