2017 Kia Soul vs Jeep Renegade
Compact crossovers are popular with buyers everywhere, so it's no surprise that both Jeep and Kia have their own versions of this popular SUV option. The Jeep Renegade is perhaps a surprise breakaway hit, just as the Kia Soul was when it was introduced. So which of these small powerhouses will win the day in a head-to-head competition?
2017 Kia Soul vs Jeep Renegade
Funky is the go-to adjective for describing the exterior of the 2017 Kia Soul, although that's probably not as accurate as it used to be. The exterior of the Soul is a little more subtle and grown-up that it may have seemed when it was first launched. The boxy, rectangular shape isn't everyone's taste, but the vast majority of buyers seem to love its unique look.
The Jeep Renegade isn't exactly a model that purists would see as a true Jeep, since it's built on the same platform as the Fiat 500. However, the Renegade's look is actually authentically rugged as you might expect from a Jeep, with a blunt nose and trademark seven-slat grille that actually makes it seem more authentic than the Cherokee. The Soul has more styling substance, though, so this round goes to the Kia.
Any past qualms about the performance of past Kia Souls has now been seriously addressed. A third engine option, in the shape of the 2017 horsepower 1.6-liter turbo-four that's been borrowed from the Elantra Sport, has transformed the way the Soul performs on the highway.
The Jeep Renegade engine lineup can't rival the power of the Soul's best engine, but the Renegade has an eye towards a different type of performance. You see, despite its cutesy style and proportions, the Renegade can actually be a pretty seriously capable off-roader if you specify it that way. The option to perform well on road or off gives this round to the Renegade.
Despite its compact footprint, the 2017 Kia Soul offers plenty of space for five passengers and their gear. While you might notice a little road noise that betrays the Kia's compact roots and affordable price point, it's hard to be disappointed with the quality and comfort of the interior in a vehicle that costs so little and delivers so much.
The Renegade is pretty wide, which is good for interior space and passenger comfort, but it's also pretty short, which isn't so good. You'll also notice a mix of cheap and quality materials inside the cabin, but this is certainly no stripped-down Wrangler interior by any means. The Jeep is fairly quiet and refined on-road, but it's just not as spacious as the Kia so it's another win for the Soul.
Vehicles of this size are rarely among the higher rated models for safety, but the 2017 Kia Soul is one of the better ones in its class. It gets a full five star ratings from the NHTSA and the IIHS gives the Soul its top "Good" score in all the tests carried out on the Kia.
The Jeep Renegade doesn't fair anywhere near as well, with a four star NHTSA overall rating and a pretty rare three stars out of five in the calculated rollover test. It also fell well short of what the Soul achieved in IIHS testing, so this is another area where the Kia wins over the Jeep.
Learn More about the Kia Soul
If you're planning to do a fair bit of off-roading, the Jeep Renegade is the obvious choice, but a compact crossover likely doesn't fit that bill. Therefore, if, like most subcompact crossover buyers, you'll be operating almost exclusively in the urban jungle, the 2017 Kia Soul is clearly the better choice.