After numerous teasers, Kia has finally pulled the covers off the next-generation Soul crossover at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. While it looks to be an updated version of the second-generation model, the Korean marque describes the 2020 Soul as an all-new model and rides on a new platform. That said, this third-gen Soul still continues to retain the same funky styling cues, and iconic boxy shape that its older siblings had.
Design wise, the new Soul looks a lot more aggressive especially its front fascia with a large grill and a two-tier headlight design. The previous large round headlights have been replaced by slim, sharp units with an LED daytime running light and are connected by trim pieces to give it a full-width design. Meanwhile, the lower, chunkier set of lights appear to house the fog lights as well as turn signals.
Moving to the side, you can see that Kia has also given the all-new Soul a 'floating roof' design by blacking out the upper section of the rear pillar. If you happen to look closely, you can even see that the 'Soul' lettering has been embbeded on the black plastic trim. Keen-eyed readers would also have spotted the extra body scuplting found on the doors and on the fender.
At the rear, the Soul's signature vertical taillight design has been retained. However it now sports a sleeker 'boomerang design' (as described by Kia) that meets at the top of the tailgate. Kia also mentions that the new C-pillar design was made to resemble an airplane. New twin center-exit exhausts, and 18-inch wheels furhter accentuate the Soul's new sportier look.
In terms of size, the third-generation Soul is now longer but retains the same width and height as the out-going model. The all-new Soul is 56 mm longer in length, measuring in at 4196mm. Most of the stretch has gone to the wheelbase which now measures 2601mm, 30mm more than previous. Thanks to the additional wheelbase, the new Soul has better interior leg room by 5mm in front, but reduced rear legroom by 7mm. It did however add more cargo space by having 142 liters more space.
Step inside and the cabin of the 2020 Soul feels familiar to that of the previous model. This is because the configuration appears to have been retained, including the driver oriented dashboard and center console. The higher end variants come with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 8-inch heads-up display, and 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. What makes it unique though is the new sound and mood lighting system which can alter the 'mood' depending on the setting.
Under the hood, the new Soul if available with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter producing 147 PS and 179 Nm of torque or a turbocharged 1.6-liter unit rated at 201 PS and 264 Nm torque. The naturally-aspirated engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or a continously variable transmission (CVT), while the turbocharged unit is available only with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
In the US, the 2020 Soul is available in three different trim levels: GT-Line (pictured in red), X-Line (in green) and EX Designer Collection. Should you fancy something greener, Kia also offers a pure-electric variant of their boxy crossover called the Soul EV. It features the same design cues albeit with a sealed off front end but sports a 64kWh battery pack which can do 386 km in a single charge. Power comes from an electric motors which produce a total system output of 201 PS and 395 Nm of torque.
Both the Soul and Soul EV are expected to go on sale in the first half of 2019.