I must admit, when there is a Dodge Hellcat along with two Alfa Romeos in the waiting line, the Kia Soul Turbo is not the first car I jump at the chance to drive. But hey, when you're getting crushed by auto writers lining up to get in the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT S, why not take the cutie out for a spin? Hopping in the Soul, the first order of business was turning on the radio. Well, more like the SiriusXM. A strange and spunky tune Mr. Scruff's Kalimba began playing. The coffee house instrumental perfect for a spunky, not so little, Kia.
Exploring the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo
One of the first things I noticed was the unique cabin. By this, it distinguishes itself from other models in literally every way possible. Normal speakers? Nope. There are these UFO looking speakers on top of both ends of the dash. They stick-up and seem to just hover there. The windows are square. And I mean sharply square. Rolling the window up and down to get my media pass scanned, I noticed the sharp angle on the window. This may seem like something small. However, it captures just how much the Soul stands apart from the other compacts. The ones with the smooth sloping A-pillars. "I really love the ride height on the Soul," my Kia rep says. "The windshield is nearly straight up and down in front of you." It's like a panoramic TV view. Ride height wise, it felt like walking down the road. No low riding here.
The theme of the Soul goes like this.
It's about squares and angles on the outside and circles and curves on the inside. Adding to this nice ride height is the super high ceiling. The seats are plenty deep enough for a tall dude. Even with the humongous sunroof. The low middle console area also means tall people won't be dealing with the knee rub from being all folded up like in some of the tighter cabins. Finding the USB is super easy. I got my phone hooked in and charging right away. The media and environment controls are easy. They're not overwhelming at all. Also, a big fan of the heat seat buttons being right up there on the console. Easy to reach, and come fall, a delight to use. One Kia rep told me the only thing they didn't like about the Soul was that comparing it to its sibling the Kia Niro, it's trunk space is pretty narrow. However, the seats do fold and there's also stow away floor storage.
Soul of the Track
"You can launch from at the white line." I'm not sure why they told me this in this car. I did test it early in the weekend, so I suppose they were trying to lay down the launching law early. Well, at the white line I "launched" if that's really what you want to call it. To be fair, it's not a meander, and it's plenty responsive. It's more of an issue of not being designed to launch. Making a drive of it on an F1 track an intriguing experience. It corners and brakes fine. It took the track at ease. Meaning, it's a just fine little car for getting you on the freeway. For merging with traffic and passing those obnoxious 18-wheelers. But if you're looking for something with an exciting drive, this isn't it. But that's not what the Soul is about anyways.
Heart of the Soul
The heart of the Soul is good goofy fun. Some might say the Soul tries too hard. Or even that it's goofy heart is too big and corny. But really though, that's like saying the Mini Cooper tries too hard to be a classic. This car delivers on exactly what it set outs to deliver. "It seems like it's a cult car to me. Like the Mini Cooper. I imagine all the Soul drivers honk at each other." I told my Kia rep. "Oh yeah." He agrees. "There's even a secret handshake and everything." You heard it here first. Feature Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick