2020 Kia Soul vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Soul and the Crosstrek have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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

There are over 22 percent more Kia dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Soul’s warranty.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Soul GT-Line Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 49 more horsepower (201 vs. 152) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

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

Soul

Crosstrek

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.7 MPH

80.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Soul

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

Auto

EX 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/35 hwy

Crosstrek

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

23 city/29 hwy

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/33 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek:

Soul GT-Line Turbo

Crosstrek

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

10.8 inches

The Soul stops much shorter than the Crosstrek:

Soul

Crosstrek

60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

131 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 Crosstrek (235/45R18 vs. 225/60R17).

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 Crosstrek Limited’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Soul is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Crosstrek.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo handles at .86 G’s, while the Crosstrek Premium pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Soul GT-Line Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Crosstrek Limited (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Soul’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Crosstrek’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

The Kia Soul may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Subaru Crosstrek.

The Soul is 10.6 inches shorter than the Crosstrek, making the Soul easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Soul has 1.5 inches more rear headroom and 2.3 inches more rear legroom than the Crosstrek.

The front step up height for the Soul is 1.3 inches lower than the Crosstrek (16.2” vs. 17.5”). The Soul’s rear step up height is .6 inches lower than the Crosstrek’s (17.4” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Crosstrek with its rear seat up (24.2 vs. 20.8 cubic feet). The Soul has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Crosstrek with its rear seat folded (62.1 vs. 55.3 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Soul easier. The Soul’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.8 inches, while the Crosstrek’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

Servicing Ease

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

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 Crosstrek has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Limited.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek because it costs $54 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Soul than the Crosstrek, including $40 less for a water pump, $6 less for front brake pads, $161 less for a starter, $142 less for a fuel pump and $203 less for front struts.

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

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