2020 Kia Soul GT-Line First Drive: Funky Goes Further

For its third act, the 2020 Kia Soul maintains its predecessors’ fun, lively DNA while showing off a more futuristic look. With multiple powertrain options, various tech upgrades, and a number of new appearance packages, the Soul hits the market with something for everyone.

With five trims to choose from, Kia’s high-riding hatch is ready to offer the right amount of zest to anyone who wants a taste. No longer relying on the previous car’s kitschy punctuation-mark-based model designations, the new Soul is available in LX, S, GT-Line, X-Line, and EX trims. Kia brought both the sportier GT-Line and rugged looking X-Line models to a recent drive event in San Diego, California, where I spent time puttering the former model around Southern California’s backroads.

The athletic kid in the family, the $20,290 GT-Line is available with two different powertrains: a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder shared with the rest of the Soul model line and a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four. The naturally aspirated unit mates to a continuously variable transmission (or as Kia calls it, an intelligent variable transmission), while the forced-induction engine sports a slick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Jumping to the more powerful engine carries a steep $7,000 price jump. But that price includes more than just additional performance, adding...