Kia overhauled and released a new Soul in early 2019 for the 2020 model year. It represents a style that has grown on its followers. We applaud Kia for keeping the Soul relevant even as its Nissan and Scion competitors disappear. Based on this, the 2022 Soul will likely be a carryover model.
The Kia Soul is a boxy vehicle with a buzzcut top and attractive character lines that make it seem like a much more expensive model than it is. The front fascia is loosely based on Kia’s “tiger nose” theme, but it has its own take and that’s another part of its appeal.
Inside, the Soul is as roomy as any crossover utility vehicle of similar size. In fact, it seats four comfortably or five in a pinch. Most competing models underscore pinch when measuring rear seat passenger comfort. But the Soul is roomier and more comfortable – it’s almost like a living room on wheels with a game room vibe evident. We like the premium cloth and available upmarket synthetic leather, although there are still enough hints at this vehicle’s budget appeal in some of the other materials provided.
When it comes to all things tech, the 2022 Kia Soul will likely continue to feature its 7-inch touch-screen display, one USB charge port, six speakers, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Among the upgrades are a 10.25-inch touch-screen display, HD Radio, additional USB ports, a Harmon Kardon audio system, and navigation.
We anticipate that the Kia Soul will continue with the same two engine choices. The standard offering is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission or in some cases a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Also available is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Although it has a clear power edge over the standard model, the engine isn’t especially matched well with the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. We found it clunky in heavy traffic and a hesitator at low speeds.
Most Kia models have a strong roster of standard and available safety features. The Soul, however, does not. It lacks automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection on some trims, and makes its full roster of safety equipment available on only the top trims. It’s a mixed bag on crash testing too with the IIHS handing out better scores than the NHTSA. Overall, we think the Soul should be purchased with the most safety equipment included.