This is the second model year for the third-generation Kia Soul, the last vehicle left over from the short-lived boxy-car trend it helped create around 2010. There are no major changes for 2021, save for a smaller range of trim levels: last year’s GT-Line Premium and EX Limited versions are no more.
That leaves LX, EX, EX+, EX Premium and GT-Line Limited as your trim choices. All use a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that comes standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
Kia also makes a battery-powered Soul EV, which is covered in a separate buyer's guide entry.
LX’s exterior wears 16-inch steel wheels with covers, auto on/off headlights, and heated/power-adjustable side mirrors.
Inside, cloth seats are heated up front, and there’s tilt-and-telescopic steering, a dual-level cargo floor, power windows, air conditioning, a 7.0-inch infotainment display, a six-speaker stereo, smartphone integration, and a 3.5-inch driver info display.
EX trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a heated/leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather shifter trim, a rear centre armrest, wireless smartphone charging, cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, driver attention alert, forward collision avoidance, rear cross traffic alert and collision avoidance, and heated washer nozzles.
EX+’s additions are 17-inch wheels, LED headlights/fog lights/taillights, a sunroof, cloth/leather combo upholstery, and LED interior lighting.
EX Premium gains gloss black/leather interior accents, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch infotainment display, navigation, passive keyless entry, connected car services, ambient lighting, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Finally, GT-Line Limited brings rains-sensing wipers, sport bumpers and side sills, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a sport steering wheel, an upgraded sound system, radar cruise control, a head-up display, and advanced forward collision avoidance.
Kia’s fuel consumption estimates for the Soul are 8.5/7.0 L/100 km (city/highway).
Consider the Soul a neat alternative to a subcompact crossover, thanks to its combination of a spacious interior and a tidy footprint. If you can live without AWD, you might cross-shop the Soul with other front-drive-only utilities, like the Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Venue, and Toyota’s C-HR. If you’re on the fence about AWD, know that it’s optional in most subcompact crossovers anyway, making the Soul a sensible addition to your test drive list.