• 2020 Kia SOUL Arrives With a Fresh Redesign That Doubles Down on The Quirkiness

You’ll immediately recognize it as the SOUL the moment you lay eyes on it

Nine years after first gracing us with its all-around quirkiness, the Kia SOUL is now in its third-generation, and it looks as quirky as ever. The all-new SOUL was unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show with a fresh new look, albeit one with a more modern slant to its design. It’s still the SOUL, though, which is to say that it retains its upright and boxy look. It’s still very much the square crossover we’ve all had in our lives since 2009. Give Kia credit, though, for giving it a fresher design. To add to the new design, it’s also longer and wider than the outgoing model. That’s a win-win in our book.

2020 Kia SOUL Arrives With a Fresh Redesign That Doubles Down on The Quirkiness
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There’s something admirable in Kia’s determination to keep the funky box fad alive. I don’t know why it insists on keeping it relevant, but judging by the look of the third-generation SOUL, Kia’s not about to give up this corner of the market. Don’t get me wrong; the all-new SOUL looks great. It’s great in the same way bubble tea is great. You think you’ve had enough of it, but when you see it again, you can’t resist ordering another one. The new SOUL makes it even more difficult for me to dismiss it completely because I actually like its design. It’s still very much a square ride, but it’s always been like that, almost to the point that it’s become one of its most enduring design characteristics. Give it to Kia for keeping the SOUL real. At least we know that it’s riding by its identity all the way to the sunset.

2020 Kia SOUL Arrives With a Fresh Redesign That Doubles Down on The Quirkiness
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As far as the design changes go, there are a lot of them, particularly in the front section.

The big, round headlights have been replaced by a set of slender lamps that look similar to the ones on the Chevrolet Camaro.

Yes, I just compared the SOUL to the Camaro. Shoot me now. It’s true, though, particularly the thin LEDs under the lamps that curve up as it approaches the horizontal bar in the middle. Speaking of which, that’s another new design element to the third-generation SOUL. The bowtie-like grille in the earlier model is gone, replaced by the horizontal bar that Kia says gives the SOUL a full-width look. No arguments there, too. Move to the bottom part of the new SOUL’s front fascia, and you’ll see a more aggressive bumper than what its predecessor had. The grille in the bottom of the bumper is larger, and the pair of large, rectangular lighting pods replace the tiny round ones in the second-generation model. A bit less obvious are the sharper cuts and edges on the bottom of the bumper. That’s as clear a distinction as you’ll see between the new SOUL and the old one.

2020 Kia SOUL Arrives With a Fresh Redesign That Doubles Down on The Quirkiness
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The side profile of the new SOUL sticks to the design integrity of its predecessor, but it is worth mentioning that the fenders don’t protrude as much as they did in the second-generation model. Move to the rear, and the changes are just as clear as they are in the front. Let’s start with the taillights. Remember the SOUL’s taillights that looked like the “phone” icon on all of our mobile phones?

They’re gone now, replaced by a more aggressive design that looks like a boomerang, wrapping around from the side to the back of the vehicle.

The round park lights of the old mobile are gone, too. In their place are horizontal slits. Even the lower bumper on the SOUL looks more prominent than the ones found on the model it’s replacing.

In terms of overall size, the third-generation SOUL is actually longer than its predecessor by 2.2 inches. It now measures 165.2 inches compared to the 163 inches in the second-gen model. The vehicle’s wheelbase also grows by 1.2 inches, measuring 102.4 inches now compared to 101.2 inches before. Width and height measurements, however, remain unchanged. The SOUL is still 70.9 inches wide and 63 inches tall.

2020 Kia SOUL Arrives With a Fresh Redesign That Doubles Down on The Quirkiness
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For all the design changes made to the third-generation Kia SOUL, it’s impossible to notice all of them without understanding that at its core, the SOUL actually didn’t change much at all.

The design arrangements may have evolved, but this is still the same funky, quirky, upright ride that we first saw almost a decade ago.

Give credit to Kia for sticking with this design philosophy. I’d like to think that even those who first thought the SOUL was nothing more than a fad are slowly warming up to its unique identity.

2020 Kia SOUL specifications

Engine 2.0L I-4, Multi-Port Injection (MPI)
Displacement (cc) 1,999 CC
Bore x stroke (mm) 81.0 x 97.0 mm
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 132 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
Block Aluminum
Head Aluminum
Injection system Spark ignition system
Valve System DOHC D-CVVT
Fuel System Multi-Port Injection (MPI)
Rec. Fuel Unleaded Gasoline (Regular 87 or higher)
Emission Control System WCC + UCC
Cooling System Water pump
Lubrication System Oil pump
Engine Oil Capacity (liters) 4.0 liters
Fuel tank capacity (gal.) 14.3 gallons
Wheelbase (in.) 102.4 in.
Length (in.) 165.2 in.
Width (in.) 70.9 in.
Height (in.) 63.0 in.
Track, front/rear (in.) 62.0 in. / 62.4 in.
Overhang (in.), (front/rear) 34.1 in. / 28.7 in.
Ground clearance (in.) 6.7 in.

Further reading

2020 Kia Soul Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Kia SOUL.

2017 Kia Soul Turbo High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Kia SOUL Turbo.

2014 Kia Soul High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 499954

Read our full review on the 2014 Kia Soul.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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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 charging1
Available dual auto climate control
Soul’s signature tweeter speakers


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.

Exterior Dimensions:

Length: 165.2 in. [+2.2 in.]
Width: 70.9 in. [unchanged]
Height: 63.0 in. [unchanged]
Wheelbase: 102.4 in. [+1.2 in.]

Interior Dimensions:

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.]

Packaging highlights:

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 touchscreen2 with split screen function (standard on EX, GT-Line with turbo engine) and rear view monitor3 and parking guidance
Android Auto4 and Apple Car Play5
Bluetooth®6 Multi-Connection - two Bluetooth devices can be connected at the same time
Available 8-inch Head-Up Display2
Available 640-watt Harman Kardon7 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 features8 including:

Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) / FCA Pedestrian type
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
Lane Changing Assist (LCA)
Driver Attention Warning (DAW)9
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

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