Roseville, Calif. – While still not quite sure how to properly classify the Kia Soul – is it a wagon, hatchback or sport utility vehicle – one thing is for certain: the 2017 version is more likeable than ever before.
Although still no fan of its boxy appearance, the Soul is still around, so overall Kia must be doing something right. The three other boxy vehicles – Scion xB, Nissan Cube, Honda Element – that emerged along with the Soul are no longer around, leaving the Kia model in a class of its own.
Looks are still what first comes to mind with the Soul, a four-door hatchback with the iconic shape. It was introduced in 2009 when Kia decided to jump on the boxy bandwagon. This class of vehicles was characterized by its unique styling that was looking to attract youthful car buyers who wanted something “different” and could get it at a reasonable price. The Soul is capable of carrying five passengers and is a fun commuter car that can do fine on longer trips where freeway driving and passing situations are prevalent.
What sets the Kia Soul apart from most vehicles – funky appearance and reasonable price – may still be its greatest draw. The boxy look is roughly the same and the price remains alluring at approximately $16,000 for the base model that comes with manual transmission. Note that with automatic transmission the basement price is around $17,770.
And the price jumps even higher if you want a 2017 Kia Soul with its new engine, a peppy turbocharged 1.6-liter, four cylinder that generates 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It’s equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The turbo model is only available with the Kia Soul Exclaim (!).
Besides the increased performance, the Exclaim (!) also has a nicer cabin and more technology features, a definite lure for younger folks. The turbo model gets slightly better gas mileage (26-31 mph) than the other two engines. The other options are a 1.6-liter, four cylinder that has 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, and a 2.0-liter, four cylinder that produces 161 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Gas mileage is 25-30 mpg in both engines.
2017 Kia Soul
- Performance: 1.6-liter, four cylinder, 130 horsepower; 2.0-liter, four cylinder, 161 horsepower; turbocharged 1.6-liter, four cylinder, 201 horsepower;
- Mileage estimate: 25-30 mpg; 25-30 mpg; 26-31 mpg
- Estimated price: $16,100 to $23,500
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 5 years/100,000
The Kia Soul is fairly agile and can handle itself quite well on challenging, winding roads. The steering and braking capability will leave the driver with a good amount of confidence in all driving situations.
The Soul’s boxy shape allows for some nice interior space. It has 19 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and that expands to 61 cubic feet with the back seat folded. A bin under the cargo floor is ideal for storing smaller items.
Comfort is another plus for the Soul. There is solid head and leg room for all passengers, two qualities that are appreciated on a long trip. The Soul interior has a lot of plastic, but elbow rests and other areas that people regularly touch are softer. The interior has a nice infotainment center that’s fairly easy to master.
The 2017 Kia Soul is more appealing than ever. If one doesn’t mind the odd exterior appearance, giving it a look is advised.