Kia Soul vs Kia Niro

Kia Soul vs Kia Niro

Kia Soul vs Kia Niro

So, you’ve decided you want one of Kia’s really cool crossovers but you don’t know which one to go for. That’s not too surprising since Kia has a pretty diverse range of crossovers to choose from. Two of the most distinctive are the Kia Soul and the Kia Niro, so let’s see how they compare to each other and what makes them unique.

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The Soul is one of the most distinctive designs in the crossover market, especially when it comes to compacts. While many rivals have chosen to go lower, sleeker, and sportier, the Soul is pretty much the complete antithesis of that with a boxy shape that’s as practical as it is funky.

But if you want something a little more conventional and car-like, the Niro is something of a halfway point between the very SUV-like Sportage and the Forte sedan. It’s a good-looking model that’s curvier and a little sportier than the Soul.

Power & Performance

You can choose between three different engines for the Kia Soul: a 1.6-liter inline-four, a 2.0-liter inline four, and the lively 1.6-liter turbo-four. The 2.0-liter unit will be more than adequate for most buyers, but those who might have shunned the Soul for a lack of performance and fun in the past can now revel in the 201 horsepower of the new 1.6 turbo.

The Niro really strikes out on its own here because it is a hybrid-only offering from Kia. The hybrid system is a combination of a 1.6-liter engine, a 43 horsepower electric motor, and a 42 kW lithium-ion battery. Its combined output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. means it’s no track monster, but the fuel economy is something to behold and it’s a more than adequate performer on the road thanks to that useful amount of torque.

Trim Levels and Features

Buyers only get a choice of three different models in the Soul lineup: the base Soul, the Soul+ (plus) and the Soul! (exclaim). All three are pretty well equipped as standard, so the biggest difference between each model is the engine. The Soul gets the standard 1.6, the Soul+ gets the 2.0-liter, and the Soul! gets the 1.6 turbo.

You’ll get more trim levels in the Niro family with five options to choose from. The FE is the entry point to the Niro range, and from there it goes to the LX, EX, Touring LE, and finally the Touring. Standard features in the base FE include dual-zone climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and LED headlights, and from there it just gets better and better.

Fuel Economy

The most fuel-efficient version of the Soul is also actually the most powerful of the bunch, the 1.6 turbo. The EPA rates it at 26 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined, but even the least efficient model still gets 24/30/27 mpg.

Although those ratings for the Soul are pretty good, they crumble in comparison to the awesomeness of the ratings the Niro can boast. The least fuel-efficient version of the Niro offers 46 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 43 mpg combined, but the best ratings come from the base FE model–a stunning 52 mpg in the city, 49 mpg on the highway, and that magical 50 mpg combined.