Kia Soul vs. Honda Fit

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - July 8, 2019

Driving in a city doesn’t have to be a nightmare, or so small car manufacturers would have you believe. The demands on urban runabouts are many: value, frugality, style, and practicality in a compact package. In recent years, the Honda Fit and Kia Soul have become favorites for city-dwellers and adventurers alike. The two cars have much in common, including similar dimensions, spunky hatchback shapes, and four-cylinder engines. What sets the two apart? We took a closer look to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Soul & Fit »

What the Soul Gets Right

The redesigned Kia Soul’s first advantage is customization. While the Fit only comes with a single engine choice across four trims, the Soul allows two engine choices across six trims.

Most Souls come with a 147-horsepower engine, but if that’s not enough, the top trim comes with a turbocharged 201-hp unit. Both are more powerful than the 130-hp powerplant of the Fit. Both engines are also backed by Kia’s stellar warranty, which outclasses the Fit by two extra years or 24,000 more miles.

Though the two cars have similar footprints, the Soul is a few inches taller. It puts that height to good use, granting second-row passengers two extra inches of head room. The Soul’s boxy shape is also the more attractive one to our eyes.

The story is the same on cargo capacity. The Soul trounces the Fit with 24.2 cubic feet behind the seats compared to the Fit’s 16.6 cubic feet. Even with the rear seats folded, the Fit has nearly 10 cubic feet less room.

What the Fit Gets Right

Although the two models have historically been priced in similar ranges, the Honda Fit currently has the cheaper MSRP. This may be a quirk of model year timing, but if Honda keeps their price where it is, buyers can have a Fit for $1,400 less than a base Soul.

Fit buyers can save at the fuel pump, too. Although the redesigned Soul has improved its fuel economy some, it can’t keep up with the Fit’s EPA-estimated 36 miles per gallon combined. Even the most frugal Soul only gets 31 mpg combined. This comes in part from the Fit’s weight advantage. The Soul is around 300 pounds heavier than the Fit, which doesn’t help fuel economy or handling.

The Fit has a few tricks up its sleeve in the features department, too. Honda’s Magic Seat configurations are nifty and useful, and Honda’s Sensing suite of active safety technologies has cutting-edge features on top trims. In general, however, the two cars come similarly equipped.

How Much Is Style Worth?

The Honda Fit makes no bones about its mission: provide practicality at the best possible value. It’s the cheaper and more fuel efficient buy, and it’s still a capable and enjoyable runabout.

However, the Kia Soul makes a good argument for the price premium. Buyers get extra power, a more stylish package, and a surprising amount of extra cargo capacity, all wrapped up in warranty-boosted peace of mind. Style and practicality are valuable attributes in small cars.

Our Verdict: Kia Soul

The Honda Fit remains a competent classic, but the Kia Soul’s verve and practicality give it the win here. The Soul is a compact hatchback that makes you forget how compact it is. That’s a neat trick, and the extra power doesn’t go amiss.

Take a closer look at the Kia Soul »

Take a closer look at the Honda Fit »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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