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The Leaf has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Soul EV doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Leaf has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Soul EV doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The Leaf SV/SL’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Soul EV doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Leaf SL has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Soul EV only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Leaf (except S)’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Soul EV doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Leaf (except S)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Soul EV doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The Leaf SL’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Soul EV doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Leaf and the Soul EV 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 daytime running lights.
The Leaf’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Soul EV runs out after 100,000 miles.
There are over 40 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Leaf’s warranty.
The Leaf’s standard electric motor produces 38 more horsepower (147 vs. 109) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 210) than the Soul EV’s electric motor. The Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor produces 106 more horsepower (215 vs. 109) and 40 lbs.-ft. more torque (250 vs. 210) than the Soul EV’s electric motor.
As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Leaf (base engine) is faster than the Kia Soul EV:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the Leaf with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Soul EV (124 city/99 hwy vs. 124 city/93 hwy).
The Leaf’s standard maximum EPA estimated driving range is 151 miles on a full charge. The Leaf PLUS’ maximum EPA estimated driving range is 226 miles on a full charge, over twice as far as the Soul EV’s 111-mile range.
The Leaf’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Soul EV are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Leaf SV/SL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Soul EV (215/50R17 vs. 205/60R16).
The Leaf S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Soul EV’s standard 60 series tires. The Leaf SV/SL’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Soul EV’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Leaf SV/SL has standard 17-inch wheels. The Soul EV’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.
The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Soul EV doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Leaf has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Leaf flat and controlled during cornering. The Soul EV’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Leaf’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the Soul EV (106.3 inches vs. 101.2 inches).
The Leaf has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more rear hip room than the Soul EV.
The Leaf has a much larger cargo volume than the Soul EV with its rear seat up (23.6 vs. 18.8 cubic feet).
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Leaf SV/SL detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Soul EV doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Leaf SV/SL has a standard Intelligent Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Soul EV doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Leaf, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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