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The Tucson 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 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Tucson offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Soul doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Tucson Limited/Ultimate has a standard Surround View Monitor 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 Tucson’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 Tucson 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, available daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Tucson the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Soul has not been tested, yet.
The Tucson’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Soul’s (7/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Tucson second among small 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 Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.
The Tucson SE/Value’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (164 vs. 147) and 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 132) than the Soul’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.
The Tucson has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Soul (16.4 vs. 14.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Hyundai Tucson comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Soul.
For better stopping power the Tucson’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Soul:
For better traction, the Tucson has larger standard tires than the Soul (225/60R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Tucson Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Soul (245/45R19 vs. 235/45R18).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tucson SE/Value has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Soul LX/S. The Tucson Sport’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Soul X-Line/GT-Line.
For superior ride and handling, the Hyundai Tucson 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 Tucson has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Tucson flat and controlled during cornering. The Soul’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The Tucson has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Soul doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Tucson’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the Soul (105.1 inches vs. 102.4 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Tucson is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Soul.
The Tucson has .2 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Soul.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Tucson’s rear seats recline. The Soul’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Tucson has a much larger cargo volume than the Soul with its rear seat up (31 vs. 24.2 cubic feet).
The Tucson’s cargo area is larger than the Soul’s in almost every dimension:
Length to seat (2nd/1st)
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Tucson Sport/Limited/Ultimate’s power liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Tucson’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Soul doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
The Tucson has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The Soul has no towing capacity.
The Tucson Value/SEL/Sport/Limited has a standard 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.
The Tucson’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Soul has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The Tucson’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Soul’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
Consumer Reports rated the Tucson’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Soul’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Tucson Ultimate 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 Tucson Limited offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Soul doesn’t offer cornering lights.
Both the Tucson and the Soul offer available heated front seats. The Tucson Ultimate also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Soul.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Tucson Ultimate 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 Tucson and the Soul offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Tucson SEL/Sport/Limited/Ultimate 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.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Tucson is less expensive to operate than the Soul because typical repairs cost much less on the Tucson than the Soul, including $4 less for front brake pads, $42 less for a starter, $288 less for a timing belt/chain and $360 less for a power steering pump.
The Hyundai Tucson outsold the Kia Soul by 36% during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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