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Kia Soul vs. Kia Sportage

For consumers shopping for a compact utility vehicle that has a decent amount of cargo space, Kia has two options that are worth exploring: the Soul and the Sportage. All-new for 2020, the Soul continues down the path of being a funky, stylish, and versatile machine. The Sportage, on the other hand, is more traditional with a crossover body style that has become so popular recently.

Both vehicles are aimed at drivers that want something versatile but small, easy to drive, and affordable. Which one is the better choice for the majority of drivers? That’s what we’ll answer below.

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

What the Soul Gets Right

Despite being all-new for the 2020 model year, the Soul is the more affordable option. The entry-level Soul starts at $18,485 (including destination), while the Sportage is $6,550 more with a starting price tag of $25,035. With the large price difference between the two, you can get into a high-level Soul EX with the EX Designer Collection Package for $25,185, which is just slightly more than a base Sportage.

In addition to saving you money at the dealership, the Soul is the more efficient option, as well. Fuel economy for the Soul with the base engine and continuously variable transmission is an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 30 combined. The most efficient Sportage achieves 23/30/26 mpg (city/highway/combined). The all-electric Soul EV has an EPA-estimated 243 miles of range on a single charge.

While the Soul is smaller in size than the Sportage, the boxy hatchback has more cargo space. With the rear seats folded down, the Soul can hold up to 62.1 cubic feet of cargo, which bests the Sportage’s figure of 60.1 cubic feet.

What the Sportage Gets Right

When it comes to performance, the Sportage gets the nod over the Soul. The base engine in the Sportage is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower. The crossover is also offered with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 240 hp. The Soul comes with a 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder as standard, while the range-topping turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four only makes 201 hp.

If inclement weather is something you encounter every year, the Sportage’s available all-wheel-drive system can provide an extra level of security over the standard front-wheel-drive layout. The Soul is only available with FWD.

While the Soul has more cargo volume in total, the Sportage has more cargo volume with the rear seats in place. With the rear seats in place, the Sportage has 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space. The Soul trails behind with 24.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

Funky or Classic Styling?

One of the major differences between the Kia Soul and the Kia Sportage is the exterior designs of the vehicles. The Soul’s boxy, quirky design might not appeal to every driver, but there’s very little to find offensive with the Sportage. The Sportage has crossover styling that the majority of consumers find attractive.

Our Verdict: Kia Sportage

For consumers that are looking for a traditional crossover, the Kia Sportage is the better option. It has all-wheel drive as an option, a peppy turbocharged engine, and a commanding view of the road ahead thanks to a higher seating position.

Take a closer look at the Kia Soul »

Take a closer look at the Kia Sportage »

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      Joel Patel Automotive Editor

      Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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