The Kia Soul is one of the toughest automobiles to describe. From one angle, it looks like an SUV, but then, it isn’t All-Wheel-Drive. For the most part, it drives like a smaller four-door hatchback. Then again, it’s much more than just another subcompact car in the auto dealer shop. But the best way to describe the Kia Soul is that it’s one of the best, most affordable crossover SUVs for urban living.
You can invest as low as $16,000 to buy a Kia Soul, and you’ll get a great carryall that can get you and your friends and about 49.5 cubic feet of items where you are going. A Soul at the mid-grade or trim levels also come with more engine power, better interior comfort, and overall performance, which is something every vehicle owner yearns. But before you invest your hard-earned money into this machine, here are other competitors that are just as good (if not better) that you’ll want to cross-shop.
Alternatives/Competing Vehicle Brands for The Kia Soul
Despite the Soul being one of the best vehicle brands you can find today, it faces stiff competition from other renowned auto brands in the industry.
Here are some close competitors to the Soul you might want to consider checking out as well:
1. Jeep Renegade
First on our list is the Jeep Renegade, the smallest Jeep in the industry. This makes it one of the main competitors of the Soul. For a small Jeep, the Renegade has a lot to offer with regards to performance and overall vehicle design. Starting at just $18,445, you can already tell it’s fairly less expensive compared to the Soul.
The Renegade is one of the best-looking little SUVs you will find on the market with a variety of options for buyers. You can buy the peppy 1.4L engine with six-speed manual transmission or opt for the larger 2.4L powerplant with nine-speed automatic. Its top-of-the-line Trailhawk fetches a sticker price of $26,945.
Another vital feature to note with the Renegade is that it comes in both Front-Wheel-Drive and the All-Wheel-Drive. Then there is the Jeep’s Active DriveLow Dual-range 4×4 system that you can choose as well. The Renegade also has other nifty features that make it a favorite among drives like the MySky removable panels that can convert what’s a little SUV into the best open-top fun vehicle on the road. Depending on where you plan to drive, this Jeep always has you covered on the road.
2. Toyota C-HR
The C-HR is a huge crossover to a sportier little vehicle for people who are out for such preferences. Its base selling price is $20,945, which gets you a 2.0L engine with 144HP and a 139 pound-feet of torque. You also get a vehicle that uses a continuously variable transmission system to drive its front wheels. All-Wheel-Drive isn’t an option with the C-HR.
If you choose its XLE Premium trim level, you also get a 7-inch touchscreen audio system that supports smartphone integration and heated front seats. It also has a backup camera display that’s integrated into its rearview mirror. Although the C-HR is much smaller compared to other vehicles in its class, it’s one of the best, most compact options you’ll find on the market today.
3. Nissan Kicks
Like the Soul, the Nissan Kicks crossover is also only Front-Wheel-Drive. It also has four doors and a significantly big hatchback that can allow up to five people in it. Its starting price should be around $17,990. This price also comes with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission, which is a bonus since you have to pay extra for this in the Kia Soul.
The top brand in the Kicks lineup fetches only $20,290. That makes this brand one of the best-buy options and a smart investment, considering the value for money. You will also get a 7-inch touchscreen display audio system and a basic system that has a CD player, USB port, Bluetooth, and AM/FM/Satellite radio. The pricier SR and SV trim levels also have added support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. What more would you hope for in such a compact vehicle?
4. Chevrolet Trax
The Chevrolet Trax is another Front-Wheel-Drive that’s made a name for itself as one of the best crossover vehicles in the world. It is powered by a 1.4L four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission system. This complete configuration sells for $21,000, but the top trims sell for $28,000.
The Chevrolet Trax also offers up to 48.4-cubic Feet of luggage space behind its front seats. It has a 7-inch Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system too, which is standard for most vehicles in this category. As with all the other Chevrolets, this model also provides support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can also connect to a 4G/LTE data connection and even create a Wi-Fi hotspot in the vehicle.
5. Mazda CX-3
Next in line is the Mazda CX-3. It is also Mazda’s smallest crossover and has a starting price of $20,390. Like most other vehicles in this category, the CX-3 is also Front-Wheel-Drive, with no All-Wheel-Drive option. It has a 2.0L engine and a six-speed automatic transmission system. Its top Grand Touring AWD has a starting market price of $27,145 and comes with added features like heated steering wheels and heated leather seats. It also has an optional head-up display that puts vital driving information right in front of the driver’s line of sight.
Another intriguing feature about the CX-3 is its G-Vectoring Control settings. This feature is exclusive only to Mazda vehicles and has been one of Mazda’s huge selling points. The CX-3 has also been programmed to have a slightly reduced engine power, which is evident whenever the driver turns the steering wheel. As a result, the car’s weight shifts onto the front tires, which increases traction and creates precise, controlled steering responses under all weather conditions. This makes the CX-3 the perfect vehicle to have on any kind of road on any climate condition.
6. Ford EcoSport
The EcoSport officially marked Ford’s entry into the small crossover market. This basic vehicle is also a Front-Wheel-Drive only with four doors on its sides. But unlike other crossovers in this list, the EcoSport is powered by a 1.-L three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It also boasts a 123 horsepower with 125 pound-feet of torque. Pair this with an automatic transmission system, and you have one mean engine that’s rearing to get on the road.
The Ford EcoSport sells for $27,330, but the investment is worth every penny as this crossover comes packed with some amazing features and specifications. The thing that sets the EcoSport apart from its competition is its rear fifth door. Unlike other vehicle model doors that swing up like a hatch, this one opens to the side. This makes access to rear cargo that much easier and more convenient. It also offers about 50 cubic Feet of luggage space and can seat up to five passengers. For the price, you can say this vehicle is perfect in every way.
7. Honda Fit
The Honda Fit also ranks top of the list of the known subcompact car class. It’s powered by a 1.5L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. It also comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission system, making it one of the most powerful options in this list. It boasts one of the most spacious and handsome cabins you will find on the market and a configurable rear seat, making cargo hauling a cinch.
What’s more, the Honda Fit comes with several advanced driver aids that make it a favorite among most buyers who are looking for a versatile, spacious, and ferocious machine to have on the road. To top that, it’s an excellent fuel economizer. For a fair market price of $17,433, the Honda Fit is a worthy buy.
8. Honda HR-V
Another renowned Honda crossover is the HR_V. It starts with a base price of $19,670 and comes with a 1.8L engine. The Honda HR-V is rated to have 141 horsepower and an added 127 pound-feet of torque. You also get a six-speed manual transmission system and Front-Wheel-Drive. Fortunately, it’s one of those crossover vehicles that also has a continuously variable automatic transmission and All-Wheel-Drive.
Another notable feature about this vehicle is its LaneWatch system that uses a camera found near the rear end of the passenger-side mirror. This helps capture a wide-angle view and any blind spots that may arise from the vehicle’s right side. The image will be displayed on the infotainment screen whenever the driver activates the right-hand turn signal or presses the button to check the view. The Honda HR-V is one of the best crossovers that has driver safety and passenger safety features installed that actually work.
9. Fiat 500L
Unfortunately, not many buyers know about this intriguing crossover vehicle. But that’s mainly because few people take the time to notice the numerous features and driving specifications the Fiat 500L has to offer. Like the Kia Soul, the 500L is also a Front-Wheel-drive and has a four-door hatchback.
This Fiat 500L is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged engine with 160HP and 184 pound-feet of torque. So, it packs quite some power on the road and can get you where you want to go in record time. The Fiat 500L also has a six-speed automatic transmission system and a starting market price of $21,945. This is a fair deal considering all the driving features this crossover has to offer.
Buyers who want an All-Wheel-Drive can also opt for the Fiat 500X to meet their preferences. This car has everything to offer, and for the price, it’s a pretty fair deal.
10. Buick Encore
The Buick Encore already has a long-standing record of selling small crossovers in the United States. It has a base price of $23,200, which is okay for the 1.4L turbocharged engine. It’s been rated at 138HP and 148 pound-feet of torque. But you can also get a directly-injected version that comes at 153HP and 177 pound-feet of torque. This model also comes with a six-speed automatic transmission system.
The Encore also has an All-Wheel-Drive option for buyers who want more power on the road. But you’ll have to fork an extra $1,500. It can also connect to a 4G/LTE data connection and even create a Wi-Fi hotspot in the vehicle.
Reasons the Kia Soul Is Better Than Its Competition.
Beyond this brand’s rise up the ranks due to quality, it’s also known for its exemplary performance in other key areas. For the past dozen years, the Kia Soul has delivered several reasons why it’s an exceptional consideration over its comparable crossovers. Here are the top reasons why the Kia Soul is better than its competition and a worthy investment:
• True to Its Roots
Unlike many of its crossovers that try to rush innovation and give false promises to its customers, the Kia Soul is exactly as advertised. What you see is what you get with this car; unique. What’s more, this car is something of a survivor. Its compact design is a bonus as well since it can squeeze in tight spots most vehicles wouldn’t.
Moving beyond the sleepy eyes, its strong body also lines uniquely with sculpted rear lights, making it look far more mature than its previous versions. So, if Kia Soul manufacturers say their models are rugged or roomy, trust that they are.
• Huge on Headroom
The Kia Soul’s height also gives it an edge over the competition, especially when it comes to accommodating passengers and their stuff. While offering the same170mm ground clearance as most similarly sized vehicles, the Kia Soul stands 50mm taller than its siblings, which translates directly to more interior room.
This additional interior space allows for more headroom and a world of difference, especially when accommodating adults. This is also matched with even more legroom for the segment, something most vehicle owners highly consider.
• It’s Affordable
The Soul is perhaps one of the most affordable, high performing vehicles you’ll find on the market today. Its starting price may be a little on the higher end, with base models setting buyers back to about $21,195, and that’s before freight and other fees. However, you find that even the most expensive models fetch a reasonable $29,595. That’s very affordable, considering it comes fully packed and featured inside and out.
Inside it, you’ll find leather upholstery, integrated navigation, heated and ventilated front car seats, heated rear seats, and a 10.25-inch touch screen infotainment system. These are just mind-blowing features considering its market price.
The Bottom Line
The cornerstone of the Kia Soul brand lies in its endless pursuit of increased safety. Drivers love to have a sense of security when on the road. And Kia’s commitment to this fete plays a critical role in its selling point. From the above excerpt, it’s evident that Kia is a leader in developing high-quality crossover cars. But its competitors aren’t that far behind either. Some would even consider alternative brands better than the Kia brand.