I thought it had just the right Funky Factor out of the box, and its interior space and polite driving qualities added to the enjoyment.
My recent week in the tweaked-for-2017 Kia Soul equipped with an enthusiastic turbocharged engine moved the Soul up a couple of notches on my personal feel-good chart.
(I’m going to pause here to explain something to automotive enthusiasts who demand that even the smallest details be noted. This particular Soul model was unveiled last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show as the “Soul Exclaim.” But Kia has since designated this on its window stickers with an exclamation point (!). OK, the bottom line is that this is the most horsepower-laden of the Souls, to which I say: !)
The power plant is a 1.6-liter, gas direct injection turbo-4 with a max 201 horsepower and 195 foot-pounds of torque coming in a low rpms.
Anyone who has ever been in a Soul for even a few minutes should be able to figure out what those particular numbers mean in this vehicle. Performance is enthusiastic, to say the least. A rush? Yes, that and more.
And yet, fuel mileage comes in at an impressive 26 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Also, the extra power boost does not translate to a clunky, bumpy ride. The tester motored along in a fairly quiet, refined way in all conditions.
A seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission manages the power package. And it manages quite well.
A first glance at the Kia Soul might tell some that there is not enough interior room for their stuff. But folding the rear seat and other quick configuration fixes will give you a most generous 61.3 cubic feet.
This turbo Soul has some special looks worth noting: 18-inch alloy wheels, special trim, special badging and dual chrome, twin-tip exhausts.
Interior features are plentiful, especially for the bargain starting price of $22,650. I think the feature I enjoyed the most was the leather-wrapped, D-shaped steering wheel, which felt sporty and comfortable in my hands.
The Soul is touted as a young person’s car, but I beg to differ. My youth is way back in the rearview mirror, and I enjoyed the Soul every minute I drove it. I’d also consider it to be an ideal run-around-town car for empty nesters who still have chores to do but relish free time out on the roadways.