2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Kia Soul

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CX-5 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-5 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-5 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Kia Soul:

CX-5

Soul

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

82

181

Neck Injury Risk

23%

25%

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

51 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

156

394

Neck Injury Risk

37%

42%

Neck Compression

86 lbs.

172 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda CX-5 is safer than the Kia Soul:

CX-5

Soul

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

81

97

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.8 inches

Abdominal Force

126 G’s

190 G’s

Hip Force

189 lbs.

377 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

208

231

Spine Acceleration

65 G’s

79 G’s

Hip Force

524 lbs.

727 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

32 G’s

Hip Force

435 lbs.

591 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the CX-5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 45 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Soul is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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.

Engine

The CX-5 has more powerful engines than the Soul:

Horsepower

Torque

CX-5 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

187 HP

186 lbs.-ft.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Soul 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

130 HP

118 lbs.-ft.

Soul + 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

161 HP

150 lbs.-ft.

Soul ! 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

201 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 38 more horsepower (168 vs. 130) and 172 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 118) than the Soul’s standard 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 7 more horsepower (168 vs. 161) and 140 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 150) than the Soul +’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 95 lbs.-ft. more torque (290 vs. 195) than the Soul !’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 4 cyl. is faster than the Soul + 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

CX-5

Soul

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.6 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 gets better fuel mileage than the Soul:

MPG

CX-5

FWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.2 turbo 4 cyl. Diesel

27 city/30 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

Soul

FWD

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Soul doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Soul (15.3 vs. 14.2 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the Kia Soul (3 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Soul every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Mazda CX-5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Soul.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the CX-5’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Soul:

CX-5

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Soul

Soul !

Front Rotors

11.7 inches

12.6 inches

11 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.3 inches

10.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the CX-5 has larger tires than the Soul (225/65R17 vs. 205/60R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the CX-5 Sport/Touring has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Soul. The CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Soul !.

The CX-5 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

For superior ride and handling, the Mazda CX-5 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Kia Soul has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The CX-5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the CX-5 flat and controlled during cornering. The Soul’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the CX-5’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the Soul (106.2 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the CX-5 is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .6 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Soul.

The CX-5 Signature AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Soul + pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The CX-5 has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Soul (103.6 vs. 101).

The CX-5 has .1 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear legroom, 6 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Soul.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the CX-5’s rear seats recline. The Soul’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The CX-5 has a much larger cargo volume than the Soul with its rear seat up (30.9 vs. 24.2 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the CX-5 easier. The CX-5’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.4 inches, while the Soul’s liftover is 31.1 inches.

The CX-5’s cargo area is larger than the Soul’s in every dimension:

CX-5

Soul

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

38”/n.a.

25”/58.3”

Max Width

57”

50”

Min Width

41.3”

40.5”

Height

32.4”

31.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the CX-5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Soul doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the CX-5 (except Sport) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The Soul doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The CX-5 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Soul has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature, the 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-5 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed 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-5’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Soul’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Soul +/!’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The CX-5’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.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Soul’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the CX-5 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-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Soul doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Soul doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the CX-5 and the Soul offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the CX-5 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Soul doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the CX-5 is less expensive to operate than the Soul because it costs $243 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the CX-5 than the Soul, including $89 less for a water pump, $6 less for a starter, $193 less for a timing belt/chain and $373 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Soul, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The Soul hasn’t been picked since 2018.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Kia Soul by 44% during 2018.

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

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