The Mini Cooper is a popular car for many reasons. Even people who don’t know much about cars recognize this model’s unique profile and distinctive design. Plus, every Cooper model year is fun to drive. So there’s a lot to like. But the Mini Cooper’s price might give some shoppers pause.
This zippy car’s build quality and premium status under the BMW Group command a hefty price tag. And if you want an engine with more kick, you’ll pay even more for a Mini Cooper. So if the price is a deal-breaker and you’re looking for a good alternative, consider a similar vehicle from Kia.
Give the 2021 Kia Soul a look
According to the folks at U.S. News, the 2021 Kia Soul is among the best subcompact SUVs available today. They liked it so much they named it their 2021 best subcompact SUV for the money. With an impressive balance of value and quality, the Soul offers plenty of room and a slew of great features.
Like the Mini Cooper, the 2021 Kia Soul boasts a distinct, funky vibe. You know it when you see it, and it’s roomy inside. The Soul, however, is much more affordable.
With the Soul, you can choose between two four-cylinder engines — the turbocharged version harnesses 201 hp. There’s also an electric version coming soon. It’s a fun ride, with driving dynamics to match its unorthodox styling and personality. It even earned an Editor’s Choice award from Car and Driver.
The Soul’s pros and cons
Does the Kia Soul have anything to offer aside from quirky looks, lots of room, and a reasonable price? Yes. The latest Kia, redesigned in 2020, has plenty of space for adult passengers and a generous amount of cargo room.
The cabin has a pleasing vibe and a user-friendly infotainment system. Also, expect an excellent warranty with 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Overall, it has a limited warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. The 2021 Kia Soul also boasts an above-average predicted reliability rating.
It might not be as quick or precise as the Mini Cooper, but its driving experience is far from lacking. And it starts at almost $5,000 less than the Mini.
The Soul also might not be as fuel-efficient as some of its top rivals. Plus, you can’t get all-wheel drive, it lacks some popular driver-assist features, and the ground clearance is limited.
It’s still a good alternative to the Mini Cooper
Despite its flaw, the Kia Soul offers many attractive features, including a new rear occupant alert in the 2021 model. The system lets the driver know through visual and audio cues and can even send texts warning the driver that someone is in the backseat.
Also, Kia added new shock valves to enhance the ride of the mid-range X-Line and GT-Line models. In addition, a key fob with integrated remote start capability now comes standard on the EX and the top-trim Turbo models.
The X-Line and GT-Line offer two great versions of an already eccentric-looking body, and they cost the same. The GT-Line presents a sportier façade complete with body-colored trim, flashy red exterior accents, and a distinct wheel design. The X-Line is styled more aggressively with Undercover Green paint and black plastic cladding.
Both models offer plenty of standard driver-assist features. They include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and more.
The 2021 Kia Soul may not be as fast or dynamic as the Mini Cooper, but it’s anything but boring. Plus, it’s roomy, comfortable, and unique-looking. With a long list of standard features, the Soul is a viable alternative to the Cooper.