Kia has unveiled the 2020 Soul, the third-generation of its boxy small crossover, in both petrol and electric guises.
The new Soul measures in at 4196mm long, 1800mm wide and 1600mm tall – despite those numbers beign fairly similar to the outgoing model, the 259mm-longer wheelbase creates a more solid look.
Speaking of looks, the third-gen Soul retains the boxy look of its predecessor. Although, a number of more contemporary styling cues have been added, including ultra-slim LED headlights up front and a blacked out section of the rear pillar that creates a ‘floating roof’ design. Out back there’s a refreshed version of the Soul’s classic vertical taillights, which sit alongside a floating piece of bodywork which Kia has dubbed ‘the island’.
Two versions of the Soul will be offered: the standard petrol model, and the electric Soul EV.
Three different styling packages are available on the petrol Soul. There’s the sporty GT-Line, which includes 18-inch alloy wheels and a sporty body kit – when the 1.6-litre turbo engine is optioned, it also gets a centre-mounted chrome exhaust tips, larger brakes and a stiffer and sportier suspension tune. The offroad-esque X-Line gets unique 18-inch alloys, standard-fit fog lights and a rugged body kit which includes black body cladding and roof rails. In addition, there’s the EX Designer Collection, which consists of LED headlights and tail lights, two-tone paintwork and black alloy wheels.
On the other hand, the Soul EV swaps the petrol’s aggressive look for a more eco-focused design. The grille has been eliminated, and in its place there’s an expanse of body coloured metal and a little charging port door. It also gets small aero wheels wrapped in low-resistance tyres, which improve electric range.
Three powertrains will be offered across the range. The entry level engine is a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol, which sends 109kW of power and 179Nm of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or CVT automatic. A 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the Hyundai i30 SR is also available, which produces 150kW and 265Nm – it’s paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The electric powertrain used by the Soul EV features a 64kWh battery and one electric motor that produce 150kW and 400Nm. Range has not been stated, but it’s expected to sit around the 470km if its Hyundai Kona Electric sibling.
Inside, the Soul features a central 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8.0-inch head-up display is optional, and so is the 11-mode ambient cabin LED lighting.
Safety kit available includes autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and auto high beam. Other convenience features include power mirrors, a 10-speaker sound system, wireless phone charging and heated seats.
The new Kia Soul will land in US dealerships in 2019. However, Kia Australia has said that the Soul is still “under consideration” for our market, as it has traditionally been a slow seller.