You Could Do a Lot Worse Than a Kia Soul for a Crossover SUV

Fans of the hamsters used in past Kia Soul ads may be disappointed that they don’t appear in ads for the 2020 Kia Soul. The 2020 Soul doesn’t disappoint, though, getting solid reviews from U.S. News. Here’s a look at how the Kia Soul measures up.

Rankings for the 2020 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul has done well on a number of U.S. News lists and awards. It won the 2020 Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award. It tied for second on the list of Best Subcompact SUVs for 2020, along with the Mazda CX-30. Both were just behind the Hyundai Kona. And, it came in ninth on the list of SUVs with Two Rows as part of a four-way tie.

The 2020 Kia Soul was ranked 12th out of 60 (part of a seven-way tie) on U.S. News’ list of Best Crossover SUVs for 2020. Last year, it also won a 2019 Best New Cars for Teens award.

The Soul’s new 2020 design

The Kia Soul has been fully redesigned for 2020, introducing the third generation of the Soul. The first model year arrived in the U.S. in 2010. In the redesign, Kia kept the Soul’s boxy shape, which Car and Driver describes as “toaster-shaped.”

U.S. News says the redesigned Soul is “spacious and comfortable” with “plenty of personality.” It has lots of room for both passengers and cargo. The 2020 Soul provides 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space. When the rear seats are folded down, that increases to 62 cubic feet. U.S. News didn’t love its interior quality, however.

Powertrain options

As part of the redesign, the 2020 Soul has a new base engine with more horsepower and improved fuel efficiency. It also has a new, optional intelligent variable transmission (a kind of continuously variable automatic transmission) that can be selected instead of the six-speed automatic transmission.

There are two gas engine options. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generates 147 hp, and the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 201 hp. All-wheel drive is not available. U.S. News says it isn’t as “agile” or “athletic” as some competitors, although it is “easy to drive.” An EV option will join the lineup for 2021. The electric motor in the EV option is expected to create 201 hp.

Technology and safety in the 2020 Kia Soul


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The 2020 Kia Soul has plenty of available features and available active safety options. It includes a 7-inch touchscreen and a 10.25-inch touchscreen is available. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other new available tech features include wireless charging and a head-up display.

Driver drowsiness monitoring and lane keep assist are new safety options. Other available safety features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

Other crossover SUVs

The Soul’s competitors offer some tradeoffs with the features they provide. The Volkswagen Golf may be more athletic and agile, but it doesn’t offer as much cargo room as the Soul. The Mazda CX-3 is fun to drive and has a high-quality interior and fuel efficiency a bit better than the Soul’s. However, it doesn’t have a turbocharged engine option or an EV version. The Soul still has more space for cargo and rear-seat passengers.

While there are lots of subcompact crossover SUVs for buyers to pick from, the 2020 Kia Soul is a good option that offers plenty of space and value at a lower price than many of its competitors.