Chevrolet Trailblazer vs. Kia Soul

Apr 10, 2024 - 4 minute read

Chevrolet Trailblazer Front View

The current Chevrolet Trailblazer (as opposed to the midsize SUV from 2001 - 2008) is Chevrolet’s smallest crossover and one of its newest, arriving on the market in 2020 as a 2021 model. The Kia Soul has been around since 2010, when it debuted as one of a series of box-on-wheels models that appeared along with the Nissan Cube and the Scion xB. The Kia Soul has since shed some of its boxiness for style and is now the only remaining model of those boxcars. Despite some significant differences, the Trailblazer and Soul both compete in the subcompact crossover segment and have much in common. Krusen Motors invites you to a head-to-head comparison of these two models.


The Trailblazer has a longer wheelbase and is longer overall, but the cabin dimensions are very similar. There is only a fraction of an inch difference in front and rear legroom, front and rear shoulder room, and front headroom. The Soul has over an inch more rear headroom. The Trailblazer trades this off with more cargo space behind the rear seats, though it is still close with 25.3 cubic feet compared to 24.2 for the Soul.

Drivetrain Differences

It is a different story under the hood. The Soul is powered by a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 that produces 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft of peak torque @ 4,500 rpm. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which sends the power strictly to the front wheels. There is no AWD option.

In contrast, the Trailblazer has two engine choices, starting with a smaller but turbocharged 1.2-liter inline-3 engine that produces 137 hp @ 5,000 rpm and 162 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm. So, the Trailblazer has significantly more peak torque and is accessible at 2,000 lower rpm than the Kia. The higher torque at a lower rpm gives the Trailblazer response that the Kia lacks in city driving. This engine also connects to a CVT and sends power strictly to the front wheels. 

All Trailblazer trim levels offer optional all-wheel drive, and with it comes a larger 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-3 engine producing 155 hp @ 5600 rpm and notable 174 lb-ft torque @ 1600 rpm. The larger engine is connected to a 9-speed automatic. This engine and transmission is also standard on front-wheel drive ACTIV and RS grades. 

Efficiency Surprises

You expect good fuel mileage with a vehicle of this size. The Soul and smaller-engined Trailblazers share the same EPA-estimated combined MPG of 30. Trailblazer does better in the city with 29 mpg vs. 27 for the Soul. This is reversed on the highway, with the Soul being rated at 33 compared to 31 for the Trailblazer. FWD Trailblazers with the larger engines return a higher highway rating of 33 while retaining the same city figure. This gives them greater efficiency than the Soul across the board. AWD Trailblazers brings the efficiency down a bit to 26 / 29 / 27.

Interior Features

The base Soul is equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen, which upgrades to a 10.25-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation for the rest of the model line. All Souls have wired AppleCarplay and Android Auto compatibility.  A step from the basic model adds remote start, a wireless phone charger, and remote access functions through the Kia app. 

All Trailblazers feature a 11-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8-inch configurable digital driver’s information center is also standard. It comes down to taste, but we consider the Trailblazer dash to have a more upscale appearance than the oval-themed Soul dashboard.

Safety and Driver Assist

The base Soul has most of the Kia Drive Wise suite of safety and driver-assist features. Included are:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist w/ Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection

  • Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist

  • Intelligent Speed Limit Assist

  • Driver Attention Warning

  • Rear Occupant Alert

The S grade model, one step above the base model, includes rear sensors, which means the addition of:

  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance

  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist

  • Lane Change Assist

The base Trailblazer LS has the same standard Safety and driver-assist features as the rest of the model line, which includes:

  •  Automatic Emergency Braking

  • Forward Collision Alert

  • Front Pedestrian Braking

  • Following Distance Indicator

  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning

    Available options across the model line include:

  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert

  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert

  • Rear Park Assist

The Trailblazer earned an overall 5-star NHTSA safety rating, compared to a 4-star overall rating for the Soul. 

With greater feature content, the Trailblazer starting MSRP is higher at $24,395 compared to $20,190 for the Soul. Each model line includes four grades, with the Soul topping out at $24,490 as the base MSRP for top EX models. The rugged-themed ACTIV and the sport-themed RS Trailblazer models sit at the top of the range and have the same starting MSRP of $28,395. 

With advantages such as punchy powertrains, superior cabin technology, available AWD, and potentially greater fuel economy, the TrailBlazer ticks all the boxes for a small, versatile crossover model. Now it is time to investigate the Trailblazer on your own, and we have a selection of models for you to see at Krusen Motors

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