2019 Mazda CX-3 vs. 2019 Kia Soul

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The CX-3 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Soul doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The CX-3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Soul doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the CX-3 and the Soul have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.


The CX-3’s 5-year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Soul runs out after 100,000 miles.


From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.


The CX-3’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 18 more horsepower (148 vs. 130) and 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (146 vs. 118) than the Soul’s standard 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda CX-3 is faster than the Soul + 2.0 4 cyl. (automatics tested):




Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.1 sec

8.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

23.8 sec

26.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.3 sec

8.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.9 sec

4 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5.7 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

84 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

116 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the UX Series gets better fuel mileage than the Soul:







CX-3 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/34 hwy



CX-3 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy



Soul 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy



Soul 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/31 hwy



+ Soul 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/30 hwy



! Soul 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/31 hwy


The Mazda CX-3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Soul.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-3 has larger tires than the Soul (215/60R16 vs. 205/60R16).

The CX-3 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Soul; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The CX-3 Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Soul + pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The CX-3 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Soul ! (27.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s).


When two different drivers share the CX-3 Grand Touring, the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Soul doesn’t offer memory seats.

The CX-3 Grand Touring has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Soul doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The CX-3’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Soul’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The CX-3’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Soul’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the CX-3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Soul doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-3 Grand Touring has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Soul doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-3 is less expensive to operate than the Soul because it costs $180 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-3 than the Soul, including $82 less for a water pump, $33 less for a muffler, $25 less for a starter, $172 less for a timing belt/chain and $266 less for a power steering pump.


Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its September 2015 issue and the Mazda CX-3 Touring AWD won out over the Kia Soul +.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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