By Dave Stall.
These two haulers are in a very busy segments and I felt they would be worthy of the road test battle. This segment is considered entry level for small families starting out on their journey. Other groups have gravitated to this market, one that comes to mind is the dog community, hauling dogs to and from dog shows can be daunting if the vehicle in question does not have the ability to secure crates and animals on leash only. I am happy to say both vehicles meet the dog community expectations! Let’s look at these cars a little more in depth.
2014 KIA Soul
KIA is a great start for a beginning family as I mentioned but driving characteristics are important as well, the 2014 KIA Soul has two engines to choose from, a thrifty 1.6-liter putting out 130 horsepower and 118 pound foot of torque backed by either a 6-spd manual or the optional Electronically Controlled 6-Spd Auto w/Overdrive and fuel mileage with the manual 6-speed transmission is 24-city, 30-freeway and 26 miles per gallon combined all on regular fuel. If you go with the optional 6-speed automatic with overdrive you will expect to get exactly the same mileage according to KIA. If you opt for the 2.0-liter four cylinder that produces 164 horsepower and 151 pound feet of torque, only the automatic transmissions is available with the 2.0-liter engine and fuel mileage will be a tad lower 23-city, 31-freeway and combined you will expect 26 miles per gallon. KIA does have an ECO Mode you can choose which will increase your mileage number slightly and they have an optional “start-stop” feature that will get your fuel mileage at 24-city, 31-freeway and combined, mileage of 27 miles per gallon.
How does it drive? It was one of the best handling small cars I have been in, interior is done very well with leather stitching, easy to operate all the controls from either the steering wheel or the dash. The 2014 Kia Soul had an all-new under pinning last year, this year, 2014 it has an appearance upgrade that changes the dimensions of the car for a positive results. Bases out at $14,700 plus tax and license. Oh and did I mention the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty and the 5 year 60,000 bumper to bumper warranty?
2013 Scion xB
The company have not released all the numbers on the 2014 Scion xB at this time but they have done a wonderful job in this segment starting out with a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder that produces 158 horsepower and 162 pound feet of torque. Scion only offers the one engine and your fuel mileage expectations are 22 city, 28-highway and combined mileage with either the manual or automatic transmission, I see this to being a little odd? The interior is well laid out for maximum workability when hauling kids, groceries and dogs; yes a dog crate fits well in both cars with safety tie downs. For both cars they can be built from the web site and you will be well informed about each car and what fits your lifestyle. The warranty on the 2014 Scion xB is 3 years or 36,000 miles with a 60 month 60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
So which one do you pick? I am big on a good warranty especially if I plan to keep my car for longer than the base warranty, if not then 3 years 36,000 miles is doable. These cars may seem close but you really need to drive one during the day, night time, and whatever you need to haul and need to load up to make sure it all fits! So have fun and go to the websites and build your own dream car! Be sure to drive them first! See you down the road!