2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Nissan Kicks

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 2019/12/05

The Kia Soul has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

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 Kicks 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 Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

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

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

Reliability

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

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Soul’s reliability 20 points higher than the Kicks.

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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 9 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

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The Soul’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 25 more horsepower (147 vs. 122) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (132 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 79 more horsepower (201 vs. 122) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Kia Soul is faster than the Nissan Kicks (automatics tested):

Soul 4 cyl.

Soul GT-Line Turbo

Kicks

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

6.4 sec

9.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

17 sec

36.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.2 sec

6.9 sec

10.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

15 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

95 MPH

80 MPH

Top Speed

120 MPH

128 MPH

110 MPH

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 2019/12/05

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

The Soul has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (14.3 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Soul’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:

Soul

Soul GT-Line Turbo

Kicks

Front Rotors

11 inches

12 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

10.3 inches

11.2 inches

8” drums

The Kia Soul has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. 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 Kicks:

Soul

Kicks

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

130 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Soul X-Line/GT-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (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 Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.

The Soul X-Line handles at .91 G’s, while the Kicks SR pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the Kicks SR (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Soul is 3.9 inches shorter than the Kicks, making the Soul easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Soul has 8.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kicks (102.2 vs. 93.9).

The Soul has 2.6 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 5.6 inches more rear legroom, 3.7 inches more rear hip room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

Cargo Capacity

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The Soul has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (62.1 vs. 32.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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

The power windows standard on both the Soul and the Kicks 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 Kicks prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Kicks’ manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Kicks 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 Kicks 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 Kicks doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo. The Soul’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the Soul EX/GT-Line Turbo offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Soul (except LX/S/X-Line) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) on the dashboard. The Kicks doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2019/12/05

The Soul will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Soul will retain 51.64% to 54.15% of its original price after five years, while the Kicks only retains 47.01% to 47.03%.

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 2019/12/05

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Soul, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Kicks isn't recommended.

The Kia Soul outsold the Nissan Kicks by 74% during the 2019 model year.

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

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