Test Drive Notes Library
- A good Soul. We’ve always liked the Kia Soul. It’s small on the outside, big on the inside, practical, versatile, and cool looking. As long as you don’t need all wheel drive, it’s a single vehicle that can pretty much do everything for a family—carry people, carry gear, get good mileage, maneuver and park in the city, and allow you to wear your ten gallon hat while driving. The new, 2020 Soul is redesigned and has improved, in several ways, on the old Soul.
- More safety. Many versions of the 2020 Soul now come with The Big Four: Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot warning. Opt for the “S” level trim or higher, and you’re covered. Pick the base LX and you’ll need to buy a Bronco Nagurski football helmet. You can also add lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. That means the Soul is now fully up to date in terms of safety systems, which is great news for potential customers.
- Mileage. While not exactly a burner, the base 2.0 engine with a smooth continuously variable transmission moves the car around with adequate power. What’s impressive is the EPA rating of 30 mpg in such a utilitarian vehicle. That’s up 3 mpg from last year’s model. If the base engine is too sluggish for you, you can opt for a turbocharged 1.6 liter and give up an mpg. There’s also an all electric Soul coming, with a reported range of close to 250 miles. We loved the last version of the Soul EV and suspect that’ll be the pick of the litter.
- Interior room. The cool thing about the squared-off Soul is how well it creates interior room in a small package. Big windows add to the feeling of space. There’s plenty of room up front, and even good room for back seat passengers. Fold down the back seats and you could make a couple of Great Danes comfortable. Even if one of them is Niels Bohr. The Soul is also very easy to get in and out of, with large front doors, and a near perfect seat height for a lot of people.
- Visibility. Large glass areas, relatively thin A-pillars, and a high seating position give you a pretty good view of the road. Visibility is somewhat limited to the rear sides, but not as bad as less squared-off designs.
- Handling. While the steering is a bit numb, the Soul is agile and corners very well.
- Warranty. Kia continues to offer a great warranty. It says “limited,” so do read the fine print, but even with its limits, the drivetrain is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. The rest of the car is covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. That stands out as a very good warranty these days.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Ride quality. We were hoping the new Soul would come with a more plush ride—or at least a less harsh ride. But we didn’t notice much improvement. The ride is stiff and can give you a jolt over bumps. Be sure to test drive it on roads that are typical for you.
- Some engine noise. While the CVT is very good, and feels a lot like a traditional automatic, it does allow the engine to produce some noise when you really accelerate. That’s pretty par for the course in the price range, so we don’t hold it against the Soul.
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