View Local Inventory
Save

2020 Kia Soul

Change year or vehicle
$17,490 — $27,490 MSRP
23
Photos
Hatchback
5 Seats
27-30 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 6 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Competent handling
  • Roomy cabin for its size
  • High value on lower trim levels
  • 2020 model is quieter inside
  • High driving position
  • Turbo engine’s power

The Bad

  • New CVT for base engine
  • Turbo model is expensive
  • Ride can be choppy on rough streets
  • HUD option uses supplemental reflector, not windshield
  • Safety feature limitations on some trim levels
  • Slight touchscreen delay
2020 Kia Soul exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2020 Kia Soul
  • Redesigned for 2020
  • Boxy five-seat hatchback
  • New, sportier X-Line trim level
  • Front-wheel drive only
  • 147-hp 2.0-liter or 201-hp, turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Continuously variable or seven-speed automatic

We’re looking for the best deals on a Kia near you…

Are you looking for more listings?

Change location

Please enter a valid 5-digit ZIP code.

Search Again

— OR —

Sign up for listing notifications

Sign Up

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

The Kia Soul has always been reliable, spacious, modern, efficient, fun to drive and affordable. For 2020, Kia has updated the Soul to make it even more appealing to even more people. See what’s changed in our video.

By Fred Meier

The verdict: The 2020 Soul stylishly updates the hatchback’s boxy look and is more fun to drive, but keeps its practicality, value and quirky personality.

Versus the competition: The urban-friendly hatchback’s lower trim levels offer a ton of value without feeling like econoboxes. The pricey top-trim turbo model, however, climbs up to a zone of stiffer competition.

The Kia Soul rolls into its second decade and third generation with its soul intact. The city-size hatchback is all-new, with more modern tech and better driving manners, but it retains its core practicality and value. It’s all wrapped in a new version of its boxy styling that still reminds me of a 1990s flying-toaster screensaver.

Competition has come and gone and come again. Boxy rivals of the past — the Nissan Cube and Scion xB — didn’t last, but new competitors include subcompact hatchbacks such as the Nissan Kicks and Toyota CH-R. The new Venue from sibling brand Hyundai will join the fray soon, too. All are chasing urban buyers and first-time buyers wanting to move away from used vehicles. Unlike similar-size small SUVs, these competitors avoid the complexity and weight of all-wheel drive, making them cheaper to buy and drive. In this group, the Soul continues to lead with a well-done redesign on a new platform.

One thing is less quirky, however, for 2020: The cutesy trim level names (formerly + and !) switch to the more Kia-like LX, S, X-Line, EX, GT-Line and GT-Line Turbo. We drove both a mid-level X-Line, w...

The verdict: The 2020 Soul stylishly updates the hatchback’s boxy look and is more fun to drive, but keeps its practicality, value and quirky personality.

Versus the competition: The urban-friendly hatchback’s lower trim levels offer a ton of value without feeling like econoboxes. The pricey top-trim turbo model, however, climbs up to a zone of stiffer competition.

The Kia Soul rolls into its second decade and third generation with its soul intact. The city-size hatchback is all-new, with more modern tech and better driving manners, but it retains its core practicality and value. It’s all wrapped in a new version of its boxy styling that still reminds me of a 1990s flying-toaster screensaver.

Competition has come and gone and come again. Boxy rivals of the past — the Nissan Cube and Scion xB — didn’t last, but new competitors include subcompact hatchbacks such as the Nissan Kicks and Toyota CH-R. The new Venue from sibling brand Hyundai will join the fray soon, too. All are chasing urban buyers and first-time buyers wanting to move away from used vehicles. Unlike similar-size small SUVs, these competitors avoid the complexity and weight of all-wheel drive, making them cheaper to buy and drive. In this group, the Soul continues to lead with a well-done redesign on a new platform.

One thing is less quirky, however, for 2020: The cutesy trim level names (formerly + and !) switch to the more Kia-like LX, S, X-Line, EX, GT-Line and GT-Line Turbo. We drove both a mid-level X-Line, which has added features and an appearance package, and a top-of-the-line Turbo.

Stylish Change of Mood

The 2020 sports a new face, replacing the old version’s big-eyed smile with a crankier expression. Squinting daytime running lights connected by “unibrow” trim sit over a trapezoidal grille with a perpetual frown. The headlights are tucked into lower bumper openings, where you’d expect to find foglights. It’s a more butch look, as is the more rugged X-Line’s extra body cladding, which breaks up the familiar slab side a little. In the rear, the still-flat roof runs to a liftgate that’s wider and lower for better access. The vertical taillights now connect across the top and turn in at the bottom to nearly surround the rear window. The roof has a “floating” look thanks to a Soul logo dividing the back pillar, and you can get it in contrasting colors on some trim levels.

Riding High

The tall interior feels open and roomy for the Soul’s size, with lots of headroom and high, chairlike seating. The front seats are still smallish and firm, but they’re slightly bigger and better bolstered than the previous generation’s; I found them comfortable. The rear seat is a standout for a subcompact, with plenty of headroom and legroom, a high (still firm) cushion and a comfortable seatback angle for adult riders, though the rising beltline makes it a little dark. Visibility to the front and sides is very good, though the rear window remains Soulfully small.

The cabin’s quietness is improved almost to the level of some more expensive rides, and materials have been spruced up, too. There’s still generous use of cheaper plastics, but there’s also softer surfaces on the places you touch most. The Soul rises above feeling cheap with creative design elements, such as a 3-D trim pattern on the upper doors, interesting triangular air vents and color accents. X-Line and higher trim levels get a chunky, leather-wrapped steering wheel. The X-Line has interesting cloth and vinyl upholstery, while the GT-Line Turbo has imitation leather.

Better packaging adds useful space. Door panel cutouts increase the bin size, center console storage is roomier, and under the center dash is a useful phone space (which can have a wireless charging pad in the top three trim levels). It sits above 12-volt and USB ports. Cargo space behind the backseat is still modest, but it’s up 5 cubic feet — to 23.8 — with the dual-level rear cargo floor in its lower position, 18.7 with it higher (making a flatter load floor). It’s a little less space than the Kicks but more than the C-HR. Folding the rear seats opens up 62.1 cubic feet.

No Model Is Tech-Deprived

A 7-inch touchscreen is standard on most trim levels, but the more expensive EX and GT-Line Turbo get a 10.25-inch widescreen system with newer software and navigation. The main advantage of the bigger screen is a useful split-screen function, but the base screen and system are fine. Both of Kia’s multimedia systems remain among the easiest to use, though both were a little slow to react to my touch. All trim levels include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The GT-Line Turbo keeps the Soul’s signature music-lighting gimmick, with selectable color lighting in the 3-D door trim that can synchronize to a beat. An acceptable six-speaker audio system is standard, while the GT-Line Turbo gets 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio. That one is good, if a little too boomy for some ears.

A new feature on the GT-Line Turbo is an 8-inch head-up display, but it got the thumbs-down from multiple drivers. It uses an old-school plastic reflector atop the dashboard, not an image on the windshield, and we all found it hard to see and set too low for taller drivers. That’s in contrast to the Soul’s new heated steering wheel, which got a (warm) thumbs-up.

Peppy or Turbocharged

A revised and less buzzy 147-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder is under the hood of all Souls except the GT-Line Turbo, replacing the former base 1.6-liter and midrange 161-hp 2.0-liter. Despite fewer horses, it feels peppier around town than the old 2.0-liter thanks to quick throttle response, and it’s adequate on the freeway. (Don’t ask about the old base engine.) A new electric version of the Soul is also coming.

The new engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual on the base model, while others get a new-design continuously variable automatic transmission that first appeared in the redone 2019 Kia Forte compact sedan. It’s mostly unobtrusive and reasonably quiet. Artificial shift points limit the inherent CVT tendency to let the engine rev high while the car catches up; unless you mash the gas pedal, it can almost seem like a conventional automatic.

The more-grins option is the GT-Line’s 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that carries over from the 2019 Exclaim trim level. There is some brief lag off the line, but low-end torque is strong and the dual-clutch automatic is well-behaved, with none of the jerkiness some of its breed can have. Paddle shifters let you control shifts.

Both test cars had automatic engine stop-start systems to improve mileage, and both seemed overly eager to shut down and a hair slow to restart. We learned the system will restart without rolling if you slightly let up on the brake pedal, which made it more manageable. Gas mileage is improved, with the base engine EPA-rated 27/33/30 mpg city/highway/combined. The turbo checks in at 27/32/29 mpg.

Playful Nimbleness

Despite its height, the Soul stands out among rivals such as the Kicks for a chassis that feels planted and has good body control. Steering is direct and precise, though light. Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley aptly described the Soul’s handling dynamics as “playful nimbleness.” That was true of both the X-Line, with the base suspension, and the GT-Line Turbo, with a sportier tune. Coupled with its tidy footprint, that agility makes the Soul an excellent companion for city traffic.

A downside of that firm suspension, however, is a sometimes busy and choppy ride on rough city streets. The ride is much improved for 2020, and it’s not harsh, but despite a wheelbase that’s an inch longer, the 2020 Soul remains short between the axles. That’s great for parking and squirting through traffic, but it’s hard on ride composure over dips and broken pavement. Both our test cars had 18-inch wheels — the biggest offered. The 16s or 17s on other trim levels might ride a little better.

Safety: It’s Complicated

The 2020 Soul expands the availability of advanced safety and driver assistance tech, but you’ll need a scorecard to track it by trim level — except for the base LX, which offers none.

S and EX trim levels come with a standard safety bundle that includes forward automatic braking, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane change assist and a driver attention warning. The X-Line, meanwhile, which slots above the S in starting price, has lane keep assist and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, but offers no other features. The GT-Line with the 2.0-liter engine has much of the safety bundle standard, except lane change assist and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, which are available only in a $1,900 package that includes a moonroof.

The top-level GT-Line Turbo has all of those safety features, plus it adds adaptive cruise control and a more robust front collision system with pedestrian detection. The adaptive cruise control was a disappointment, however, because it doesn’t work to a stop. It comes irritatingly close (working to about 5 mph), then deactivates, alerting you in the instrument cluster that you’re on your own. Blame the manual parking brake.

The 2020 Soul has not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Once it is, results will replace the 2019 rating.

Excellent Value

The Soul starts at $18,485 for a base LX, which undercuts the base Kicks ($19,685) and C-HR ($22,240) — not to mention most subcompact SUVs, even with front-wheel drive (all prices include destination charges). And all Souls come with Kia’s five-year/60,000-mile warranty, plus 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain. Compare the Soul, Kicks and C-HR here. The X-Line trim level we tested was an excellent value at $22,615, including some extra features and appearance upgrades — though oddly without most of the safety tech that’s on the S model, which is $1,200 cheaper to start. You can compare the features of all 2020 Soul trim levels here.

The GT-Line Turbo piles on features and is more fun to drive, but the test car’s $28,485 sticker puts it in a tougher realm, near (depending on your taste) a sportier 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback or a well-equipped subcompact SUV with all-wheel drive, such as a 2019 Honda HR-V EX-L. I’m all for more power, but most Soul shoppers would likely be happy (and up to $4,000 wealthier) in a fully optioned EX or GT-Line Soul with the peppy base engine.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.9
46 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.9)
Interior Design
(4.9)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.9)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

2020 Soul S: Perhaps a perfect car

by Desert Rat from Albuquerque NM on August 23, 2019

This is exactly the car I have been looking for. Just a second car, I didn’t want to spend too much, and thought I wouldn’t get a ride as comfortable or powerful as the departing 2013 Camry for the ... Read full review

(5.0)

My Dream Car Has a Lot of Soul

by jjcarolan from Spring, TX on August 19, 2019

This vehicle is perfect for me. Easy to get in & out of. Features are aplenty & simple to use. Love the style & color. A very smooth ride. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2020 Kia Soul currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2020 Kia Soul LX

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Front Crash Prevention
superior

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Overall Evaluation
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Driver Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Passenger Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Kia

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2020 Soul Stories

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Soul received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

What's your location?

To find the best deals near you, please enter your ZIP code.