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In the compact crossover world, there’s not a whole lot of room for error, or anything else. Crossovers are the most popular segment of vehicles in America, and the Nissan Kicks hasn’t been at it for long. Entering the competition just a few years ago, the Kicks has already seen some changes. Competing in the same segment as the Kia Soul, Honda HR-V, Toyota CH-R, Hyundai Kona, and Mazda CX-3 is no easy task. The 2022 Kia Soul stands out as one of the more unique-looking vehicles along with the 2021 Nissan Kicks, so why not see which one is better?

Nissan Kicks: what’s new for 2021?

The 2021 Nissan Kicks subcompact SUV with a blue body and black roof parked in a brick warehouse
2021 Nissan Kicks | Nissan Motor Corporation

A styling update came for the Kicks this model year including a few exterior changes. A larger grille, new head and tail lamps, redesigned bumpers, and a new 17-inch aluminum wheel design. New colors in the lineup can now be paired with the contrasting black roof option. The SV and SR models now come with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The center console also received a redesign, as did the front seat armrest, door trim panels, and air vents. Adaptive cruise control has been added as an option along with an electronic parking brake with an auto brake hold feature. The highest trim level, SR, now features a Wi-Fi hotspot as an available option.

Kia Soul: what’s new for 2022?

A black 2022 Kia Soul drives on a road during the day
2022 Kia Soul | KIA

The newest Kia Soul did not receive a lot of changes from the 2021 model year. Kia’s new logo has replaced the old one, which doesn’t add much. The 10.3-inch infotainment display with navigation is now available on all trims other than the base LX. Some enthusiasts will be disappointed to learn that the manual transmission has been discontinued. The LX model can now be equipped with a technology package that includes automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring. The S, X-Line, and GT-Line models now come standard with dual-zone climate control, push-button start, wireless smartphone charging, and two extra USB ports.

Which has better fuel efficiency?

A gray 2021 Nissan Kicks driving away from a city background
2021 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

Crossovers can be drastically different in terms of fuel efficiency. It is one of the more important factors when purchasing one of these small vehicles. Starting with the 2021 Nissan Kicks, which has only a single engine option, it gets 37-mpg. The four-cylinder engine produces 122-hp and can take the Kicks from 0-60 in a slow and steady 9.7 seconds.

The 2022 Kia Soul, according to the same 75-mph fuel-economy test from Car and Driver, gets 33-mpg. The Soul has two engine options, the lesser of which is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 147-hp. The Turbo model comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder which boosts the Soul up to 201-hp. The Turbo model can travel from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds.

The two of these vehicles are very similar in size and alarmingly similar in features. Technology, safety, and even cargo space are very close. If you’re looking for a more up-to-date vehicle with better fuel economy, the 2021 Nissan Kicks is the right selection. For a faster ride with a little extra space inside, the 2022 Kia Soul remains a good compact crossover option.