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Refreshing or Revolting: 2020 Kia Soul

New model adopts crossover cues

New model adopts crossover cues

With its unique shape, and the help of some cheeky hamsters, the Kia Soul has become as much a style symbol as a practical mode of transportation. Now entering its third generation, the Soul receives a host of design updates, and its shape has even changed somewhat. The question is: Has the hatch lost its charm, or is it undergoing a necessary evolution that will keep it fresh for years to come?

Instead of the big chunky headlights of the previous model, the 2020 Kia Soul features thin lights connected by a thin trim piece. Below that is another set of lights. The grille at the bottom of the front fascia remains large, but now it takes on a more trapezoidal shape. You’ll also notice the new clamshell hood. The cut line sits well above the grille and headlights, unlike on the old model. Keep in mind that models in the new Soul lineup can look slightly different from one another; for example, GT-Line vehicles pictured here in red get different fog lights, sportier cues on the front fascia, and other small changes.

When the Soul is viewed from its side profile, it becomes even clearer that things aren’t business as usual. Thanks to more fluid lines, including the new floating roof, the Soul looks slightly less boxy than before. From this angle, the front end appears more curved, helping it look just slightly more like a conventional crossover. The new Soul is 2.2 inches longer than the old model, although it shrunk half an inch in height. Ground clearance has increased from 5.9 inches on the old model to 6.7 inches.

In back, we can tell Kia was looking for a way to change up the look while keeping true to the old model. While the previous Soul featured a vertical orientation for the taillights, the new model has a single light that wraps all the way around to the top of the roof. Most other parts of the rear look slightly different, too, including the license plate, bumper, and lower lighting elements. The exhaust pipes are now centrally positioned.

Inside, the cabin features a new infotainment system. A 10.25-inch color touchscreen with split screen functionality is available, as is an 8-inch head-up display. Kia changed up the layout of the central controls as well as the shifter. Drivers can tailor the interior lighting to particular “moods,” including “Party Time,” “Romance,” “Café,” “Midnight City,” and others.

Do you think the 2020 Kia Soul is refreshing or revolting? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.