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2020 Kia Soul X-Line Review by John Heilig - It's E15 Approved

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By John Heilig
Bureau Chief and Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2020 Kia Soul X-Line

ENGINE: 2.0-liter 4


HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm/132 lb.-dft. @ 4,500 rpm

WHEELBASE: 102.4 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 165.2 x 70.9 x 63.0 in.

TIRES: P235/45R18

CARGO CAPACITY: 24.2/62.1 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down) 

ECONOMY: 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway/29.5 mpg test


CURB WEIGHT: 2844 lbs.

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Fiat 500L, Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR

STICKER: $22,615 (includes $995 delivery, $130 options (carpeted floor mats))

BOTTOM LINE: From its inception, the Kia Soul has been among the best of the “box” cars. The 2020 edition continues that reputation.

There was a blush of “box cars” a few years back - Scion xB, Nissan Cube, Mini, Kia Soul. I felt the best of them from a design standpoint was, and is, the Kia Soul. Forget the quirky hamster commercials, Soul’s styling has evolved minimally, although, like Minis, everyone seems different. 

Exterior styling for the 2020 third generation Soul consists of a large grille that almost obliterates the traditional Kia “shark nose.” 

Soul is a fun little subcompact car that can serve as a small SUV in a pinch. The rear seat backs fold to create an impressive 62.1 cubic feet of storage capacity. The deep well of the standard 24.2 cubic feet is useful, but I had to fold the seat backs for my golf clubs. Also, “folded” cargo capacity is two levels, but you can work with it.

The 2.0-liter four under the hood delivers 147 horsepower, which is adequate for the 2,844-pound Soul. When pressed, the engine is buzzy, but it’s surprisingly quiet when cruising. Our test economy was 29.5 mpg and that kept us away from the pumps.

A turbocharged 1.7-liter four with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is also available, delivery 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. 

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Front seats are comfortable with some side support. They add to the ride comfort. Rear seat legroom is surprisingly good, with a flat floor in the middle for whomever wants to squeeze in there. There are three assist handles over the doors to aid in entry, even though there is an indent in the headliner for fourth assist handle over the driver’s door.

There’s good visibility in all directions, which is a generic asset for boxes. The back-up camera helps in reverse, even though I felt I could see well enough without it. In addition, our tester had a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert that were very handy even with good visibility. 

Our tester was basic with a standard AM/FM radio that reintroduced us to some pre-SiriusXM favorites.  The driver faces a clear white-on-black instrument panel. The infotainment screen is more for audio and phone, since there was no navigation installed. 

Our tester had an excellent air conditioner that was almost too good. Since we drove the Soul in hot summer weather we didn’t test the heater.

Interior storage consists of a large cubby at the base of the center stack with two 12-volts and a USB outlet. There’s a medium center console/arm rest and room for water bottles in all the doors. 

Overall, theKia Soul is a fun car to drive. In no way can it be considered a sports car, but in its own segment, it’s probably the best.

The Most In-Depth Independent Kia Vehicle Shopper's Research - Anywhere!

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate

*Designed and built in-house, the IVT is Kia's version of a continuously variable transmission. The IVT is paired to the company's Nu 2-liter four-cylinder engine, which will develop 150ps and 178Nm.