2020 Kia Soul GT-Line - A Better Way To Roll, Review By Larry Nutson
2020 Kia Soul GT-Line
A Better Way to Roll
Executive Producer and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Kia has completely redesigned its popular Soul for 2020. Riding on an all-new platform the Soul still delivers driving fun, lots of useful space, a comfortable cabin with good control layout and a great outward view.
The model lineup has been revamped. As Kia says, “there is a Soul for everyone.” Soul is available in six trim levels – LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX Designer Collection” – plus the all-new Soul EV. Prices start at $17,490.
For this particular romp on the roads, it’s in the 2020 Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo with a base price of $27,490.
The 1.6 Turbo puts out 201-HP and is mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. A sport-tuned suspension, larger disc brakes, 18-inch wheels with P235/45 R18 tires round out the GT-line’s driving dynamics. Shift paddles and a sport mode are there for those who want more go and more fun.
Appearance features include sporty front and rear fascias, unique side sills and front fascia with red accents, integrated fog lights on the front grille, gloss black side mirrors, chrome tip center exhaust, and GT-line badging.
In the cabin there’s a leather-wrapped D-shaped steering wheel and gearshift knob. And, the Inferno Red media loaner I drove also carried red accent stitching on its black Sofino-trim interior along with red highlights on the door trim panels.
The front seats are heated as is the steering wheel (a surprise and delight). SiriusXM along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide for good entertainment together with the Harman Kardon Premium Audio system that has a center speaker, subwoofer and amplifier.
Very importantly and highly recommended for everyone, there’s a complete suite of Advance Driver-Assist System (ADAS) features including: Forward Collision Avoidance with Pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Changing Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind-spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control and High Beam Assist.
Cars are made to be driven and I had plenty of seat time in this Soul. My first drive was to my Chicago home from Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. I had just participated in the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally at the famed Road America race track. A this event the new Soul, along with many other vehicles, was driven in evaluations for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year award.
Following the drive home my wife and I headed to a weekend family birthday celebration in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Overall, with all these highway miles, the Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo delivered 32 mpg. That exactly matches the EPA test-cycle highway rating. Although, I was going a bit faster than the EPA’s highway test procedure average of 48.3 mph and its top speed of 60 mph. Note that the EPA does also use a “high speed” test that briefly gets up to 70 and 80 mph. This Soul’s EPA city rating is 27 mpg.
Noteworthy is the 14.3 gallon fuel tank that helps make for all-day cruising with nearly 500 miles of driving range.
Overall the Soul is a pretty decent highway car and quite good in big-city driving. Its short overall length makes for easy maneuvering. The tradeoff is its shorter wheelbase does lead to some moderate pitching on the highway.
Kia made the front door openings larger to further improve entering and exiting. The rear liftgate is wider and lower which makes for easier loading into the nearly 24 cu.ft. of cargo space.
More detailed information and specs in the entire Soul line-up can be found at www.kia.com.
I had fun using the 201-HP of the GT-Line. The engine is plenty responsive for good overall acceleration. It gets you to 60 mph from stop in about six and a half seconds. Ride and handling is nicely balanced with a well compliant suspension. Braking is smooth and linear and steering quick with good feedback.
I did notice a bit of tire noise on my highway drive and the tall upright shape of the Soul doesn’t help with wind noise.
All in all, the Soul is very practical and lots of fun to drive. With more and more folks choosing city living it’s vehicles like the Soul, especially the GT-Line 1.6 Turbo, that make sense.
© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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