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Sales: 610-628-3831
Service: 610-816-0382
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2017 Kia Soul vs Mazda 3

Though many might consider the thought slightly scandalous, crossovers are not the only practical game in town when it comes to vehicles. In fact, the five-door hatchback continues to be an incredible option for those who want a combination of passenger space and cargo flexibility. But what if you put the two side by side and compare? We'll do that with the popular 2017 Kia Soul and Mazda3.

2017 Kia Soul vs Mazda 3

Styling

If you wanted to design a vehicle that was going to be overtly practical, you'd struggle to find anything that fits that bill better than the boxy 2017 Kia Soul. But Kia has also managed to pull off the almost impossible by making a box on wheels incredibly funky, attractive, and desirable. The Soul proves good looks don't have to mean compromising utility.

Even if you're not a fan of the hatchback design, which many Americans are not, it's hard to fault the styling of the Mazda3 Hatch. This year the Mazda has had a light refreshing of its styling, which has made what was already probably the most attractive hatch in its class even more stunning.

Interior Comfort, Space, and Quality

Despite what's actually a pretty small footprint, the Soul packs a big punch when it comes to interior space and, therefore, comfort. The Kia offers 101 cu.-ft. of passenger volume, the rear leg room is a very impressive 39.1 inches, and the cargo space reaches as much as 49.5 cu.-ft. with the rear seats folded. The fit and materials aren't luxury car quality, but then neither is the price.

The Mazda3 is actually a larger vehicle than the Kia Soul in a number of ways. The Mazda is more than a foot longer than the Kia and its wheelbase is more than five inches longer, but there's still not as much room for passengers and cargo inside. Front leg room is a little better, but those in the back have more than three inches less leg room than they'd have in the Kia. The materials are a mix of decent quality and cost-cutting, so this round goes to the Soul.

Engines and Performance

There are three engines to choose between in the Kia, but the recently introduced 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is the pick of the bunch with its 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. A Sport mode stiffens the steering to improve the driving experience even further.

Buyers have the choice of a standard 2.0-liter inline-four or a more powerful 2.5-liter version of the Mazda3 Hatch. The most power on offer is therefore 184 horsepower that also comes with 185 lb.-ft. of torque, which is quite a bit less than the Kia. The Mazda does drive and handle very well indeed and can be a lot of fun, but the honors go to the more powerful Soul.

Features and Equipment

Three trim levels make up the 2017 Kia Soul range--the base Soul, the Soul Plus (+) and the Soul Exclaim (!). Standard equipment in Base models includes air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, cloth seats, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Each of the three engines is trim level specific, and features in the + and ! trim levels improves on the Base model considerably.

Entry level Mazda3 Sport models come standard with air conditioning, power features, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, steering-wheel mounted stereo controls, internet radio streaming, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. That's better than the Kia, so this round has to go to the Mazda.

Learn More about the Kia Soul

The Mazda3 is one of the finest five-door hatches in this class, but even that's not going to be enough for some buyers. The Mazda is bigger, but offers less room inside and also costs a good few thousand dollars more than the 2017 Kia Soul. The Mazda makes a compelling case for itself with its looks, but in just about every other way the Soul is the more attractive option.