Among the many changes Kia is applying to its subcompact Soul crossover, the most interesting one could very well be the addition of a turbocharged engine in the top-range SX trim, which was introduced at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
Matched to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automated gearbox, the turbo 1.6-litre engine develops 201 horsepower as well as 195 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm. If these numbers sound familiar, it’s because the powertrain can also be found in the Kia Forte5 and Forte Koup as well as in the Hyundai Veloster Turbo and—more recently—the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport. The Soul SX also benefits from exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels, red accenting and dual exhaust tips.
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Base versions of the 2017 Kia Soul keep their direct-injected, 1.6-litre four that develops 130 horsepower, while uplevel trims still get a 2.0-litre unit and 161 hp. Ironically, the turbocharged engine is the most powerful of the three, but also the most fuel-efficient with city/highway ratings of 9.1/7.7 L/100 km.
All Soul trims get some revisions inside and out, while the LX+ M/T and EX Eco variants are discontinued. Last year’s SX and SX Luxury trim levels become the EX Premium and EX Tech, respectively. A heated steering wheel is now standard on EX trims and above, and EX+ versions and up gain an intelligent key system, a seven-inch radio display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as well as speaker mood lighting, which used to be available in the previous-generation Soul. There are also three new paint colours.
The 2017 Kia Soul starts at $17,395 before freight and delivery charges. The SX is listed at $25,995, while the SX Tech, which notably includes a panoramic sunroof, HID headlights and LED daytime running lights, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert, heated rear seats and navigation, is available at $29,995. The Soul EV remains unchanged for now.