Looking for a car that’s cool and funky, but can’t decide between the Kia Soul or Nissan Cube? Let me break it down for you so you can make an informed decision.
Both models were produced with unique design and practicality in mind. Both have a box-type shape and come into the same budget range. However, this is where we part ways as we get down to the nitty gritty.
The Nissan Cube was available in North America between the years 2009-2014 whereas the Kia Soul has been around since 2010 and is still being produced (including an EV range) meaning Kia’s Soul has more standing in the American market and availability of parts should be easier. Kia also sold more Soul’s than Nissan’s Cube and this is really evident when I did a search of used models across the nation. The amount of Cube’s available was 107 between the years 2009-2014, compared to a thinner search between the years 2010-2014 for the Soul returning 1,131 results. That’s less than 10% for the Cube. So if it’s rarity you’re after, Cube would be the pick.
Next is design and styling. The Kia Soul comes with an array of different exterior and interior colors and seat trim, and special editions including the 2010 ‘Denim’ limited to 1200 units sold to the US market (with a blue body color and featured white racing stripes, white painted side-view mirrors, and white 18-inch alloy wheels). The Nissan Cube on the other hand came with an optional moonroof (or water ripple effect ceiling) and other smaller custom additions, and also the ‘S Indigo’ special edition which came out in 2012 including a navigation system, rear-view monitor, upgraded audio system, upgraded wheels, and intelligent key. It also came with a somewhat basic color range including Pearl White, Bali Blue, Cayenne Red, Brilliant Silver, and Gun Metallic (I must say I prefer the ‘Caribbean Blue’ of the earlier models). The Soul has sporty good looks, great color range, and plenty of personalized custom options, whereas the Cube has more of a Dr. Seuss feel about it with the rounded windows and Jacuzzi-styled interior dash. Again personal choice, but think about how the rear trunk opens. On the Soul, it opens upwards and on the Cube it swings out sideways which means you need more room behind to open the trunk (which could be an issue when parallel parking).
What about practicality. Well, both cars have plenty of leg and head room in the rear passenger seats, but the Cube comes either with a bench rear seat or custom rear seats in the that adjust forward and back and recline as well. The Cube tends to sit lower to the ground while the Soul sits higher allowing you to see better ahead. The Cube does however have plenty of windows and thinner rear pillars so visibility is better than the chunky rear pillars that can cause a blind-spot in the Soul. Kia’s Soul offers better fuel economy and bigger headlights, however the Cube has a spare tire underneath the vehicle (which gets grubby from road debris) released by a nut in the trunk whereas the Soul either has a ‘space-saver’ tire in the trunk or no spare tire (relying on a ‘Tire Mobility Kit’ which consists of a can of sealant and a small air compressor to repair the tire until you reach your destination which doesn’t work for all flat tire issues). Make sure you check this when thinking of purchasing a Soul as you may need to budget around $200 to buy a space-saving tire for peace of mind.
Overall, while both offer unique design flair, the Soul not only has a much larger range of models on the used car market, but is also still being made today, and comes in an optional electric version as well. If you’re a diehard Cube convert, then go for it – but my recommendation for practicality of parts and maintenance would be the Soul.