By on April 24, 2019

With each iteration, Kia has been refining its shaped-like-a-toaster rig, sharpening its styling and broadening its appeal. What some dismissed as a too-weird little box at it introduction has found plenty of traction and is now in its third generation.

A dozen years removed from its debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the new Soul remains an affordable proposition for those who don’t want to resign themselves to the low seating position of a small sedan. And, yes, three pedals are still available for 2020.

Hooked to that six-speed manual is a 2.0-liter inline-four making 147 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. In the past, base model Souls were motivated by a 1.6-liter; to get the 2.0L, one had to move up the food chain. This extra displacement and power justifies the $1,000 price increase over last year’s entry-level trim.

Interior trappings are typically value-rich in this $17,490 Kia. Air conditioning is standard, as are an array of power accessories and a tilt/telescope steering wheel. The infotainment is housed in a familiar 7-inch tablet-style touchscreen and includes the likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is more than even some luxury carmakers can claim. A backup cam, USB port, and Bluetooth are all expected and accounted for.

The LX trim will advertise your thrifty spending by way of black door mirrors and a set of 16-inch steel wheels. Strangely, those mirrors are painted for customers who wantonly splash out $1,500 for an automatic transmission. They’ll get cruise control, too. I still wouldn’t pop for it, by the way. Simply select your new 2020 Kia Soul in Sparkling Silver and it will be tough to tell the difference. It would be excellent if Kia offered more than one no-charge paint color, however, and if their build-and-price tool showed the stick instead of the auto (explaining the body color mirrors shown here).

But the inclusion of the 2.0L engine more than makes up for these minor sins (and for the $1,000 price hike). For 2020, the Kia Soul has retained its spot in the Ace of Base trophy case.

[Images: Kia]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less, even if it is a 2020 model.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

37 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Kia Soul LX...”


  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    “STARTING AT $17,490” looks great on a billboard but I really doubt Kia will actually build many of these with 3 pedals.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Once the manual versions hit the used car market, they’re practically radioactive. All the 3-pedal Kias I’ve seen (and we’ve owned one) were 20 percent cheaper than the 2-pedal variety.

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        With no cruise, they should be!

        • 0 avatar
          SnarkyRichard

          Don’t know about the 2020 Soul , but the factory cruise control can be installed on the 2014-2017 models(probably 18-19 too) . There’s even a youtube video for those who want to attempt it themselves .

          • 0 avatar
            Liam Gray

            On the first gen Souls you just need the buttons for cruise to work, I have a manual 2013 that I bought brand new ($13k!). Before I had even taken it home I ordered a leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise from a Forte off ebay. $75 and 15 minutes of labor later and I had Cruise. Hooray!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I thought there was going to be an AWD option for the 2020 Soul, no mention of it here

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I think they’d have to go up to the 2.4 to offer AWD. The 1.6 was pretty wheezy, and the 2.0 is just okay.

      • 0 avatar
        Raevoxx

        The Nu 2.0 Atkinson scoots along fine. It’s no barn-burner, but it’s a smooth operator and tends to return somewhat better mileage than what’s on the sticker. I had one for over 2 years in my Elantra.

        That being said, there’s no 2.4. Just the 2.0 and the 1.6T, which can pair up to an AWD transmission (see: Kona)

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Right, but the Elantra is a sleek sedan. This Soul is a box on wheels.

          My late grandmother had a 2014 Soul Plus that we bought brand-new that year, with the N/A 2.0. It was fine around town, but would need to downshift sometimes twice to pass on the highway.

          My little sister inherited the car—which had been in my care since the passing of our grandmother earlier this year—and so a couple of weeks ago, I drove it the six hours to where she lives. It didn’t deliver good mileage on the highway. I averaged 23 MPG, which is about the same result I’d get in my much-larger 2015 Grand Cherokee V6.

          • 0 avatar
            tmport

            You got 23 MPG on the highway?!? Either you were going 90MPH, or there’s something wrong with that Soul. Driving a steady 70 MPH, my 2016 + easily gets low- to mid-30s.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I feel a bit irreverent to not worship at the HyunKia altar like most TTACers.

    Is their sponsorship of this site official yet? Lol

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Kias are okay (my daughter’s 2012 Forte Koup SX is hanging in there at 126k, knock on wood), but I really can’t see buying another one. We had a 2014 Rio EX sedan a couple of weeks ago, for Daughter No. 2, and took it back after a day of driving, and Code P0420 (believe it or not, the dealer bought it back).

      Most of the parts (OEM parts) for them are dirt cheap if you buy from dealers that sell online, but there’s just something janky about their stuff. I want to like them, but they’re not Toyota or Honda.

      I thought we would end up with another Forte for Daughter No. 2 (we bought one, and it was rear-ended and totaled 45 minutes after we bought it). But now I’m seeing an increasing number of threads about engines tapping/knocking/failing (and these are the Theta MPI engines that aren’t under recall) on the Forte Forums site. Not good.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        DUKE

        I think your hesitancy is well earned. Janky stuff and Theta motors. Add in self destructing interiors, off the cliff depreciation, odd driving dynamics and on and on.

        Oh. And tail lights that burn out. Do your own survey. How many H K cars do you sit behind and see burned out tail lights. My survey sees a rate at 2x toyota or honda.

        H K are junk. GGM cars are tons better. And i m no GGM fan.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Hmm. My mother has had several burned-out taillights in her 2012 Sonata Limited…which also has the 2.4 Theta.

          I told her not to buy another H/K product for a bit, until they get their act together.

          Grandma’s 2014 Soul held up fine, but then, it was purchased new and only had 13,500 miles when I handed it over to my sister a couple of weeks ago.

          • 0 avatar
            Raevoxx

            It’s unfortunate about the Theta engine situation. Though there’s new engine families being developed and released; it looks like the Theta II is being phased out as well as the Gamma II 1.6 engine (NA) for the Nu 2.0, in both Atkinson and GDI versions. Though the GDI 2.0 can be a little rumbly from time to time.

            My back to back test drives of the Forte5 GDI, and the Elantra Atkinson, with the same 6 speed transmission…. the Atkinson engine is noticeably smoother. With the exception of cold-starts where it can be a little clattery for a mile or two until it warms up. Mine had that initial clatter when it’s under 45 or so degrees, from cold start.

            The 2012 is previous gen Sonata, though. So I’d be a little skeptical about any carryover non-powertrain issues. The next 2020 Sonata engines include the Theta III NA 2.5 and all-but-confirmed 2.5T possibly for the N/N-Line

            These engines can have their issues. The 1.6T has all the usual DI nonsense like excessive fluid from the integrated EGR, meaning a lot of enthusiasts install catchcans to avoid carbonized valves. But a lot of other engines have the same thing, like Honda’s less-than-perfect 1.5T Earthdreams in the Civic/CRV/etc.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Eh, iNeon, it’s either worship of HyunKia or Mazda depending on the wind direction. Depends upon which manufacturer sprang for the trip to a garden spot for a friendly and glowing review that week. I haven’t looked at AutoGuide lately – that one of the tells…

  • avatar
    gtem

    Kia continues their proud tradition of decoupling the manual transmission from cruise control, lame.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The 2010 Forte Koup EX 5-speed we had came with cruise. I wouldn’t expect to see it on a manual LX.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        One of the deciding factors in me getting a Civic LX back in 2012 was being able to get a car with basic accessories with a stick shift. Maybe it’s changed but in the past you couldn’t get cruise in a stick shift Soul in ANY trim.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          Wasn’t the 2012 Civic the one that everyone hated and they rushed to do an unprecedented one-year later redesign?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Yeah it was, at the time I was shopping I was well aware of the “reputation” bestowed upon the 2012 Civics. But within the context of what I was looking for (lightly used compacts in the $10k-15k range) my lightly used (1 year old, 11k miles) Civic looked like the best option,and I had looked at a lot of different cars including a Base stick shift Soul, basic Jetta 2.0, Corolla LE, Cruze ECO, used Cobalt XFE, used Prius, used Sentra. That Civic’s only real fault IMO was a total lack of sound insulation: Honda engineers carved out an impressive amount of interior room including width out of a carryover platform while shortening(!) the overall length. It only weighed 2650lb too which is crazy for a compact sedan these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        That’s just it. The MT Soul is supposed to be a bargain-basement deal, and that’s probably why they delete the cruise control. By contrast, a Forte Koup EX MT, which *wasn’t* the base model, was more of an enthusiast choice, and would have gotten customers that definitely wanted cruise control.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Nice Soul.

    It would be great if Honda brought back the Element. The Kia is nicer than it was, but the Element could do so much more.

    I know used Elements in good shape command top dollar. Seems people who had them still wish they could buy a new one.

    Maybe because it was older people who were the buyers that Honda dropped it.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I’m pretty sure it was because there were very few buyers for the last few years the Element was available.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      “Maybe because it was older people who were the buyers that Honda dropped it”

      LOL you mean like somehow the ca$h is greener before a certain customer age??

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        Someone has persuaded OEMs that young customers will have brand loyalty and buy lots of vehicles from them over the course of a lifetime. I don’t have enough information to say whether this is true, but it sounds suspect. I *can* tell you that anyone who made something along the lines of an LS 500 with a decipherable array of knobs and buttons, rather than touchpad rotors and submenus, would have my 72-year-old father’s money.

  • avatar
    vvk

    This is such a wonderful car! Especially in EV form.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Again I ask how any vehicle can be declared “ace” of anything without a thorough driving analysis…………what we have here is a summary of changes and a list of features, which can be found lots of places online already.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Robo-Cop?

    My 2011 Forte LX 6MT was mostly okay. The transmission needed work. It often disallowed my selection of 4th gear, often forcing a shift back to 3rd or into 5th. I couldn’t take it after 18 months and traded.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Here’s one that’s a true BASE, black mirrors, black door handles, stick, plastic hubcaps…. already has a few discounts….

    https://www.citruskia.net/inventory/new-2020-kia-soul-lx-fwd-4d-hatchback-kndj22au8l7032217

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Description

      *Price does not include any dealer installed options. Some rebates require qualification. Price applies to retail and finance. Not all rebates can be combined with 0% financing. Price includes: $500 – Kia Customer Cash. Exp. 04/30/2019, $500 – Owner Loyalty Bonus Program. Exp. 04/30/2019, $500 – Bonus Cash. Exp. 04/30/2019 $2,050 off MSRP! 2020 Kia Soul LX

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Intentional second post to properly punctuate/illustrate previous statement.

      Does The IICGTCB(Internet I Can Get That Cheaper Brigade) not understand what this fine print blurb means?

      Hint: it means the Kia dealership addendum for $50 worth of accessories prices the car at MSRP parity for anyone financing.

      Cash buyers will pay for the accessories, but at a reduced rate.

      Source: Working for Rick and Rita.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Wow, you have be very brave or clueless to name your shop “Citrus Motors”!

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Ah, the Kia Soul, the latest iteration of the geezer-mobile for the less well-off retiree, previously occupied by vehicles like the PT Cruiser and Chevy HHR. You can’t swing a dead cat in Florida without hitting a geezer in a Soul.

    And I can’t say I blame them. The seating is higher than a sedan, but not as high as an SUV/CUV so easy to get in and out of. Easy to see out of and drive, too. And now with the adequate 2.0L engine in the base model? Nirvana for the AARP crowd.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • gtem: Yeah it was, at the time I was shopping I was well aware of the “reputation” bestowed upon the 2012...
  • gtem: My cousin has this XV30 generation of Camry (2.4L, 5spd manual) that he bought heavily used in Siberia, with...
  • Hummer: What diverse style and selection? We have 8 vehicles before us, 6 have 4 cylinder engines, 2 have V6s 6 are...
  • don1967: There are intellectual points on both sides. You just have to get through the layers of hysterical...
  • don1967: Why is that a safe bet? Didn’t Trump also target Harley Davidson? Oh right… deplorables. Sorry...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States