Fire In Your Soul: The 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo
The 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo.
The Kia Soul is a survivor.  It arrived a decade ago in a flurry of quirky imported transportation boxes including the Scion xB and Nissan Cube, immediately caught on in a way the others didn't and now stands alone.  Why?  Because Kia got it right from the beginning, delivering a vehicle that was, Tardis-like, bigger on the inside---and then kept developing it.

The third generation of the Soul has landed for the 2020 model year and it is improved in every conceivable way.  Especially in terms of performance.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo
2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo.
There are six trim lines available for the 2020 Kia Soul, and five of them (LS, S, X-Line, EX and GT-Line 2.0) come with the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower. 

The one we're talking about here---the one we drove---the one we love---the one to have----is the GT-Line 1.6 Turbo.  It makes 201 horsepower, and those extra 54 horses make a big difference in a car with a curb weight that (depending on transmission choices) ranges between 2,802 pounds and 3.036.

Oh, yeah---transmissions.  There's a manual available in the base LS.  In S, X-Line, EX and GT-Line 2.0, there's a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). 

In the GT-Line 1.6?  A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.  This is serious stuff.  Figure 0-60 in six and a half seconds (within half a second of last year's Volkswagen GTI), while still reaping the benefits of an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon city/32 highway, as well as crazed amounts of room for people and their things. You'll look for every opportunity to squeeze the throttle and smile.  It is simply a blast to drive.

Interior view of 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo.
2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo interior.
And the interior feels like a major leap forward in materials and refinement.  $27,490 is the base price and it comes with the usual-for-Kia incredible amount of standard equipment:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • Anti-lock brakes with brake assist.
  • Traction control.
  • Electronic stability control.
  • Vehicle stability management.
  • Hill-start assist.
  • Tire pressure monitoring.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
  • Touchscreen audio system with rear camera.
  • Air conditioning.
  • Power windows, door locks and outside mirrors.
  • Remote keyless entry.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
  • Tilt and telescoping steering column.
  • Center console with armrest and storage bin.
  • 60/40 split folding rear seats.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Driver attention warning.
  • Forward collision avoidance.
  • Auto on/off headlights.
  • Mounting points for a roof rack.
  • Rear privacy glass.
  • GT-Line sport front and rear bumper fascia.
  • GT-Line sport side sills with red accent.
  • Blind spot collision warning.
  • Rear cross-traffic collision warning.
  • Navigation with a 10.25-inch touchscreen.
  • Pushbutton start.
  • Dual-zone climate control.
  • Sofino seat trim.
  • Power driver's seat.
  • Heated front seats and steering wheel.
  • Head-up display.
  • Supervision meter cluster.
  • Harmon-Kardon Premium audio system with 3 months free SiriusXM.
  • Speaker lights with ambiance themes
  • Wireless phone charger.
  • LED headlights, fog lights and taillights.
Again, that's all standard for $27,490.  The only extra-cost options on our test car were carpeted floor mats for $130 and a cargo tray for $95.  With $995 inland freight and handling, the bottom line was still well shy of 30 grand at $28.710.  And it comes with Kia's legendary 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. 

It would have been very easy for Kia, having long ago vanquished direct competition, to just keep making gradual improvements and upgrades to the Soul.  But the 2020 Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo is a revelation---a sign that the Soul may be eternally satisfying.