The 2024 Kia Soul and 2024 Nissan Kicks are subcompact SUVs with affordable prices and room for five. Direct pint-size competitors to this duo include the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Venue, and Volkswagen Taos.   

Both the Soul and Kicks are strictly front-wheel drive; there is no option to add all-wheel drive. Getting the Soul down the road is a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The Kicks comes with a 122-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder and is also fitted with a CVT.

Economy, not tire-shredding speed is what these small SUVs do best. They’re also very adept at squeezing into tiny gaps in traffic that would have larger SUVs feeling bulky and cumbersome. 

Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of the Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks.

2024 Kia Soul

For the 2024 model year, the Soul offers four trims: LX, S, GT-Line, and EX. Last year, Kia dropped an optional turbo 4-cylinder, so all models have the same 147-hp 4-cylinder. 

Despite its small size, the boxy design of the Soul means headroom is generous in the first and second rows. Rear legroom is also good, with 38.8 inches of space — about 5 inches more than what the Kicks provides. Pricing starts at $21,565, including destination charges.  

Kia Soul Highlights 

Class-leading warranty: Except for its Kia and Hyundai brethren, no subcompact SUVs can match the Soul’s warranty coverage. A 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty add great peace of mind.  

Optional infotainment system: All except the base Soul LX now have an attractive, user-friendly 10.25-inch touchscreen. It enjoys features like wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless charging pad, navigation, satellite radio, and three USB ports. For reference, the largest screen in the Kicks measures just 8 inches.  

Sporty-looking GT-Line: We miss the zesty turbo engine, though at least the GT-Line looks sporty. It includes a flat-bottom steering wheel, racy center-exit exhaust, 18-inch alloy wheels, and slightly tweaked front and rear bumpers. It adds more fun to the perky Soul, if not any extra straight-line speed. 

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Soul models for sale near you. 

2024 Nissan Kicks

2024 Nissan Kicks with clouds in the background.

The Nissan Kicks enters its seventh model year with no notable changes — we expect a complete redesign is on the way for 2025. Still, while it’s not the newest SUV on the block, the Kicks remains a smart choice among small SUVs. 

Cargo space is excellent, fuel economy is class-leading, and the ride doesn’t get rattled when traversing bumpy roads. Three trims are available — S, SV, and SR — and pricing starts at $22,440, including the destination charges.

Nissan Kicks Highlights

Fuel economy: The Kicks remains a standout choice for anyone who wants a budget-minded SUV that’s easy on a fuel budget. With 33 mpg combined in a mix of city and highway driving, the Kicks delivers excellent and bests the 30 mpg combined afforded by the Kia Soul. 

Standard safety features: Don’t assume the Kicks has a low asking price because Nissan got stingy with safety features. All models come with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights.  

Available surround-view camera:  This handy parking aid isn’t something you’d expect to find on a vehicle with such an affordable price tag. Yet a surround-view camera comes with the range-topping SR model. Despite being the priciest of the three trims, it costs a reasonable $25,000.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Kicks models for sale near you. 


The Soul and Kicks have small turning circles, making them perfect for zipping around town and squeezing into parking spots. They’re good on gas, though the Kicks holds the advantage in this department. 

And no, you won’t want to challenge anyone to a race in either the Soul or Kicks because acceleration is, shall we say, fairly meager.  


These two small SUVs prove that solid and safe vehicles remain available for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a bundle. They both have starting prices a little over $20,000, and even when fully loaded, you’d struggle to send the cost of either one far above $25,000.

The Kicks is a mileage hero; its fuel economy is outstanding, and cargo space behind the second row is an impressive 25.3 cubic feet. Yet the Soul has nearly as much trunk space and offers much more rear legroom. Its recent infotainment upgrade also imparts its cabin a more upscale look and feel. 

Overall, the Kicks is worthy of a test drive, though we think the Soul’s roomier cabin and strong warranty tilt this competition in its favor.  

  2024 Kia Soul  2024 Nissan Kicks
Starting Price  $22,440, including destination fee $22,440 including destination fee
Popular Powertrains      
Engine  2.0-liter 4-cylinder 1.6-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower  147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 122 hp @ 6,300 rpm
Torque  132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 114 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission  CVT  CVT 
Fuel economy MPG 27 city/33 highway/30 combined 31 city/36 highway/33 combined 
Basic Warranty  5 years/60,000 miles  3 years/36,000 miles 
Powertrain Warranty  10 years/100,000 miles  5 years/60,000 miles 
NHTSA Overall Safety  4 star  4 star
Max Seating Capacity 
Wheelbase  102.4 inches  103.1 inches 
Overall Length  165.2 inches  169.1 inches 
Width  70.9 inches  69.3 inches 
Height  63.0 inches  63.3 inches 
Turning Diameter  34.8 feet  34.1 feet 
Headroom, Front  39.9 inches 40.4 inches 
Headroom, 2nd Row  39.5 inches  38.5 inches 
Legroom, Front  41.1 inches  43.7 inches 
Legroom, 2nd Row  38.8 inches  33.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front  55.5 inches  53.0 inches 
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row  54.7 inches 53.2 inches
Cargo Volume  24.2 cubic feet   25.3 cubic feet 

Source link