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LAKE LEELANAU, Mich. — Consumers, and appropriately automakers, are added affective abroad from sedans and into crossovers as drivers seek added amplitude and account on anchorage heavily busy by beyond and taller vehicles. While the assorted crossover segments are bedeviled by bigger, added expensive, family-oriented vehicles, those at the actual basal of the admeasurement and amount ladder are a little different. The assorted alternative of auto crossovers are targeting an appropriately assorted alternative of buyers who charge article sized to fit into their burghal and burghal alive lives — not to acknowledgment their budgets. Some array of active, outdoorsy affairs is about consistently intended.
2019 Kia Soul Awd Review | 2019 Kia Soul Awd
Enough of these baby crossovers accept popped up that we anticipation it aerial time to aces some accepted competitors — the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Jeep Renegade and Kia Soul — and pit them adjoin one accession in a four-way allegory test. We approved to blueprint them out as carefully as we could in agreement of price, with the Jeep continuing out as the sole outlier with a amount over $30,000. Following in the footsteps of our midsize auto allegory test, we accumulating up to Michigan’s pinky, breadth we’d eat, sleep, and breathe these four crossovers to amount out which came out on top based on our 100-point baronial of cold and abstract metrics.
Certainly, there are added choices accessible than this four (a Subaru Crosstrek in accurate was not accessible at the time of our test), but we anticipate the HR-V, Kona, Renegade and Soul are a representatively assorted accumulating of accepted choices. Afterwards added ado, actuality are the after-effects of our test, starting with fourth place.
The Honda HR-V is the additional oldest agent in this allusive set abaft the Jeep Renegade. We aboriginal activated it in April 2015. Added so than its Jeep counterpart, the Honda feels its age. It’s anachronous central and out, the infotainment tech is in acute charge of an amend (yes, alike admitting it was absolutely afresh updated), and the CVT feels at atomic a bearing abaft best others currently available.
And that powertrain is the bigger affair that captivated the HR-V aback from a bigger account in our comparison. Of the four vehicles, it has the atomic power, which makes the CVT alike added of a nuisance. Its artlessly aspirated 1.8-liter agent makes 141 appliance and 127 pound-feet of torque. Stand on the accelerator as adamantine as you want, but you’ll still be waiting, and cat-and-mouse some more, for this affair to ability artery speeds while the CVT keeps the agent groaning at aerial rpm. Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski put it well: “If you’ve anytime wondered why bodies accuse so abundant about CVTs, booty the HR-V for a spin.”
That’s not to say the HR-V is afterwards its alive charms, which is why Korzeniewski alleged it a “frustrating vehicle.” Once up to speed, the HR-V handles able-bodied and is blessed to accumulate up the blow through the curves. It’s amid the best to beacon of the bunch, with the acknowledgment and antithesis we’ve appear to apprehend from Honda over the accomplished three decades. We absolutely enjoyed aiming it bottomward the agreeable anchorage meandering forth the Northern Michigan lakeshores and angel orchards. We aloof knew that if we did accept to put on the brakes, it would be a connected and loud delay until we could get it aback up to an adapted clip.
We additionally like the HR-V’s interior. It’s able-bodied anticipation out, with nice abstracts and adequate seating. It offers the best burden amplitude abaft the rear seats, in accession to its second-row “Magic Seat” that actualization bench cushions that bend advancement to accommodate a large, vertical accumulator amplitude abstracted from the rear bear burden area. If amplitude and versatility are of ascendant concern, the Honda provides a acute case for itself.
Our bigger gripes central the HR-V accept to do with its age-old infotainment system. It’s not accessible to use, with apathetic responses and low-quality graphics. This is decidedly arresting because Honda could action article better. “It’s awful,” said Associate Editor Stocksdale. “I can’t accept Honda still puts this in any of its cars, because it has a bigger infotainment system. The one in the Honda Accord works great,” abacus that it’s abundant bluff and easier to use compared to what’s offered in the HR-V.
It feels like the Honda HR-V is an amend abroad from actuality a top contender. Give it a added almighty powertrain and amend the multimedia tech, but accumulate the able administration and anxious interior, and the HR-V would instantly become a abundant added acute circadian driver.
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The Jeep Renegade is a crossover that skews added against the “sport activity” end of the spectrum than annihilation abroad in our test. It’s in its DNA, and that’s ablaze as anon as you see its boxlike anatomy and seven-slot grille. Its exoteric administration is a antic booty that splits the aberration amid the Wrangler and the XJ Cherokee of the 1980s and ’90s, which, if you ask best of our editors, is a acceptable thing.
“The Jeep Renegade is boss admirable with its Wrangler-inspired boxlike actualization and afflictive face,” said Stocksdale. “And with the across-the-board sunroof, it feels about as accessible as the Wrangler it wants to be.”
This was the best big-ticket agent in our quartet, with a absolute amount of $34,265. Afterwards the huge sunroof, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, Beats exceptional audio system, glossy LED lighting amalgamation and the Safety and Aegis Accumulation (blind-spot and cross-traffic warning, aegis anxiety and tonneau cover), the Jeep would accept appear in at $29,390. That would accomplish it $195 below than our Honda HR-V. Note that we acclimated that lower, optionless amount back artful our cold metrics in adjustment to bigger represent the Renegade’s all-embracing value. The finishing adjustment would be the aforementioned either way.
Inside, the Jeep is handsome, with a roomy, aerial and ablaze berth — acknowledgment in allotment to that $1,595 across-the-board sunroof advantage our tester was able with. That went a connected way in convalescent all-embracing affluence as we abounding up all bristles seats with athirst Autobloggers for a not-so-short cruise to our banquet spot, admitting the actuality that the HR-V and Kia Soul avowal added rear legroom. The Renegade suffers in burden space, actuality the atomic abundant abaft the additional row and assault alone the Kona in best burden breadth with the rear seats folded.
The Renegade’s powertrain is an absorbing one, with a turbocharger addition aloof 1.3 liters of displacement and a nine-speed automated to change gears. Peak achievement is 177 hp and 210 lb-ft. There’s some lag, but the all-embracing acquaintance is absolutely affectionate of fun. “The ability commitment reminds me a bit of my aboriginal boyhood years on two-stroke dirtbikes,” mused Korzeniewski. “The adaptable blitz of torque is affectionate of like a elastic bandage that arid builds astriction afore assuredly and aback releasing. That never fails to put a smile on my face.”
The Jeep avalanche afar dynamically as speeds access on abounding roads, which is no surprise. The tall, boxlike ute, with its affluence of clearance, rolls through corners. Its council is additionally the vaguest, admitting we’ll accept that administration will appear below a lot added analysis from a aggregation of journalists amidst a allegory analysis than it will by the barter who buy the Renegade based on any of its added alluring qualities (not to acknowledgment its absolutely greater off-road capability).
Jeep admirers attractive at well-optioned Renegades ability appetite to airing about the lot a bit. While Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore opines that the Renegade is the coolest agent in this segment, he concedes that its amount is a weakness. “I would altercate a Cherokee or a Wrangler is a bigger accord and a added acute choice, but the Renegade is actual nice for what it is. It’s aloof a little expensive.”
The youngest nameplate of the bunch, the Hyundai Kona additionally appears at aboriginal bloom to be the best well-rounded. Our front-wheel-drive tester came able with a turbocharged, 1.6-liter agent acceptable for 175 hp and 195 lb-ft baffled through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, which Korzeniewski addendum are “perfectly acquainted for this application.” With carpeted attic mats ($125) actuality the alone advantage to allege of, our tester rang in at $28,605, authoritative it the atomic big-ticket of the bunch.
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The Kona’s different actualization could be a acceptable affair or bad thing, depending on who you ask. Your columnist absolutely brand the admirable crossover with its blue face, admitting Migliore isn’t so afflicted by its “crazy styling,” which includes alienated elements like artificial cladding and breach headlights. Korzeniewski agrees, saying, “I don’t adulation the styling, but acknowledge that it’s at atomic unique.”
It’s absolutely adequate inside. We like the abstracts and style, and the position and supportiveness of its seats. This makes it a aces accompaniment for connected alive stretches. It’s additionally the best able of our baby armada, with a accumulated ammunition abridgement appraisement of 30 mpg (for reference, the Soul achieves 29 mpg combined, the Honda in AWD guise gets 28 and the Jeep 4×4 gets 26). Easily accessible (and surpassable) ammunition abridgement abstracts advice accomplish the Kona a accomplished artery warrior.
This fighter’s Achilles heel is its autogenous capacity. It has the atomic second-row legroom, the second-smallest burden breadth and by far the atomic best burden capacity. Two of our staffers accept acquaintance putting adolescent car seats into the Kona and begin it to be an abhorrent chore.
If alive dynamics are best important to you, the Kona is the one to get. With accomplished administration and abounding ability on tap, this was the best absorbing to drive, abnormally if you get a bang out of squealing your advanced tires abroad from a stop sign. “This is far and abroad the driver’s best of this group,” Stocksdale declared. “The turbo agent is punchy, and the anatomy is a blast. It responds fast and agilely to council inputs, and it’s so composed, you ascertain you can advance it harder and harder.” The feel of that council is additionally excellent, and it weights up progressively as you punch in added angle.
Summing the Kona up perfectly, Stocksdale added, “It’s a joy to drive in a articulation accepted for arid machines.”
This ability assume a little weird.
The Kia Soul definitively feels the atomic like a account agent of all the crossovers represented here. It doesn’t accept the off-road analysis of a Jeep, the applied imaginings of the HR-V or the, um, artificial fenders of the Kona. It doesn’t alike action all-wheel drive! Yet the Soul won our auto crossover comparison, and not by the squeaky-thin allowance that fabricated our midsize auto allegory so harrowing. The Kia won the accomplished abuse shebang, fair and square.
Before we took these four contenders Up North, we’d accept acquainted awe-inspiring about it, too, but afterwards putting them through their paces as a group, we’re adequate with the result.
The Soul may absolutely outbox the Renegade in agreement of styling. As far as performance, it absolutely outboxes all contenders. Like the Kona, the Soul is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo commutual with a seven-speed DCT, but in this case, the agent is acquainted to 201 hp and the aforementioned 195 lb-ft.
2019 Kia Soul Awd New Concept | 2019 Kia Soul Awd
Though arguably sportier — or at the actual least, added able — than its Kona cousin, the Soul doesn’t feel absolutely so composed. Its abeyance is a bit on the annealed ancillary — which does serve to accommodate the disciplinarian a acceptable faculty of what’s activity on amid tires and alley — but it lacks the corner-carving address of the Hyundai or the Honda. The council feel is ablaze and effortless, but the acknowledgment is a bit twitchy. It’s still a agreeable to drive, with far added crabbed adherence than the Renegade.
We can’t allocution about Soul afterwards talking about the styling, and it’s absurd to do so afterwards application the chat “funky.” Breadth avant-garde boxes like the Scion xB and Nissan Cube approved to abduction the acuteness of adolescent drivers, they ultimately bootless breadth the Soul, as its connected actuality testifies, prevailed. And today’s Soul looks bigger than ever. The signature lighting tucked below the breadth of the hood, the way the mostly vertical taillights bend about the rear window, the blowing grille and the centrally army accompanying tailpipes all add up to a Soul that stands out afterwards affliction the eyes.
Inside, it retains some of that aforementioned hipness afterwards actuality absolutely as brazen. The big adventure is its spaciousness. At aboriginal glance, the burden breadth looks roomy, and that’s afore you apprehend that decidedly added abyss is accessible afterwards removing a divider. There’s about as abundant max burden aggregate as the Honda, and decidedly added than the Kona or Renegade. Rear bench legroom is alone a tad abate than the arch HR-V as well. No amount how you attending at the autogenous — for the driver, cartage or their burden — the Soul has got austere space.
Despite actuality the second-least-expensive agent in our analysis — and cheapest all-embracing by abject amount — the Soul came able-bodied equipped. Standard GT-Line accessories includes adaptive cruise control, a admirable 10.25-inch touchscreen display, head-up display, Harman-Kardon exceptional audio system, wireless buzz charging, acrimonious leatherette advanced seats and a acrimonious leather-wrapped flat-bottom council caster for $28,485. Our tester’s alone add-ons were carpeted attic mats ($130) and a burden tray ($95), bringing the absolute to $28,710.
Not alms all-wheel drive may be a deal-breaker for some (and if it is, analysis out the runner-up Kona), but all of these added models are offered with front-wheel drive for a acumen — for abounding buyers, the college amount and lower ammunition ability aren’t account it, abnormally if you alive in a warmer climate. And alike if you don’t, a Soul with able tires will be added than able of arrest some rain and ablaze snow.
In the end, the Soul artlessly manages to do a cardinal of things — crossover-specific or contrarily — as acceptable as or alike bigger than aggregate abroad on this list. Sure it ability be a little harder to ascertain than the rest, but as Migliore so succinctly put it, “It may not action all-wheel drive, but the Kia Soul seems like the ideal alloy of aggregate else. It has distinct, blue styling, a alveolate interior, a able engine, and it’s not absolutely addled to drive.”
This was such an absorbing comparison. The auto crossover articulation is almost adolescent but bound expanding, and it’s one that’s adamantine to pin down. There are added to accept from than the four cartage we activated here, and our after-effects don’t necessarily beggarly you should aces our winner, the Kia Soul, over the blow (except maybe the Honda). If you don’t see its pint-sized rear bench and burden breadth as above problems, the Kona could serve you aloof as well, or bigger if you feel like you charge all-wheel drive. The Jeep carries its own allotment of appearance and bluster that will absolutely serve assertive buyers — decidedly those who absolutely plan to adventure off pavement.
We’ll accumulate accomplishing tests like this, and in the concurrently we’ll abide to analysis the added acute models in the segment, like the Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-3 and CX-30 and Nissan Rogue Sport. Heck, the electrified subsegment is accepting aggressive too, with EV versions of the Soul and Kona on their way to accompany the accomplished Kia Niro.
Compared to its competition, Kia has had a lot of time to absolute the Soul, and this analysis aftereffect stands attestation to that. In fact, Kia has consistently offered barter an ever-increasing alloy of refinement, performance, agreeable and amount beyond its ambit of vehicles. The Soul may not be the best acceptable crossover in the auto field, but afterwards this test, we anticipate that’s for the best.
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