Elemental SUVs

December 1st, 2019

By Don Armstrong

SUVs now outsell cars and it’s no wonder, the versatility and size availability run the gamut. Could one of these make the perfect Christmas surprise? Pricing sure seems right.

2020 Soul GT-Line

Kia Soul
Kia has a new Soul, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t include the popular hamster commercials.

Larger and more refined, this 3rd generation Soul is all new from the ground up. Fitting for a tiny SUV that changed the way we look at small do-all’s.

The Soul’s new front facia could easily fit on a sports car, but Kia didn’t lose track of what made the hamster-mobile so popular; it’s boxy shape with a sloping roof. Taillights hug the rear hatch glass and make a 90-degree turn toward the license plate box.

The interior is attractive and comfortable with an easy-to-use infotainment system. Control functions are straight forward, and with the second row seats folded, you’d be surprised at the hauling capacity.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, 147 horsepower engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but we prefer the CVT automatic that accomplishes an average of 31.9 MPG.
Since the first Soul came to U.S. shores 10-years ago, we’ve always liked its sporty handling, and the 2020 model continues that fuzzy feeling. The all-new Kia Soul starts at $17,490.

VW Tiguan
Since its debut in 2007 the VW Tiguan has undergone only one makeover. That happened two years ago, and since then sales continue to grow. Size, options and VW dependability play a big part in its popularity but being in the right place at the right time certainly has its benefits too.

Like almost all makeovers, the Tiguan has grown, allowing for an optional third row of seating, even though it’s mostly a “kids-only zone.”

VW’s conservative styling plays well on the Tiguan and translates nicely to the interior with form and function throughout the dash. Seating is comfortable with plenty of adjustability and materials seem to be of the long-term type.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination plays well together and drives the front wheels with ease. 4-wheel drive is optional. Mileage is a respectable 21 MPG-city and 29-highway.

Even in small SUV form, the Tiguan retains that German feel no matter what the terrain, including pot-holed city streets, undulating toll roads and hill country climbs .
The Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $24,295.