2020 Kia Soul X-Line Test Drive

“2020 Kia Soul X-Line 4-door Hatchback”
Third Generation Soul Exhibits Positive Evolution
Kia’s 2020 Soul lineup continues to evolve with its iconic ectomorphic form and silhouette, but on an all-new platform. AWD and optional turbocharging are not offered on this popular subcompact .econo-box hatch crossover that does display a more progressive design, modernized technology and enhanced model diversity.


The four-door, five passenger Kia Soul has enjoyed sales of over a million units since 2009. The new Soul has managed to retain its level of out-of-the-box “funkiness”. With the design similarities of the latest compact boxy transports, it might be appropriate to view them as a styling exercise that hearkens back to the fine art world’s “Cubist” movement. The Soul still seems to rate across the board as the most attractive in the group with plenty of angles and curves combining to deliver the greatest level of acceptance along with
2020 Kia Soul model offerings include: LX, GT-Line 2.0; S; X-Line, and EX trim. All models are powered by the same 2.0-liter four- banger and all are front wheel drive.

The base power source for all Souls is a 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve D-CVVT inline four cylinder with multipoint fuel injection that delivers 147 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm while developing132 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. Estimated EPA fuel economy is 27-mpg city, 33- mpg hwy and 30-mpg combined. Optionally available in the GT-Line is a 201 horsepower turbocharged engine.

The base model LX comes with either a six-speed manual gearbox with overdrive or a two-speed CVT with overdrive. All other models come only with the two-speed CVT, which Kia refers to as an Intelligent Variable Transmission.

The Soul displays a reverse wedge greenhouse with blacked-out “A” and “B” pillars, giving the roof a floating effect. Wheel-well arches are highly pronounced in the form of fenders. The body is slab-sided, but features character accent lines and trim to add pizzazz. The box-like profile and stubby nose are instantly recognizable, and some additional funky flair is served up by taillights that now nearly completely surround the rear window, and a somewhat sinister frontal impression is displayed by the large menacing scoop-like grille face that looks as though it is about to swallow anything that gets in its way.
The interior features a floating center stack, driver oriented gauges and a comfortable cabin ambience.


The new Kia Soul is chock full of standard features including a rearview camera and Kia’s UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available features include a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, a 10.25-inch touch screen, navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system, HD Radio, satellite radio, and two additional USB ports. Screen graphics are sharp with actual buttons for some of the functions
Driver assistance features that are offered as options include a head-up display, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane change assist, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and driver drowsiness monitoring. Some features are included in Kia’s Drive Wise suite.
Kia Soul X-Line Tail

My test Soul came in X-Line trim with the 2.0-liter engine and IVT with an exterior finish of Gravity Gray metallic with the interior executed in Black and Gray cloth with satin silver trim accents. The base price was $21,490., while the final tally came to $22,615 after adding the Carpeted floor mats and Inland Freight and Handling fees.

The Soul X-Line is without forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring. It varies from the rest of the Soul stable with unique styling focused on giving it a more rugged, off-road, and trail ready look which is primarily cosmetic, as it doesn’t have any added off-roading capability or advantage over the rest of the lineup.

The 2020 Kia Soul X-Line is fun to drive and represents practical transportation in a package that displays a whimsical, yet stylish flair. Acceleration is not blistering but is adequate for the job at hand with some spirit thrown in for good measure. The electric power steering is speed variable, and is responsive enough to create smiles through the twisters. The ride quality is comfortably compliant, but the boxy form can offer a substantial target in heavy crosswinds. The IVT transmission shifts nicely though many gearheads still prefer a manual gearbox.


There are lots of thoughtful storage nooks and crannies, along with cool, quirky
features such as the audio speakers that flash mood lighting to match the bass notes. Rear seat passengers will find sufficient space behind even tall front seat occupants.
Add the attributes to the 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty and 5-year/60,000 mile 24-hour roadside assistance program, and the Soul on any level provides a sensible, value-packed compact ride. We do miss the “Hamstars” marketing though.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Kia Soul X-Line

Base Price: $21,490.
Price as Tested: $22,615.

Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve D-CVVT inline four cylinder with multipoint fuel injection

Horsepower (bhp): 147 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 132 @ 4,500 rpm Transmission: Intelligent Variable Transmission

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive/

Suspension: Front – MacPherson Strut with Multi-functional Body Valve
Rear – Coupled Torsion Beam Axle

Brakes: Power-assisted vented discs (front) / Solid disc rear with ABS

Tires: Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 – 235/45 R18 mounted on 5-loop machine face alloy wheels with painted inners.

Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length Overall: 165.2 inches
Width: 70.9 inches
Height: 63.0 inches
Curb Weight: 2,844 lbs.
Turning Circle: 34.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 14.3 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 27 mpg city / 33-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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