It’s good to be back in the driver’s seat after taking a brief hiatus due to some medical concerns. With that all in the rearview mirror, it’s time to put the petal down. Last year you might have seen the my review on the VW Golf GTi and the commonly agreed upon list of cars that are considered a “hot hatch”, but before we get into that; a brief comment on the gay elephant in the room. The phrase “Elephant in the Room” being a metaphorical idiom which basically means that there is an obvious truth or concept that is not being addressed, it is ignored.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, I feel motivated and obligated to discuss the status of Kia Motors. Nearly every Car & Truck manufacture selling in the United States (list of gay friendly auto makers) that at a minimum, has a policy that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sadly Kia & Hyundai are the few last holdouts that do not have such policies in place. If you are interested in seeing that change, as a consumer the best way to impress them – is to let your voice be heard. Contact your local dealership or better yet Kia Motors USA and express to them that you are an interested buyer and would consider a Kia product if they had a nondiscrimination policy for their LGBTQ employees. I sure hope that doesn’t knock me out of contention for test driving the 2018 Kia Stinger GT but informing my fellow brothers & sisters is totes more important.
Now on to the un-hot hatch. Although there is no governing body that determines which sport sub compact hatch-backs achieves the nomenclature of hot hatch. Certainly the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo would be a likely candidate or at least winner of the Miss Congeniality award. The Soul has been a best seller in the segment of small cross-over and although Kia Motors has stated that the Soul! Turbo is not a hot hatch. The exclamation point denoting the premium trim package is simple known as the Exclaim.
It is cute; with its 18” wheels the Soul! Turbo has a more of an aggressive look. The Turbo charged 1.6-Liter inline 4 cylinder engine is able to crank out 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque to the 7-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission, sadly there is no manual shifting capability at this time or all-wheel drive. However even with the bigger tires, the handling is not very impressive especially when compared to the other hot hatches The Soul! turbo does achieve some of the best fuel economy ratings comparatively; with a 26mpg city & 31mpg on the highway.
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The Soul “Exclaim” has some cool features that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, push button start, blind spot monitor, navigation and a fairly nice Harmon/Kardon sound system; that you can still hear while going down the highway at 65 mph with the windows down and the very large and awesome panoramic sunroof open.
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In short, the 2017 Kia Soul! Turbo fully loaded still comes in under 30K, it is a fun drive although it might not be a hot hatch; it is a snappy dresser with a bit of pep to boot. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
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MSRP: $23,500 base
Horsepower: 201 @ 6000 rpm
MPG: Up to 26 city / 31 highway
Curb weight: 3250 lb
Cargo volume: 24 cu ft
Zero to 60 mph: 7.6 sec