2017 Kia Soul with New Turbo Puts More ‘Fun’ in Funky

Kia’s funky little runabout gets some new “soul” for 2017. The Soul urban activity vehicle sees the addition of a turbocharged 1.6-liter GDI engine this model year along with a new 7-speed DCT automatic gearbox. It arrives in the Exclaim model and puts more fun in funky.

2017 Kia Soul Exclaim/Images courtesy Kia

2017 Kia Soul Exclaim/Images courtesy Kia

Also new for 2017 on the Kia Soul is a Drive Mode Select where drivers can choose Eco, Normal, or Sport driving modes from a button on the steering wheel. Kia has also brought some new alloy wheels designs and delivers new audio systems as well. Plus and Exclaim models see new driver assistance technology in the form of blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert.


This is my third iteration of the Kia Soul to test and it is by far the most fun to drive yet. I have always appreciated the concept of this vehicle and enjoyed the marketing initiatives Kia has wrapped around it (i.e. hamsters). Add this turbo engine and dual clutch tranny and the Kia Soul just got serious about giving some European vehicles a run for their money. In addition to the powertrain upgrades the 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim also sees new 18-inch alloy wheels, twin-tipped exhaust, larger front disc brakes, leather-wrapped D-Shape steering wheel, push button start, and new HID headlights and LED fog lights.


Driving the 2017 Soul Exclaim is a blast. The turbo comes in early in the powerband and pushes the funky cube like never before. The engine delivers 201hp and 195 lb. ft. of torque. The 7-speed DCT automatic transmission makes shifts solid but not extreme, with no lag that we have felt with certain recent German DSG models (as well as no “burp” at the shift points like those Germans have either). Steering is effortless and does provide a modest amount of feedback when pushing things. Braking is solid and well controlled and the vehicle feels as though it rides a bit stiffer than past models but has less roll in corners.


Pricing for the new 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim with 1.6-liter GDI turbo engine starts at $22,650. Fuel economy comes in at 26 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Our fuel economy around town came in a few ticks below this but we spent most of our time “feeding the hamsters” under the hood and enjoying the newfound spirit in the Soul Exclaim.


This new turbo edition Kia Soul is the car to have, in my opinion, and I bet dealers have a difficult time keeping them on the lot. The 2017 Soul Exclaim is a lot of fun to drive and is a great funky alternative to some of the more staid traditional turbo wagons and hatches on the market.


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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.