The all-new, third-generation Kia Soul may have grown a little more mature, but it hasn’t lost its funky edge. Neither has it compromised its practical “getting-it-to-go” orientation.
For proof, consider that this 2020 version of the subcompact four-door hatchback has been stretched to create a slightly roomier passenger compartment. Look also at the clever cargo hold that can be left as a deep well, ideal for keeping grocery bags contained. Or you can insert the available cargo shelf to create a handy flat load floor with the rear seatbacks folded.
My test car, a new X-Line model, featured prominent body cladding, fog lights and roof rails designed to give it a rugged look, but the Soul’s lack of all-wheel drive makes it a bit of a poser. Its standard 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and nicely tuned suspension deliver a spritely feel, but the turbocharged, 1.6-liter four under the hood of the top GT-Line turbo trim level I also spent time in is the way to go if fun-to-drive is a priority.
Add a comfortable and attractive interior, with nifty details like the available 10.3-inch center touch screen, and this new Kia Soul proves practicality doesn’t have to equal boring.
Base Price: $17,490
MPG: 27 city, 33 highway
Crash Test: N/A
If your idea of getting your fun to go is taking your toys out to play in the middle of nowhere, the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the pickup for you.
While other trucks can handle sans-pavement excursions, none are better in the dirt than this new midsize Jeep entry. The top-of-the-line Rubicon model I drove scrambled up rocky outcroppings and over deeply rutted muddy trails with aplomb. It’s safe to say that, no matter where you want to go, this is the vehicle that can take you there.
What’s surprising about a pickup with such off-road capability is that it’s equally at home on the road. Ride quality is better than you might expect and, while it’s no sports car, the Gladiator’s handling inspires confidence.
The interior has room for four adults. Out back, the 5-foot steel bed is big enough to hold sheets of plywood with the tailgate lowered to its clever halfway down position. A vast array of accessories makes it possible to haul everything from dirt bikes to kayaks with ease.
Throw in an available convertible top, a fold-down windshield and removable doors and you have a “get-it-to-go” machine with unparalleled possibilities.
Base Price: $33,545
MPG: 17 city, 22 highway
Crash Test: N/A
Looking for a new ride? Check out more car reviews online at AAA.com/TestDrive.