|155||Standard Horsepower (hp)||147|
|Yes||All-Wheel Drive (avl.)||No|
|Std.||Wi-Fi Hotspot (avl.)||No|
Thinking back a few decades, the modern-day SUV as we know it gained tremendous popularity in a relatively short period. Before long, SUVs were a common sight on the road, and decades later, SUVs are one of the most popular types of vehicles, with millions produced each year by different manufacturers. Customers often find themselves drawn between two or more options when it's time to upgrade, and confusion is a common side effect. Take the 2022 Chevy Trax vs 2022 Kia Soul, for example. These two subcompact SUVs are both popular and affordable, which are two selling points bound to draw in a crowd, and if you're shopping for a subcompact SUV, you're likely considering one or the other already.
The Chevy Trax starts at an MSRP of $21,400, and the 2022 Kia Soul starts at $19,290. [a] However, between these two SUVs and their starting models, you get what you pay for, meaning the higher price of the Trax isn't entirely uncalled for. Shopping for a Trax is also a simpler experience, thanks to its two trim configurations. Two trims to select from will cause less confusion, especially compared to the Soul's six trim levels. At the highest end, the priciest Soul model sells for around $4,000 more than the best Trax trim, and acquiring the very best Soul means you're already spending far too much money when you could instead acquire a comparable yet more affordable vehicle. For this extra cost, the differences aren't drastic enough to warrant spending more on a pricier Soul model than the best Trax trim, the LT.
Both the 2022 Trax and Soul offer respectable performance for their price range. However, the Trax not only comes with a stronger base engine but can also be purchased in an all-wheel drive configuration. The Soul, by comparison, only allows for front-wheel drive, the standard engine is weaker, and its Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is likely less desirable for many drivers. The CVT inside of the base Soul is paired with a 2.0L I-4, producing 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. Purchasing the base model Trax means you'll be getting a turbocharged 1.4L I-4 capable of producing 155 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. That's a noticeable upgrade in power when you buy the Chevy.
Although it's worth noting the Kia Soul can be fitted with a stronger turbocharged 1.6L I-4 engine paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, this powertrain is reserved behind the top trim level. The problem with this is the pricing, as the top-tier Soul costs thousands of dollars more than the top-level Trax. While this choice gives the Soul 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, it still only has front-wheel drive, making the high price tag even harder to justify.
Because the base Trax engine is turbocharged, it shares similar fuel economy ratings with the Soul's top-tier engine, with the Trax receiving EPA-estimated ratings of 24 MPG city and 32 MPG highway against the turbocharged Soul's 27 MPG city and 32 MPG highway. Ultimately, the Soul's turbocharged engine is not worth nearly as much as the price difference suggests, especially after considering the rest of the car.
The 2022 Trax and Soul are similar in size, both on the outside and within the cabin. The chances are that, even for taller people, fitting inside both vehicles will be easy and painless, but the Trax offers increased headroom in the front row. Inside of the Soul, you'll have 39.4 inches of headroom against the 39.6 inches. Alternatively, the Chevy Trax offers 40.8 inches of legroom in the front row, and the Soul has 41.1 inches. Although the dimensions aren't wildly different, front row dimensions are crucial for any vehicle because they directly affect your enjoyment of the vehicle. Of course, both SUVs seat five passengers max.
With the base models, both vehicles come with an identical 4-way manually-adjustable driver's seat that can be swapped out for a power-adjustable seat. The front-row passenger gets a manual seat regardless of which model you purchase. Additionally, both the Trax and Soul come with cloth seats standard, but this can be replaced with leatherette if you spend a bit more money.
The Chevy Trax has one available infotainment center, and the Soul has two. Aside from size differences, the functions remain virtually identical between the two, with a couple of exceptions. Inside of the Trax, you'll find a 7-inch infotainment center, while the Soul's system includes an 8-inch screen. Stepping up to the available 10.25-inch media center in the Soul may be desirable, but it doesn't come cheap. The real differences between the Souls' media centers come down to screen size and built-in navigation. Because the media centers in both SUVs include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation is included from the get-go, as long as you connect your phone. The real stars of the show are undoubtedly Apple CarPlay and Android Auto because they extend your infotainment center's initial capabilities beyond what even the vehicle manufacturer envisioned.
Both SUVs include two USB ports in the front, but the Trax has a feature you won't find on the Soul––a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Even better, the hotspot comes standard with the Trax, which is a welcomed addition to the already feature-packed standard infotainment center. If you and or your passengers travel with wireless devices, you're simply going to want a hotspot. Surprisingly, Kia doesn't offer it in any capacity for the Soul, even on the priciest Turbo model that costs thousands of dollars more than the Trax. Of course, the service isn't free and requires a monthly subscription; however, you'll get 3-months of free access to the service after you purchase your new Trax. Aside from a private internet connection with a better signal than your average 4G network, a hotspot can make a major difference if traveling to a location with little to no internet connectivity, such as a camping trip, for example.
The Trax and Soul offer a variety of advanced safety features. Between the Kia Drive Wise safety suite and the Trax's Driver Confidence Package, you'll have more protection against unforeseen accidents. All of the available safety features complement the vehicles. Their physical durability isn't in question either, with the IIHS giving both SUVs their best available rating for roof strength, front impact resistance, and more.
The Trax can be fitted with groundbreaking features such as Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Side Blind Zone Alert. You'll find yourself using Rear Park Assist more often than you think because it'll activate every time you reverse your vehicle into a parking space. Both the Trax and Soul come with rear-view cameras standard, but thanks to Rear Park Assist, these cameras work with integrated sensors to alert you if you're approaching a stationary object too quickly or closely. As an example, when reversing into a parking space with either a shopping cart or lamp post in your path, your SUV will sound an alert when you should hit the brakes.
When it's time to leave work, the store, or anywhere you're parked, reversing out of a parking space can be tricky if other drivers are situated to your left and right, reducing visibility. When this occurs, you'd normally reverse out of the spot slowly as the most effective method of seeing what's coming from your left or right. With the Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, the same cameras and sensors utilized for Rear Park Assist are used again, but here the sensors work to locate oncoming vehicles crossing your path. As you can imagine, combining Rear Cross-Traffic Alert with your extensive driving knowledge will greatly reduce the chances of colliding with another vehicle while reversing.
Each vehicle can be fitted with a Side Blind Zone Alert. This system is a game-changer when you're traveling on the freeway because it'll use cameras and sensors to detect vehicles located in your blind spots. It's a simple alert that illuminates a logo on the side mirror of which side the blind spot is occupied by another driver. Once the coast is clear, the light will go out when you're clear to switch lanes. Although the Soul has a few extra safety features not found on the Trax, these features are placed behind a pricey paywall in the form of the LX Technology Package, so you won't be finding them on the base model anyways.