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

2021 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: After last year’s redesign, the 2021 Kia Soul gets standard rear occupant alert for all models and X and GT-Line models get revised shock-absorber valving for an improved ride. 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 Soul’s base engine is a 147-hp 2.0-liter four and the sportier option is 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 is expected during 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: $18,610
S: $21,710
X-Line: $22,810
EX: $24,370
GT-Line 2.0L: $22,810
GT-Line Turbo: $28,670

Base Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder (LX, S, X-Line, EX, GT-Line 2.0L)
Horsepower
147
Std. Transmission
6-speed manual
Avail. Transmission
CVT
EPA City Range (mpg)
25-29
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
31-35

Optional Engine
turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (GT-Line Turbo)
Horsepower
201
Std. Transmission
7-speed automated-manual
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
27
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
32