2020 Soul X-Line Review: Road Trip Ready

Kia Soul X-Line
3 min read

A friend of mine and I have a joke that we could make millions writing an algorithm for car buying. It’s simple, no matter what the user puts in, the program spits out the perfect car– the Kia Soul. Practical, fuel efficient and inexpensive, it’s hard to argue against the Soul. So when Kia released the Soul X-Line, a crossover version of the perfect car, I figured the only way to test it was to head out on a good, old-fashioned road trip. So we went snowboarding:

Kia Soul X-Line
(spoiler alert) We made it to the mountains.

The problem is, when I got into the Soul at 4am and braced for the 8 hour drive, I realized, “Wait. What kind of idiot takes THIS car on a road trip? Especially when I’ve got perfectly good, luxurious, full-sized SUV in my driveway?” We all know the short answer, THIS idiot.

Soul X-Line 2020

If I’m honest with myself, I almost turned around. With no butt warmers, a non-turbo charged 4-cylinder engine and pretty noticeable cabin noise, I realized that my car snobbery may just get the better of me. But, luckily for you, I’m stubborn as hell. Plus, our snowboards were already loaded, so I kept driving.

2020 Soul X-Line

Once I adjusted my driving style, the Soul and I got along just fine. But not before I tried to pass the Lamborghini SUV on the 405 freeway at 5am. And to the gentleman that laughed his ass off when I tried– you’re welcome. From that point on, I settled in and relaxed into the Soul X-Line reasonable cruising speed and chill stance. Then I leaned into all of the conveniences– thanks to Apple CarPlay integration my playlist played dj, Waze took over as navigator and my job was simply to stay in my lane and enjoy the view.

Although the engine is small, the Soul X-Line’s smooth transmission really compensated well for its lack of power. Acceleration off the line (from a stop) was embarrassing, but at higher speeds (mid-throttle) it did just fine. For the less aggressive driver, this will be a non-issue.

By the time I had actually hit a snowy road, my fears were gone. The Soul X-Line may not be a powerful beast, but it is certainly a sweet Korean chariot.

The Good

  • It is roomier than expected. We packed two adults, three snowboards, ample luggage and enough wine and salami for 4 days.
  • I averaged 29 mpg, even while trying to outrun a Lambo.
  • The conveniences are perfect. Almost unbelievable at this price point.
  • The seats are absurdly comfortable. Firm but flexible, my chronically miserable back didn’t hurt one bit.
  • 18″ wheels and black cladding add some much needed bad-assery to the Soul’s bland image.
  • Visibility was fantastic.
Soul X-Line 2020

The Bad

  • I would’ve gnawed off my right arm for just a little bit more power. Kia does offer the GT-Line for us aggressive drivers.
  • Cabin noise was alarmingly loud, especially for highway driving.
  • Although presented as a crossover, it has no extra ground clearance and no AWD.

The Soul X-Line Verdict

In the end, I was really glad the Soul X-Line and I decided to stick it out together. With a MSRP of $21,490 as driven, it is really hard to argue with the value proposition of this car. Kia made a lot of smart decisions when configuring the X-Line– they kept what we all need (technology, safety, convenience) and left out the stuff we THINK we need but ultimately rarely do (ground clearance, AWD, American-scale storage). My algorithm stands unchallenged. But my snowboarding still needs a bit more work…

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