You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Car Compare: 2018 Nissan Kicks and 2018 Kia Soul

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/25/2018 Motor Trend Staff
2018 Nissan Kicks and 2018 Kia Soul© Motor Trend Staff 2018 Nissan Kicks and 2018 Kia Soul

An attractive SUV-like design and affordable pricing has propelled the Kia Soul to the top of the automaker's sales charts for years. But before you drive away in a new Soul with a color-contrasting roof, consider the Nissan Kicks. Both tall-roofed hatchbacks have relatively spacious interiors and call themselves SUVs yet don't offer all-wheel drive. The two cars are also incredibly affordable for new cars, with base prices well under $20,000.

Keep reading to find out how they match up in a few categories.

Go Ahead, Customize It—Advantage: Tie

a car parked in front of a mountain© Motor Trend Staff

The Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks elevate themselves above most cheap cars with their availability of two-tone paint jobs. Grab a mid-level Soul in the Plus trim and Kia offers a $400 package with white exterior paint over red side-view mirrors and roof, or red over black. Nissan offers similar packages with pricing from $150 to $545 for red over black, gray over orange, orange over black, and the blue over white of our tester that reminded a couple people of police cars.

For a more dedicated customizer, Nissan offers the Color Studio, offering a number of exterior and interior parts that are orderable in different colors.

MPG—Advantage: Kicks

a car driving on a road© Motor Trend Staff

With just 125 hp and a low curb weight, the 2018 Nissan Kicks is one of the most efficient sub-$25,000 cars available today. With an EPA-rating of 31/36 mpg city/highway, it easily beats all three engines of the Kia Soul (besides the electric option). The non-EV Souls with automatic transmissions get 25-26/30-31 mpg, meaning the most efficient Soul is getting on the highway what the Kicks manages in the city. Because of the Kicks' small 10.8-gallon fuel tank, however, the Soul stretches one tank of gas farther on a long highway road trip.

Outta My Way—Advantage: Soul

a car driving down a street© Motor Trend Staff

The tradeoff for the Kicks' excellent EPA-rated fuel economy is a Motor-Trend tested 0-60 mph time of 9.7 seconds. In normal driving, the Kicks is easy to drive, but if the ability to quickly pass other cars is important to you, consider the Soul Plus or Exclaim. Skip past the base Soul's 130 hp engine to the 161-hp Plus model for a 0-60 time of about 8.3 seconds. Move up to the $23,795 Soul Exclaim for a more fun-to-drive experience and 201 hp.

Safety—Advantage: Tie

a car driving on a road© Motor Trend Staffa car parked in front of a body of water© Motor Trend Staff

This is a tough category to evaluate, as the NHTSA and IIHS tell us that the 2018 Nissan Kicks isn't currently on their safety-testing schedule. However, Nissan offers automatic emergency braking on every Kicks, down to the basiest of base models.

It's a different story at Kia. Although the automaker's automatic emergency braking system performed well in IIHS tests, it's only available on the Soul Plus with a couple packages that bring the car's cost to $27,295. The Kia makes up ground with its five-star overall NHTSA safety rating (out of a possible five stars) as well as the fact that it was positively rated in almost every IIHS safety test.

Ooooh, Look at That!—Advantage: Soul

a close up of a car© Motor Trend Staff

When it comes to premium features that surprise and delight, the Nissan Kicks and Kia Soul both have cool options. At Nissan, the Bose sound system with two speakers inside the driver's headrest so impressed features editor Scott Evans that he said the system sounded better than what you get in a $180,000 Bentley Bentayga. That's genuinely cool, but when it comes to features no one needs on a small hatchback, how about color-changing speakers that pulsate to the beat of your music? Or a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, and power front seats? If you can extend your budget past $25,000, the Kia offers a number of interesting options.

But What If I Have a Tight Budget?—Advantage: Kicks

a car parked in a parking lot© Motor Trend Staff

This is a close one, but we'll give the nod to the Nissan. For $18,965, the base Kicks S includes automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen. With the Kia, start by asking yourself whether you're ready to buy a new car in 2018 without a rearview camera. If not, a base-model Soul with an automatic transmission and a rearview camera comes with the Convenience package that also adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen display. For that content—and, of course, Kia's 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty—the MSRP is $19,895. Not bad, but consider all the money you'll save with the Kicks' superior fuel economy (click on "Personalize" on this EPA page), and the Kicks comes out ahead.

So, Which One?

2018-Kia-Soul-front-in-motion.jpg

Although I prefer the Kia's styling, considering how much time I spend in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I would prefer the Kicks' fuel economy to the Soul's better acceleration with its two top gas engines. If I had $25,000-$28,000 to spend, I'd probably get a loaded Soul Plus, which includes an impressive number of features—including a few the Kicks doesn't offer at any price, including heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, and power front seats. If my budget were tighter than that, I'd take a much closer look at the Kicks.

Research the Nissan Kicks on MSN Autos | Find a Nissan Kicks near you

Research the Kia Soul on MSN Autos | Find a Kia Soul near you

Follow MSN Autos on Facebook and Twitter

03-1935-factory-five-hot-rod-truck-street-shaker-simmons Next Story

1935 Factory Five Racing Hot Rod Truck has plenty of show and go

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Motor Trend

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon