If you’re in the market for a small subcompact SUV, there are a lot of options on the market. Two popular subcompact models on the market are the 2020 Nissan Juke and the 2020 Kia Soul. Each has good appealing qualities. Each has shortcomings. What does each model offer, and which offers the better value?
The 2020 Nissan Juke
The Nissan Juke launched in 2011 but was discontinued in 2018. But Nissan brought it back for 2020. The Nissan Juke was originally derived from the Nissan Versa, according to Car and Driver. The Juke with its unconventional looks has a higher ride height and the sharply-raked rear of a hatchback.
It’s fun to drive and handles well. It features a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 188 hp. It comes with front-wheel drive as standard with optional all-wheel drive. Its overall 24 mpg fuel economy isn’t terrible for an all-wheel-drive vehicle. It does, however, require premium fuel, and the only transmission option is a CVT. Still, you can really navigate curvy country roads and crowded interstates easily with its light, agile steering.
The cabin is a little noisy, and the ride is stiff as is often the case with sporty hatchbacks. There’s not a lot of rear-seat space and cargo space is limited too.
Nissan’s latest ProPILOT tech suite is included featuring acceleration, braking, electronically controlled steering, and radar-guided adaptive cruise control with steer assist. There’s also auto braking with collision mitigation, blind-spot warning, lane-keep assist, and rear-cross traffic warning.
The Nissan Juke also includes the NissanConnect infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. You can also get a Bose Personal Plus sound system optional.
The 2020 Kia Soul
The Kia Soul is a much-loved SUV in its class. The redesigned 2020 models stick to the same funky formula with its boxy toaster-on-wheels shape and inspired styling cues. Despite the number of new competitors entering the market, the front-wheel-drive Soul holds its own and is affordable to boot.
With its fun spirit and great versatility, the Soul offers a CVT or manual six-speed transmission. It gets good fuel economy with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 147 hp. There’s also an available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The 2020 Kia Soul can get as much as 35 mpg overall fuel economy.
Like the Juke, the ride is loud and stiff, but the handling is agile and visibility is good. There are no driver-assist features standard, but higher trim levels offer automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning, lane-departure alert with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. You can also get a power-adjustable driver’s seat with higher trim levels.
The UVO infotainment interface is included with the Kia Soul, and it has a 7.0-inch touchscreen and offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. Higher trim levels offer in-dash navigation, real-time traffic monitoring, and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Who does it better?
When it comes to performance, both offer peppy turbocharged engines. The Nissan Juke offers the turbo standard where the Soul offers the turbo as an option. The Juke offers the CVT transmission only and requires premium fuel whereas the Kia Soul offers different transmission choices. The Soul gets slightly better fuel economy.
Both offer a stiff ride and a noisy cabin. The Soul offers more space for people and cargo than the cramped quarters at the back of the Juke. Both offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but only the Juke includes a Wi-Fi hotspot. The infotainment system advantage goes to Kia Soul as there’s a basic system with an option for a bigger touchscreen with high trim levels. There’s also optional navigation, traffic monitoring, and satellite radio. The Juke does offer an optional Bose stereo system.
The 2020 Kia Soul starts at $18,610 while the 2020 Nissan Juke starts at $21,225. If you’re looking for greater safety, the Nissan Juke might be the better choice. If you’re looking for a good price, the Kia Soul might be the SUV to choose.