2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Ford Escape

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 Escape offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Both the Soul and the Escape 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 lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

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 Escape’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 Escape. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Escape ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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.

Engine

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

Soul

Escape

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

36.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.2 sec

9.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

81 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

114 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

Escape

FWD

Auto

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

AWD

Auto

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the Soul’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Ford only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Escape EcoBoost.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Soul uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape with the 1.5 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 Escape 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 Escape.

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 Escape 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 Escape doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Soul stops much shorter than the Escape:

Soul

Escape

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the Escape Titanium AWD pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Escape SE (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Soul’s turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the Escape’s (34.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Soul may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 pounds less than the Ford Escape.

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

Passenger Space

The Soul has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Escape (102.2 vs. 98.7).

The Soul has .5 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and .4 inches more rear hip room than the Escape.

Servicing Ease

The Soul uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Escape 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 Escape doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Escape 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 Escape because typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the Escape, including $1136 less for a muffler, $12 less for front brake pads, $65 less for a fuel pump, $49 less for front struts and $465 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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