The sports compact category is one of the most competitive niches in the auto industry. Ford’s Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Volkswagon’s GTI dominate the competition by hitting the sweet spot of compact size and maximum performance. For years, Kia has struggled to directly compete and while is Soul-branded line has sold well, no one would accuse the vehicles as being high-performance.
That may change the new 2017 Kia Soul Turbo, a new vehicle that seeks to outrun the competition. The car has a new, sportier look and a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-engine capable of cranking out 201 horsepower. It also has spiffy new 18-inch wheels and a slightly beefier transmission. The result is a car with enough pick-up to compete with the best in class, although some purists might complain that the Soul Turbo is only available with an automatic transmission. The upside is the car is priced below the competition and comes with a wide variety of fun gadgets you’d pay extra for on many cars.