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2017 Kia Soul! Turbo Review By Larry Nutson

2017 Kia Soul! Turbo Review (select to view enlarged photo)

Editor's Note: Top 25 New Cars For Senior Drivers As Ranked By Consumer Report (July 2017 Edition): 2017 Kia Soul - 3rd Place

2017 Kia Soul Exclaim (!) Turbo
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

There’s a new hamster in Kia’s family of hamsters and its name is Turbo. This hamster is a bit hyper and has a lot more energy, just like the Soul (!) Turbo.

The big news for the Soul is the 201 horsepower that’s newly available under the hood.

Now for 2017 the Soul is available in three trim levels each with their own distinct engines: the Base model with 130-HP and either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic; the Soul Plus (+) with 161-HP and a 6-speed automatic; and the 201-HP Exclaim (!) Turbo with the new 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT).

What’s more interesting is that you can have all this added power and get even better fuel economy. The Soul Exclaim (!) has slightly better EPA ratings than the other models.

2017 Kia Soul! Turbo Review (select to view enlarged photo)

I spent a week driving the Soul Exclaim (!), which included a highway road trip of about 250 miles each way. Overall I averaged 29 mpg. EPA test cycle rating for the Soul Exclaim (!) Turbo are 28 mpg combined, with 26 city mpg and 31 highway mpg.

The 1.6-L engine develops 45 more lb.-ft. of torque, with a max of 195 lb.-ft. available in the 1,500 to 4,500 rpm range. Acceleration is brisk with zero to 60 mph in the mid-6-second range. And, the crisp-shifting 7-speed DCT will give Soul drivers a lot more fun behind the wheel. All this is on regular-grade 87 octane unleaded gasoline.

To balance out the added performance from the engine the suspension has been retuned with firmer springs and shocks. Brakes have been kicked up a notch too, with larger, 12-inch front brake discs. The 235/45 R18 tires enable a bit better handling on curvy roads and also firm up the overall ride.


The Soul Exclaim (!) Turbo also gets some new trim and sportier features, including: exclusive 18-inch wheels; red-accented body trim; chrome grille surround, unique Soul tailgate badge; and dual chrome twin-tip exhaust. Headlights and fog lights have been redesigned along with new front and rear fascias.

On the inside there’s still seating for five and a big 61.3 cu.ft. of cargo space when you fold down the rear seat. A leather-wrapped, D-shaped steering wheel, pushbutton start with smart key, UVO32 with e-Services with integrated Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and an 8-way power passenger seat complete things.

2017 Kia Soul! Turbo Review (select to view enlarged photo)

2017 Kia Soul! Turbo Review (select to view enlarged photo)

I noted that there’s no engine idle stop/start system on the Exclaim (!) Turbo, a feature that nearly every carmaker is installing and many customers don’t like. And, I didn’t miss not having shift paddles…there not warranted on every car, as seems to be the thinking of many OEMs.

A 315-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system with eight speakers, including a center channel and subwoofer, navigation and 8-inch touchscreen display is also available. Two new available driver-assistance safety features are Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection.

The Soul Exclaim (!) Turbo had a base price of $22,800. The Base model costs $16,100 and the Soul Plus (+) is priced at $19,800.

The Soul’s large opening and near vertical rear hatch makes for easy cargo loading. There’s 19-cu.ft. with all seats in place. Combine this with the city-friendly 163-inch overall length and many “hamster families” will like the boxy-Soul’s ease of use.

2017 Kia Soul! Turbo Review (select to view enlarged photo)

Kia delivers some other user-friendly features on the Soul such as power-folding outside mirrors, heated front and rear seats, as well as a heated steering wheel.

Kia Motors was recently ranked highest in the industry in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) for the second year in a row. Also, the Kia Soul has earned a top award in the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) in the Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle segment.

More information and detailed specifications on the 2017 Kia Soul can be found at Comparisons to other compact hatchbacks and small utilities can be made right here on The Auto Channel.

Some categorize the Soul as a hatchback and others as a small station wagon, or even, a “boxy” car. Either way it offers loads of versatility, great quality and is really a good value. The value proposition includes a long 5-year/60,000 mile warranty and loads of features. The fun factor is amped up with 201 horsepower.

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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