Comparison: Hyundai Kona Electric vs. Kia Soul EV

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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Affordable, long-range electric vehicles are proliferating. Chevrolet kicked the party off in 2016 with the Bolt EV, and now, less than three years later, there are several models from which to choose. Spend just a bit more, and you can even get into a basic Tesla Model 3.

Two of the latest entries in the affordable EV segment are the new Hyundai Kona Electric and the redesigned Kia Soul EV. Made by the same Korean conglomerate, and sharing vital components, the Kona Electric and Soul EV are essentially the same vehicle but with different wrappers.

Which one is better? We’re going to try to determine that, but first let’s dive into the top-level details about each vehicle.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Highlights:

  • Based on the impressive Kona subcompact crossover SUV
  • 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque
  • Offers an estimated 258 miles of range on a single charge
  • Recharges in 9.5 hours using a 240-volt home charging station
  • Seating for up to five people, but four will be happier
  • Up to 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space (19.2 cubes behind the rear seat)
  • Long list of standard advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)
  • Available in three trim levels

RELATED CONTENT: 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Review

2020 Kia Soul EV Changes:

  • Redesigned version of Kia’s first electric car
  • Dramatic improvement in power and performance
  • Same EV drivetrain as the Hyundai, with 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque
  • Official driving range estimate unreleased as this article is written, but should be competitive in the segment and more than double the previous Soul EV
  • Four-stage regenerative braking system with stop-and-hold capability, providing one-pedal driving capability
  • Kia Drive Wise suite of ADAS is standard
  • Next-generation infotainment system with available 10.25-inch display and UVO Link service (1-year free trial period)

RELATED CONTENT: 2020 Kia Soul EV Preview

With that as background, let’s take a closer look at the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric and 2020 Kia Soul EV.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Price and Configurations

Red Hyundai Kona Electric driving on a road
The Hyundai Kona Electric is available in three trim levels and is priced from $36,950, not including the destination charge. Don’t forget that a federal tax credit of $7,500 is available for this vehicle – and for the Kia. (Hyundai)

Hyundai sells the Kona Electric in three levels of trim, which likely gives it some pricing flexibility to meet a broader array of budgets. They include the SEL ($36,950), Limited ($41,400), and Ultimate ($44,900). By upgrading to Limited trim, you’ll get the following features in addition to the SEL trim’s standard equipment:

  • LED headlights with automatic high-beam operation
  • Power sunroof
  • Leather upholstery
  • An 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass
  • HomeLink programmable garage door opener
  • Safety-programmed automatic up/down front windows

Choose the Kona Electric Ultimate, and this EV is further equipped with:

  • Rear parking assist sensors
  • Pedestrian detection system
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Larger 8-inch infotainment touchscreen display
  • Navigation system
  • Premium sound system
  • Blue Link Guidance service with a free 3-year trial period
  • Head-up display
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability

Hyundai does not offer options for the Kona Electric. Dealerships can install a handful of extra-cost accessories, such as carpeted floor mats, a cargo net, and more.

2020 Kia Soul EV Price and Configurations

Lime green 2020 Kia Soul EV parked near a building
The redesigned Kia Soul EV is a much better electric car than the original. It also retains its iconic design theme, which results in excellent passenger and cargo space. (Kia)

Kia plans to offer the redesigned Soul EV in two trim levels: Standard and Designer Collection. As this article was written, Kia had not set prices for the new Soul EV. No doubt, they will be competitive with the Kona Electric.

By choosing the Designer Collection version, the Soul EV adds the following features to the standard specification:

  • LED fog lights
  • Upgraded aero-blade windshield wipers
  • Gloss black outside mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators
  • Two-tone exterior paint
  • Simulated leather upholstery and interior panels
  • An 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped heated steering wheel
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Illuminated sun visor mirrors
  • Rear center armrest with cup holders
  • Premium sound system
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Rear parking assist sensors

Typically, Kia dealerships offer a short list of accessories for their vehicles. The list usually includes items like floor mats, cargo mats and nets, and other low-cost upgrades.

The Best Things About the Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Kia Soul EV Front Quarter Views
Both the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Kia Soul EV exude personality. (Hyundai and Kia)

There is plenty to like about the Hyundai Kona Electric, from its cheery personality to its enjoyable driving dynamics. Based on an analysis of the car’s features and specifications, these are the best things about the Kona Electric in comparison to the Soul EV:

  • 258 miles of range
  • Lifetime battery warranty
  • 3-year subscription to Blue Link services
  • Slightly quicker 100-kW DC Fast Charging time to 80% battery capacity
  • Slightly more ground clearance
  • Standard drowsy driver monitoring system
  • Available ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and head-up display
  • Likely a lower base price

The Best Things About the Kia Soul EV

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Kia Soul EV Dashboard Views
Hyundai offers available leather in the Kona Electric Limited and Ultimate, while Kia installs simulated leather in the Soul EV Designer Collection. (Hyundai and Kia)

Based on preliminary features and specifications, the redesigned Kia Soul EV is a big improvement over the previous version. But how does it compare to the Kona Electric? In addition to its equally charming personality, these are the best things about the new Kia Soul EV:

  • Cube-shaped exterior results in greater interior room for people and cargo
  • Adjustable regenerative braking system with four settings, paddle shift operation, and one-pedal driving capability
  • Available leather upholstery is simulated, rather than real
  • Comes with an extra driving mode (Eco+)
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability is standard
  • Pedestrian detection system is standard
  • Navigation system with the ability to route the car to nearby charging stations is standard
  • Available 10.25-inch infotainment system display
  • Standard rear USB port

Hyundai Kona Electric vs. Kia Soul EV. Which is Better?

Hyundai Kona Electric vs Kia Soul EV Rear Quarter Views
Thanks to its cube-shaped body, the Kia Soul EV is a little better shaped for passengers and cargo. (Hyundai and Kia)

Though Kia still needs to finalize the new Soul EV’s driving range estimate and price, it is safe to assume that both will be close to the Kona Electric. Operating under that assumption, the main benefits of buying the Kia include greater interior room, one-pedal driving capability, and an optional widescreen infotainment system.

Those unique attributes do not outweigh what the Hyundai Kona Electric brings to the entry-level, long-range EV table. Unless the Kia can ultimately beat it, the Hyundai delivers impressive range, a lifetime battery warranty, and a lengthy 3-year free trial period to nearly all Blue Link subscription services. All three of these standard attributes can help to set your mind at ease.

Now add useful features like seat ventilation, rain-sensing wipers, drowsy driver monitoring, and more, and the Hyundai is our pick between these two appealing EVs.


About the Author

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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