2020 Kia Soul vs. Competitors

 

Overview

Crossovers of all sizes are the hot sellers these days. That means that the majority of drivers are looking for a vehicle that’s practical in space and form yet small enough to maneuver and park easily. With all the choices out there, researching and choosing the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that best fits your needs can be quite a process. Nearly every automaker has at least one subcompact, compact, and mid-sized CUV in its lineup. For those who feel like they’re drowning in a sea of choices, we’re presenting some facts about some of the today’s most popular small crossovers.

On this page, we’ll focus on the exceptionally affordable 2020 Kia Soul, which starts its third generation this model year with significant improvements, including 1.2 more inches of ground clearance, an increase in cabin volume, more base horsepower, and some new trim levels. We’ll compare and contrast the ’20 Soul with five popular rivals: the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Kona, Nissan Kicks, and Mazda CX-3.


Pricing and Warranty

The 2020 Kia Soul flaunts the most attractive starting price in this competition: $17,490. Compare that to the higher MSRPs of the HR-V ($20,820), the C-HR ($21,292), the Kona ($20,300), the Kicks ($18,870), and the CX-3 ($20,640). Kia also outdoes most of the competition in warranty coverage (fellow Korean automaker Hyundai has nearly identical terms). The Soul gets a 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. Toyota and Honda each only receive a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. While Kia and Hyundai are almost identical in their coverage, the Kona starts its pricing almost $3,000 higher.


Spaciousness and Powertrain

If you crave a lot of space in an otherwise downsized vehicle, the 2020 Kia Soul is a fine choice: all five passengers will be comfortable and they’ll all have room for their belongings. Part of the Soul’s redesign is an increase in interior space, as well as a larger rear hatch door and passenger doors that open wider than previously. Its maximum cargo area (behind the front row) is now 62.1 cubic feet, easily beating out the aforementioned rivals: the HR-V’s 58.8 cu. ft., the C-HR’s 37 cu. ft., the Kona’s 45.8 cu. ft., the Kicks’ 32.3 cu. ft., and the CX-3’s 42.7 cu. ft. The all-new Soul’s passenger volume is noteworthy as well, providing 102.2 cu. ft. where the HR-V only yields 100.1 cu. ft., the C-HR 86 cu. ft., the Kona 94.1 cu. ft., and the Kicks 93.9 cu. ft. Mazda.com does not specify the CX-3’s total interior volume.

First, for old-school drivers who are still looking to handle the shifting themselves, the Soul is the only vehicle mentioned here that is offered with a traditional manual transmission (on the base trim). Its revised base engine is also improved over the previous generation, now coaxing out 147 hp (over last year’s 130 hp) and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. The HR-V only makes 141 hp and 127 lb.-ft. of torque, the C-HR 144 hp, and the Kicks 122 hp and 114 lb.-ft. of torque. The Kona gets the identical base powertrain as the Soul, and so it produces the same power specs.

Of the six crossovers compared on this page, only the Korean-made models, the 2020 Kia Soul and the 2020 Hyundai Kona, have an available upgrade for more output. This available powertrain consists of a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters. In the Soul, this powerplant puts out 201 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, but in the Kona that drops to 175 hp, with the 195 lb.-ft. of torque staying the same. Although the CX-3’s standard engine whisks 148 hp and 146 lb.-ft. of torque, it doesn’t offer a brawnier engine.