2020 Soul New Car Test Drive
The boxy Kia Soul hatchback is in the fifth year of its second generation. There are only minor changes for 2019, in advance of a new version coming for 2020.
The Soul packs a remarkable amount of cargo space, as much as some crossovers, into its compact hatchback body. It's 163.0 inches long, with a 101.2-inch wheelbase.
The base Soul uses a 1.6-liter inline-4 that makes 130 horsepower, mated to a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
The Soul Plus uses a 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 161 horsepower, mated to a 6-speed automatic that upshifts often and early. Automatic emergency braking is available on the Plus.
The Soul Exclaim uses a 1.6-liter turbo-4 making 201 horsepower, mated to a smooth 7-speed dual-clutch automatic manual transmission. After it gets past its turbo lag, the acceleration is brisk.
The EPA rates the base Soul at 25 mpg city, 30 highway, 27 combined with the 6-speed automatic, and virtually the same with the 6-speed manual.
The faster Soul Plus gets the same fuel economy, while the fastest Exclaim with the turbocharged engine gets the best mileage, 26/31/28 mpg. (There's a battery-electric Soul EV, which is only sold in a few states.)
The NHTSA gives the Soul five stars overall in its crash tests, and the IIHS gives it all top Good scores and a Top Safety Pick designation. That's quite an accomplishment for a compact car, a testament to quality engineering.
More optional safety equipment includes blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-departure warnings, and forward-collision warnings. .
For about $17,500, the base Soul has power features, air conditioning, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a split-folding rear seat, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen. A convenience package adds the useful Uvo infotainment system, which runs on Android software and uses smartphone data to power its connected apps.
The Soul Plus for about $21,000 adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and a larger 7.0-inch or 8.0-inch touchscreen, fog lights, and 17-inch wheels. Options include heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats, a sunroof, 18-inch wheels, and forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking.
The Soul Exclaim for $23,000 adds gloss trim inside and out, leather upholstery, and keyless ignition.
The warranty on the Soul as on all Kias is exceptional: Five years or 60,000 miles, with powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles..