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2017 Kia Soul EV KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.7 / 10
This Car - 2017 Kia Soul EV
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Consumer Rating 9.6 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Keith Buglewicz

The 2017 Kia Soul finally receives the one thing it's lacked since the first hamster-driven 5-door hatchback appeared on our streets: horsepower. The top-level 2017 Soul Exclaim now boasts a 201-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder that delivers the verve the Kia Soul's funky styling and marketing long promised. Beyond the Turbo model's extra power, the entire lineup now offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind-spot detection, additional USB inputs and more. The all-electric Soul EV touts gas-free driving, but its range is only 93 miles, and availability is limited. The 2017 Soul is a compelling alternative not just to subcompact SUVs like the Fiat 500X or Mini Cooper Countryman, but also the Mazda3, Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic hatchbacks, especially when you consider its long warranty and low starting price.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2017 Kia Soul is a compelling choice for anybody searching for a nifty-looking, fun-driving and feature-filled affordable compact car. It looks like nothing else on the road, can't help but put out a fun vibe, and is quite practical thanks to a roomy interior.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you think a boxy-looking vehicle should have all-wheel drive, the Soul's front-drive layout will have you pointed toward the Jeep Renegade or Subaru XV Crosstrek. While the Soul Exclaim packs new muscle, the Honda Civic and Mazda3 and are more fun to drive. The Kia Soul EV, meanwhile, just got upstaged by the new Chevy Bolt.

What's New for 2017

The 2017 Kia Soul wagon gets a host of upgrades in addition to the Soul Exclaim's new turbo engine. Other updates include available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-way-power passenger seat, blind-spot monitoring, additional USB ports, HID headlights, and a new full-color information display between the gauges for the Exclaim.

Driving It Driving Impressions

The good news is that the 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim, with its turbo engine, is definitely quicker than ever. With sharper handling from revised suspension settings and 18-inch alloy wheels, the Soul Turbo packs an edgier experience. The quick and predictable steering still lacks the feedback of a Civic, but it's acceptable. Power the Soul through a corner and it responds admirably, with less body roll than you'd expect from a tall vehicle. The Turbo's biggest drawback is the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic paired with the engine. It's slow to shift up or down, and occasional odd surges of power make it feel like it's not always fully engaged, even with the Sport drive mode selected. We think the midtrim Plus model, with its non-turbo 2.0-liter engine, will satisfy most drivers. The battery-powered Kia Soul EV has the quiet operation desirable of electric vehicles (EVs), but not the quickness. It takes over 11 seconds for the Kia Soul EV to reach 60 mph. The Chevy Bolt does it in 6.5 seconds and has a range of 238 miles, vs. the Soul EV's lowly 93.

Favorite Features

We'll freely admit that we're suckers for horsepower, and the new turbocharged engine under the hood of the Kia Soul Exclaim definitely gives the Soul more of its namesake. As a side benefit, fuel economy is actually better than the other engines, meaning you sacrifice almost nothing, aside from extra money.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are maybe the best thing to come along in in-car infotainment since speakers. With CarPlay you have access to everything your phone offers, including Apple Music, and with Android Auto you can use Google Maps, all on your car's infotainment system.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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