The latest-generation 2020 Kia Soul has just premiered at the Los Angeles Auto Show and although it has a similar overall shape to its predecessor, it has undergone a plethora of significant changes.
The new 2020 Soul adopts a boxy silhouette but pairs it with a number of futuristic styling elements, particularly at the front. For example, there are a pair of slim headlights that rest above black accents and an enlarged black front grille. Also included in the new fascia are daytime running lights.
The rear of the updated Soul also looks radically different than the outgoing model and includes eye-catching taillights that extend up the C-pillars. Speaking of the C-pillars, the South Korean automaker says that they’ve been designed to resemble airplane wings. The C-pillars also feature the ‘Soul’ badge.
A new Soul for the new world.
In terms of powertrain options, there’s quite a few. Base models will come equipped with a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine delivering 147 hp and 132 lb-ft (178 Nm) of torque. This engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). For those looking for more performance, there is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on offer with a seven-speed dual-clutch as well as 201 hp and 195 lb-ft (264 Nm) of torque.
Then we come to perhaps the most important new Soul, the 2020 Soul EV. The car features a 64 kWh battery that supports Combined Charging System DC fast-charge as standard and is paired with an electric motor pumping out 201 hp and an impressive 291 lb-ft (394 Nm) of twisting force. Kia hasn’t released performance details and has yet to reveal the car’s EPA-estimated range.
Among the details we do know is that the 2020 Kia Soul EV includes four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Eco+. These modes automatically adjust power output, regenerative braking, air conditioning and heating settings, while also setting speed limits to help manage the efficiency of the powertrain.
Additionally, the Soul EV includes smart regenerative braking that’s operated through the paddle shifters, allowing drivers to slow the car and capture kinetic energy to boost range. There’s also a Brake and Hold System as well as a Smart Regen System which adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front.
Inside, Kia’s designers took inspiration from the world of music and created a series of “shapes and textures that reflect acoustic inspired elements to create a full sensory experience.” One key interior inclusion consists of sound mood lighting that can be synchronized to the music playing through the car’s audio system. There’s also wireless charging, available dual auto climate control and a set of special tweeter speakers.
The 2020 Kia Soul comes available with a 10.25-inch HD color touchscreen with split screen function and a rear view monitor with parking guidance. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth are all present. Should customers so desire, they can also option an 8-inch Head-Up display and a 640-watt Harman Kardon audio system with an amplifier, 10 speakers, and a dedicated subwoofer.
Just as fun as ever but even more advanced.
In terms of safety, the new Soul can be optioned with Kia’s Drive Wise system. This includes Forward Collision Avoidance, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Changing Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind-spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control, and High Beam Assist.
The ICE-powered 2020 Kia Soul models will be offered in GT-Line, X-Line, and EX Design Collection guises. Of these, the X-Line is perhaps the most interesting as it’s designed to look more rugged than the rest. As such, it features body cladding, chunkier fenders, off-road accents, bespoke 18-inch wheels, fog lights, optional two-tone paint, and different 18-inch wheels.
*This story has been updated with live images from the LA Auto Show