The Kia Soul was originally introduced in 2010 and it was the perfect car for its time. Fuel prices, recession recovery, and small stylish boxy cars were all the rage for millennials without money and seniors soon to be retiring. Kia keeps up that money saving big value trend with the 2017 Kia Soul.
The Soul comes in 3 trim types – Base Manual/Automatic, Plus (+), and Exclaim (!) The base model starts at $16,100 and gets you a 130hp engine with 27 mph and a 1.6L 4 cylinder engine. The Base Automatic is simply the Basic Manual with automatic transmission at $17,700. The + (yes, the plus sign. It’s actually pronounced plus) starts at $19,800 and comes with a 6 speed automatic with sportmatic shifting and a 2.0L 4 cylinder 161 hp engine with 27 average MPG. The ! (that’s pronounced exclaim) comes with a 7 speed dual clutch transmission and a 201 horsepower 1.6L turbocharged 4 cylinder that gets average 28 mpg.
We tested the ! version and the Kia Soul is deceptively large. Missing is the engine transmission column that takes up a huge amount of space and instead the seats sit closer without feeling cramped. The Kia Soul ! comes with 201 horsepower and its the most powerful Kia Soul ever made. That meant passing and accelerating in Miami traffic wasn’t mind blowing amazing but was great enough to feel confident when you need it.
We took the car on a 2 hour road trip to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center and was the only car that didn’t have trouble parking between mangroves. The 40.9 inches of front legroom and 39.1 inches of rear legroom meant no complaints from passengers big and small. And the 61.3 inches of cargo room (that’s with the rear folding seats down) means I can finally return my JÄPPLING Ikea chair.
The Kia Soul competes with a lot of different cars for your attention and dollar. Depending on who you ask the car compares to the Hyundai Elantra, the Volkswagen Golf, the Scion xB, the Nissan Cube, and the Honda HR-V. The Soul is so big on the insider it might be a small crossover. But based on first impressions it’s just a normal subcompact with a 8.9/10 from U.S. News.
I’m never a big fan of the default car navigation but Kia makes Android Auto and Apple Carplay easy to work with. Just plug in your phone and it pops up. I understand why manufacturers still have their navigation systems – not every road has cellphone reception – but I’m always finding Google and Apple do maps better.
Standard features in the 2017 Soul include cloth seating, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, and satellite radio. Optional features include include automatic temperature control, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touch-screen audio display, the UVO infotainment system with a 7- or 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 4.3-inch digital instrument cluster display, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, navigation, HD Radio, two USB ports, proximity-key entry, a push-button ignition, remote start, HID headlights, a panoramic sunroof, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.
2017 Kia Soul is available now starting at $16,100.