2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Fiat 500

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

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 Fiat 500 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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 500 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Soul S/EX/GT-Line’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 500 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Soul (except LX)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 500 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 500 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo has standard 911 Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 500 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Soul and the 500 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 and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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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 500’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Soul 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 500. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the 500 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 84 percent more Kia dealers than there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Soul’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Soul’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 500’s camshaft. If the 500’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Soul has a standard 150-amp alternator. The 500’s 120-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 500’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 123 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

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The Soul has more powerful engines than the 500:

Horsepower

Torque

Soul 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

147 HP

132 lbs.-ft.

Soul GT-Line Turbo 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

201 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

500 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

135 HP

150 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

157 HP

183 lbs.-ft.

500 Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

160 HP

170 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

On the EPA test cycle the Soul gets better fuel mileage than the 500:

MPG

Soul

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

500

Auto

1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 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 500 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Soul uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 500 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Soul has 3.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 500 (14.3 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A six-speed manual is standard on the Kia Soul, with closer gear ratios for better performance and a lower final drive ratio for quieter highway operation, less engine wear and better fuel mileage. Only a five-speed manual is available for the 500.

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 500 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 500 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Soul GT-Line Turbo’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 500:

Soul GT-Line Turbo

500

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

9.4 inches

The Soul stops much shorter than the 500:

Soul

500

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

195 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Soul has larger standard tires than the 500 (205/60R16 vs. 195/45R16). The Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500 (235/45R18 vs. 205/40R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Soul X-Line/GT-Line has standard 18-inch wheels. The 500’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Kia Soul’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500 only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Soul has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 500; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Soul has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The 500’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Soul’s wheelbase is 11.8 inches longer than on the 500 (102.4 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul is 6.6 inches wider in the front and 7.4 inches wider in the rear than on the 500.

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the 500 Abarth pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Soul’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the 500’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.6 feet).

Passenger Space

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The Soul has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500 can only carry 4.

The Soul has 26.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500 (102.2 vs. 75.5).

The Soul has .5 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 5.7 inches more front hip room, 6.1 inches more front shoulder room, 3.9 inches more rear headroom, 7.1 inches more rear legroom, 10.2 inches more rear hip room and 8.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500.

Servicing Ease

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The Soul uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 500 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

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To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Soul 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 500 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

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 500 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Soul’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Fiat does not offer a locking feature on the 500’s standard power windows.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control. The 500’s driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The Soul’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

The Smart Key optional on the Soul (except LX/S/X-Line) allows you to unlock the driver’s door, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

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 500’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Soul has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the 500 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Soul has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

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 500 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 500 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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 500 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Soul has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500 doesn’t offer rear vents.

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 500 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

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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 500 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Soul is less expensive to operate than the 500 because typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the 500, including $128 less for a water pump, $6 less for front brake pads, $143 less for fuel injection and $288 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

The Kia Soul outsold the Fiat 500 by over 19 to one during 2018.

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

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