The 2021 Kia Soul Has Yet Again Outdone Every Other Subcompact SUV

Getting the best vehicle with the most features for your available budget is one of the goals of vehicle shopping. This has become even more challenging as the average new vehicle price has now risen to more than $40,000. If value is on your list, and you’re shopping for a subcompact SUV, the 2021 Kia Soul is one to take a look at. The 2021 Kia Soul just won a “Best Cars for the Money” award from U.S. News. Here’s a look at what this repeat winner has to offer.

The 2021 Kia Soul wins again

The Kia Soul wins U.S. News‘ Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award again. The Soul has won for five years in a row due to its “unbeatable value.” Among its other awards, the Kia Soul tied the Mazda CX-30 for second on the U.S. News list of Best Subcompact SUVs for 2020. In 2019, the Soul also won a 2019 Best New Cars for Teens award from U.S. News.

The winners of the U.S. News Best Car for the Money in any of the classes provide the most quality for the best value. Quality comes from the vehicle’s overall score from U.S. News & World Report car rankings, which is based on crash test ratings, reliability data, and reviews from automotive journalists. Value is calculated by the five-year total cost of ownership supplied by Vincentric and the real transaction prices from TrueCar.

Features in the 2021 Kia Soul

U.S. News & World Report points out that the 2021 Kia Soul is the best subcompact SUV in several important areas. It’s one of the best for space for passengers as well as space for cargo. It also has a whole lot of available safety features for its price, and it has one of the best starting prices for any new crossover SUV.

The Soul’s standard engine is a 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, matched with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). U.S. News does note that the 2021 Soul isn’t as “agile” as some of its competitors. The top Turbo trim has an available 201-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine is matched with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Known for its surprising space, the 2021 Soul has 24.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat, which expands to 62.1 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. U.S. News finds the infotainment system to be “intuitive” to use. It has a standard seven-inch touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Available options include a 10.25-inch touchscreen along with “wireless device charging, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a Harman Kardon audio system,” says U.S. News & World Report.

The Soul offers more safety features than most of its competitors, and they’re standard on all except the base trim. However, its safety ratings are lower than some of its competitors. It comes standard with only a rearview camera and rear-seat alert. Available advanced safety features include a head-up display, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane change assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. The 2021 Kia Soul starts at $17,590, less than many competitors. The top trim has a starting price of $27,650.

How the competition compares


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The 2021 Hyundai Kona and 2021 Mazda CX-3 are both rivals to the 2021 Kia Soul. The Kona and Soul both have “lengthy warranties, respectable predicted reliability ratings, and user-friendly infotainment” systems, says U.S. News & World Report. Both subcompact SUVs also have four-cylinder engines or optional turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The Kona offers more standard safety features along with a “more balanced ride” and optional all-wheel drive. The Soul offers better space than the Kona, with more room for cargo and in the rear seats. The Kona starts at $20,500. The Kona is currently available in an electric version, but an electric Soul is expected to return during 2021.

The Mazda CX-3 is great to drive, with “lively handling.” It also has more standard safety features and offers all-wheel drive. The Soul has a lower price than the CX-3 along with more space. The CX-3 starts at $20,790.

The 2021 Kia Soul is one of the best subcompact SUVs available, and it offers buyers tons of value. Its features and prices earned the Soul U.S. News & World Report’s Best Subcompact SUV for the Money award for the fifth year in a row.