The 2021 Kia Soul may be very a lot an evolution of a automotive that debuted greater than a decade in the past as a solution to tall, boxy hatchbacks just like the Scion xB and Nissan Dice. The fundamental idea actually hasn’t modified a lot regardless of the Soul now being in its third era (it was redesigned final 12 months) and present process quite a few enhancements to its refinement and have content material. And but, whereas the Scions and Cubes of the world have died out, a completely new section of autos has arisen lately that just about observe the Soul’s playbook. Besides they are not thought of tall, boxy hatchbacks, they’re subcompact SUVs.
And in case you ask us, the Kia Soul is one in every of your greatest selections within the section it arguably created. It even received an Autoblog comparability take a look at that additionally featured the Hyundai Kona, Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V. There are different opponents to make certain, which is one cause why we won’t undoubtedly crown the Soul one of the best choose (that it doesn’t provide all-wheel drive could be one other). Nonetheless, the Soul’s mixture of worth, area, driving dynamics and distinctive character make it stand out in an more and more giant crowd. The Soul Turbo mannequin additionally boasts best-in-class energy together with a low worth contemplating all of the gear you get. Certainly, that worth may be essentially the most compelling factor of all: Though the Soul would be the similar in fundamental idea as these subcompact SUVs, it is significantly cheaper.
What’s new for 2021?
The X-Line and GT-Line get revised shock valves to enhance the experience, whereas the turbocharged engine is now solely obtainable on the brand new, aptly named Soul Turbo mannequin (it was beforehand an choice on the GT-Line). It also needs to be famous that one member of the household we anticipated to see sooner or later final 12 months won’t ever truly make it to the US: the Soul Electrical. Seems, it is not going to be offered right here, and as an alternative Kia’s electrical selections would be the Niro EV and upcoming EV6.
What are the Kia Soul inside and in-car know-how like?
It is a disgrace that Kia did not make the inside as enjoyable and characterful as the outside. It actually funks issues up a bit with triangular patterns within the doorways, a squircle-shaped heart infotainment pod and tweeters nestled into triangular air vents, however other than the GT-Line and Turbo (see under), it is all rendered in numerous shades of black or darkish gray, successfully hiding them in a colorless, drab inside. Come on Kia, you are able to do higher.
Then again, characterful interiors can be ergonomically difficult (see Mini), and like different Kias, the Soul impresses with easy and simply reached controls — together with the usual 7-inch touchscreen. The Turbo will get the 10.25-inch show proven under, which is principally the identical interface with the improved performance afforded by its widescreen format. With both, you fortunately do not must be a member of this automotive’s Millennial (or youthful) viewers to determine the factor out. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace, together with a single USB port (and an additional two arrive together with wi-fi smartphone charging within the EX and Turbo trim ranges).
How massive is the Kia Soul?
The 2021 Kia Soul has related dimensions to subcompact crossovers just like the Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade, and its mechanically associated cousin, the Hyundai Kona. Its tall top and physique form lend it extra passenger and cargo room than most, nonetheless. Rear seat legroom eclipses most opponents by a substantial margin, making it way more more likely to carry 4 full-sized adults aboard. A pair of 5-foot-10-inch individuals ought to be capable to sit comfortably again to again.
Cargo quantity behind the raised again seat is among the many class greatest with 24.2 cubic-feet obtainable while you decrease its dual-level flooring panel to its decrease place. Elevating gives a flat load flooring while you decrease the again seat, which by the way in which, leads to one of many greatest most capacities within the section.
What are the Kia Soul gasoline economic system and efficiency specs?
Most 2021 Soul trim ranges come commonplace with the identical 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque — a modest quantity however typical for the subcompact crossover section. A six-speed guide is commonplace on the bottom LX, whereas a constantly variable automated transmission (Kia calls it an IVT) is non-obligatory on that trim and commonplace on all others. Entrance-wheel-drive is necessary — the Kia Soul shouldn’t be obtainable with all-wheel drive.
Gas economic system is 27 mpg metropolis, 33 mpg freeway and 30 mpg mixed for the bottom engine with the CVT. Sticking with the guide reduces gasoline economic system by three mpg mixed. Barely higher gasoline economic system might be achieved with the Eco dynamics mannequin that will get 29/35/31.
The aptly named Soul Turbo is the one trim stage that provides the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. That is a whopping quantity for this section, besting even its 175-hp Hyundai Kona cousin. This engine is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated guide. Gas economic system is 27 mpg metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 29 mpg mixed.
What is the Kia Soul prefer to drive?
Acceleration with the usual engine is on-par for the section, which is to say sluggish with loads of noise. Throttle response is snappy, although, and the sounds it does emit is pleasantly growly. We additionally like its CVT, which is one thing we do not usually say. It spends most of its time simulating the responses and conduct of a standard automated, simulating gears to create a extra pure, acquainted driving expertise whereas nonetheless benefiting from a CVT’s effectivity and efficiency advantages. All that stated, we would not thoughts if Kia supplied the 1.6-liter turbo engine on one thing aside from the range-topping Turbo.
Regardless of being an upright, cheap automotive, the Soul’s cabin did not increase with street or wind noise after we took it on a four-hour street journey. Conversations have been simply had, and the meh base stereo had no downside being heard. The dealing with can also be pleasingly responsive, with adept dealing with enabled by its ably tuned suspension and steering. Really, it is awfully much like the Hyundai Kona, which is an excellent factor. The GT-Line experience is somewhat stiff, although, and the dealing with’s not terribly improved. We might say you could possibly in all probability skip it, however then, it is the one option to get that highly effective turbo engine.
What different Kia Soul critiques can I learn?
2020 Kia Soul X-Line Overview
We evaluation the X-Line trim that applies extra rugged styling cues to create extra of an SUV-like look. It is a look that worse, however we do want Kia backed it up with a minimum of a modest floor clearance enchancment and obtainable all-wheel drive.
Comparability Check: Kia Soul vs Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade
The Soul takes the prize on this full comparability take a look at of subcompact crossovers.
2020 Kia Soul First Drive Overview
Our first drive impressions of the 2020 Soul, together with the X-Line and GT-Line 1.6T trim ranges. We focus on its inside and what it is prefer to drive.
How a lot is the 2021 Kia Soul worth and what options can be found?
Pricing for the 2021 Soul begins at $18,765, together with a $1,175 vacation spot cost (it’s inbuilt Gwangju, South Korea). That is for a base LX with the guide transmission, however choosing the CVT will increase the value to $20,265.
Customary gear on the LX contains 16-inch metal wheels, automated headlights, rear privateness glass, a height-adjustable driver seat, material upholstery, a 60/40-split folding again seat, a seven-inch touchscreen, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a six-speaker sound system. Keyless entry is an choice.
Upgrading the Soul S trim ($21,865) provides 16-inch alloy wheels, quite a lot of lively security options (see Security part under), upgraded exterior trim and material upholstery, and a entrance heart armrest with storage.
The Soul X-Line ($22,965) provides particular styling, distinctive 18-inch wheels and roof rails to create a extra rugged look. It additionally provides fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It loses a few of the S trim’s lively security options.
The Soul EX ($24,525) beneficial properties these security methods again and reverts to the Soul’s common look. It has 17-inch wheels plus upgraded headlights, LED operating/accent lights, heated mirrors, proximity entry and push-button begin, a cargo cowl, heated entrance seats, dual-zone automated local weather management, wi-fi smartphone charging, two additional USB ports, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen bundled with built-in navigation, and HD and satellite tv for pc radios.
The GT-Line ($21,790) principally provides racier styling, a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, fog lights, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel to the Soul S.
The Soul Turbo ($27,650) provides the turbocharged engine (no kidding), however then principally provides the EX’s consolation and comfort gear to the GT-Line plus LED headlights and fog lights, a sunroof, a head-up show, simulated leather-based upholstery, a heated sport steering wheel, adaptive cruise management, a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a Harman/Kardon sound system with a subwoofer and music-responsive speaker lights. Mainly, if you need additional gear, you must additionally get the extra highly effective engine and sport-tuned suspension.
What are the Kia Soul security scores and driver help options?
Apart from the standard airbags and stability methods, all however the base Soul LX come commonplace with a complete quantity of accident avoidance tech beginning. These embrace ahead collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping help, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and driver inattention warning. The Turbo provides pedestrian detection for the ahead collision warning system and adaptive cruise management.
In authorities crash exams, the Soul acquired 4 out of 5 stars for general and entrance crash safety. It acquired 5 stars for aspect safety. The Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security named it a Prime Security Choose for its best-possible crash take a look at scores and for its collision avoidance tech. The Turbo trim’s LED headlights acquired the best-possible “Good” ranking, however all others acquired the worst-possible “Poor.” Another reason to get the Turbo, then.