Redesigned in 2020, the Kia Soul is one of the most popular compact crossovers in the United States. Its instantly recognizable boxy shape makes for a spacious interior with ample room for cargo, and its technology features allow it to move forward nicely into the future. In fact, the first-generation Kia Soul was a frontrunner in its class, paving the way for compact crossovers to enter the market. And the 2021 Kia Soul is breaking even more barriers with features and power, unlike any other vehicle in its class.
Offering Up Customization
The 2021 Kia Soul lineup has six trims: the LX, the S, the GT-Line, the X-Line, the EX, and the Turbo. Each of these trims has something different to offer than the last, allowing for customization so that each driver can get a vehicle that is just right. Let’s take a look at each of these fashion-forward, funky trims and their standard features, starting with the base model LX.
The base model LX offers numerous appealing benefits, starting with fantastic connectivity features. The Kia Soul integrates both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can use your smartphone hands-free while driving. Plus, the base model has a 7-inch infotainment display, allowing for simple and easy use of the radio, Bluetooth connections, and smartphone features.
The LX also comes standard with quite a few safety features, including hill-start assist. This is a must-have in manual transmission models, but good to have no matter the configuration. Hill-start assist maintains adequate brake pressure while you start up a hill from a full stop to reduce the risk of backsliding.
In terms of performance, the Kia Soul LX offers both a manual and an automatic transmission. It also comes standard with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. And while all of this is very impressive, the Kia Soul only has more to offer as we move up the line of trims.
The Kia Soul S trim offers all of the conveniences of the base model LX, but with a few additional bonuses that make it even more attractive, mostly in terms of safety features. This model comes with additional features like blind-spot detection technology and driver-assist warnings. This driver attention warning sounds an alarm if it detects inattentive driving, which could be especially useful on longer journeys.
Also offered on the S trim is automatic emergency braking technology. Often abbreviated as AEB, this detection system senses an impending forward crash and helps you to avoid it, or at least mitigate some of the damage caused if the collision is unavoidable. And lastly, lane-keeping technology is available and gently steers your car back into the center of your lane if you start to veer off into another.
With its premium cloth seat trim, remote keyless entry, and the aforementioned safety features, the Kia Soul S is a fun and technologically-advanced vehicle that gives you great value for money.
The GT-Line isn’t just another fully automatic trim level from Kia — it’s spirited and sporty, and offers unique features in addition to those found across the line. With its high-gloss black exterior trim and silver lower rear accent trim, the Kia Soul GT-Line is sure to stand out in a crowd. Many of the features on this trim are similar to the lower trims, though.
This trim comes with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats that are on trims across the board, which are perfect for when you need as much cargo space as your vehicle allows. This trim also gets the aforementioned Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, which allows you to make calls, send and receive text messages, and use turn-by-turn navigation.
If you’re in the market for a fun, funky compact crossover, look no further than the Kia Soul GT-Line. It offers everything that the lower trims offer and adds a uniquely sporty appearance.
Offering a different take on the Kia Soul’s famously square-shaped design, the X-Line has a rugged exterior with black body trim, silver accents, and available two-tone paint. For the more adventurous drivers out there, the X-Line provides roof rails, roof rack mounting points, and fender cladding. Plus, in addition to the X-Line’s hardy 18-inch alloy wheels, this trim model also comes equipped with 235/45 R18 tires, allowing for best performance.
Kia never asks drivers to sacrifice safety for style. You’ll also get the same great security features like vehicle stability management, six airbags with rollover sensors, Kia’s tire-pressure monitoring system, and electronic stability control on the X-Line. This model is yet another fantastic choice.
The Kia Soul EX is more expensive than the lower trims, but that is because it offers some of the most advanced features available in a comparably priced compact crossover. The Kia Soul EX provides heated front seats, a power sunroof with manual sunshade, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and UVO link with advanced navigation features.
There are plenty of features on the EX trim that are not available at the lower levels, but the best one is possibly the larger infotainment display. This increased display size, which is 10.25-inches as opposed to 7.0-inches, makes it easier to use all of the features as you navigate your route. And, there is a smart key with push-button start functionality, remote start with your key fob, and a wireless charging pad, making the Kia Soul EX a technology-lover’s dream come true.
One of the last features included on this trim and not those lower is the temperature control system. Thanks to the heated front seats and dual-zone automatic temperature control, you won’t have trouble staying warm during the colder months of the year. This amplifies comfort in the Soul, making it one of the best options in the lineup.
The Turbo, the Kia Soul’s premium trim, is the only member of the 2021 Kia Soul family to offer a 1.6 Liter 4-cylinder engine. This fantastic engine produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque for improved performance. It also features a 7-speed DCT transmission with paddle shifters and the same exterior and 18-inch alloy wheels as the sporty GT-Line. The Turbo is a true performer, but that is not all it has to offer.
One of the best things about this trim is that it delivers the option for a sunroof, which is perfect for getting some fresh air while you drive. Additionally, there are fantastic synthetic leather and cloth seats that add a swanky feel to an otherwise quirky crossover. Of course, this top-tier trim also has the 10.25-inch infotainment display. And it even offers a wireless phone charger, which eliminates worry should you forget your charging cable.
The Kia Soul Turbo, the line’s top-spec offering, provides amazing features and a hip, boxy exterior. If you love the sporty look of the GT-Line but want the additional perks of the EX, the Turbo is an excellent choice.
Which Soul Suits Your Soul?
That was a lot of information to take in, so how do you really know which Soul to purchase? Well, while we try to avoid recommending one of the top trim models simply because they’re more expensive, we ultimately believe the EX offers the best value for money. Its amazing safety features, coupled with top-notch technology and infotainment capabilities, make it the best-in-class Kia Soul model.
Though it doesn’t have the Turbo’s powerful engine and sporty styling, we believe drivers everywhere will cherish the Kia Soul EX every bit as much as the more high-end Turbo. Of course, though, any of the Soul models will provide fantastic features and great performance. So it all comes down to what you are looking to get out of your vehicle.