The 2020 Kia Soul finds itself at the heart of the growing subcompact crossover segment, offering a compelling blend of space, value and style. It wasn't always that way, however. Now in its third generation, the Soul was once a boxy oddball with few, if any, apples-to-apples competitors. Today, the subcompact crossover segment has effectively been built up around it, yet despite this competition, it remains one of the most characterful and well-rounded choices. A lack of all-wheel drive may be a detriment to some buyers, but it's also no longer alone in that regard. What's new for 2020? The Soul is all-new and represents the third-generation model, but it follows the same successful formula as its predecessors. Its trademark proportions have been maintained, and apart from more cargo capacity and a few extra inches in overall length, its dimensions inside and out are consistent. However, its styling has been reworked (note the wraparound LED taillights, the Kia grille that's been grossly enlarged and moved to the lower bumper, and the thin slit of lighting above) and the cabin features a new, more cohesive design that seems to wrap behind the dashboard from door to door (it's very Jaguar). The 2020 Soul also introduces two new models: the more rugged-ish, crossover-like Soul X-Line, and the sporty GT-Line, which is the only way to get the powerful turbocharged engine upgrade. Importantly, fuel economy has improved across the board, in part thanks to a new CVT transmission. What's the interior and in-car technology like? It's a shame that Kia didn't make the interior as fun and characterful as the exterior. It certainly funks things up a bit with triangular patterns in the doors, a squircle-shaped center infotainment pod and tweeters nestled into triangular air vents, but apart from the pricey GT-Line (see the red trim above), it's all rendered in various shades of black or dark grey, effectively hiding them in a colorless, drab interior. On the other hand, characterful interiors can also be ergonomically challenging (see Mini), and like other Kias, the Soul impresses with simple and easily reached controls — including the standard seven-inch touchscreen. You don't need to be a member of this car's Millenial (or younger) audience to figure the thing out. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with a single USB port (and an extra two arrive along with wireless smartphone charging in the EX and GT-Line 1.6T trim levels). How big is it? The 2020 Kia Soul has similar dimensions to subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade, and especially its mechanically related cousin, the Hyundai Kona. Its tall height and body shape lend it more passenger and cargo room than most, however. Rear seat legroom eclipses most competitors by a considerable margin, making it far more likely to carry four full-sized adults aboard (our 5-foot-10-inch test driver managed to fit behind his seating position). Cargo volume behind the raised back seat can be among the class best, but achieving its …
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|MPG||25 City / 31 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||147 @ 6200 rpm|
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