2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Ford EcoSport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 EcoSport 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a lane departure 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Soul and the EcoSport 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.


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 EcoSport’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 Ford covers the EcoSport. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the EcoSport 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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fourth.

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 13 places higher in reliability than Ford.


The Soul’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 24 more horsepower (147 vs. 123) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (132 vs. 125) than the EcoSport’s standard 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 35 more horsepower (201 vs. 166) and 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 149) than the EcoSport’s optional 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Soul 2.0 4 cyl. is faster than the Ford EcoSport turbo 3 cyl. (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

10.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

39.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.2 sec

10.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

78 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

111 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Soul GT-Line Turbo is faster than the Ford EcoSport 2.0 (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.7 MPH

77 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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





2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy


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




1.0 turbo 3 cyl.

27 city/29 hwy



2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

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


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 EcoSport.

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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Soul GT-Line Turbo


Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

10.7 inches

The Soul stops much shorter than the EcoSport:



70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

132 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 EcoSport (235/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Soul X-Line/GT-Line has standard 18-inch wheels. The EcoSport’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 Ford EcoSport only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Soul’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the EcoSport (102.4 inches vs. 99.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than on the EcoSport.

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the EcoSport Titanium pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the EcoSport SE (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 29.3 seconds @ .54 average G’s).


The Kia Soul may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Ford EcoSport.

Passenger Space

The Soul has 11.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the EcoSport (102.2 vs. 91.1).

The Soul has 1.9 inches more front hip room, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, 2.1 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the EcoSport.

Cargo Capacity

The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the EcoSport with its rear seat up (24.2 vs. 20.9 cubic feet). The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the EcoSport with its rear seat folded (62.1 vs. 50 cubic feet).

The Soul’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The EcoSport’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

Servicing Ease

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


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 EcoSport doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

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 EcoSport 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 EcoSport 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 EcoSport doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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 EcoSport 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 EcoSport because typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the EcoSport, including $56 less for a muffler, $19 less for front brake pads, $156 less for a fuel pump, $108 less for front struts, $394 less for a timing belt/chain and $52 less for a power steering pump.


The Kia Soul outsold the Ford EcoSport by almost two to one during 2018.

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

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