The Kia Soul Turbo’s 1.6-liter Gamma turbocharged engine is a new higher output powerplant found in other Hyundai and Kia products this year like the new Elantra Sport and Elantra GT as well as in the Kia Forte5 just to name a few.
New to the Soul, the engine produces 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a healthy 195 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. These metrics come by way of key technical features like direct fuel-injection and variable cam timing but even at this relatively high output tune it runs on regular unleaded fuel.
The engine features a lightweight aluminum block and heads as well as a structural cast aluminum oil pan for extra rigidity. In the Kia Soul it’s available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, no manual transmission is yet offered.
Following the airflow, the intake charge starts behind the grille and into a large filter box mounted low on the driver’s side. From there it travels up a rubber tube and over to the back of the engine and down to the turbocharger down low where it cannot be seen.
The turbocharger uses an integrated exhaust manifold and housing and a computer controlled electronic wastegate that can be controlled and tuned with much more flexibility than a simple vacuum operated one.
From there the intake charge heads up front to an air-to-air intercooler just behind the grille on the driver’s side and then back to the throttle body and composite intake manifold. Into the cylinders the engine has a 9.5:1 compression ratio and features a now commonplace coil on plug ignition format.
The direct-injection fuel system is mostly hidden beneath the valve cover, the one major component visible is the fuel pressure regulator at the right end of the engine.
Looking around the engine compartment you can see it is a pretty tightly packaged place. Servicing the Kia Soul Turbo however remains pretty straight forward.
The air filter box as mentioned before is right up front but getting into it does require some effort. The battery is cleanly located just behind it, the fuse block just to its right and easily accessible. The brake fluid reservoir is up on the driver side firewall and again easily accessed.
Engine coolant reservoir is on the passenger side, ahead of it the windshield washer fluid bottle and next to that the oil check dipstick. Topping off the oil is easy with the filler cap on top of the engine as expected. The ABS control unit is back against the firewall on the passenger side.
As seen here the EPA rates the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo at 26 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. In our week long test with it we however achieved a commendable 32 mpg combined city and highway.