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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim

    The end result of strapping rocket boosters to a hamster

    I happen to be a big fan of the Kia Soul. Its daring looks, spacious interior, and overall value make it an interesting option in the compact class. It seems many others would agree as the Soul is one of Kia’s best selling models. To help keep it up there, Kia has introduced a new turbo engine for the top-line Exclaim (!) model along with minor changes for 2017. Let's see how these changes affect the Soul.

    • Aside from the turbo engine, Kia made some design tweaks to the Exclaim to have it stand out from other Soul trims. This includes a new front bumper, red accents, 18-inch alloy wheels, a twin-tip exhaust, and exclusive colors like this copper color seen here. The little changes really make the Soul stand out even further than before.
    • Moving on to the turbo engine, it is a 1.6L four-cylinder packing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is only paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. If you really want a manual with your turbo-four, Kia will gladly sell you a Forte5 SX which features the same engine.
    • There is a brief moment of turbo lag when you step on the accelerator, but the engine comes into its own after this with power building smoothly. There are no issues with getting up to speed when merging or making a pass.
    • The dual-clutch transmission is a bit of a mixed bag. In stop-and-go traffic, the transmission exhibits some jerkiness and lazy shifts. We also noticed the transmission was slow to respond in terms of downshifting, making us think the programming for this transmission was focused on fuel economy. At higher speeds, the transmission is better with rapid and smooth shifts.
    • The turbo engine has the highest fuel economy fuel economy figures in the Soul lineup with an EPA rating of 26 City/31 Highway/28 Combined. We saw an average of 25.3 mpg during our week in mostly city driving, which is slightly disappointing.
    • With the turbo engine and racy looks, you might think that this particular Soul is fun to drive. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not the case. Out on a winding road, the Soul is competent with minimal body roll and okay steering. This would be ok if it weren’t for the sporty image that is being portrayed by the exterior. We do wish that Kia had made some changes to the suspension to make it slightly sportier. 
    • The upside to not messing with the Soul’s suspension is it mostly retains the smooth and comfortable ride of other models. Mostly is the keyword as the 18-inch wheels do introduce some harshness to the Soul’s ride.
    • There is a fair amount of wind and road noise, most of this due to the Soul’s boxy shape.
    • The Soul’s interior is still as sharp looking as it first was when the current model was launched in 2013. Little touches such as the uniquely styled air vents and orange accent stitching give the Soul a bit of whimsy. The extensive use of soft-touch materials gives off an aura of quality.
    • Driver and passenger get power seats which make finding a comfortable position very easy. Those sitting in the back will appreciate the large amount of head and legroom, due to the Soul’s boxy shape.
    • Our test Soul came with optional Technology Package that includes an 8-inch touchscreen with Kia’s UVO infotainment system and navigation. It is beginning to show its age in terms of the graphics, but it is still one of the most intuitive systems on sale today. A simple layout and redundant physical buttons make it breeze to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is an added bonus.
    • The Exclaim begins at $22,650 and comes well equipped. Standard features include automatic climate control, 7-inch touchscreen with UVO, Bluetooth, leather and cloth wrapped seats, push-button start with proximity key, and automatic headlights. Opt for the technology to get the 8-inch system, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, heated seats and steering wheel, and power folding mirrors. For only $26,995, you get a nicely equipped vehicle. Our test vehicle is slightly more expensive at $27,620 due to an optional panoramic sunroof which we would skip.

    Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Soul, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Kia
    Model: Soul
    Trim: ! (Exclaim)
    Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI Four-Cylinder 
    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
    Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/31/28
    Curb Weight: 3,232 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Gwangju, South Korea
    Base Price: $22,650
    As Tested Price: $27,620 (Includes $850.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Technology Package - $3,000.00
    Panoramic Sunroof - $1,000.00
    Carpeted Floor Mars - $120.00

    Edited by William Maley

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    Drove one from Arizona to NC back in May (when my dad passed away) and I really liked it. Just to illustrate how much, I had to drive a Jeep Compass (previous model, not the new one) back to Arizona and I would set that thing on fire in the middle of the freeway if I could get away with it. The Soul was infinitely better in every regard, from acceleration to looks. Simply no comparison. 

    35A16296-E389-439F-BEFD-3B0F5909AC6D.jpeg

    C251263C-0F75-4137-9E40-EB7F81D9FA04.jpeg

    Edited by surreal1272
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    6 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Lol that old compass was terrible.

    I have a Quick Drive review of the new one coming.

     

    That CVT deserves a slow and painful death and if I can help it, will be the last CVT I drive. 

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    1 hour ago, surreal1272 said:

    That CVT deserves a slow and painful death and if I can help it, will be the last CVT I drive. 

    Agreed, while I loved the interior room of my Son's Patriot, both him and I do not miss it or the weird crazy flaky CVT transmission.

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Agreed, while I loved the interior room of my Son's Patriot, both him and I do not miss it or the weird crazy flaky CVT transmission.

    “Flaky” is putting it mildly. Garbage is more like it. 

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    sat in a new compass at the dealer this morning while getting oil changed, i know this is a soul thread, but the compass was mentioned.  the new one is really nice and i don't see how most folks would prefer a soul over the new compass.

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    13 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

    Drove one from Arizona to NC back in May (when my dad passed away) and I really liked it. Just to illustrate how much, I had to drive a Jeep Compass (previous model, not the new one) back to Arizona and I would set that thing on fire in the middle of the freeway if I could get away with it. The Soul was infinitely better in every regard, from acceleration to looks. Simply no comparison. 

    35A16296-E389-439F-BEFD-3B0F5909AC6D.jpeg

    C251263C-0F75-4137-9E40-EB7F81D9FA04.jpeg

    And my wife still wants to get one of these (we had one for a little while when my Cobalt was in for the recall) While the drive was okay, only because it had the 6 speed......

    Think she'd be much happier with the Kia....

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    Cars with punctuation marks in them are always good.   $27k seems like a lot but I guess not if it is loaded up and it is probably quicker than most small crossovers with that turbo.

    This is also the successor to Pontiac Excitement!

    Edited by smk4565
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    12 hours ago, daves87rs said:

    And my wife still wants to get one of these (we had one for a little while when my Cobalt was in for the recall) While the drive was okay, only because it had the 6 speed......

    Think she'd be much happier with the Kia....

    I am sure that the new Compass is much better but initial reviews seem to share similar complaints about the CVT. It will forever be a nonstarter for me. The Soul would be the way to go although an AWD option would be nice. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    23 hours ago, regfootball said:

    sat in a new compass at the dealer this morning while getting oil changed, i know this is a soul thread, but the compass was mentioned.  the new one is really nice and i don't see how most folks would prefer a soul over the new compass.

    The absolute effing voice of reason speaking here.

    On 10/28/2017 at 4:33 PM, surreal1272 said:

    So you have no Soul?

    As an atheist and a metaphysical naturalist of course I don't.  As a fat middle aged guy who doesn't want drive around with a paper bag on my head I also do not own a Korean import popularized by rodents either.

    Edited by A Horse With No Name
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    15 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    There is no way to order a new Compass with a CVT.  It is either the nine-speed automatic or the 6 speed manual (like mine has).

    100_2315.JPG

    This is not a manual.

     

    179CE2EF-F765-4D0F-9AAB-D95D5D1C1965.png

    Edited by surreal1272

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    14 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    The absolute effing voice of reason speaking here.

    As an atheist and a metaphysical naturalist of course I don't.  As a fat middle aged guy who doesn't want drive around with a paper bag on my head I also do not own a Korean import popularized by rodents either.

    How is that the voice of reason? It’s just an opinion and an opinion that is not widely shared. As stated earlier, the only thing the Compass offers over something like the Soul is AWD. Silly commercials aside, it is a great car that doesn’t have the many hassles of the Compass, like a sluggish tranny and sluggish acceleration (both common complaints on the old and new Compass). The new Compass also pushes $34K for a fully loaded model, which is $7K above any loaded Soul. Sorry, but with $34K, I can get a mid size CUV (or something better) for that kind of coin. 

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    29 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

    This is not a manual.

     

    179CE2EF-F765-4D0F-9AAB-D95D5D1C1965.png

    Interesting as I discovered playing with the configurator. If you are FWD on the Compass  you get their so called 6 speed CVT transmission. If you go 4x4, you get the choice of a manual or 9 speed transmission.

    Weird Part is their 9 speed appears to be the same picture as the 6 speed cvt.

    2018JeepCompass4x4.jpg

    Their web site does not seem to really state that the 9 spd is a true gear transmission, but it could be with the new tech in packaging. Have to dig into this more as I always thought the 9 spd was a true gear transmission.

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    Update, found more info, seems they are almost identical but the 9 spd is a true gear transmission as the builder offers these pics.

    ZF (spd Transmission

    928TE-486x550.jpg

    zf-9hp-9-speed-automatic-cutaway.jpg

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    14 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    As a fat middle aged guy who doesn't want drive around with a paper bag on my head I also do not own a Korean import popularized by rodents either.

    Switch that out with Italian compact/import and you have the Compass lol 

    7 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Update, found more info, seems they are almost identical but the 9 spd is a true gear transmission as the builder offers these pics.

    So they offer a CVT piece of $h! in the base trim, FWD only, then the 9spd in the rest of the lineup, and lastly, the 6 spd manual? 

    Why the F does this need 3 transmissions? 

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