2020 Kia Souls many different color combos 2.jpg

Entry Price: $17,490

Price as Tested: $29,055

 

This week, it’s the top of the line 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo we’re driving, clearly the summit of Soul offerings and looking mighty cool in its pure white with red stripes exterior finish.

 

When we drove this all-new third generation Kia in 2019, it was a lower trim X-Line model that retailed for $22,615 including options and taxes. This week it’s the real deal new turbo 1.6 and it’s totally different from our earlier Soul X-Line drive.The biggest difference is under the hood, where the little 1.6 turbocharged four-cylinder sits beckoning throttle input. But first, let’s explain the six trim offerings available for 2020.

Starting at just $17,400 for the base 2020 LX, pricing moves up the ladder to the S or GT-Line at $20,290; our tester from last year X-Line at $21,490; EX at $22,690; and then the top line GT-Line Turbo 1.6 at $27,490.

All of these new 2020 Kia models are assembled on a new platform in South Korea and share time with Kia Forte. However, if you order anything but our tester GT Turbo 1.6, you will receive a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that powers the other four trims. This 2.0-liter engine produces 147 horses and 132 lb. of torque, just enough to allow acceptable passing and merging power.

The major advantage when comparing the 2.0 and 1.6 liter engines is the transmission the GT comes standard with. Specifically, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on everything but the GT-Line Turbo 1.6, the latter that incorporates a strong, 7-speed dual clutch automatic much to my liking. 

The turbo 1.6 also produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb.ft. of torque and is Soul’s first ever turbocharged engine. Featuring special center exhaust outlets, the EPA numbers for the GT Turbo 1.6 is very good at 27 city and 32 highway while the 2.0 also delivers good fuel mileage, with 27 city and 33 highway the EPA estimates.

The only drawback to our GT Turbo tester this week is the $27.5K entry price, which is a bit too high for my liking considering the entry LX is $10,000 cheaper. However, who am I to judge someone that wants more horsepower and a “real” 7-speed dual clutch automatic? Further, Kia would sell even more Soul models if a 4x4 version was available, which not surprisingly is rumored to arrive later in 2020 as a 2021 model.   

This new third generation 2020 Soul is redesigned both exterior and interior with all-new high-tech safety features and visual upgrades. 

This new generation 2020 Soul GT-Line receives distinctive theme front and rear fascias with special side sills with red stripe accents. 

More pronounced fender flares, a bit more cargo room, raised trunk hatch, new turn signal design and a really neat boomerang style taillight motif that nearly encircles the rear hatch completes the new design. These upgrades deliver Soul’s fun “box car” strategy that still has a likeness to the original 2009 Soul.

Suspension upgrades are noteworthy thanks to a stiffer layout featuring MacPherson struts up front and a coupled rear torsion beam setup out back. The GT-Line Soul arrived with Goodyear Eagle 18-inch tires on sporty alloy wheels and gas type shocks exclusive to the trim. 

The ride is on the firmer side but still comfy while handling is good for a small wagon style vehicle. If you need to park in the city, odds are in your favor as Soul is easy to maneuver.

Important safety equipment like rear back view camera, all the air bags, four-wheel disc ABS, traction and stability controls are included on all trims. As you move up, the high tech safety equipment kicks in as our top-level GT-Line includes blind spot collision warning, rear cross traffic alert and collision warning, smart cruise, lane keeping, driver attention warning, forward collision avoidance and more.

Inside, the cabin is also all new with GT style augmentation that includes heated seats, new instrument panel, push button start, Bluetooth, power sunroof, dual zone climate, heated steering wheel, Sofino trim seats, 10.25 inch display, navigation, SiriusXM Satellite, wireless phone charger, LED exterior lights and more.  

All Soul trims feature Apple and Android smart phone compatibility and when you move up from the LX, forward collision avoidance assist and lane keep assist are added to the standard features.  

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 102.4 inches, 6.7 inch ground clearance, 3,036 pound curb weight, from 18.7 to 62.1 cu. ft. of cargo space, 14.3 gallon fuel tank, and a 34.8 ft. turning circle.   

Considering Kia’s 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty, it’s tough to find major faults with the new generation 2020 Soul. It is an improved, fun economical car and by keeping your choice to the lower priced versions, you’ll ease any depreciation concerns that our $29,055 turbo model might bring with it.

Options on our tester includes $345 for Snow White pearl paint, carpeted floor mats for $130 and $95 for a cargo tray. With $995 delivery, the final retail came in at $29,055. There are many color combinations to choose from which you’ll see in person when you schedule a test drive.

 Check with your dealer for discounts and incentives as the dealer phones are open and awaiting your call. Remember that the Kia Soul was last year’s overall best selling model, and the new generation solidifies the Soul as a long-term, corporate and consumer winner.     

Likes: 201-horsepower 1.6-turbo, roomy interior, all-new generation.

Dislikes: Turbo model expensive, no 4x4, entry models lack some safety features.

 

 (Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist.)