2017 Kia Soul Turbo

There’s a reason the Soul is a top seller for Kia. The little boxy wagon does many things well. It’s a funky shaped front-driver that’s been cleverly marketed. The new Soul Turbo has special styling, special wheels and lots of extras, especially more power.

The Turbo model gets extra interior touches, too, like an exclusive steering wheel, contrasting stitching, and a seven-speed dual clutch automatic that is sometimes slow to respond when searching for the proper gear.

Big heated comfortable front buckets are great, as is Harman Kardon sound. Kia is under pressure to keep the Soul fresh because it means so much to the bottom line. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are now standard, and the nav is better than ever.

Row-two room is acceptable and passengers get their own 12-volt power. When it comes to cargo space, the Soul is just about on par with other vehicles in this class. Where it really stands out is under-floor storage.

With 201 horsepower from its turbo-four engine, the Soul Turbo is much quicker than the base car but still manages better gas mileage, an impressive engineering feat. While it’s more fun to drive than a base Soul, don’t think it’s a hot hatchback. It’s a sportier Soul, but not a great handling car. There is quite a bit of road noise in the cockpit.

So, for the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo, I say thumbs up to more power, more features, and great practicality; thumbs down to a sluggish transmission.

I averaged about 28 miles per gallon. The pre-production model had no sticker, but the price should be about $27,000.

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