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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2020 Kia Soul Keeps the Funk

      and somehow adds a little bit more

    Kia introduced the third-generation Soul at the LA Auto Show today and we're happy to report that the model still retains the funk.

    The basic shape hasn't changed, but Kia's designers have freshened up various parts. Up front, the large headlights have been swapped for slim turn signals/running lights with a large trim piece in between. The grille has been enlarged and sitting on either side are additional lighting units. For the side, Kia has made the fenders more pronounced and added deep creases to the doors.

    Various trims for the 2020 Soul add their own unique design touches,
    EX Designer Edition: Two-tone paint and 18-inch wheels
    X-Line: Adds crossover traits such as plastic body cladding, fender flares, and fog lights. Two-tone paint is optional.
    GT-Line: More aggressive front fascia and side sill extensions with red accents. Turbo models add a center mounted exhaust.

    The interior is freshened up with a new dash design, customizable ambient lighting, and certain trims getting an optional 10.25-inch infotainment system.

    Three powertrains will be available on the Soul,

    • 2.0L four-cylinder: 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, available with a six-speed manual or CVT
    • Turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder: 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch
    • Electric: 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, 64-kWh battery pack

    One disappointment for some folks will be the lack of all-wheel drive as an option.

    Kia will begin selling the 2020 Soul at dealers early next year. The Soul EV will be arriving sometime later in the year.

    Gallery: 2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV

    Source: Kia


    • Next-Generation Soul Strikes Back With Forward Design, Modern Tech, and More Diverse Model Lineup
    • Iconic shape and profile evolve on top of all-new platform
    • Technologically advanced cockpit designed to provide visceral musical experience  
    • New 2.0-liter engine and available IVT transmission combination
    • Available 10.25-inch wide display2 and available Head-Up Display2  play up Soul’s high-tech image
    • New “GT-Line” models and “X-Line” adds more visual and performance excitement to Soul family

    LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28, 2018 – At the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show today, Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced a better way to roll with the world debut of the all-new 2020 Soul, a completely new yet familiar version of Kia’s beloved and award-winning urban runabout. Taking everything that helped popularize the quirky, unconventionally styled subcompact, Kia Motors poured more of its soul into nearly every inch of the vehicle, resulting in a third-generation that continues to transcend unmatched style, peppy performance, thrilling technology, and urban practicality.

    “The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction to the U.S. market, blowing its (now defunct) rivals out of the water and establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, executive director of Car Planning and Telematics. “Even with an entirely new generation of competitors now crowding the marketplace, we are confident the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender given its unparalleled style and impressive level of invigorating technology and customization options.”

    Proving the point that “there is a Soul for everyone,” the normally aspirated and optionally turbocharged Soul is available in six trim levels – LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX Designer Collection” – plus the all-new Soul EV (outlined in a separate press release). Pricing will be available closer to expected on-sale date in the first half of next year.

    Design Beyond the Box
    While the Soul stays true to its design heritage with its boxy silhouette and confident stance, its newly sculpted lines, cutting-edge details, and technical lighting elements present the most futuristic, youthful and innovative Soul yet.

    New exterior design highlights include:

    • High-tech front headlight configuration with connecting trim piece accentuates width
    • Slim-design daytime running lights and turn signal indicators
    • Larger front grille with unique two-tone treatment
    • Front fenders add volume to clean and smooth surfaces
    • Roof rack mounting points
    • Three-dimensional wraparound boomerang-shaped taillights
    • C-pillars designed to resemble airplane wings
    • Signature vertical rear window and “Island” stay true to Soul design heritage
    • Distinctive C-pillar garnish features new “Soul” graphic

    Music has been an overarching theme for Soul since its inception, and it’s no different this round.. For the third generation, designers and engineers turned up the volume on the interior. Drawing inspiration from the “emotional visualization of sound,” the Soul’s interior space is adorned with shapes and textures that reflect acoustic inspired elements to create a full sensory experience.

    Interior design highlights include:

    • Available sound mood lighting emits soft light from the center door panels and a unique 3D pattern surface on the upper door panels, with the ability to synchronize to the beat of the music playing through the Soul’s audio system
    • Sound mood lighting features a rainbow of customizable colors
    • Available wireless charging1
    • Available dual auto climate control
    • Soul’s signature tweeter speakers

    Since the Kia Soul first arrived on the scene in 2009, it has established a very real and remarkable connection with music. This continues to be a core attribute of the Soul's persona and the volume has been turned up to 11 with a new mood lighting system that tailors the interior ambiance according to a variety of selectable “moods”:

    • Hey! Yo!
    • Party Time
    • Traveling
    • Romance
    • Midnight City
    • Cafe

    Smart Packaging and Stronger Structure
    Despite its compact footprint, the Soul’s boxy dimensions continue to offer up a surprising amount of cargo and passenger space. Slightly longer than before, the 2020 Soul also features more smartly designed packaging in an effort to make accessibility even easier.

    Exterior Dimensions:

    • Length: 165.2 in. [+2.2 in.]
    • Width: 70.9 in. [unchanged]
    • Height: 63.0 in. [unchanged]
    • Wheelbase: 102.4 in. [+1.2 in.]

    Interior Dimensions:

    • Legroom (front / rear): 41.1 in./ 38.8 in. [+0.2 in./ - 0.3 in.]
    • Headroom without sunroof (front / rear): 39.4 in. / 39.5 in. [-0.2 in./ unchanged]
    • Shoulder room (front /rear): 55.5 in. /54.7 in. [unchanged]
    • Cargo capacity: 23.8 cu.-ft. [+ 5.0 cu. ft.]

    Packaging highlights:

    • Wider and lower rear liftgate opening improves ease of loading and unloading
    • Easy grip handle on liftgate
    • Dual level cargo board offers flexibility with the ability to accommodate taller items using the lower level setting
    • Larger front door openings as a result of sculpted front door panels

    The 2020 Soul’s stronger structure benefits from an increased use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), hot stamped components, and structural adhesive. With stronger bones, the 2020 Soul is expected to achieve the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    Next-Gen Infotainment and Kia Drive Wise Technologies
    Recognizing that one’s car is an integral part of their social life, the 2020 Soul continues to surprise and delight with next-gen infotainment and technology.

    • Available 10.25-inch HD color touchscreen2 with split screen function (standard on EX, GT-Line with turbo engine) and rear view monitor3 and parking guidance
    • Android Auto4 and Apple Car Play5
    • Bluetooth®6 Multi-Connection - two Bluetooth devices can be connected at the same time
    • Available 8-inch Head-Up Display2
    • Available 640-watt Harman Kardon7 audio system – twice the wattage of current Soul – with an amplifier and 10 speakers including tuned center speaker and subwoofer

    Like other newly designed Kia models, the all-new Soul offers a suite of available Kia Drive Wise features8 including:

    • Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) / FCA Pedestrian type
    • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
    • Lane Changing Assist (LCA)
    • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)9
    • Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW)
    • Rear Cross Collision Warning (RCW)
    • Smart Cruise Control (SCC)
    • High Beam Assist (HBA)

    What Drives You?
    Soul enhances its fun-to-drive personality and versatility with different drivetrain combinations. From the all-new 2019 Forte, Kia’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) is now available on the 2020 Soul for those who require efficiency with their zip. Designed and built in-house, the IVT is Kia’s unique version of a continuously variable transmission that provides an engaging driving experience.

    • 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine + 6-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT)
      • 147 horsepower, 132 lb-ft. of torque

    For those that require even more zip, a turbocharged option is also available: 

    • 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 GDI engine + 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
      • 201 horsepower, 195 lb. ft of torque

    With the Soul’s all-new platform comes a more refined experience behind the wheel and on the road. Engineers designed suspension geometry to help quell noise, vibration and harshness while also improving handling and comfort in a variety of conditions.

    A Soul for Everyone
    The 2020 Soul can be outfitted to convey one’s unique sense of style through a variety of customizable options. Aside from the all-new Soul EV that debuts alongside its gasoline counterpart, the Soul offers even more flexibility according to different lifestyles.


    • Sporty front and rear fascia
    • 18-inch alloy wheels
    • P235/45 R18 tires
    • Unique side sills and front fascia with red accents
    • Integrated fog lights on front grille
    • Gloss black side mirrors
    • “GT-Line” badging
    • Leather-wrapped D-shaped steering wheel and gearshift knob
    • Available 201-HP turbocharged engine
    • Chrome tip center exhaust
    • Larger disc brakes
    • Sport-tuned suspension


    • Rugged body kit
    • Body cladding
    • Overfenders for chunkier look
    • Offroad-inspired accents
    • Unique 18-inch alloy wheels
    • Roof rail inspired accents
    • Optional two-tone paint
    • Fog lights

    EX Designer Collection

    • 18-inch alloy wheels with black spokes
    • LED headlights and fog lights
    • Two-tone roof treatment
    • P235/45 R18 tires


    • Super Cool and Electric Too
    • Next-generation uber-popular urban runabout again available with battery-only power
    • Powered by a state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64 kWh battery
    • Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment1
    • 201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque

    LOS ANGELES, November 28, 2018 – Today Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced the 2020 Soul, a completely new version of Kia’s beloved, award-winning and unconventional compact utility vehicle. In conjunction with that world-debut, the all-electric, battery-powered Soul EV was also unveiled. Just as quirky, fun-loving and crowd-pleasing, the Soul EV provides the opportunity for lovers of the Soul to drive without ever stopping for gas.

    A Much Better Battery
    The new Soul EV has a new state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64 kWh battery which is expected to mean much less need for daily charging, and with Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge2 as standard equipment, battery refills should be brief so road trip fun can happily continue after only a short break.

    The new battery is currently being tested to ascertain precise EPA-estimated range. Results are expected early in 2019 and will be announced at a later date.

    Driving Dynamics – The Soul EV is More Fun Than Ever
    The Soul EV has always provided a bit of a magic carpet ride, whisking along silently with seemingly effortless pull. Now, with 201 horsepower and 291 lb.-ft. of torque (way up from 210 lb.-ft. in the outgoing model), drivers will feel like a virtual Aladdin. Handling and driving dynamics are also much improved, thanks to the addition of independent rear suspension. The new Soul EV also provides plenty of tools for drivers to customize their driving experience and their battery usage, including:

    • Four drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+ – that automatically adjust power output to the traction motor, regenerative braking, air conditioning and heating settings, and set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency3 depending on driving conditions
    • Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency
    • Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop4
    • Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Soul EV and creates smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road5
    • Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input


    The 2020 Soul is all-new with a refreshed exterior that stays true to its boxy origins – a distinctive look beloved by legions of fans. The new Soul EV is built with the same architecture, but imbued with unique styling that provides the car a flair of its own:

    • Restyled front and rear bumper fascias
    • Solid front grille insert with charging door conveniently located on driver’s side
    • LED headlamps strikingly integrated into upper cross-car brow
    • Unique fog lamps
    • Exclusive EV five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels 

    Technology Befitting a Thoroughly Modern Vehicle
    The Soul EV comes equipped with a long list of state-of-the-art features to help enhance safety, improve the driving experience and provide ease of operation and ownership. Kia engineers and designers have thought of everything. Every Soul EV includes a suite of “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, highlights of which are listed below.

    • High-tech rotary shifter (shift-by-wire)
    • 10.25-inch color touchscreen6 with rear view monitor7 and parking guidance
    • 6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM)8 with USB input
    • Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
    • Apple CarPlay9 and Android Auto10
    • Bluetooth11 wireless connectivity with voice recognition
    • 7 airbags12 (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver's side knee air bag)
    • Vehicle Safety Systems13
      • Antilock braking
      • Traction control
      • Electronic stability control
      • Hill-start assist control
      • Tire pressure monitoring system
      • Pedestrian warning system
    • “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)14
      • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
      • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
      • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
      • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
      • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)15
      • Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
      • Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW) (available)
      • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (available)
      • Parking Distance Warning – Reverse only (available)

    New for Soul EV is a revamped UVO telematics system that allows owners to monitor and control a long list of vehicle operations, including:

    • Notifications of battery and charging status
    • Real-time charging station update
    • Scheduled charging
    • Panic notifications – the vehicle will send a notification to the server if the panic alarm is triggered and the system dials 911 emergency services, provides the car position via GPS, and opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with the vehicle occupants
    • “Send2Car” points of interest (POI) and waypoints — owners will be able to plan a road trip with waypoints and send it to the vehicles’ navigation system

    Edited by William Maley

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    8 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Looks like they borrowed a bit from the Jeep Cherokee in regards to the front end lights.

    The lighting and upper grille shape remind me a bit of the Charger. And the dash layout and shape remind me of the 300 only smaller.  Or maybe I'm seeing things.  

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    59 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

    That X-Line is really cool in green.  I wonder if the X-Line will be available with stick?

    I doubt a manual will be available on a KIA (Stinger aside) these days.  KIA does need to spend some more $$$ on making their interiors not so cheap.

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    1 minute ago, riviera74 said:

    I doubt a manual will be available on a KIA (Stinger aside) these days.  KIA does need to spend some more $$$ on making their interiors not so cheap.

    Article states the authentic 2.0 engine will be available with a 6 speed stick, but does not go into availability per trim level.

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