Kia Soul GT-Line
Kia Soul GT-Line
Kia Soul GT-Line

2020 Kia Soul GT-Line

Pros: Great passenger and cargo for size; peppy performance with turbocharged engine; easy-to-use control layout

Cons: Many desirable safety and comfort features are only available on top models; turbo’s automated-manual transmission is sometimes clunky; all-wheel drive not available

CG Says: Kia’s novel “tall box” subcompact wagon is redesigned for 2020. The Kia Soul straddles the line between a subcompact car and subcompact SUV—it has a tall, upright body build and crossover-SUV proportions, but it doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. With the introduction of the new third-generation model this year, we’ve recategorized the Soul as a subcompact SUV.

The 2020 Soul gains a number of new features and styling that is a bit more aggressive than before. It’s also slightly longer in wheelbase and overall length than the previous generation, and its cargo capacity is increased by 5 cubic feet. Kia has pared engine choices down from three to two; the previous base 130-horsepower 1.6-liter and step-up 164-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinders are replaced by a 147-hp 2.0-liter four, and the sportier option remains a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four. The base 2.0-liter is paired with a 6-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission, while the turbo 1.6 is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. A pure-electric Soul EV powered by a 201-hp electric motor was originally announced as a 2020 model, but it has been delayed to the 2021 model year. The gas-engine Soul lineup consists of LX, S, X-Line, EX, GT-Line, and GT-Line Turbo models. The X-Line has a more SUV-like flavor with body cladding, roof rails and other accents designed to give a more rugged look. The GT-Line is the sportier Soul and the GT-Line Turbo is the only model with the turbo engine. Available safety features include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, blind-spot alert, driver-attention monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and high-beam assist. Other available features include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, wireless device charging, and a head-up instrument display. The Soul’s boxy shape means that it has excellent passenger and cargo room for a subcompact. A comfortable ride with capable handling, and a long list of welcome available features are other strong points. The base engine provides more than adequate performance, while the turbo engine’s performance is satisfyingly sprightly—but the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission often feels balky in everyday driving. Many desirable comfort and safety features are restricted to the top models, but any Soul offers good value for the money.

The Facts
Class Subcompact SUV
Body Style(s) 4-door wagon
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive
Manufacturer Kia
Nation of Manufacture South Korea
Base Prices LX: $18,535
S: $21,355
X-Line: $22,535
EX: $23,735
GT-Line 2.0L: $21,335
GT-Line Turbo: $28,535

Base Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder (LX, S, X-Line, EX, GT-Line 2.0L)
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
EPA City Range (mpg)
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)

Optional Engine
turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (GT-Line Turbo)
Std. Transmission
7-speed automated-manual
Avail. Transmission
EPA City Range (mpg)
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)