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Car and Driver: Hamster Tease: Kia to Introduce Turbocharged Soul Hatchback This Year


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Kia Track'ster Concept

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The only thing more popular than the Kia Soul, sales of which have risen each year since it was introduced for 2009, seems to be the commercials Kia drums up for the little hatchback. You know the ones we’re talking about—they’re filled with dancing hamsters (which Kia dubs Hamstars) and typically feature catchy, of-the-moment hit songs. The latest such ad is out, and it’s chock-full of those now familiar tropes, not to mention Hamstar appearances, but what really caught our eye was a winking tease at the end of the spot that hints at a coming turbocharged Soul model.
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2017 Kia Soul Turbo

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In the closing frames of the new Soul ad, an overview of the Soul lineup is shown and includes the regular gas-powered model, the electric model, and something new: a “Turbo” version, coming Winter 2016. We’ve heard rumors about a possible turbocharged, sporty Soul model for years, but this is the first hard evidence—and apparent on-sale timing—that we’ve seen. We really like the Kia Soul in its current form, as it offers standout styling, a roomy interior, and useful in-car tech for not a lot of money. The only thing the breed has been missing is more pep; currently, the gas-powered Soul is offered with either a 130-hp 1.6-liter or a 164-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the latter of which is paired only with an automatic transmission. Kia has a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four in its parts bin that would add quite a bit of pep, as well as dual-clutch automatic and manual transmission options. Either way, get ready for a much sportier Soul—and the possibility that Kia’s ad mavens will churn out a commercial with sporty hamsters in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, have some hamsters:

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