Earlier this year, Consumer Reports published a list of what they called ‘Best Cars for Savvy Seniors’. We noted that they included the 2019 Kia Sorento three-row SUV on that list. 

Their criteria for selection included, wide door openings, easy step-in, roomy cabin, supportive seating, good visibility, good ride quality, generous cargo space, quiet cabin, no-nonsense technology and controls, advanced safety features and affordability.

We agree that the Kia Sorento is a good choice for a three-row option if that is what a ‘Savvy Senior’ wants or needs.  

For many seniors or empty nesters, a two-row SUV might easily do instead.

We think the new 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6L Turbo is also an excellent top choice – meeting all of the criteria – and more affordable.

2020 Kia Soul                      

It seems it was just yesterday that the Honda Element, Scion xB, Nissan Cube and Kia Soul introduced a funky approach to urban mobility featuring affordability, edgy features and latest technology in an all you need and nothing you don’t package. 

Now, 10 years later, only the Kia Soul remains.  We think that is because Kia has continued to improve mobility elements, functionality and technology in Soul year-for-year to keep it competitively relevant.

In doing so, making sure they preserved its iconic upright profile, snub nose and boxy shape that won consumer hearts initially.

For 2020, the third generation Kia Soul Kia offers a new 1.6L Turbo power plant option, latest technology, more driver convenience features and advanced safety features – plus a ‘quirky’ music feature reminiscent of their Hamsters campaign of years past. 

Best part is that Soul is still at an affordable price.  

2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6L as Tested

A couple weeks back, Kia sent us a new 2020 Soul GT-Line 1.6L Turbo for test.  It came in a very bold Inferno Red with Black interior. Balancing the red were the accent elements – including the grille – in Gloss Black.  

Exterior

Unique features for the Soul GT-Line include sport front and rear bumper fascia, Auto On/Off LED Headlights w/High Beam Assist, LED Fog Lights and LED Tail Lights, LED Positioning Lights, Heated Adjustable Outside Mirrors w/Puddle Lamps, Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers, Power Sunroof with Sunshade and distinctive GT-Line 18-inch machined Alloy Wheels mounted with 235/45R18 all-season tires

 

Powertrain and Mechanical

Our test GT-Line Soul was powered by a 1.6L turbocharged I4 GDI engine mated to a 7-speed Dual Clutch automatic transmission with Auto Start/Stop (yes, you can turn it off).

It delivers 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.  Running on regular gasoline, its fuel economy rating is an impressive 27/32 mpg city/highway and 29 mpg combined.

Weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds this Soul’s power plant is very peppy.  But, if not peppy enough, there is a driver selectable SPORT mode that will take it up a notch.

The Soul GT-Line 1.6L Turbo is also very nimble.  Sporting motor driven power steering, it has a tight turn circle of just 34.8-feet.  The suspension is nicely tuned for its size and features MacPherson Struts front and Coupled Torsion Beams rear. Stopping power is provided by 12-inch vented disc front and 11.2-inch solid disc rear brakes.

 

Interior

The cabin of the new 2020 Soul is roomier than before. Headroom both front and rear is just short of 40-inches, legroom is just over 41-inches front and almost 39-inches rear.  Shoulder room is a generous with 55.5-inches front and 54.7-inches rear.

Carrying up to five easily, Soul carries cargo too. Cargo space behind the second row is a generous 23.4 cubic feet.  Fold down the second row and the space grows to 62.1 cubic feet.  With wider side doors and the rear hatch wider with a lower lift-in, getting people and cargo in and out is nearly effortless.

Overall, the interior is simple in design and execution with nice material choices.  Features include the Kia premium looking Sofino Leatherette and Cloth seating surfaces. Front seats are heated and feature 10-way power for the driver.

Other elements include a center console with cupholders and large storage bin plus a D-Shaped Heated Leather Wrapped Tilt and Telescoping Steering Wheel with mounted Cruise and Audio controls.

The cabin also has Dual Zone Climate Control, LED overhead, side room and cargo bay lighting, front and rear door bottle holders plus a 60/40 Split Folding Rear seat with armrest and cupholders.

 

Technology / Infotainment

The 2020 Soul GT-Line impressive technology and infotainment control feature is a bright 10.25-inch HD color touchscreen audio display with split screen function. 

 

Features include a UVO link package that offers a variety of services including Navigation and a direct connection to Kia’s Roadside Assistance and 911 Connect – all with just the push of a button.

Accessory elements include wireless phone charging, two USB power ports in the console and two 12V power points in the front fascia with another in the cargo bay.

Infotainment is anchored by a Harman/Kardon 640-watt Premium Sound system w/10 speakers including a center speaker and subwoofer.  Elements include SiriusXM and HD radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Compatibility, Bluetooth wireless and more.

Touch of Funk

No matter your age, you are going to love this.

 

Always adding a quirky element (no hamsters this year), Kia equipped the Kia Soul GT-Line with a customizable mood lighting system complete with ambiance themes and speaker lights.

Mood themes included Party Time, Romance, Midnight City, Café, Traveling and something called Hey! Yo!.

 

Safety

The 2020 Soul – when equipped with the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system – has earned a 2019 IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick Plus rating. 

Our Soul GT-Line was so equipped along with a full complement of Driver Assistance and Safety features.

Driver assistance features include: Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision Avoidance Car with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep and Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Avoidance Assist, Rear-View Monitor with Parking Guidance, 8-inch Head Up Display plus Driver Attention Warning.

Safety elements include Antilock Braking System with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control and Hill Start Assist plus Tire Pressure Monitoring and Speed Sensing Automatic Door Locking with Impact Sensing Automatic Unlocking.

Note: the 2020 Kia Soul does not offer AWD like some competitors.   We found the new Soul drives and handles well   without it.   

Warranty

The 2020 Kia Soul is covered by their 10-year/100,000-mile Limited Power Train Warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile Roadside Assistance Plan.

Solidly Under $30,000

With delivery a cargo tray and floor mats, our test 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6L Turbo priced at $28,710.

 

Snow White Pearl Option

If we were buying the 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line 1.6 Turbo, the Snow White Pearl with Red accents would be our exterior choice.  

The Red is cool but for us, the Snow White and Red accents has more pizzazz.  The color is an extra $345, taking the delivered price to $29,055.

 

Which Soul do you want?

Kia says there is a Soul for everyone starting at $18,990.  Check them out and build one ‘your way’ at: https://www.kia.com/us/en/vehicle/soul/2020.