Looking for a great mix of a hatchback, wagon and SUV? The 2017 Kia Soul might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
TRAVIS LANGNESS: I'm automotive editor Travis Langness. And this is the Edmunds Expert Rundown of the 2017 Kia Soul. For 2017, the Kia Soul's biggest upgrade is the new turbocharged engine with stronger power and more performance. You can only get the turbo engine on the Soul's top trim level, but we think it's worth the cost. On top of the increased performance, you also get a nicer cabin and more tech features. Unfortunately, the ride quality suffers with the bigger wheels. And overall, the Soul has unimpressive fuel economy for a car in this class. On the inside, the Soul's got an attractive cabin with lots of user-friendly controls and more passenger space than you might expect from a car this size. It's not typical that we recommend the top trim level. But with the Kia Soul, it's definitely worth the extra cost. You get peppier turbo engine. And the price increase over the mid-range model isn't that big. Bottom line is the Kia Soul is a high-quality, , utilitarian and competitively priced car that we definitely recommend. For more reviews of key competitors, go to YouTube and check out more of the Edmunds Expert Rundowns.
Kia calls it a crossover, others call it a wagon or a hatchback, but whatever you call the 2017 Kia Soul, its shape ? kind of a stylized shoe box ? catches your eye as its ready-for-anything attitude piques your interest. Generally thought to be aimed squarely at the youth market, the Soul does, in fact, make a pretty good all-around family hauler for shoppers looking for a vehicle that's affordable, practical and roomy, yet strikes a different chord than the average compact hatchback or SUV.
Changes for 2017 include an updated infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a larger touchscreen and additional USB ports, as well as an available power passenger seat and HID headlights. But the biggest news is the new turbocharged engine, available only on the line-topping Soul ! (Exclaim) trim level, which provides a much-appreciated boost in power.
The standard engine for the Soul is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. Next up is a 2.0-liter four that puts out 161 hp and 150 lb-ft. And then there's the new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that cranks out 201 hp and 195 lb-ft. The base engine comes linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 2.0-liter powerplant gets a six-speed automatic transmission, and the turbo drives the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic.
Fuel economy for the 2017 Soul with the base engine and the standard manual transmission is EPA-rated at 27 mpg combined (24 city/30 highway). Opt for the new turbocharged powerplant, however, and the rating jumps a bit to 28 mpg combined (26 city/31 highway).
The five-seater Soul's boxy shape results in a surprisingly roomy interior, but is better suited to four passengers and their cargo. Folded rear seats expand the Soul's load capacity to rival that of most small SUVs. Attractively styled, the cabin features generally high-quality, soft materials; and a variety of trim levels, packages and options allow buyers to personalize the Soul to near-luxury levels.
One complaint about the Soul had been that its lackluster engine performance didn't match its zippy looks. Now, with the addition of the available turbo, that issue has been put to rest. It doesn't elevate the Soul to sport-coupe territory, but it provides plenty of highway passing power and enough punch off the line to satisfy most drivers. The ride might be a bit on the harsh side, but it's no worse than most vehicles in this class. And the recently revamped suspension system does give the Soul excellent cornering ability for a rather tall vehicle.
The Soul's Base trim level comes well equipped, with such features as alloy wheels, air-conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity. The mid-level Soul + (Plus) adds comfort and convenience features, as well as the 2.0-liter engine. The top-of-the-line Soul ! (Exclaim) adds leather-trimmed seats, piano black accents and other luxury touches, not to mention the turbocharged powerplant. Let Edmunds help you find the 2017 Kia Soul that best meets your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.