Kia cranks up the power with the turbocharged 2017 Soul Exclaim

The quirky Kia Soul just got a bit more firepower.

Kia has officially introduced the 2017 Soul Exclaim, a new range-topping version that boasts a more potent engine, improved fuel economy, and a sharper look than the standard model. Also called the Soul Turbo by Kia, the vehicle’s upgraded powerplant is its most significant enhancement, as its 1.6-liter engine puts out 201 horsepower. That’s 37 more ponies than the mid-range 2.0-liter and 71 more than the base 1.6-liter, but improved acceleration isn’t the only benefit the turbo reaps.

The Soul Exclaim returns 28 mpg combined, which is 1 mpg more than the Soul Plus and 2 mpg more than the entry-level model. So not only is the Exclaim the most powerful Soul you can by, it’s also the most frugal at the gas pump.

“We wanted to provide loyal Soul lovers and new buyers a sportier option,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America. “The 2017 Soul Exclaim with its turbocharged engine gives the car’s fans another wonderful choice from an already wonderful line-up.”

One reason for the improved fuel economy is the Soul Exclaim’s transmission, which brings us to one aspect of the car some drivers won’t like. The Exclaim is offered solely with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, so unlike the Hyundai Veloster Turbo and Elantra Sport — both of share the Exclaim’s engine — you can’t spec the Soul with a six-speed manual. Kia says the dual-clutch is better for fuel efficiency and acceleration, but if we’re honest, we’ll miss the third pedal.

In addition to increased performance, the Exclaim features enriched styling inside and out. As far as the exterior goes, the flagship Soul includes exclusive 18-inch wheels, red-accented body trim, a chrome grille surround, unique badging, and dual chrome twin-tip exhaust. Inside the cabin, drivers will enjoy a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 315-watt Harman Kardon stereo, and an 8.0-inch navigation display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The 2017 Soul Exclaim will start at $23,500 (including an $850 destination charge) and should be rolling into Kia dealers soon.

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