2020 Kia Soul EV leads funky 3rd-Gen refresh

Kia has pulled the wraps off the brand-new 2020 Soul, including both the 2020 Soul EV electric hatchback, and its gas-engined siblings. Debuting at the LA Auto Show 2018, the new Soul gets fresh styling that riffs off the boxy aesthetic of the old car but with cleaner detailing.

That means new headlamps, now with a connecting trim piece that underscores the new Soul's width, and slim daytime running lights. There's a larger front grille with a two-tone grille on the gas-engined cars, while the front fenders have been bolstered. At the rear, there are three-dimensional boomerang-shaped tail lamps that wrap around the bodywork.

2.2-inches longer than the old Soul, the new car is still fairly compact at 165.2-inches in length and 70.9-inches wide. 1.2-inches have been added to the wheelbase, while cargo capacity is up 5 cubic feet, to 23.8. The liftgate is wider and lower, and has a new easy-grip handle. Inside, there's a dual-level cargo board that can cope better with taller items.

As one of Kia's more unusual cars, the Soul has some oddities, too. The cabin gets an optional sound mood lighting system, which can show different LED light shows on the center and upper door panels, synchronized to the music playing. There's available wireless charging and available dual automatic climate control, along with an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Bluetooth multi-connection allows two devices to be connected simultaneously, and there's an optional 8-inch head-up display. The available Harman Kardon audio system now packs 640 watts – twice that of the current Soul – with 10 speakers.

Kia Drive Wise active safety includes optional forward collision avoidance and lane keeping assistance, drive attention warning, blind-spot and rear cross collision warnings, smart cruise control, and high beam assist.

2020 Kia Soul gas engines

Kia will offer the regular 2020 Soul with a choice of two gas engines. Standard will be a 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder, delivering 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It'll be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or Kia's IVT, its own version of a CVT.

Optional will be a 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 GDI engine. That will have 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The GT-Line will have sporting exterior trim and 18-inch alloy wheels, along with a chrome-tip center exhaust, larger disc brakes, and sport-tuned suspension if you opt for the 1.6-liter turbo. It also gets integrated fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The X-Line has a rugged body kit, with body cladding, chunky overfenders, and special 18-inch alloy wheels. Fog lights are standard, while two-tone paint is optional. Finally, the EX Designer Collection has 18-inch alloy wheels with black spokes, LED headlights and for lights, and a two-tone roof treatment.

2020 Kia Soul EV

Kia's all-electric Soul EV promises to be even more perky. Its electric motor musters 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque, while it has a bigger, 64 kWh lithium ion polymer battery. CCS DC fast-charge is standard, though Kia sys it's too soon to say what the car's range will be.

Independent rear suspension has been added, to improve driving dynamics, and there are four drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Eco+ – to adjust the driving style. Paddle shifters control smart regenerative braking, with four regen braking levels to choose between. A Brake and Hold system allows the regen paddle to bring the Soul EV to a complete stop, while Smart Regen uses the speed of the vehicle in front to adjust how much the Kia is slowed using regenerative braking.

As for styling, there's unique front and rear bumpers, and a solid front grille insert which includes the charging door. The LED headlamps are integrated into the upper cross-car brow, and there are unique fog lamps and 17-inch alloy wheels. Kia Drive Wise is standard, along with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, 6-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth.

A 10-speaker Harman-Kardon audio system, two-tone paint, power-folding and heated side mirrors, wireless phone charger, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming rear mirror are among the options Kia will offer on the 2020 Soul EV.

The 2020 Kia Soul and 2020 Kia Soul EV will go on sale in the first half of 2019. Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.