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Current Kia Soul to get turbo, next-gen model to go all-wheel drive?

A new report finds Kia has caved in to public demand and is preparing to introduce a more powerful version of the Soul (pictured).

Speaking to Motor Trend, a Kia spokesman revealed the Soul will be available with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Further technical details are being kept under wraps, but sources close to the South Korean automaker have hinted the engine will spin the front wheels via either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic unit.

The Forte-sourced turbo four will offer 37 more ponies than the Soul’s naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter, a noticeably bump in power that will allow the hatchback to reach 60 mph from a stop in less than 8.4 seconds. Suspension tweaks, a more responsive power steering setup and upgraded brakes on all four corners will keep the additional power in check.

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The turbocharged Soul will be presented at a major auto show next year and go on sale in time for the 2016 model year. When it lands in showrooms, it will be the most expensive member of the gasoline-burning Soul lineup but it will retail for less than the battery-powered model that Kia sells in a handful of states.

Kia is also toying around with the idea of building an all-wheel drive Soul. While the setup isn’t likely to be offered on the current-gen model for cost reasons, Motor Trend reports it could be available as an option on the third-gen Soul which is at the embryonic stage of development.