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LA LIVE: 2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV

Kia's segment-defying compact is back for another round.

Love it or hate it, the Kia Soul has become the standard for boxy, funky compact hatchbacks. Or is it crossovers? We suppose it depends on who you ask and how many adult beverages they've imbibed. 

Soul has long embodied both the cheap-and-cheerful and fun-and-funky aspects of small-car ownership, proving that practicality doesn't necessarily have to look boring; even a box can be more than a box. 

The new Soul's styling is hardly revolutionary. In fact, the updates are pretty conservative compared to some we've already seen in this show season. 

Under the metal, most of the fundamentals carry over. The base engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder making 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It's paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or an available "Intelligent Variable Transmission" (read: CVT). The upgrade path takes you to the 1.6L turbo-four which is mated to the company's 7-speed dual-clutch unit. 

If you really want to get funky, there's also the Kia Soul EV. For 2020, the motor offers 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque--up significantly from the outgoing model. Kia is currently in the process of certifying the new battery, so range estimates are still forthcoming (the company says to expect them early in 2019). 

Inside, both Souls get fancy tech, including available 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreens, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Kia's "Drive Wise" suite of advanced safety and semi-autonomy features. 

Stay tuned for additional details as the on-sale dates for 2020 Kia Soul and Kia Soul EV approach early next year. 

Live photos by Brian Williams.

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