The KIA Soul has always stood out for its quirkiness: and in a good way. Melding a variety of bodystyle elements that makes it look like a SUV-hatchback-wagon hybrid, the vehicle belies its size as a subcompact with ample interior space and confirms its orientation as a crossover with its high level of fuel efficiency. The 2017 model year ostensibly marks the midpoint in its second production cycle, with a few additions and adjustments. KIA introduces a new engine called the Gamma T-GDI, some optional features of previous years are promoted to standard level, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-which enable smartphone-based infotainment control-are available for the first time in the Soul's production life. There are three trims: Base, + (Plus), and ! (Exclaim).


Designed as a five-seater, the latest Soul has a passenger volume of up to 101 cubic feet; add a sunroof, and that decreases to 98.6 cubic feet. You can maximize standard cargo space to 24.2 cubic feet if you remove the cargo-under tray, and the rear seatback can be folded down to expand it to 61.3 cubic feet. On the top-level Exclaim, KIA replaces the cloth seat trim with black cloth-and-leather covering with orange contrast stitching, and wraps the steering wheel and shift knob in leather. Base-level comfort and convenience features include steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, Flexsteerâ„¢ technology for choosing between three steering-wheel calibrations, and a six-speaker stereo system with an AM/FM radio tuner and a complimentary three-month SiriusXM satellite radio subscription. The Plus gets additional cruise control, a rear camera with a 5-inch touchscreen display, remote keyless entry, and automatic climate control with ionizer. On the Exclaim, KIA adds a smart key system, with push-button engine ignition, UVO eServices for integrating infotainment controls, the aforementioned Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a 7-inch touchscreen that replaces the Plus's 5-inch display.


Regarding exterior features, the 2017 Soul starts out with a rear wiper, multi-reflector headlights, dual power side mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels. On the Plus, the side mirrors can be heated to get rid of ice or mist, fog lights appear below the headlights for more penetrating illumination, 17-inch alloys replace the 16-inch ones on the Base, and the headlights have auto light control for automatically turning them on or off depending on the amount of sunlight. On the Exclaim, KIA adds turn-signal indicators on the mirrors, installs 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, and replaces the single exhaust with a chrome twin exhaust system for boosting engine performance.


RThe 2017 KIA Soul uses a MacPherson strut front suspension and coupled torsion beam axle rear suspension for curbing turbulence from uneven or bumpy driving surfaces. Electric power steering on the vehicle provides a curb-to-curb turning circle of 34.8 feet. And a unibody construction contributes to the Soul's sturdiness and stability.


The aforementioned Gamma T-GDI is a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. It is exclusive to the Exclaim trim, and it is only paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with a Sportmatic shifter for simulating manual gear shifting. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the non-turbocharged Gamma engine, which is a 1.6-liter I4 that provides 130 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque. This engine, which is installed on the Base trim, is tied to a 6-speed manual transmission, with the option of switching it with the 6-speed Sportmatic automatic gearbox. The mid-tier Plus gets the 2.0-liter Nu I4, which produces up to 161 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque and is hitched to the aforementioned 6-speed automatic transmission. The Plus and Exclaim get the Active Eco System for boosting fuel economy by shutting down less essential vehicular functions.


For protection in the event of an auto collision, the 2017 KIA Soul comes with a pair of front impact airbags that face the front-row occupants, a pair of front seat-installed side impact airbags, and a pair of roof-mounted side curtains. The Soul is fitted with all-wheel disc brakes for shortening stopping distances, and it is accompanied by an anti-lock braking system for preventing wheel lockup during sudden stops and electronic brake-force distribution to properly allocate stopping power to the wheels. Also standard on the 2017 KIA Soul are electronic stability control to detect and reduce tire slip on the road; and hill start assist control to prevent the car from rolling backward when shifting from Park to Drive on a hill. On the Exclaim, KIA introduces engine immobilization to join the keyless entry system for a more robust theft-deterrent mechanism.

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