Kia’s quirky little city ute has a fresh new design. The all-new 2020 Kia Soul enters its third generation. Since arriving here for 2010… this trendy, front driver, advertised by joyriding hamsters, has bridged a wide gap, appealing to both young and mature drivers. 

The two-box shape is now more modern and streamlined with slim daytime running lamps and wrap-around boomerang-shaped taillights. 

Underneath is a stiffer, stronger all-new platform… giving the Soul a longer wheelbase and overall length. It stands about the same height… with more ground clearance… and width remains the same which helps in tight spots. We headed to San Diego where the light steering was plenty quick for canyon carving.

There are two engine choices: the standard 2.0 -liter I­4 and an optional 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo. The turbo connects only through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. The base 2.0-liter LX gets a standard 6-speed manual, but an optional CVT will handle shifting duties on most models. Kia calls it an IVT…. short for Intelligent Variable Transmission. It’s programmed to simulate traditional automatic shifts and not let the engine rev needlessly high without going anywhere like other CVT’s. Still there’s no all-wheel drive option.

“The 2.0-liter engine only puts out 147-horsepower. It doesn’t sound like a lot on paper but when you get behind the wheel, it’s perfectly balanced with the IVT transmission. There’s power whenever you need it, it never feels anemic and the shifts are faaaaantastic”.

The well laid-out interior still has a youthful vibe. Mood lighting pulsates to the beat of the music. The list of safety features grows, and both Android Auto and Apple Car Play are compatible.

So Kia brings a more spirited drive and tech to their unique urban runabout …. while maintaining the right mix of style, comfort, and utility. The 2020 Kia Soul is on sale now… starting at under $18,000. 


  • Engine: 2.0 liter / 1.6 liter
  • Horsepower: 147 / 201
  • Price: Starting under $18,000