Recently Kia revealed the return of its popular hamster mascots who proceeded to tackle “Dueling Banjos” in their newest commercial. The ad was cute and very entertaining, but the rodents also released a compelling taste of the future at the end slide, an early confirmation that a turbocharged version of the Soul is coming.
This potential injection of performance would be a welcome addition to the current generation Soul which has been with us since 2013. The funky crossover recently received a mid cycle update based on the Track’ster concept and offers four different engines including an electric and diesel variants. However, one notable flaw lies with the most powerful engine currently in the Soul lineup which makes a measly 162 horsepower and an equally mundane 148 lb-ft of torque. As a result, the Soul is currently slower than many of its rivals but that would change with the addition of a turbocharged performance model.
It is currently unknown what will ultimately power the new variant, but a strong contender is the current 1.6 liter twin-scroll turbocharged four cylinder engine. Already seeing duty in the Kia Optima, Koup, and Forte sedan it is capable of producing 201 horsepower and it was developed closely with its sister brand Hyundai (who also use it in the Veloster Turbo.) In addition to its potent power, the engine can also be mated to either a six speed manual gearbox, or a more advanced dual clutch automatic transmission which should please performance enthusiasts that want the perfect engine and transmission combo in their performance vehicle purchase.
The current generation Soul was designed to primarily flaunt its funky exterior styling versus carving corners at the local race track, but Kia engineers could add some spice to the overall package including bigger, brakes, a sport tuned suspension, as well as model exclusive exterior styling that would not only allow the car to broadcast its sporting intentions, but also add a degree of functionality to the car as well. Kia for its part has not released any further comment on the matter, but look for more clues to emerge in the near future in other Hamster themed advertisements.