2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Kia Soul

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Kia Soul doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Soul doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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

The Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Soul only offers a rear monitor.

Compared to metal, the Equinox’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Soul has a metal gas tank.

Both the Equinox and the Soul have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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

Equinox

Soul

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

159

181

Neck Injury Risk

17%

25%

Neck Stress

190 lbs.

248 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

51 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

376

394

Neck Injury Risk

26%

42%

Neck Compression

51 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 Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Kia Soul:

Equinox

Soul

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

357 lbs.

377 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

55 G’s

79 G’s

Hip Force

630 lbs.

727 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

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

Warranty

The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Soul’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Equinox has a standard 700-amp battery. The Soul’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Soul isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Equinox has more powerful engines than the Soul:

Horsepower

Torque

Equinox 1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

170 HP

203 lbs.-ft.

Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

252 HP

260 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.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Soul + 2.0 4-cyl. (automatics tested):

Equinox

Soul

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.1 MPH

84.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regardless of its engine, the Equinox’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Kia only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Soul +.

The Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Soul (15.6 vs. 14.2 gallons).

The Equinox has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Soul doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Soul.

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Soul.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Equinox 1.5T

Equinox 2.0T

Soul

Soul !

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

10.3 inches

10.3 inches

The Equinox stops shorter than the Soul:

Equinox

Soul

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

169 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Equinox has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Soul. The Equinox Premier’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Soul !.

The Equinox 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 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Equinox LS/LT/Premier 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 Chevrolet Equinox 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Equinox’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the Soul (107.3 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

The Equinox Premier AWD handles at .86 G’s, while the Soul + pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Equinox Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Soul ! (27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Soul doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Equinox uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Soul doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Equinox has 2.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Soul (103.2 vs. 101).

The Equinox has .4 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear legroom, 2.4 inches more rear hip room and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Soul.

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

Cargo Capacity

The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Soul with its rear seat up (29.9 vs. 24.2 cubic feet). The Equinox has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Soul with its rear seat folded (63.9 vs. 61.3 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Equinox easier. The Equinox’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.6 inches, while the Soul’s liftover is 31.1 inches.

The Equinox’s cargo area is larger than the Soul’s in almost every dimension:

Equinox

Soul

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/67.4”

25”/58.3”

Max Width

53.7”

50”

Min Width

40.7”

40.5”

Height

31”

31.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Equinox LT/Premier’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 Equinox (except L/LS) offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Equinox Premier, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Soul doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The Equinox has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Soul has no towing capacity. The Equinox offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Equinox (except L/LS), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Soul doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Equinox’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Soul doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Soul does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Equinox’s front and rear power windows all open fully with one touch of the switches and its driver’s window also automatically closes, 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. The Soul +/!’s rear windows don’t open automatically.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Soul can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Soul doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

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

The Equinox’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Soul +/!.

When the Equinox with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Soul’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Equinox offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Soul offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Equinox (except L/LS)’s optional 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 Equinox and the Soul offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Equinox 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.

The Equinox (except L/LS) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Soul doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Soul isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Kia Soul by over three to one during 2018.

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

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