2020 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2021 Kia Soul

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/26

The GTI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Soul doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Compared to metal, the GTI’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Soul has a metal gas tank.

Both the GTI and the Soul 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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The GTI’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Soul’s (7/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the GTI for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Soul.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/26

The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Soul’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/26

The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 81 more horsepower (228 vs. 147) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 132) than the Soul’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder. The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (228 vs. 201) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 195) than the Soul Turbo’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen GTI is faster than the Kia Soul (automatics tested):

GTI

Soul 4 cyl.

Soul Turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

8.6 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

16.7 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

83.8 MPH

92.9 MPH

Transmission

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/26

The GTI Automatic’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Soul doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

GTI

Soul

Soul Turbo

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

11 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.3 inches

11.2 inches

The GTI’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Soul are solid, not vented.

The GTI stops much shorter than the Soul:

GTI

Soul

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GTI has larger tires than the Soul (225/40R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Soul LX/S’ standard 60 series tires. The GTI’s tires are lower profile than the Soul X-Line/GT-Line/Turbo’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Soul LX/S.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen GTI has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Kia Soul has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The GTI has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GTI flat and controlled during cornering. The Soul’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The GTI offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Soul’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GTI has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Soul doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GTI’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Soul (103.6 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

The GTI SE handles at .96 G’s, while the Soul GT-Line pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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The GTI has .1 inches more front legroom and .4 inches more front shoulder room than the Soul.

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/26

The GTI’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Soul’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

If the windows are left open on the GTI the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Soul can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GTI’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Soul’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The GTI’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Soul’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GTI to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Soul doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the GTI Autobahn detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Soul doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GTI SE/Autobahn has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Soul doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GTI SE/Autobahn also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The GTI’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Soul EX/Turbo.

Both the GTI and the Soul offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the GTI has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Soul doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The GTI Autobahn’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Soul doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/26

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen GTI and the Kia Soul, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 14 years. The Soul has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Soul has never been chosen.

The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 13 years. The Soul has never been an “All Star.”

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

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