They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and from that perspective the 2011 Scion xB should most likely take the squared-off design of the 2011 Kia Soul as a complement. Upon closer inspection, however, there are several significant differences between the two vehicles that illustrate why the Scion xB is a much more complete compact crossover package.
For starters, the 2011 Scion xB (MSRP $16,720) provides a spacious interior that trumps the one found in the Soul, offering driver and passengers greater comfort and practicality. Both vehicles seat five, but the xB pulls far ahead of the Kia Soul when it comes to hauling cargo. With its rear seats out of the picture, the Scion can swallow nearly 70 cubic feet of gear, while the Soul trails behind with just 53 cubic feet of total cargo space.
Comparing available equipment for each of the two crossover vehicles also shines a favorable light on the Scion xB. The xB comes standard with features such as remote keyless entry, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a six-speaker stereo system with a USB iPod interface and a center console – none of which can be found on the entry-level Kia Soul. The xB also wipes the floor with the Soul when it comes to options and accessories, thanks to Scion’s extensive factory customization program that allows drivers to choose from a long list of performance parts, style upgrades and practical features that can be added to the compact crossover.
Comparing and contrasting the power plants that are offered on both the Scion and the Kia continues the trend of the xB simply providing more than the Kia model. The 2011 Scion xB is motivated by a 2.4-liter, 158-hp four-cylinder engine that also generates 162 lb/ft of torque. Neither of the two four-cylinder engines that can be found in the Kia Soul approach these numbers, with the entry-level motor providing 122-hp and the top of the line unit putting out only 142-hp. The difference is thrown into even starker relief when examining torque figures: the 1.6-liter Kia motor generates 115 lb/ft of torque, while its optional 2.0-liter manages just 137 lb/ft. Each of these figures puts the Soul a comfortable distance behind the xB when it comes to acceleration and passing power on the highway.
It’s clear that the differences between these two compact crossovers are more numerous than their superficial similarities. While the Kia Soul certainly mimics the box-like shape of the 2011 Scion xB, as soon as one slips behind the wheel the charade instantly becomes transparent. Smaller inside, offering far fewer features and significantly less powerful, the Soul is simply incapable of keeping pace with the xB, a vehicle which has cornered this quirky market and become a popular choice with a wide range of drivers seeking a fun, practical and compact crossover vehicle.