The Most Powerful Kia Soul Ever Built Rolled into the Paris Motor Show
Kia put a lot of work into the Soul for the 2017 model year. Highlights include restyled front and rear fascias to go with a new metallic skid plate, HID headlights, LED running lights, and an all new finish to the Tiger Nose grille. A few new exterior paint finishes are available to go with a new pair of optional 10-spoke 16- or 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, new upholstery can be hand in a single or two-tone color scheme to go with the customer’s choice of a 5-, 7-, or 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity. But, Kia didn’t stop there, as it also brought a new trim level into the lineup – on that boasts 201 horsepower from a new turbocharged gasoline engine.
Dubbed the Soul T-GDI, it is quite literally the most powerful Soul every created by Kia. That 201 horsepower is enough to get the Soul to 62 mph in 7.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 124 mph. The front wheels are driven forward with this power via Kia’s new seven-speed dual clutch transmission that is only available on the T-GDI. But, the engine and performance isn’t the only unique thing about it. IT also gets a more aggressive front fascia and air intake to go with twin exhaust exits out back and a pair of 10-spoke, 18-inch aluminum wheels. The front fascia and side sills get red accents while the Soul logo is finished in red as well. Inside, the car gets black cloth and leather upholstery that is all held together with orange contrast stitching. There are other orange highlights throughout the passenger cabin, and the steering wheel takes on a D-shape, further differentiating this model from the rest of its stablemates.
All told, it’s a pretty big move for Kia, and while 201 ponies or the 124 mph top speed might not sound too appealing, you’ve got to remember this thing is a little SUV. That kind of performance is certainly commendable, and this new model will surely turn a lot of heads when it finally hits showrooms. For now, the ordering books are open, so even though you can see it in the metal at your local Kia dealer quite yet, you can still get your hands on one.
What it Means for Kia
At the end of the day, the Soul was really good enough as it was, really, but this just goes to show that Kia is all about improving itself every way it can. Prior to now, the Soul was only available with a 1.6-liter that produced 130 horsepower or a 2.0-liter to delivered 164 horsepower. Both engines achieved 24 mpg in the city while the 2.0-liter could actually pull 31 mpg on the highway – one mpg more than the 1.6-liter. When you compare the numbers, 201 horsepower is a big improvement. That’s 71 horsepower more than the entry model and 37 more than the previous range-topping model. Not bad, Kia. Not bad.
The Kia Soul T-GDI on the left sports some minor upgrades to differentiate it from it's entry-level stablemate (right)