2020 Kia Soul X-Line Review: Is It Better Than The Toyota C-HR?

It may be just as funky, but is the Soul a better option?

With a starting price of $21,490, the 2020 Kia Soul X-Line makes a great choice for those who want a basic Kia Soul with a little more character. It’s also a compelling choice against the Toyota C-HR. They’re about equal on performance, although Kia also builds the more powerful 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line as well.

Yep, that’s the 2020 Kia Soul X-Line in a snow storm. (Photo: TFLcar)

Neither car offers any form of all-wheel drive here in the United States, despite looking like it. Overseas, the C-HR is available with all-wheel drive. In a sense, then, they’re more like lifted hatchbacks than out-and-out crossovers.

2020 Kia Soul X-Line Specs

  • Length: 165.2”
  • Width: 70.9”
  • Height: 63.0”
  • Wheelbase: 102.4”
  • Cargo capacity (behind the rear seat): 23.8 cu.-ft. [+ 5.0 cu. ft. over the previous model]
  • Ride height: 6.7″
  • 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder 147 horsepower, 132 lb-ft. of torque
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) – a six-speed manual transmission is optional on the non-X-Line base model.
  • 27 mpg city, 33 highway and 30 mpg combined. (vehicles equipped with Eco Driving Mode will get better mpg numbers)

On top of the new platform, the X-Line trim package gives you:

Rugged body kit that includes:

  • Body cladding
  • Overfenders for chunkier look
  • Off-road-inspired accents
  • Unique 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Roof rail inspired accents
  • Optional two-tone paint


How does it compare to the Toyota C-HR?

2018 Toyota C-HR
[Photo: Toyota]

There are three trim levels for the 2019 Toyota C-HR. Starting from the LE, there’s also the XLE and Limited. The base model 2019 Toyota C-HR starts at $20,995. All Toyota C-HRs now come standard with Toyota Safety Sense.

2019 Toyota C-HR Specs

  • Length: 171.2″
  • Width: 70.7”
  • Height: 61.6”
  • Wheelbase: 103.9”
  • Cargo capacity (behind the rear seat): 19 cu.-ft.
  • Ride Height: 5.9″
  • 2.0-Liter 4-Cylinder 144 hp and 139 lb.-ft of torque
  • A CVT
  • 27 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined
2020 Kia Soul X-Line

Driving Impressions

While the Toyota C-HR’s curb weight hovers around 3,300 lbs, the 2020 Kia Soul is about 300 pounds lighter. Still, the Toyota doesn’t feel heavy in the corners — just when you’re accelerating.

There’s more to the Toyota: Without a doubt, the Toyota C-HR’s best feature is its handling. It has a sport-tuned four-wheel independent suspension setup that’s downright fun to exploit. Steering feel and steering weight are superior to most of the Kia line and the only way to out-pace the C-HR is with the turbocharged 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line.

Both vehicles have CVTs that mimic the feel of an automatic transmission. Basically, they pause a bit giving the feel of a car changing gears. It works a bit better on the Soul, but both vehicles still drone a bit when accelerating. Still, it’s only noticeable when the driver’s a bit aggressive.

2020 Kia Soul X-Line review
The 2020 Kia Soul X-Line joins the sportier GT-Line and all-electric Soul EV in the 2020 lineup. [Photo: Kia]

Despite the handling capabilities, the 2020 Kia Soul X-Line is a better car for the day-to-day driver. They built something special that, while not perfect, is something fun. For me, if a car is fun AND utilitarian. It’s a gem.