2022 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2022 Kia Soul: Zippy Handling Beats Funky Styling

If you love wild road trips with friends or family, you need a sturdy, spacious and stunning car. While the market is abundantly supplied with excellent options, the Mazda CX-30 seems to be one of the best choices. This crossover SUV has a high-tech interior for relaxed drive and performs spectacularly. 

However, the CX-30 has an arch revival with eerily similar features and defies contemporary categorization. The aptly named Kia Soul attracts souls with its spacious interior to accommodate five people and several suitcases. It also has an impressive power output, and you can customize some designs. To find out which subcompact crossover SUV will take the gold medal, here’s is a head-to-head comparison. 

An overview of both subcompact crossover SUV models

A light blue 2022 Mazda CX-30 driving past trees in a suburb and a red 2022 Kia Soul driving down a highway
2022 Mazda CX-30 and 2022 Kia Soul | Mazda North American Operations and Kia America

Known for world-class vehicles, Kia struck gold when creating the Soul. Its emblematic exterior and a roomy cabin make the car a notorious adversary in the subcompact SUV market. Unfortunately, Kia’s lack of power and few standard driver-assist features are major setbacks. 

The Mazda CX-30 was built with high-tech features and top-notch exterior finishing. Though some of its non-turbo models are annoying, their practicality is admirable, and many drivers adore the model. Having said that, CX-30’s great value and superb performance made it at the top of the subcompact section of Car and Driver‘s 2022 Editors’ Choice. 

2022 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2022 Kia Soul: Exterior features, performance, and pricing 

The Kia Soul’s toaster-shaped exterior has ousted the Nissan Cube, Honda Element, and many other similar SUVs to compete traditionally.  Today, the quirky car has thousands of positive reviews. The Kia Soul comes with either 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower or a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The latter is powerful and can accelerate the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds. Its engine is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission for quicker intermittent sprints and smoother rides. 

On the other hand, the Mazda CX-30 is a five-star rated machine with a stylish athletic design and a sportier look. It is aerodynamically equipped to minimize drag and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph within 5.8 seconds, thanks to an available turbocharged engine that produces 250 horsepower.

Both cars have decent fuel economy ratings for their subcompact sizes. The Mazda CX-30 has EPA fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, with turbocharged models dipping down to 22 mpg and 30 mpg respectively. In contrast, the Kia Soul has superior fuel economy ratings of 28 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

We can see the Soul has a fuel consumption advantage over the CX-30. However, when compared to the latest SUVs with similar engine capabilities, the former is a fuel guzzler. With that put across, CX-30’s relationship between fuel consumption and power output gives it an upper hand. 

Lastly, according to U.S. News, the Kia Soul base price of $19,290. In comparison, the 2022 Mazda CX-30 base model has a starting price of $22,000 according to Inside Mazda. However, if you want one a CX-30 with premium features and a turbocharged engine, then be prepared to pay well over $30K. 

Both subcompact crossover SUVs have futuristic interiors

The Kia Soul’s well-crafted spacious interior has textured door panels, ambient lighting, and a head-up display. The car has a simplified push-button ignition, and while driving, you will enjoy the comfort of heated seats and steering wheel. The Soul stands out with the ability to allow you to customize the interior with a multitude of color schemes. Additionally, the cargo space can be multiplied by folding down rear seats to accommodate up to 20 suitcases. 

On the other hand, the Mazda CX-30’s iconic interior has a row of control knobs that splits the dashboard into upper and lower panels whose purpose is to control climate. Premium leather upholstery and an upgraded music system. Buyers can go with an eight or 12-speaker system. However, the cargo space is cramped, and the subcompact SUV can only carry 16 suitcases when the rear seats are folded down. 

To sum up, both cars perform excellently, have luxurious interiors and attractive prices. But when you narrow it down to specific features, the Mazda CX-30 has the upper hand

RELATED: 5 Best Compact SUVs for the Money in 2022