How does the All-New Kia Soul Compare to the Competition?
I was given the keys to the new 3rd gen Kia Soul for a week. Here are my thoughts.
The 2020 Kia Soul marks the beginning of the third-generation of the sub-compact crossover SUV. With an all new design and features, the Kia Soul has been given a refresh to compete against the rest of the world of sub-compact crossover SUV's. Comparing the new Soul to the Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and the FIAT 500X, I shall decide on which one I prefer. Let's find out.
Looking at the all-new Soul, I enjoy the straight cut simpleness of the shape of the body. It is not a rounded and flamboyant as the previous generations. The headlights make the Soul look like it wants to be taken serious. Overall, the Soul looks like it could pass as a new Land Rover with it's design cues. It reminds me of that phrase, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." I am not saying this as a bad thing by the way. Just an observation. It is the nicest looking of the competition.
The interior of the Soul really makes me feel like the Kia's nameplate holds its meaning. The designers really put some thought into what the inside should look for the owner. It all starts with the doors. Each door has a diamond looking panel that goes along with the handle. The next design that let's it be known is the front side vents. They look like kettle-bell weights. Cabin space is pretty comfortable considering I can sit behind myself. The last thing I enjoyed was the design of the center console. To be more exact, it is the placement of my phone while driving. Ease of access is key for most people. It is all about convenience. Where Kia goes wrong is that the cluster panel is almost the same as the one found in the Hyundai Kona.
Price and Options
So, how much does this Kia Soul cost? It is just shy of $23,000 after options and all. What does it come with? For safety, this all-new Soul comes with a plethora of airbags, traction and stability control, ABS and braking assist, electronic stability management, tire pressure monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic warning, blind spot monitoring, and a back-up camera. For convenience and comfort, this Kia comes with a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. So, in few words, it is pretty standard.
The Kia Soul has a 2.0L naturally aspirated four cylinder engine pushing a measly 147 horsepower and 132 foot pounds of torque powering the front wheels. The steering is quite direct and focused. The tires offer enough feedback that I could tell their direction or even if they were slipping. Everything is balanced, especially in corners. The most impressive aspect the Kia Soul has to offer is the fuel economy. After driving with my habits, I was able to achieve 30 miles to the gallon on the highway and a combined 26 miles to the gallon. What isn't impressive is the ride comfort on long distance journeys. Yes, short trips around town are just as comfortable as walking with Dr. Scholl's padded shoes, but after driving longer than an hour straight, I ached.
So, would I buy the Kia Soul? I honestly would if given the choice over the FIAT, Jeep, and Mazda. That is only because the ride comfort is so much better and the Soul comes with more pizzazz in the interior. If my only strong criticism is the ride comfort for long distances, then that is good enough for me. I would just spend enough money to get something more comfortable for a longer drive. Most companies use some of the same parts in other models and brands so it is not much of a problem.
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