2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Hyundai Accent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Accent 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 Accent 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 Accent doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Soul and the Accent 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 crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.


To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Soul has a standard 760-amp battery. The Accent’s 640-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 Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked third.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 5 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.


The Soul’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (147 vs. 130) and 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (132 vs. 119) than the Accent’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 71 more horsepower (201 vs. 130) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 119) than the Accent’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Soul GT-Line Turbo is faster than the Hyundai Accent (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.7 MPH

81.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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 Accent doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Soul has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Accent (14.3 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.


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 Accent.

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 Accent 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 Accent doesn’t offer an SMG.

A standard “hill holder” feature keeps the Kia Soul with manual transmission from rolling backwards on a steep slope. The Accent doesn’t offer a hill holder feature.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Soul GT-Line Turbo


Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

8” drums

Opt Rear Rotors

10.3 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 Accent. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Soul stops much shorter than the Accent:



70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

173 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Soul has larger standard tires than the Accent (205/60R16 vs. 185/65R15). The Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Accent (235/45R18 vs. 205/45R17).

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 Accent’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Soul LX/S has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Accent. The Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Accent Limited.

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

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 2.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Accent.

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the Accent SE pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.


The Soul is 7.4 inches shorter than the Accent, making the Soul easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Soul has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Accent (102.2 vs. 90.2).

The Soul has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear headroom, 5.3 inches more rear legroom, 2 inches more rear hip room and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the Accent.

Cargo Capacity

The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Accent (24.2 vs. 13.7 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Soul’s cargo door uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Accent’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

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

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Soul has a standard rear wiper. The Accent doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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 Accent has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SEL/Limited.

The Soul’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Accent doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

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 Accent 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 Accent 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 Accent doesn’t offer dual zone 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 Accent 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 Accent’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Soul is less expensive to operate than the Accent because typical repairs cost less on the Soul than the Accent, including $80 less for fuel injection and $130 less for a fuel pump.


The Kia Soul outsold the Hyundai Accent by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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