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The Hopefully Soon to be Iconic Kia Soul

A white 2020 Kia Soul is parked in front of foggy mountains.

 

What do the Jeep Wrangler, the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Kia Soul have in common? Mechanically, not much.  You are not likely to see a Beetle doing any off-roading, and there were probably not many Wranglers at Woodstock in 1969. One is American, one German and one Korean. So what, if anything, do they have in common? They are all three instantly recognizable by their unique designs. The Jeep Wrangler and the Volkswagen Beetle have had decades to define their niche in the automotive world, but the 2020 Kia Soul is really just getting started.

With the proliferation of SUVs these days, it is challenging to stand out to such an extent that the 2020 Kia Soul seems to be doing. For some purists, the boxy shape and uneven height/width ratio might turn heads for the wrong reasons. But, for some younger buyers, this aesthetic seems to be winning over those looking for something a little different. Even though the Kia Soul is making strides to stand out in a lineup, it isn’t just what is on the outside that counts. Take a look at a few of the key components of the 2020 Kia Soul and see what we mean.

Engines

If you are interested in the 2020 Kia Soul, chances are engine options are not your number one priority. Still, it is always good to know what you have under the hood.

There are two engines available for the 2020 Kia Soul. The base engine is a 2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Now, there is a reason you don’t see Kia Souls hauling horse trailers or entering drag races. This is it. This engine is not made to wow anybody or perform substantial feats of strength. It is perfectly good, though, for tooling around town.

The other available engine is a 1.6 liter inline 4-cylinder that gets 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. This engine is only available on the new GT-Line Turbo trim level. This is a new look Kia Soul for 2020 designed to impress those who want to spend a little more money. And, honestly, it is worth the upgraded sticker price. But, that is a story for another time.

A green 2020 Kia Soul is driving past a desert.

You will also get the fuel efficiency you expect out of a vehicle this size. The 2020 Kia Soul gets an estimated 27 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway, for a combined 30 miles per gallon. Seeing as how these vehicles are best suited for urban driving and maneuvering, a combined 30 miles per gallon will likely last you quite a while between pit stops.

These engines are perfectly fine for everyday commuting and the needs of a single person or a couple. As long as you don’t have a lot to tow or haul around, and you aren’t looking to go head to head with the muscle car at the red light next to you, either of these engines are suitable for everyday life.

Interior

If you are familiar with fantasy series such as Harry Potter or Doctor Who, you may know that looks can be deceiving. You can step inside a magical tent or a time-bending police box and see unimaginable dimensions. It isn’t physically possible that there could be this much room on the inside from what you see on the outside.

Welcome to the 2020 Kia Soul. It isn’t a magical space, per se, but it does have an incredibly deceiving roomy interior.  The secret is in the boxy design of the Kia Soul. This isn’t new for 2020, but it is improved. It is the only thing that is not subcompact about this subcompact SUV.

While some SUVs are designed as family vehicles, the 2020 Kia Soul is not. It has plenty of room, but it is actually adults that will appreciate the space the most. It has the wheelbase and lower dimensions of a car (and not a particularly big one, at that), but it is much taller than comparable subcompacts. This allows for higher upright seating, similar to what you might find in a full-size SUV. Even taller adults will find the back seat to have more than enough head and legroom.

The front row of the 2020 Kia Soul allows for 39.4 inches of headroom without a sunroof and 41.1 inches of legroom. Of course with a sunroof, that headroom does get smaller, but it only drops down to 38.3 inches. Those numbers fit snugly in between other subcompact SUVs and mid-size SUVs. The back seat offers 39.5 inches of headroom and 38.8 inches of legroom, plenty of room for your adult friends to sit comfortably.

You might find that fitting car seats in the rear seat to be cumbersome, and all that extra room that children need is somewhat lacking. However, adults will be amazed that their frames can easily fit inside this boxy, deceptively simple design.

If you are in need of some cargo room back there for personal items, groceries, luggage or what have you, the 2020 Kia Soul has more than the average comparable subcompact SUV. Behind the rear seat is 24.2 cubic feet of space. This number is way more than you will find in larger SUVs because of the added height. When the back seat is down, the number jumps up to 62.1 cubic feet of space. You will find in larger SUVs that 62.1 cubic feet of space is attainable somewhere in between having the second and third rows both down.

That strange, boxy design comes in handy when you consider all that available space. You get the same handling and fuel efficiency of a subcompact SUV, but you get a lot more cargo space and comfortable seating for your passengers. Fair trade, we think.

The black interior of the 2020 Kia Soul is shown.

Price

Let’s all be honest; the MSRP is truly one of the primary factors for most of us when deciding on a new vehicle. It is often the place we start out at because if we don’t, we will just end up feeling wistful and disappointed.

As far as the 2020 Kia Soul goes, it’s in prime position to continue its stellar sales numbers. The base LX trim starts out at $18,485, which is lower than prime competitors Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR. Even the top trim level, the GT-Line Turbo, comes in well under $30,000. For those in the market for this vehicle class, those numbers are hard to ignore.

The 2020 Kia Soul will not be for everybody. It has a strange look that may not have quite endeared itself to car owners the way that the Jeep Wrangler or Volkswagen Beetle has. Then again, the Kia Soul has only been around for ten years and has not had generations of drivers to appreciate it.

Maybe the time has come to start appreciating these unique designs. They certainly aren’t going anywhere. None of us were personally around to see the first reactions to the Wrangler or the Beetle. We can only imagine what some people thought. Even more curious is that they have retained their iconic looks, more or less, for decades.

We are around for the 2020 Kia Soul, though. We get to be a part of this vehicle’s evolution. 2020 is the first year of the Kia Soul’s third generation, and we feel pretty confident that there will be more generations to come. What will they think of next?

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