2020 Kia Soul EV vs. 2019 Nissan Leaf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Soul EV and the Leaf 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.


The Soul EV comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Leaf’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Soul EV 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Leaf. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Leaf ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 9 places higher in reliability than Nissan.


The Soul EV’s electric motor produces 54 more horsepower (201 vs. 147) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (291 vs. 236) than the Leaf’s standard electric motor. The Soul EV’s electric motor produces 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (291 vs. 250) than the Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Soul EV gets better fuel mileage than the Leaf:


Soul EV

Electric Motor

127 city/101 hwy


Electric Motor

124 city/99 hwy

PLUS S Electric Motor

118 city/97 hwy

PLUS SV/SL Electric Motor

114 city/94 hwy

The Soul EV’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 243 miles on a full charge, over 60% further than the Leaf’s standard 151-mile range and 8% further than the Leaf PLUS’ 226 mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Soul EV


Front Rotors

12 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Soul EV has larger tires than the Leaf (215/55R17 vs. 205/55R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Soul EV has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Leaf S.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Kia Soul EV 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 Nissan Leaf has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul EV is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than the average track on the Leaf.


The Soul EV is 11.2 inches shorter than the Leaf, making the Soul EV easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Soul EV has 5.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Leaf (98 vs. 92.4).

The Soul EV has 1.8 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear headroom, 2.5 inches more rear legroom, 2.8 inches more rear hip room and 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Leaf.


To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Soul EV has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Leaf doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Soul EV’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Leaf’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the Soul EV and the Leaf have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Soul EV is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Leaf prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Soul EV Designer Collection’s front power windows open fully with one touch of the switches, and the 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 Leaf’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

The Soul EV’s power window, power lock and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Leaf’s power lock and cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Soul EV’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan charges extra for heated mirrors on the Leaf.

The Soul EV Designer Collection has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Leaf doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Soul EV’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 Leaf doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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

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