UPDATE: Live photos of the Kia Soul from the Los Angeles Auto Show are now in the gallery below.
After about five years on the market, the second-generation Soul is ready to bow out and make room for what Kia describes as an all-new model. Retaining some of the funkiness that made the first two models popular, the 2020MY adopts a quirky front-end design with slim upper lights and a set of chunkier clusters mounted lower on the bumper. The front grille is bigger than before to give the boxy crossover a more imposing stance.
Gallery: 2020 Kia Soul
Moving at the side profile, Kia is hopping on the “floating roof” bandwagon by blacking out the upper section of the rear pillar where you’ll notice the “Soul” lettering embedded as a stylish body graphic. The South Korean marque mentions the rear pillar has been designed to resemble the wings of an airplane, while the derrière stay true to its predecessors by keeping the vertical lights. The rear clusters are now shaped like a boomerang and meet at the top to lend the 2020 Soul an interesting look.
Kia knows variety is the spice of life and for this reason, it will offer the new generation in new GT-Line and X-Line trims. These are already available on some of the company’s models in Europe and bring an assortment of styling tweaks for a sportier exterior in the case of the GT-Line (red car) and a rugged crossover-esque theme for the X-Line (green car).
In terms of size, the new Soul retains the width and height of its predecessor while gaining 2.2 inches (nearly 5.6 centimeters) in length. It’s now 165.2 inches (4.19 meters) long and part of the stretch has gone into the wheelbase, now measuring 102.4 inches (2.6 meters) or 1.2 inches (3 cm) more than before.
While front legroom has increased by 0.2 inches (0.5 cm), passengers sitting in the back will be disappointed to hear legroom has gone down by 0.3 inches (0.7 cm). Not only that, but front headroom is down by 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) while rear headroom along with shoulder room for both front and rear passengers has remained unchanged.
You’ll be happy to hear the third-gen Soul will be a better companion on longer trips thanks to a more generous cargo capacity, at 23.8 cubic feet or 5 cu. ft. more than before. In addition, the liftgate is now wider and lower, so it will be easier to maneuver luggage compared to its predecessors.
Underneath the hood, you’ll find either a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet (179 Newton-meters) of torque or a beefier turbocharged 1.6-liter rated at 201 hp and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm). The former is hooked up to a six-speed manual or an optional continuously variable transmission whereas the turbo engine is exclusively linked to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic.
Kia promises the all-new platform brings dividends in terms of handling and comfort while also lowering noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels. On upper-spec cars, the interior is home to a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. There’s also an 8-inch head-up display and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system pumping out 640 watts or twice as much as the outgoing Soul.
The interior’s party piece is a mood lighting system, which will alter the settings depending on the chosen “mood.” By the way, these have some rather interesting names: Romance, Traveling, Party Time, Hey! Yo!, Café, and Midnight City.
Following its debut today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the revamped Soul will go on sale in the U.S. in the first half of 2019 when Kia will also roll out the zero-emissions Soul EV.
Live Photo Credit: Andrew T. Maness / @TheRoadLessDriven / Motor1.com
A better way to roll: 2020 Kia soul makes world debut IN Los angeles
Next-Generation Soul Strikes Back With Forward Design, Modern Tech, and More Diverse Model Lineup
- Iconic shape and profile evolve on top of all-new platform
- Technologically advanced cockpit designed to provide visceral musical experience
- New 2.0-liter engine and available IVT transmission combination
- Available 10.25-inch wide display2 and available Head-Up Display2 play up Soul’s high-tech image
- New “GT-Line” models and “X-Line” adds more visual and performance excitement to Soul family
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28, 2018 – At the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show today, Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced a better way to roll with the world debut of the all-new 2020 Soul, a completely new yet familiar version of Kia’s beloved and award-winning urban runabout. Taking everything that helped popularize the quirky, unconventionally styled subcompact, Kia Motors poured more of its soul into nearly every inch of the vehicle, resulting in a third-generation that continues to transcend unmatched style, peppy performance, thrilling technology, and urban practicality.
“The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction to the U.S. market, blowing its (now defunct) rivals out of the water and establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, executive director of Car Planning and Telematics. “Even with an entirely new generation of competitors now crowding the marketplace, we are confident the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender given its unparalleled style and impressive level of invigorating technology and customization options.”
Proving the point that “there is a Soul for everyone,” the normally aspirated and optionally turbocharged Soul is available in six trim levels – LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX Designer Collection” – plus the all-new Soul EV (outlined in a separate press release). Pricing will be available closer to expected on-sale date in the first half of next year.
Design Beyond the Box
While the Soul stays true to its design heritage with its boxy silhouette and confident stance, its newly sculpted lines, cutting-edge details, and technical lighting elements present the most futuristic, youthful and innovative Soul yet.
New exterior design highlights include:
- High-tech front headlight configuration with connecting trim piece accentuates width
- Slim-design daytime running lights and turn signal indicators
- Larger front grille with unique two-tone treatment
- Front fenders add volume to clean and smooth surfaces
- Roof rack mounting points
- Three-dimensional wraparound boomerang-shaped taillights
- C-pillars designed to resemble airplane wings
- Signature vertical rear window and “Island” stay true to Soul design heritage
- Distinctive C-pillar garnish features new “Soul” graphic
Music has been an overarching theme for Soul since its inception, and it’s no different this round.. For the third generation, designers and engineers turned up the volume on the interior. Drawing inspiration from the “emotional visualization of sound,” the Soul’s interior space is adorned with shapes and textures that reflect acoustic inspired elements to create a full sensory experience.
Interior design highlights include:
- Available sound mood lighting emits soft light from the center door panels and a unique 3D pattern surface on the upper door panels, with the ability to synchronize to the beat of the music playing through the Soul’s audio system
- Sound mood lighting features a rainbow of customizable colors
- Available wireless charging
- Available dual auto climate control
- Soul’s signature tweeter speakers
HIGHLIGHT – SOUL’S MOOD LIGHTING SYSTEM
Since the Kia Soul first arrived on the scene in 2009, it has established a very real and remarkable connection with music. This continues to be a core attribute of the Soul's persona and the volume has been turned up to 11 with a new mood lighting system that tailors the interior ambiance according to a variety of selectable “moods”:
· Hey! Yo!
· Party Time
· Midnight City
Smart Packaging and Stronger Structure
Despite its compact footprint, the Soul’s boxy dimensions continue to offer up a surprising amount of cargo and passenger space. Slightly longer than before, the 2020 Soul also features more smartly designed packaging in an effort to make accessibility even easier.
- Length: 165.2 in. [+2.2 in.]
- Width: 70.9 in. [unchanged]
- Height: 63.0 in. [unchanged]
- Wheelbase: 102.4 in. [+1.2 in.]
- Legroom (front / rear): 41.1 in./ 38.8 in. [+0.2 in./ - 0.3 in.]
- Headroom without sunroof (front / rear): 39.4 in. / 39.5 in. [-0.2 in./ unchanged]
- Shoulder room (front /rear): 55.5 in. /54.7 in. [unchanged]
- Cargo capacity: 23.8 cu.-ft. [+ 5.0 cu. ft.]
- Wider and lower rear liftgate opening improves ease of loading and unloading
- Easy grip handle on liftgate
- Dual level cargo board offers flexibility with the ability to accommodate taller items using the lower level setting
- Larger front door openings as a result of sculpted front door panels
The 2020 Soul’s stronger structure benefits from an increased use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), hot stamped components, and structural adhesive. With stronger bones, the 2020 Soul is expected to achieve the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Next-Gen Infotainment and Kia Drive Wise Technologies
Recognizing that one’s car is an integral part of their social life, the 2020 Soul continues to surprise and delight with next-gen infotainment and technology.
- Available 10.25-inch HD color touchscreen with split screen function (standard on EX, GT-Line with turbo engine) and rear view monitor and parking guidance
- Android Auto and Apple Car Play
- Bluetooth® Multi-Connection - two Bluetooth devices can be connected at the same time
- Available 8-inch Head-Up Display2
- Available 640-watt Harman Kardon audio system – twice the wattage of current Soul – with an amplifier and 10 speakers including tuned center speaker and subwoofer
Like other newly designed Kia models, the all-new Soul offers a suite of available Kia Drive Wise features including:
- Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) / FCA Pedestrian type
- Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
- Lane Changing Assist (LCA)
- Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
- Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW)
- Rear Cross Collision Warning (RCW)
- Smart Cruise Control (SCC)
- High Beam Assist (HBA)
What Drives You?
Soul enhances its fun-to-drive personality and versatility with different drivetrain combinations. From the all-new 2019 Forte, Kia’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) is now available on the 2020 Soul for those who require efficiency with their zip. Designed and built in-house, the IVT is Kia’s unique version of a continuously variable transmission that provides an engaging driving experience.
- 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine + 6-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT)
- 147 horsepower, 132 lb-ft. of torque
For those that require even more zip, a turbocharged option is also available:
- 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 GDI engine + 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
- 201 horsepower, 195 lb. ft of torque
With the Soul’s all-new platform comes a more refined experience behind the wheel and on the road. Engineers designed suspension geometry to help quell noise, vibration and harshness while also improving handling and comfort in a variety of conditions.
A Soul for Everyone
The 2020 Soul can be outfitted to convey one’s unique sense of style through a variety of customizable options. Aside from the all-new Soul EV that debuts alongside its gasoline counterpart, the Soul offers even more flexibility according to different lifestyles.
- Sporty front and rear fascia
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- P235/45 R18 tires
- Unique side sills and front fascia with red accents
- Integrated fog lights on front grille
- Gloss black side mirrors
- “GT-Line” badging
- Leather-wrapped D-shaped steering wheel and gearshift knob
- Available 201-HP turbocharged engine
- Chrome tip center exhaust
- Larger disc brakes
- Sport-tuned suspension
- Rugged body kit
- Body cladding
- Overfenders for chunkier look
- Offroad-inspired accents
- Unique 18-inch alloy wheels
- Roof rail inspired accents
- Optional two-tone paint
- Fog lights
EX Designer Collection
- 18-inch alloy wheels with black spokes
- LED headlights and fog lights
- Two-tone roof treatment
- P235/45 R18 tires
About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America continues to top quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand. Kia serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and SUVs proudly built in West Point, Georgia.*
For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom alerts, please visit www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.
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* The Sorento and Optima GDI (S, EX, SX and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.
 Charging system only works with select devices. Refer to the vehicle's Owner's Manual for warnings and instructions.”
 Rear View Monitor is not a substitute for safe driving, and may not display all objects behind the vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.
 Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android™ 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.
 Apple CarPlay™ is a trademark of Apple Inc. Requires a compatible Apple device sold separately. Apple CarPlay™ runs on your smartphone cellular data service. Data plan rates apply.
 The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG Inc., and any use of such marks by Kia is pursuant to license. A Bluetooth® enabled device is required to use Bluetooth® wireless technology.
 Harman/Kardon is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Inc.
 These systems are not substitutes for proper and safe driving, parking, and/or backing-up procedures. These systems may not detect every object behind or alongside the vehicle or in the vehicle’s blindspot or direction of travel. Always drive safely and use caution.
 Driver Attention Warning is not a substitute for safe driving and may not detect all instances of driver fatigue or inattentive driving practices. Failure to pay attention to travel conditions and vehicle operation could result in loss of vehicle control. Always drive safely and use caution.