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Kia Soul vs. Hyundai Venue 2023

1. Exterior Design

The Kia Soul comes with trendy styling, which contends that it's memorable and stands apart, whereas the Hyundai Venue comes with different design languages, sporty to the more conservative-stylish appearing variant. The Kia Soul has taken a substantial design departure from its predecessor, with influences from the 2012 Kia Trackster Concept. Kia says the 2023 Soul's squared shoulders and a line which expands around the car giving it a rugged appearance were intended to exude "rebel" attitude. The Soul has a marginally longer wheelbase that is 105.9" compared to the Venue's 99.2" wheelbase. The Soul is 165.2" long and 63.5" tall, making it wider and taller compared to the Hyundai Venue. The Venue boasts a more traditional hatch look, while the Soul continues with blacked-out back door handles fitted near the "C" pillar giving it a clean look of a 5-door hatch. Both models feature available two-tone color schemes.

1.1. Kia Soul's unique boxy design

The Soul embraces the box design with exterior dimensions of about 163.2 inches in length, 70.9 inches in width, and 63 inches in height, which makes this vehicle one of the most spacious and roomy compact vehicles compared to the Venue at 159 inches in length, 69.7 inches in width, and 62.4 inches in height. Depending on preference, the Soul's unorthodox box design is considered one of its key features. This feature could also be a turning point for Kia lovers as well as draw in potential buyers due to the appeal of its old spacious, high, and HD design. Kia's attention to style is expressed through its versatile color schemes and choices, allowing the owner to customize the perfect fit. The Soul also features two-tone color schemes and a "Designer Collection" which comprises two special colors: Mars Orange and Neptune Blue. Now, if you are a minimalist who is looking to break into the SUV scene, the Venue's sporty and modern look might be for you. This vehicle only offers 8 colors, which includes a "Denim" color that is exclusive to the Denim edition. Although not as elaborate as the Soul, Venue buyers will appreciate an easier selection process. The Venue has ditched the trend of offering choice in regards to wheel size and designs. This vehicle will come with 15-inch alloy wheels, and the Denim edition will come with 17-inch wheels only available in one design. This makes it easier for replacement and upgrades in the future. A tasteful Denim edition emblem and chrome accents add a little extra to the Venue's look. Buyers should note that all in all, the Soul and Venue have a tough battle in style due to their distinct approaches in fashion.

1.2. Hyundai Venue's sporty and modern look

The Venue is designed with a very unique design that's catered to making the car look sporty and modern. It features a unified look with the grill, headlights, and bumper. The main attraction to Hyundai's vehicle isn't the brightest of ideas as it is placed at the lowest point at the bumper which attracts a lot of unwanted damage to the vehicle and looks. Most would agree it's an attempt to capture some of the design from the newer Jeep models. High-end models in the Venue feature an LED strip in the headlights and a sunroof. It's easy to notice the significant difference in design with the projected headlights in the base model. The new Venue will feature 17-inch alloy rims with a chrome or hyper silver finish. Finally, the contrast of the roof colors and the limited two-color options for the vehicle is seen as an attempt to capture the modern design and target younger consumers. Moving away from the two-color contrasts which are only available for the two higher-end models, the Venue has a sleek setup to capture a sporty-looking design. All in all, my first impressions of the Venue are that it looks like an attempt at a cheaper version of the Kia Sportage. However, only time can tell how these designs hold up over the years.

1.3. Comparison of size and proportions

In terms of size, the Soul is as unique on the outside as it is on the inside. The new car is 55 mm longer, 15 mm wider, and 10 mm lower than its predecessor, and it has a 30 mm longer wheelbase. Each measurement contributes to increased passenger and luggage space and the impression of solidity. The Soul's boxy silhouette and squared shoulders may be familiar, but every line, curve, and crease on the new car is new and modern. The front and rear overhangs are shorter, and since the roof rails are more integrated, the top of the car is smoother, a change which reduces wind noise and enhances aerodynamics. LED lighting is typical in the small car class, but the Soul's designers have tried to create an identity for their car by including a 'mood' lighting bar in the front and a connecting 'island' of lights at the rear. Step up a size in Kia's lineup, and the Sportage is obviously larger than the Soul, being 175 mm longer and 5 mm wider and with an 85 mm longer wheelbase, but it is the Soul's 'tall and boxy' design that makes it stand out compared to the firm's other models. In comparison, the Venue is a touch smaller car in every dimension than the Kia. At 4040 mm long, it is shorter than the Soul by 55 mm. Width and height are 1770 mm and 1592 mm lower by 15 mm and 33 mm than the Soul, and its wheelbase is 2520 mm, shorter than the Soul by 10 mm. Step up a size in Kia's lineup, and the Sportage is obviously larger than the Soul, being 175 mm longer and 5 mm wider and with an 85 mm longer wheelbase, but it is the Soul's 'tall and boxy' design that makes it stand out compared to the firm's other models. An outside comparison with the Soul and a side by side glance could possibly lead it to be viewed as a mini Soul, hinted at by the '13 little brother status' with many of the 'big Kia' identifying features. These include the 'tiger nose' grille, a strong character line down the side, and the trim shape that surrounds the wheel arches. Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about Kia Soul vs Hyundai Venue 2023.

2. Interior Features

As the years have advanced, we have seen how the Kia Motors lineup has slowly rid itself of its slow, dismal, and dusty image, putting out some very reputable vehicles that are not only stylish, but also well built. Matching that criteria, Hyundai too has been getting in on the image re-building game that their counterparts at Kia have been excelling at, producing some of their best designs yet in their most recent line up. This duel in the automotive world has led to Kia introducing its Kia Soul, back in 2009 as a 2010 model, in response to Hyundai's version of the vehicle, the Hyundai Tiburon also released in 2009. Given the Kia Soul's recent complete makeover we are here to pit Kia versus Hyundai to see how these vehicles stack up. Starting at the basics of what is on the surface, the Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue both come across as two very stylish interpretations of the "boxy" car design. Considered a subcompact SUV vehicle, the Venue measures in at 159.1 inches in length versus the Kia Soul at 165.2 inches, giving it the slight size advantage. The Soul however has the upper hand with its 102.4 inch wheelbase. Moving to the interiors of said vehicles, the Kia Soul is quite generous on space for luggage. Depending on if you have a tire mobility kit or a tire spare, luggage capacity can vary anywhere from 24.2 – 24.5 cubic feet. Dropping the rear seats will have cargo capacity ranging from 62.1 – 63.3 cubic feet. The rear seats have a 60/40 folding split, and the front passenger seat can be folded down flat to provide even more space for longer cargo. Combine that with the available dual level cargo board and even the tallest of your friends will be impressed by what you can accomplish with space in the Kia Soul. The Venue has luggage capacity of 18.7 cubic feet, reaching 31.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Unfortunately rear seat folding is a 60/40 split, and also missing the both the rear seat folding center armrest and flat fold down front passenger seat. The Venue however has an edge with its high-tech entertainment system. Featuring an 8-inch display screen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility, the Venue has the upper hand in terms of infotainment. The Venue also provides the use of Dual USB charger ports, and for the tech savvy individuals the available Denim trim allows for an 8-inch touchscreen with an Audio/Visual Navigation System and SIRIUSXM. On the other hand, the Soul has 7-inch display with Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility only available with an optional Multimedia Package Upgrade. Both vehicles are equipped with rear vision cameras. When comparing materials in comfort of the vehicles, both vehicles have a good mix of hard and soft interior materials, and both have quality durable cloth or leather interiors for the comfort of the driver and passengers. Both vehicles are relatively quiet, however the Venue's Greatherm Noise Insulation material can reduce interior noise and improve cabin insulation. In terms of comfort and convenience, the Kia Soul has a slight advantage of the Venue with its longer wheelbase and compact size allowing for a quieter and smoother ride. The Soul has a fully based Independent Multi-link suspension system compared to the Venue's Coupled Torsion Beam Axle, increasing ride comfort further. Both vehicles have an Automatic Temperature Control System, Heated Front Seats, and for those scorching summer days a Ventilated Drivers Seat. So whether your preference is Kia or Hyundai, you have two very comfortable and well equipped vehicles tailored to your preference in style.

2.1. Kia Soul's spacious and versatile cabin

So where to start? The Soul's interior cabin space is superb. With a long 2630mm wheelbase, the boxy small 'wagon' is packaged cleverly for a vehicle with such diminutive exterior dimensions. It sits taller than most small cars which aids ingress and egress front and rear, as well as providing a great view of the road ahead for all occupants. The most striking feature inside is enormous headroom. Even in the rear seat, four tall adults will have space to move, with head, shoulder, and legroom well above the class average. The SLi has a two-stage recline function on the rear seats which helps on longer journeys. With all three sections of the 60/40 split-folding rear seats lowered, the Soul has a large and completely flat load space. For smaller items, there's a dual-layer boot floor, keeping hidden anything stowed in the compartment underneath. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of cabin storage space up front.

2.2. Hyundai Venue's high-tech infotainment system

However, the crown jewel of the infotainment system equipped in the Venue is its new Denon premium audio system, which utilizes both hardware and software to deliver superior sonics. The Denon system is available from the Denon Special Edition low-volume mid-grade and is standard in the top-spec Denon Special Edition high-volume model. This is the first time Denon has been deployed in an automotive system. Coming from the Denon name, the system was realized after 2 years of development and tuning in a sound room environment designed to replicate the interior of the Venue. A proprietary Denon Class-D digital amplifier, which is more compact and power-efficient than traditional amplifiers, is built into the cabin access panel. This allowed more freedom for speaker placement by removing the need to run wires through the door, and the improved sound performance per power consumption provided a significant increase in sound quality. High-efficiency versions of standard speakers were specified to maximize output from the amplifier, and the system features an SVC (Subwoofer Volume Control) with real-time bass management to ensure a balance of high bass and low bass, keeping bass at the same level over the volume range. The Venue uses newly developed 150mm acoustic lenses for both tweeters and newly developed 170mm acoustic lenses for the front door speakers, in which Denon specifies the material type, thickness, and shape to tune the directional characteristics of the sound to make it feel like sitting in the front row of a live concert. The Venue also incorporates an auto sound EQ tuning feature, which adapts in real time to in-cabin and exterior ambient noise and can detect when the Venue is inside a car wash to change the sound settings for a different listening environment. The audio system is aimed to attract young buyers and create a superior emotional audio experience, and it got the mid-high frequency and high-end range sound quality right on the head. The Denon system is yet to be tested in the real world and is expected to start shipping in the Venue around mid-May. Despite its high quality and price point, there are currently no plans to replicate this system in Kia vehicles.

The Venue also has an 8-inch display audio system which features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a built-in navigation system, and a rearview monitor. Redundant buttons (physical buttons/dials) are also used instead of just relying on the touch screen, which makes it easier to use while driving. The 8-inch display audio and navigation are standard features from the SEL trim level and above. For someone who has only ever used traditional systems with wired mobile device connectivity, you won't realize how convenient wireless connectivity is until you've enjoyed it. The standard 6-speaker audio will be adequate, but the tune is an 8-speaker system with a subwoofer.

2.3. Comparison of interior materials and comfort

Kia Soul has a stylish cabin with good build quality. There is character and quality here with a distinct and very individual design that's a strong point in offering something different on the supermini class average. The little SUV feel is enhanced by a slightly raised driving position, a versatile interior, and a good level of all-round visibility. It might not be quite as affordable as the Citroen C3 Picasso in today's market, but its timeless image keeps it an attractive choice second hand and the strong resale values mean that for the right deal, it can work out as an affordable ownership proposition if you keep on top of the servicing. Boot space is adequate but not brilliant. The rear seats are flexible with individual sliding, folding, reclining, and removal functions to increase boot space and passenger legroom if required. The Soul will serve a small family much more effectively than a conventional supermini in this respect. It didn't meet Euro NCAP's expectations in terms of safety assist features, so does without some of the active safety systems that rivals in this price bracket will offer. An automatic emergency braking system is standard fit in mid-grade 3 trim level from mid-2017, which helps to increase safety by preventing low-speed collisions.

3. Performance and Powertrain

The 2023 Kia Soul features two inline-four engines. The base engine is a 2.0-liter rated at 148 hp, which Kia says will accelerate the car from 0-60 mph in about 9.5 seconds. The 1.6-liter turbo in the Soul! is essentially a carryover from the previous model year. Given the 201-hp rating of this engine in other Kia models such as the Forte5 and Optima, we suspect that the power rating given for the Soul (also 201 hp) is incorrect. The use of the 1.6T in the heavier Optima and lighter Forte5, and the price of this power in terms of fuel economy suggests that the 1.6T might not be the best choice for the Soul. Also available are a 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. The 2023 Kia Soul's fuel economy is 26-27/31-34 (c/t) mpg. Available engine options for the Korean market Soul were a pair of diesel engines. It is unknown if the 1.6T engine or the diesel engines will be available in the US-market Soul.

3.1. Kia Soul's efficient engine options

The standard four-cylinder 121 horsepower engine, available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission, has been noted as the versatile vehicle's most convincing engine option. It has been praised for its reasonable acceleration and respectable fuel economy. Most consumer reports heavily criticize the more powerful four-cylinder 164 horsepower engine for its lack of value with an increase in noise and fuel consumption to match minimal gains in performance. Subsequently, both 2023 models feature a base four-cylinder 147 horsepower engine with identical fuel economy at 33 mpg. A crucial difference is that the Soul has the option to include a turbocharged engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in higher trim levels. This option signifies a return to a performance-oriented motto for the Soul and a potential about-face compared to previous models. It bodes well for consumers who have loved past Soul models as it has a clear higher performance potential that may influence their decision. In contrast, the Venue's sole engine option is sure to drive the sales of the AWD. Offering fuel economy rated at 32 mpg, it is an attractive AWD option for the more eco-conscious consumer who would otherwise opt for the lower economy FWD version. AWD is not an option for any of the Kia 4-cylinder motors.

3.2. Hyundai Venue's agile handling and fuel economy

The Venue presents an especially easy on the pocket, nippy, and light to handle all-wheel drive alternative in base S form with a 1.6-liter engine, which retails for $23,150. This is eminently comparable to the performance of other small SUVs like the Kia Soul and Hyundai's own Kona, all of which derive with 2.0-liter engines. In view of the fact that the smallest engine in the Venue and the all-wheel drive system are special to this model, the price may sway some to purchase. Nonetheless, anyone considering stepping up to the Denizen or vehicle will get extra power and improved performance for an extra few thousand dollars - translation, it's a less significant judge from the other Venue models to the base AWD version than from the AWD version back to them.

Listen, we actually like the Soul, but the Venue's customers are mostly urban and suburban wanderers, whose road trips will consist more of IKEA runs than trips to the ski chalet. For them, the Venue's fuel efficiency will put them back at concerning 33 or 34 mpg, hybrid-like form. That's an ugly moan cry from the turbo Soul, which is rated at a crest of 29 mpg combined and as low as 27 mpg in GT-Line trim.

Powering the Venue is a 1.6-liter inline-4 that makes 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque, which is about what the base Kia Soul offers with its optional 1.6-liter inline-4. The similarity stops between these two powertrains after that. The Soul is made to order with battery-powered and gas-powered options, all of which boast additional horses than the Venue can muster. Oh, and the Soul canister a turbo.

3.3. Comparison of acceleration and driving dynamics

Comparing both models, on average the Kia Soul will accelerate from 0-60mph 2 seconds faster than the Hyundai Venue. This is because both models share the same petrol and diesel engines, with the diesel engine being available to Indian consumers only. The Hyundai Venue tops its performance figures with a 120 PS power output at 6000 rpm and a torque figure of 15.4 kgm at 4200 rpm. The Kia Soul will push up to 138 PS at 4000 rpm and a torque figure of 31.6 kgm with the 1.6-litre diesel engine. With the Soul coming out on top for power, it's not surprising that the Soul will fare better in a sprint from 0-60mph. In terms of driving dynamics, there is very little to separate them apart from the steering offering a slightly more direct feel in the Venue compared to the Soul. Both models have a comfortable ride quality and very little cabin noise apart from a diesel engine which is more noticeable in the Soul. Overall, the comparison is quite even here but the Soul may feel more involving due to a slightly increased performance level.

4. Safety and Technology

Kia Soul comes with a plan of more comprehensive standard advanced driver assistance features and has more options available. Standard features include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Changing Assist, Driver Attention Warning, and Lane Departure Warning. In addition to these, the Soul offers Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Smart Cruise Control, High Beam Assist (HBA), and a very unique system called the Parking Distance Warning-Reverse and Forward. The Parking Distance Warning-Reverse is a system drivers can use regardless of being in reverse and/or drive that will alert the driver when nearing close to objects. If at less than 10 mph, the system will automatically apply the brakes as well. The Venue's safety technology is impressive for a vehicle its size. It offers a standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system with Pedestrian Detection, but also available is Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning. The Venue does not offer any form of adaptive cruise control, which is somewhat expected for a vehicle in its class. Both vehicles did well in IIHS crash testing, with the Soul earning the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award and the Venue earning the Top Safety Pick. The poor and only rating lower than good was the Venue's standard headlights. Both vehicles are similar in their connectivity and convenience features, each offering what you'd expect out of a new vehicle and an infotainment system. Compatible Apple and Android smartphones can download the respective app and use it as a car key. Also notable in both vehicles is a feature called the Rear Occupant Alert, which can detect activity in the rear seat area and alert the driver if someone or something is left inside. This system can then send a notification to the user's smartphone through the vehicle's app. Soul comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also available is a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, head-up display, and an 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Meanwhile, Venue supports an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen and is a segment exclusive with standard navigation on Denim and fully loaded SEL models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard features for the Venue.

4.1. Kia Soul's advanced driver assistance features

Kia Soul comes with a variety of advanced driver assistance features that constantly monitor the driving environment to help increase safety. Standard features include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert. These features are designed to help avoid accidents where possible. However, in the event of a collision, there are an additional two systems that add to the occupants' safety. These are forward collision avoidance assist and high beam assist. For occupants of the new Kia Soul, one of the most significant safety features is the increased body and frame strength. The extensive use of advanced high-strength steel will result in superior rigidity for the body structure, and the application of hot-stamped components to reinforce the body at key points helps the new Soul achieve the highest possible safety rating. Also, aiding in the event of an accident, the Soul has been engineered to better disperse energy from the engine bay to the side frame rails. There are also six airbags – driver and passenger, two front side airbags, and two curtain airbags – to provide occupants with additional protection. An autonomous emergency call (e-call) feature, notifying emergency services of the car's location and diagnostic information in the event that the airbags deploy, is an additional safety feature available in Europe.

4.2. Hyundai Venue's cutting-edge safety technologies

The 2023 Venue kicks up the safety aspect with the addition of several new features. Standard on Denim, SEL, and Premium SEL trim levels, is the all-new Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA). The system makes use of rear corner radars to detect a vehicle that is to the driver's left or right, in order to help prevent a collision. Another new safety feature is Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA). RCCA is also standard on Denim, SEL, and Premium SEL models. This system is automatically activated when the vehicle is put into reverse. Using rear corner radars, the RCCA system can alert the driver if a car is approaching from the left or right up to 35 feet away. If the driver begins to back up and another vehicle is detected, it will apply the Venue's brakes to help prevent a collision. RCCA is standard on Denim, SEL, and Premium SEL trim levels. The 2023 Venue also becomes the first Hyundai vehicle to offer Intersection Collision-Avoidance Assist (ICA). Using the front view camera and radar, ICA is able to help avoid a collision at an intersection with a vehicle that is crossing or turning. ICA is standard on the Premium SEL with the Convenience Package trim level. Last but not least, the 2023 Venue adds Safe Exit Warning (SEW) with power child lock release. SEW alerts the driver to a potential hazard approaching from the rear of the vehicle when trying to open the doors. If there is an approaching vehicle, SEW will not allow the child lock to be deactivated in order to prevent the rear passenger from opening the door, and possibly stepping into oncoming traffic. SEW will allow the driver to see what vehicle is approaching and which rear door it is closest to on the 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster. The SEW feature includes the power child lock release by using the vehicle's door lock switch to keep the child lock from deactivation. SEW is standard on the Denim, SEL, and Premium SEL trims.

4.3. Comparison of connectivity options and convenience features

Voice recognition is available for certain countries with the English language. Now, this special feature is just the starting point as modern and future connected vehicles require the spread of Operating Assistants inside and outside the vehicle. As of now, it has the ability to remote control and smartly control the vehicle functions, which can be operated using a mobile phone/app. It might be possible when a Centralised voice assistant is ready to get in the car and smartly control the vehicle. This gives the Remote Voice Control Function wizard, which enables the customer to control a vehicle by providing voice commands to the call centre operator, and newly set commands are transferred to the vehicle. New commands can be unrealized and canceled at any time. For example, "Check my vehicle blah-blah-blah"...previously set commands about blah-blah-blah can be confirmed. This feature can ease certain operations inside the vehicle in later generations of the vehicle. This voice recognition also features a Dynamic Speech using the TTS (Text to speech) server, and the generation of speech for QnA use gives a less prompting command and more natural conversation. This provides service to customers to guide the vehicle operational methods and functionality.

In addition to the feature for the Remote Start for Manual Transmission (RMT), which is not impressive in terms of environmental protection, it is useful in cases like the vehicle parking on a slope that allows it to warm up the engine and car interior. Imagine hopping into a car with a more tranquil engine and more comfortable temperatures. This feature is supported by a climate control function, providing control of the air conditioning or heater.

Bluelink features include: - Remote Start for Manual Transmission: Enable to remotely start your car and make the AC on from your home to keep the car cool in hot weather. - Theft Alarm Notification (TAN): The system sets off an alarm in case of vehicle theft and informs the driver of the vehicle to the call centre function. In case the alarm is accidentally triggered, there is an alarm validation process to secure the owner from otherwise having to turn up at the location and check for the vehicle. Moreover, if a theft situation is confirmed, a notification will be sent to the owner to check the situation of the car, and the vehicle will activate lights and horn when it sets into an off-state. The last and very important TAN feature is support to the police, which allows the call centre agent to hand over the stolen vehicle tracking information to relevant law enforcement. This support increases the chances of recovery of stolen vehicles.

Hyundai Venue comes with highly advanced Bluelink technology, which allows drivers to control car functions with their smartphones. Bluelink connectivity is provided through an embedded eSIM because the SIM of our phone doesn't support in-car telematics. Embedded means the SIM connects to the car's telematics system and its internet.​​​