2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

With its boxy exterior and compact proportions, the Kia Soul was the first truly stylish vehicle from the Korean automaker, and is still being imitated by competitors. The Soul remains a distinctive design to this day, so Kia had a big challenge before it when it set out to launch a new version. The completely redesigned 2020 Kia Soul debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and goes on sale in the United States in 2019.

When it comes to exterior styling, this is one situation where designers didn’t want to think outside the box. The 2020 Soul retains the previous two generations’ crate-like proportions, but with some updates to keep the design fresh. The front end gets a more streamlined headlight design, which also makes the Soul look a bit like a sad robot. The 2020 Soul is also slightly longer than before, with a wider and lower tailgate meant to make loading and unloading cargo easier, according to Kia.

The 2020 Kia Soul will be available with three powertrains — two gasoline, one electric — with front-wheel drive across the board. Base models get the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the Kia Forte, which produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. That engine is available with a six-speed manual transmission or continuously variable transmission (CVT). An optional 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft, and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The all-electric Soul EV also returns for the 2020 model year. Its electric motor produces 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 Soul EV boasts a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which is much bigger than the previous generation’s 30-kWh pack. That allows for a major increase over the previous generation’s 111-mile range. The 2020 Soul EV has an EPA-rated 243-mile range, beating the Kia Niro EV’s 239-mile range rating. The Soul EV also surpasses the 124-mile range of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, from Kia’s sibling brand, but not the Hyundai Kona Electric, which has a 258-mile range.

It unclear is whether Kia will continue to sell the Soul EV in low volumes in a handful of states, or whether it will expand sales nationwide.

On the inside, the Soul gets a major infotainment upgrade, including an available 10.25-inch central touchscreen with split-screen function, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an available 8.0-inch head-up display. The car also gets a mood lighting system with options that include “Hey! Yo!,” “Party Time,” “Traveling,”Romance,” “Midnight City,” and “Cafe.”

The 2020 Soul will also be available with a long list of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, driver attention monitor, blind spot monitoring, and automatic high beams.

The 2020 Kia Soul goes on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2019. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date. Alongside the Soul EV, Kia debuted an all-electric version of its Niro pseudo-crossover at the 2018 L.A. Auto Show.

Updated on February 15, 2019: Added EPA range rating for Soul EV.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Cars

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.