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Motor Trend Says Kia Soul Becomes the Most Affordable Subcompact SUV

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According to Motor Trend magazine, ‘the 2020 Kia Soul is the most well rounded among the four contenders.’ And here’s more about what they said.

Just like Motor Trend said, ‘as SUVs continue to dominate the automotive landscape, it was only a matter of time until every purse and purpose was satisfied. Now a new niche is emerging within the subcompact SUV segment, aimed at consumers on a budget and in search of a higher seating position and additional cargo space than what a sedan can offer.’

So they compared these four – the Kia Soul, the Hyundai Venue, the Nissan Kicks, and the Toyota C-HR. Unlike any other traditional SUV, however, none of these models offers all-wheel drive or four-wheel, because they are practically not for off-roads. So the Motor Trend magazine checked for their ‘living space’, ‘the tech’, ‘driver assistance’, and ‘road manners’.

Spacious Cabin and Cargo Space

Soul featured spacious cabin accommodations with elegant interior.

According to Motor Trend, where the 2020 Kia Soul beats its competitors is ‘in overall material quality and execution.’ The Kia’s materials feel more substantial, and the sophisticated trim helps give the Soul’s cabin a sense of elegance that the others lack. The Soul’s interior is also one of the quieter ones in the group. A two-level cargo floor gives the Soul plenty of flexibility, and its boxy shape makes fitting bulky items a breeze.

The spec comparison between the four models shows just how attractive Soul is. There’s 1,003 mm of headroom, 985 mm of legroom, and 1,389 mm shoulder room in the rear seats. Soul also offers cargo volume of 662 L, and 1,758 L with rear seats folded. ‘Perhaps,’ Motor Trend said, ‘the C-HR’s most detrimental feature is its claustrophobic cabin; the narrow greenhouse imparts a confined feeling, particularly to rear passengers who have jail-cell-like wedges for windows.’ The Nissan Kicks’ wheelbase advantage over the Soul gives it more usable space, though.

State-of-the-art Infotainment System

Kia’s interface is the superior unit thanks to its large 10.25-inch touchscreen.

According to the magazine, Hyundai and Kia continue to show their infotainment mastery in the Venue and Soul. Even at the entry level, the Korean sister brands don’t skimp on the connectivity front, and they also keep things easy for the tech-challenged. Both vehicles have the latest system, which blends speed, intuitiveness, and simplicity. Kia’s interface, however, is the superior unit thanks to its large 10.25-inch touchscreen, which ‘makes everything else look old’ while also sporting the best UI of the bunch.

Sleek ADAS

Soul’s ADAS systems stand out for their accuracy.

‘The Kia Soul and the Hyundai Venue, the magazine said, ‘do have operates better than what you find in the Nissan and Toyota.’ The Koreans’ lane keeping assist systems stand out for their accuracy and ability to navigate gentle turns. Having a full suite of driver assistance features doesn’t help the 2020 Toyota C-HR, proving the efficacy of a system may be more important than its availability. Most notably, the lane keeping assist reacts late, and automatic emergency braking constantly freaks out, slamming on the brakes even when there’s no danger. The Kicks’ lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring only make subtle beeps.

Sportiness And Affordable At The Same Time

Soul offers sportiness and stable handling at the same time.

Sportiness probably isn’t the priority for someone buying an affordable SUV, according to Motor trend, but it’s still important to have a vehicle with stable handling and the ability to confidently zip out of trouble if necessary. Of the four subcompact SUVs, the 2020 Kia Soul has the most polished road manners. You never feel it struggling to accelerate or climb grades, and the CVT is also the best of the group, decisively changing ratios to put the 147-hp 2.0-liter I-4 to good use. The magazine said that ‘it’s a powertrain that’s responsive, has decent power, and isn’t loud and obnoxious. Even has a pretty good stop/start system.’ The Soul’s suspension, although a bit stiff, is the most sorted. One of the jurors said “The Soul has astonishing ride quality that belies its price point.” Its handling and body control are the best of the group, too, and the cabin stays quiet on the highway or during hard acceleration.

Soul boasted the quickest 8.6-second zero-to-60-mph time. While the Kia Soul has the most decent power, the engine of C-HR gets so loud that one of the jurors found himself ‘feathering the throttle to keep it from causing excessive engine noise to enter the cabin.’ Kicks are the least powerful vehicles in the group.

The Verdict

‘Among our four contenders,’ Motor Trend said, ‘the 2020 Kia Soul is the most well rounded.’ Great road manners, excellent interior packing, a nicely tuned powertrain, and the best tech features help the Soul bely its categorization as an affordable small SUV. Even if you opt for a lower trim than our EX example, the Soul doesn’t punish you for being frugal by giving you low-rent materials or stripping the vehicle clean of modern tech features. As one of the jurors noted, “The Soul assures you that you didn’t really have to sacrifice anything. Solid, sophisticated, and smart, the Kia Soul is a real car.”

The Kia Soul, one of the best-selling compact SUV in the United States

The Kia Soul is one of the best-selling compact SUV in the United States – 98,013 units were sold last year, and the automaker is selling 5,000 units every month this year.

3-Row SUV Comparison Test: Kia Telluride Dominates

The Kia Telluride makes the best midsize three-row SUV, according to Motor Trend magazine.

Who makes the best midsize three-row SUV for a big family? The Kia Telluride outperforms its competitors, according to Motor Trend magazine. The initial nine competitors were: Volkswagen Atlas, Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, and Kia Telluride

It boasted eye-catching design, an elegant interior, and excellent value.

It boasted eye-catching design, an elegant interior, and excellent value. Smartly styled, loaded with standard equipment, roomy and pleasant to drive, a 10.25-inch touchscreen loaded with high-tech features, and, to cap it all, an astonishingly good value, the 2020 Kia Telluride is one of the most compelling family SUVs on the market today, according to Motor Trend. And speaking of which, the Kia Telluride also is the 2020 MotorTrend SUV of the Year.