Kia offers no less than six trims in the Soul lineup, most with their own unique exterior styling themes, and some are bolder than others. After a recent browsing of all the variations on Kia’s build site—spanning the entry-level LX, S, GT-Line, X-Line, EX, and GT Turbo—I started daydreaming about swiping bits and pieces from the other five trims in an attempt to achieve a custom look for the mid-range, straight-shooter Soul EX.
Even though I rather like the styling of the Soul EX—and have even suggested it sort of looks like a mini Range Rover—it’s still fun to imagine the Soul I could mold by combining parts from other trims. This is where the mind wanders when there are so few complaints about the Soul, which remains one of our top-ranked subcompact SUVs despite not offering all-wheel drive.
Our long-term EX rides on upgraded 18-inch wheels with low-profile tires (the EX comes standard with 17-inch wheels). The short sidewalls have an adverse effect on ride comfort and cabin noise, so I’d happily switch to the 16-inch wheels available on the Soul S. Not only would the taller sidewall likely provide a more compliant, quieter ride, but I also prefer the styling and finish of the 16-inch wheel.
From the off-road-y Soul X-Line trim I’d snatch the tough-looking, aggressive body cladding on the lower part of the doors, fenders, and rocker panels. None of these additions alter the Soul’s ability to go off-road, they immediately up its curb appeal. Additionally, I’d borrow the X-Line’s silver roof rails, which spruce up the vehicle’s crown.
I’d also like to alter the EX’s side mirrors by swapping to the silver-capped mirrors from X-Line and merging them with the LED turn signal indicators from the Soul Turbo model.
For a brief moment I also considered adding the big, bold “Hot Stamping” grille and unique front fascia from the GT-Line Soul. Ultimately, though, I decided that I prefer the EX’s grille as-is; the GT-Line grille is just a bit too assertive.
Last, to add some driving joy to the above aesthetic changes, I’d swap out the EX’s continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for the six-speed manual that comes standard in the basic Soul LX. I take no issue with the EX’s transmission, and I think it’s rather good for a CVT, but the idea of shifting my own gears in my custom one-off Soul sounds like fun.
Want to build your own Soul, at least within the boundaries of what Kia offers? Check out its online configurator and go to town.
Read more about our long-term 2020 Kia Soul EX test vehicle:
- Update 1: Is the 2020 Kia Soul Designed to Look Like a Range Rover?
- Update 2: 5 Simple Joys That Make the 2020 Kia Soul EX So Good
- Update 3: The Kia Soul Handles Better Than You Think
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