2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Chevrolet Trax

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Soul S/EX/GT-Line has standard Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Trax has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

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 Trax doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Soul and the Trax 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available 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 Trax’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 Trax. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Trax ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Soul has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Trax’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Soul has a standard 760-amp battery. The Trax’s 525-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’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 9 more horsepower (147 vs. 138) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 63 more horsepower (201 vs. 138) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 148) than the Trax’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

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

Soul

Trax

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

36.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.2 sec

10.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

79 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

115 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Soul

FWD

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

Trax

FWD

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

AWD

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/29 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Soul Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Trax doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Kia Soul GT-Line Turbo, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Trax.

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 Trax 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 Trax doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Soul GT-Line Turbo’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Trax:

Soul GT-Line Turbo

Trax

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

9” drums

Opt Rear Rotors

10.6 inches

The Kia Soul has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Rear drums are standard on the Trax. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Soul stops shorter than the Trax:

Soul

Trax

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

169 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Trax (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R18).

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 Trax’s standard 70 series tires. The Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Trax’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Soul’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Trax (102.4 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Trax.

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the Trax LT AWD pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the Trax LT AWD (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Soul’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Trax’s (34.8 feet vs. 36.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The Soul has 9.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Trax (102.2 vs. 92.8).

The Soul has .3 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Trax.

Cargo Capacity

The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Trax with its rear seat up (24.2 vs. 18.7 cubic feet). The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Trax with its rear seat folded (62.1 vs. 48.4 cubic feet).

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

Soul

Trax

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

26”/59”

29.3”/57”

Max Width

45.6”

39.5”

Min Width

41.5”

36”

Height

33”

31.8”

Servicing Ease

The Soul uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Trax 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 Trax 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 Trax’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Soul has standard extendable sun visors. The Trax doesn’t offer extendable visors.

On extremely cold winter days, the Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Trax doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo’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 Trax doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Trax doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Soul GT-Line Turbo has a standard Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Trax doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Trax’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

With standard voice command, the Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Trax doesn’t offer a voice control system.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Soul (except LX/S/X-Line) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) on the dashboard. The Trax doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 Trax is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Soul is less expensive to operate than the Trax because typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the Trax, including $172 less for a water pump, $379 less for a muffler, $16 less for front brake pads, $270 less for a fuel pump, $52 less for front struts, $450 less for a timing belt/chain and $6 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Kia Soul outsold the Chevrolet Trax by 16% during 2018.

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

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