Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla: Which Is Better?

Kia Soul + versus Toyota Corolla: it’s the battle of an economy SUV and an economy car. Find out which vehicle can go the distance here.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
It’s a toss-up between the 2018 Kia Soul + and the Toyota Corolla—the Corolla bests the Soul + on value, fuel efficiency, and safety, while performance-wise they are about even.
Kia’s boxy subcompact SUV is a worthy challenger to the Corolla, Toyota’s long-standing ode to safe and economical driving. While the Soul + is available only as a subcompact SUV, the Corolla can be had either as a sedan or a hatchback. 
Read on—
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Toyota Corolla insurance costs
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Pricing: Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla

Both the Kia Soul Plus and Toyota Corolla are marketed as economy options, with both offering similar starting prices throughout their respective trim lines. Take a look at the table below for pricing information for both the Soul Plus and the Corolla.
2022 Toyota Corolla L
2018 Kia Soul Base
2022 Toyota Corolla LE
2018 Kia Soul +
2022 Toyota Corolla SE
2018 Kia Soul !
2022 Toyota Corolla XLE
2022 Toyota Corolla XSE
You might be leaning toward the Soul Plus if the sticker price is your main consideration, but while the Soul is cheaper than most Corolla options, the cost of ownership over time significantly swings in the Corolla’s favor.
Looking at both vehicles over five years, the Soul Plus’ cost of ownership rises dramatically, especially in comparison to the Corolla. Ownership expenses (including annual
Kia Soul insurance costs
) for the Soul Plus rose to $49,127, from an original MSRP of just $21,295—an addition of nearly $28,000
The Corolla, by contrast, has a five-year ownership cost of just $28,107 over the same period, representing significant savings.

Performance: Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla

Neither the Kia Soul Plus nor the Toyota Corolla will set hearts on fire when it comes to performance. But of the two, the Soul Plus edges out the Corolla for best drive with its deft handling and peppy pickup, even if the Corolla’s upgraded engine has more power.
The Kia Soul Plus comes with a 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder engine with 161 horsepower. The only way to get a sportier engine with the 2018 Soul + was to upgrade to the Soul ! trim, the top 2018 Kia Soul trim. 
Still, this subcompact SUV offers a perky ride that is particularly amenable to urban driving, with precise handling and a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. 
Meanwhile, the Corolla’s base engine, a 1.8-liter affair with 139 horsepower, doesn’t inspire much confidence and lags when accelerating. You can upgrade to a 169-horsepower engine with a manual transmission, though.

Fuel efficiency: Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Toyota Corolla emerges the winner with a superb 52 miles per gallon (MPG) combined with its hybrid engine.The Kia Soul Plus isn’t available as a hybrid model, so it is a bit of an unfair comparison. 
Still, the Soul Plus offers a respectable 27 mpg combined—but can’t quite match the Corolla’s most efficient gas-powered engine. Here’s a look at both models’ fuel efficiency by engine: 
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined)
2022 Toyota Corolla
1.8L four-cylinder (base)
30/38/33 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla
2.0L four-cylinder
31/40/34 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
1.8L four-cylinder
53/52/52/ mpg
2018 Kia Soul +
2.0L four-cylinder (base)
25/30/27 mpg

Technology: Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla

In terms of technology, there is no clear winner between the Kia Soul Plus and the Toyota Corolla. The 2018 Soul Plus model came standard with an 8-inch touchscreen. Similarly, the Corolla features an 8-inch touchscreen across the entire lineup.
Both the Soul Plus and the Corolla offer standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the 2018 Soul Plus comes standard with Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo system, a Sirius Satellite radio, and USB ports. However, standard driver-assist technology only includes lane departure warning and blindspot warning systems, as well as forward collision monitoring and automatic emergency braking. 
By contrast, the Corolla comes standard across the entire trim line with a full suite of driver-assist tech. It matches the Soul Plus safety offerings and goes further with standard adaptive cruise control included as part of the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver-assist features.

Reliability: Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla

Both Kia and Toyota sport excellent reliability records, but the Corolla slightly edges out the Soul Plus overall. The Corolla gets an 85/100 reliability rating from J.D. Power, along with a 4.5/5 dependability rating from RepairPal. RepairPal also rates the Corolla No. 1 for reliability in its class.
The Kia Soul Plus is no dependability slouch, even if its numbers aren’t quite as good as the Corolla. The Soul has an 84/100 reliability score from J.D. Power, while also nabbing a 4.5/5 reliability rating from RepairPal. RepairPal rates the Soul No. 3 out of seven subcompact SUVs, too.
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Interior: Kia Soul + vs. Toyota Corolla

We have to give the interior edge to the Kia Soul Plus. Its funky, boxy styling and tall body build add a fair bit more headroom and legroom for extra comfort. Unfortunately, the Soul’s rear seats don’t fold flat, though.
Toyota Corolla Sedan
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Kia Soul +
Cargo volume
13.1 cubic feet
17.8 cubic feet
18.2 cubic feet
Headroom (front seats)
38.3 inches
38.4 inches
39.6 inches
Legroom (front seats)
42 inches
42 inches
40.9 inches
Headroom (rear seats)
37.1 inches
37.6 inches
39.5 inches
Legroom (rear seats)
34.8 inches
29.9 inches
39.1 inches
In terms of cargo space, the Soul Plus barely takes the cake with 18.2 cubic feet of storage space. 

The final word

As we here at Jerry are driving enthusiasts, we’d have to give the Corolla a slight edge over the 2018 Soul Plus due to its newer, more robust technology offerings, and comparable performance, at least when considering the Corolla’s top trim against the Soul Plus. 
However, beware—if you opt for the Soul Plus, it's going to cost you significantly more in the long run than a Corolla. 
Cost is really where the Corolla shines—it's much more affordable over five years than the Soul Plus, offers better fuel economy, and comes with more driver-assist technology than what you’ll get with the Soul Plus. 
If price is your absolute red line, go with the Corolla. If performance matters to you that much, you might lean toward the subcompact 2018 Soul Plus. But overall, the Corolla is a better bet.

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Yes and no—on the inside, the Kia Soul + offers more headroom, legroom, and cargo space than the Corolla. In terms of the actual body, the Corolla is both longer than the Soul and wider in terms of wheelbase.
The Corolla’s hybrid engine gives it the easy edge here, with 52 mpg combined. However, the Soul + gas-powered engine manages a respectable 27 mpg combined.
Off the showroom floor, the price point for the Soul + and the Corolla are comparable. But five years down the road, you’ll pay roughly $27,000 more for a Soul + over a five-year period—significantly more than the Corolla over five years.
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