Deciding Between the Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul Is Tough

The Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul are both price-friendly compact SUVs, but which one is better? Will the boxy Kia Soul or more rounded Hyundai Kona be the best fit for you? Let’s compare power, features, and price to determine the answer. 

Hyundai Kona vs. Kia Soul 

The 2020 Kia Soul starts around $17k, making it hard to beat. The 2020 Hyundai Kona is also an affordable option, but starts around $20k, so what does it have to make it worth an extra three grand? 

A blue Hyundai Kona Hybrid sits in a driveway lined with palm trees.
2020 Hyundai Kona Hybrid | Hyundai Motors

Also, both of these compact SUVs have about the same fuel economy. The Kia Soul gets 27 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway. The Hyundai Kona receives 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. 

Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul performance 

The Hyundai Kona comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. But you can upgrade to the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. 

Kia Soul X-Line driving on dirt trail
2020 Kia Soul X-Line

In the Kia Soul, you’ll find basically the same 2.4-liter base engine. However, the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the Kia Soul pumps out 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. So, the Soul might provide a lower price to upgrade to the more powerful engine. 

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The Kia Soul can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is speedy for a compact SUV. Also, the Hyundai Kona takes about 9.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. Less than a second in acceleration speed should have a noticeable difference. 

Both the Kia Soul and Hyundai Kona can tow about 2,000 lb, but we wouldn’t recommend straining the transmission very much. These vehicles aren’t designed to pull campers but can manage small trailers. 

But here is an interesting downfall for the Kia Soul. It doesn’t have all-wheel-drive or four-wheel drive available. The Hyundai Kona has optional all-wheel-drive, so you can pay to add that feature. Doing so would set you up for more control while driving in slippery conditions such as snow. 

Kia Soul and Hyundai Kona features 

The Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul are about the same size, but the Kia Soul has slightly more passenger space in the rear seat. Also, the Hyundai Kona has up to 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space when the seats are folded, and the Kia Soul provides up to 62.1 cubic feet. 

2019 Hyundai Kona driving in the country
2019 Hyundai Kona | Hyundai

Both of these little SUVs come with a standard 7” infotainment center that can connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They both come with a keyless entry system too, but the Kona doesn’t have a push-button start. 

The 2020 Kia Soul is a top IIHS safety pick, but the base model doesn’t include many safety features. The base model Hyundai Kona includes drowsy driver attention warning, forward collision prevention,  and lane-keeping assistance. 

Kia Soul on display at auto show
Kia Soul

Deciding between these vehicles is tough. The Kia Soul provides a better deal if you’re on a budget, but the Hyundai Kona is better for facing the snow. You may have to test drive both options to make a final decision.