2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Kia dealers as there are Mitsubishi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Soul’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Soul has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Outlander Sport’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 Outlander Sport’s 530-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 Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

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 Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 20th.

Engine

The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 33 more horsepower (201 vs. 168) and 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 167) than the Outlander Sport GT’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

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

Soul

Outlander Sport

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

32 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.2 sec

10.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

79 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

113 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

Outlander Sport

FWD

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

GT 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

GT 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/28 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 Outlander Sport doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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 Outlander Sport.

The Soul offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Soul GT-Line Turbo

Outlander Sport

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.6 inches

The Soul stops much shorter than the Outlander Sport:

Soul

Outlander Sport

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

125 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 Outlander Sport (235/45R18 vs. 225/55R18).

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 Outlander Sport’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

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 Outlander Sport.

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the Outlander Sport SE 4WD 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 2.2 seconds quicker than the Outlander Sport SE 4WD (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 29 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

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

The Soul is 6.7 inches shorter than the Outlander Sport, making the Soul easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Soul has 4.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Outlander Sport (102.2 vs. 97.5).

The Soul has 1.4 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear hip room than the Outlander Sport.

Cargo Capacity

The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Outlander Sport with its rear seat up (24.2 vs. 21.7 cubic feet). The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Outlander Sport with its rear seat folded (62.1 vs. 49.5 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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

The power windows standard on both the Soul and the Outlander Sport have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Soul is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outlander Sport prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the GT.

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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport 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 Outlander Sport doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Soul is less expensive to operate than the Outlander Sport because typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the Outlander Sport, including $200 less for a water pump, $26 less for a muffler, $10 less for front brake pads, $123 less for a starter, $89 less for fuel injection, $408 less for a fuel pump, $104 less for front struts and $168 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Kia Soul outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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