As a car reviewer, I get asked quite frequently about what’s a good new car to buy. Friends and family come and ask me this question, and it’s usually because they already have a vehicle in mind and they’re hoping I’m going to name that car to make them feel better about their intended purchase. But every now and then, they genuinely want to know: What is something that’s new, affordable, spacious, efficient and reliable? And increasingly, I find myself recommending the Kia Soul.
It seems to tick the boxes for so many people for so many reasons. For 2020, Kia has updated the Soul significantly to make it even more appealing to even more people.
From the outside, you wouldn’t think Kia has done much to the 2020 Soul. It has the same shape as before, with some revised front and rear styling — but they’ve been sneaky. It actually rides on an all-new platform, one that features a longer wheelbase and comes with some new powertrain options, as well. Kia has also upped the trim count to five different versions, two of them with distinctly different flavors than before.
What this means is that there’s pretty much a Soul for everybody. Looking for an efficient, affordable model that can carry four passengers in comfort or five in a pinch? The base trim levels are already well-equipped and come with a snappy 2.0-liter engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a new continuously variable automatic transmission. The new engine is perfectly adequate for moving the Soul smartly around town or even out onto the highway, with plenty of power for passing and accelerating up to highway speeds.
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As transmissions go, some CVTs are better than others, and the new Soul’s is one of the good ones. The car’s steering, handling and braking aren’t terribly sporty, but not every car needs to be a sports car. It’s a perfectly good, everyday commuter hatchback. With the automatic, it’ll even get an average 30 mpg, which isn’t stellar by small-car standards but nevertheless is a solid rating.
Check out the video below for more features of the updated 2020 Kia Soul.
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