2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2020 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Equinox the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Soul has not been tested, yet.

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

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’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 23 more horsepower (170 vs. 147) and 71 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 132) than the Soul’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl. The Equinox’s 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 195) than the Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cyl. The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (252 vs. 201) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 195) than the Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Kia Soul 4-cyl. (automatics tested):

Equinox

Soul

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.1 sec

24.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

86 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

120 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 Auto.

The Equinox AWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Soul (15.6 vs. 14.3 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.

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 GT-Line Turbo

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

11 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

10.3 inches

11.2 inches

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 LX/S. The Equinox Premier’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Soul X-Line/GT-Line.

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.

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 4.9 inches longer than on the Soul (107.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

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 .6 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear legroom 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. 62.1 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 29.8 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”

26”/59”

Max Width

53.7”

45.6”

Min Width

40.7”

41.5”

Height

31”

33”

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.

Ergonomics

The Equinox offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Soul doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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.

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 EX/GT-Line Turbo.

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.

Both the Equinox and the Soul offer available heated front seats. The Equinox Premier also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Soul.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Equinox Premier keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Soul doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the Soul because typical repairs cost less on the Equinox than the Soul, including $9 less for front struts and $191 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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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