2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Soul are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

The Soul S/EX/GT-Line’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 Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Soul and the Equinox 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 crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

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

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Soul has a standard 760-amp battery. The Equinox’s 700-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 18 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 31 more horsepower (201 vs. 170) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Soul 2.0 4 cyl. is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

Soul

Equinox

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

26.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.2 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

83 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Soul

FWD

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

Auto

EX 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

GT Turbo 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

27 city/32 hwy

Equinox

FWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Soul uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Equinox with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Soul offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Equinox doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Soul offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Equinox doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Soul offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Equinox doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Soul stops much shorter than the Equinox:

Soul

Equinox

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Soul LX/S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Equinox’s standard 65 series tires. The Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Equinox Premier’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Soul’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Soul’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Equinox w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Soul may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 650 pounds less than the Chevrolet Equinox.

The Soul is 1 foot, 5.9 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the Soul easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Soul has .2 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more rear headroom and 1.1 inches more rear hip room than the Equinox.

Servicing Ease

The Soul uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Equinox uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The Soul GT-Line Turbo has a standard heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Soul S/EX/GT-Line’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Soul owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Soul with a number “1” insurance rate while the Equinox is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Soul is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $327 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the Equinox, including $144 less for a water pump, $610 less for a muffler, $148 less for front brake pads, $60 less for a starter, $201 less for fuel injection, $453 less for a fuel pump and $226 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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