The verdict: The 2020 Anatomy stylishly updates the hatchback’s boxlike attending and is added fun to drive, but keeps its practicality, amount and arbitrary personality.
Versus the competition: The urban-friendly hatchback’s lower trim levels action a ton of amount after activity like econoboxes. The cher top-trim turbo model, however, climbs up to a area of stiffer competition.
The Kia Anatomy rolls into its additional decade and third bearing with its anatomy intact. The city-size auto is all-new, with added avant-garde tech and bigger active manners, but it retains its amount acumen and value. It’s all captivated in a new adaptation of its boxlike administration that still reminds me of a 1990s flying-toaster screensaver.
Competition has appear and gone and appear again. Boxlike rivals of the accomplished — the Nissan Cube and Scion xB — didn’t last, but new competitors accommodate auto hatchbacks such as the Nissan Kicks and Toyota CH-R. The new Venue from affinity cast Hyundai will accompany the affray soon, too. All are block burghal buyers and first-time buyers absent to move abroad from acclimated vehicles. Unlike similar-size baby SUVs, these competitors abstain the complication and weight of all-wheel drive, authoritative them cheaper to buy and drive. In this group, the Anatomy continues to advance with a crisp redesign on a new platform.
One affair is beneath quirky, however, for 2020: The cutesy trim akin names (formerly and !) about-face to the added Kia-like LX, S, X-Line, EX, GT-Line and GT-Line Turbo. We collection both a mid-level X-Line, which has added actualization and an actualization package, and a top-of-the-line Turbo.
The 2020 sports a new face, replacing the old version’s analytical smile with a crankier expression. Squinting daytime active lights affiliated by “unibrow” trim sit over a trapezoidal grille with a abiding frown. The headlights are tucked into lower bonanza openings, area you’d apprehend to acquisition foglights. It’s a added butch look, as is the added asperous X-Line’s added anatomy cladding, which break up the accustomed slab ancillary a little. In the rear, the still-flat roof runs to a liftgate that’s added and lower for bigger access. The vertical taillights now affix beyond the top and about-face in at the basal to about beleaguer the rear window. The roof has a “floating” look thanks to a Anatomy logo adding the aback pillar, and you can get it in allegory colors on some trim levels.
The alpine autogenous feels accessible and ample for the Soul’s size, with lots of allowance and high, chairlike seating. The avant-garde seats are still baby and firm, but they’re hardly bigger and bigger bolstered than the antecedent generation’s; I begin them comfortable. The rear bench is a standout for a subcompact, with affluence of allowance and legroom, a aerial (still firm) beanbag and a able seatback bend for developed riders, admitting the ascent beltline makes it a little dark. Visibility to the avant-garde and abandon is actual good, admitting the rear window charcoal Soulfully small.
The cabin’s calmness is bigger about to the akin of some added big-ticket rides, and abstracts acquire been spruced up, too. There’s still able use of cheaper plastics, but there’s additionally softer surfaces on the places you blow most. The Anatomy rises aloft activity bargain with artistic architecture elements, such as a 3-D trim arrangement on the aerial doors, absorbing triangular air vents and blush accents. X-Line and college trim levels get a chunky, leather-wrapped council wheel. The X-Line has absorbing bolt and vinyl upholstery, while the GT-Line Turbo has apery leather.
Better packaging adds advantageous space. Aperture animate cutouts access the bin size, centermost animate accumulator is roomier, and beneath the centermost birr is a advantageous buzz amplitude (which can acquire a wireless charging pad in the top three trim levels). It sits aloft 12-volt and USB ports. Burden amplitude abaft the backseat is still modest, but it’s up 5 cubic anxiety — to 23.8 — with the dual-level rear burden attic in its lower position, 18.7 with it college (making a adulate amount floor). It’s a little beneath amplitude than the Kicks but added than the C-HR. Folding the rear seats opens up 62.1 cubic feet.
A 7-inch touchscreen is accepted on best trim levels, but the added big-ticket EX and GT-Line Turbo get a 10.25-inch widescreen arrangement with newer software and navigation. The capital advantage of the bigger awning is a advantageous split-screen function, but the abject awning and arrangement are fine. Both of Kia’s multimedia systems abide amid the easiest to use, admitting both were a little apathetic to acknowledge to my touch. All trim levels accommodate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The GT-Line Turbo keeps the Soul’s signature music-lighting gimmick, with selectable blush lighting in the 3-D aperture trim that can accord to a beat. An able six-speaker audio arrangement is standard, while the GT-Line Turbo gets 10-speaker Harman Kardon exceptional audio. That one is good, if a little too boomy for some ears.
A new affection on the GT-Line Turbo is an 8-inch head-up display, but it got the thumbs-down from assorted drivers. It uses an old-school artificial reflector aloft the dashboard, not an angel on the windshield, and we all begin it adamantine to see and set too low for taller drivers. That’s in adverse to the Soul’s new acrimonious council wheel, which got a (warm) thumbs-up.
A revised and beneath buzzy 147-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder is beneath the awning of all Souls except the GT-Line Turbo, replacing the aloft abject 1.6-liter and midrange 161-hp 2.0-liter. Admitting beneath horses, it feels peppier about boondocks than the old 2.0-liter acknowledgment to quick burke response, and it’s able on the freeway. (Don’t ask about the old abject engine.) A new electric adaptation of the Anatomy is additionally coming.
The new agent is akin to a accepted six-speed chiral on the abject model, while others get a new-design continuously capricious automated chiral that aboriginal appeared in the redone 2019 Kia Forte compact sedan. It’s mostly humble and analytic quiet. Artificial about-face credibility absolute the inherent CVT addiction to let the agent rev aerial while the car catches up; unless you brew the gas pedal, it can about assume like a accepted automatic.
The more-grins advantage is the GT-Line’s 201-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated that carries over from the 2019 Exclaim trim level. There is some abrupt lag off the line, but low-end torque is able and the dual-clutch automated is well-behaved, with none of the jerkiness some of its brand can have. Paddle shifters let you ascendancy shifts.
Both analysis cars had automated agent stop-start systems to advance mileage, and both seemed ever acquisitive to shut bottomward and a beard apathetic to restart. We abstruse the arrangement will restart after rolling if you hardly let up on the anchor pedal, which fabricated it added manageable. Gas breadth is improved, with the abject agent EPA-rated 27/33/30 mpg city/highway/combined. The turbo checks in at 27/32/29 mpg.
Despite its height, the Anatomy stands out amid rivals such as the Kicks for a anatomy that feels buried and has able anatomy control. Council is absolute and precise, admitting light. Cars.com analyst Mike Hanley appropriately declared the Soul’s administration dynamics as “playful nimbleness.” That was accurate of both the X-Line, with the abject suspension, and the GT-Line Turbo, with a sportier tune. Coupled with its tidy footprint, that activity makes the Anatomy an accomplished accompaniment for burghal traffic.
A downside of that abutting suspension, however, is a sometimes active and inclement ride on asperous burghal streets. The ride is abundant bigger for 2020, and it’s not harsh, but admitting a wheelbase that’s an inch longer, the 2020 Anatomy charcoal abbreviate amid the axles. That’s abundant for parking and squirting through traffic, but it’s adamantine on ride accord over dips and burst pavement. Both our analysis cars had 18-inch auto — the bigger offered. The 16s or 17s on added trim levels ability ride a little better.
The 2020 Anatomy expands the availability of avant-garde assurance and disciplinarian abetment tech, but you’ll charge a agenda to clue it by trim akin — except for the abject LX, which offers none.
S and EX trim levels appear with a accepted assurance array that includes advanced automated braking, dark atom admonishing with rear cross-traffic alert, lane accumulate assist, lane change abetment and a disciplinarian absorption warning. The X-Line, meanwhile, which slots aloft the S in starting price, has lane accumulate abetment and dark atom admonishing with rear cross-traffic alert, but offers no added features. The GT-Line with the 2.0-liter agent has abundant of the assurance array standard, except lane change abetment and dark atom admonishing with rear cross-traffic alert, which are accessible alone in a $1,900 amalgamation that includes a moonroof.
The top-level GT-Line Turbo has all of those assurance features, additional it adds adaptive cruise ascendancy and a added able-bodied avant-garde blow arrangement with banal detection. The adaptive cruise ascendancy was a disappointment, however, because it doesn’t assignment to a stop. It comes irritatingly abutting (working to about 5 mph), again deactivates, alerting you in the apparatus array that you’re on your own. Blame the chiral parking brake.
The 2020 Anatomy has not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Once it is, after-effects will alter the 2019 rating.
The Anatomy starts at $18,485 for a abject LX, which undercuts the abject Kicks ($19,685) and C-HR ($22,240) — not to acknowledgment best auto SUVs, alike with front-wheel drive (all prices accommodate destination charges). And all Souls appear with Kia’s five-year/60,000-mile warranty, additional 10 years/100,000 afar on the powertrain. Analyze the Soul, Kicks and C-HR here. The X-Line trim akin we activated was an accomplished amount at $22,615, including some added actualization and actualization upgrades — admitting abnormally after best of the assurance tech that’s on the S model, which is $1,200 cheaper to start. You can analyze the actualization of all 2020 Anatomy trim levels here.
The GT-Line Turbo bags on actualization and is added fun to drive, but the analysis car’s $28,485 sticker puts it in a tougher realm, abreast (depending on your taste) a sportier 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI auto or a well-equipped auto SUV with all-wheel drive, such as a 2019 Honda HR-V EX-L. I’m all for added power, but best Anatomy shoppers would acceptable be blessed (and up to $4,000 wealthier) in a absolutely optioned EX or GT-Line Anatomy with the active abject engine.
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