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Kia has made a Soul hot hatch

Well, kinda. Quirky little hatchback gets a 200bhp turbo engine

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The Kia Soul is rather like the old Nissan Cube – a car as divisive as it is boxy. It’s hard not to have a soft spot for something so wilfully different, though. The Soul certainly stands out.

The only problem has been its weedy engines, which have kept car enthusiasts away. Now, though, Kia has fixed this by giving the Soul some proper power during its mid-life facelift.

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the wee Soul gets the 201bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine that helps makes the Ceed GT a surprisingly brisk (and really quite adept) hot hatch. Okay, it’s not the most inspirational of engines, but a 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds ought to be quite incongruous in the square-shaped Soul.

It drives its front wheels through a seven-speed twin-clutch auto, which might detract from its performance credentials, but is probably more apt in what’s meant to be an urban-friendly car. Bigger brakes sit behind 17in wheels, while the interior gets some orange stitching to remind you this is the quick one.

The Soul facelift also sees the car get a plethora of new smart phone-accommodating infotainment systems and some active safety tech.

Kia also confirmed to TG that a smaller SUV model – a proper Nissan Juke and Renault Captur rival – could arrive in the next few years, perhaps acknowledging the Soul remains a quirkier choice than the now quite mainstream small crossover pack. Would you be brave enough to choose it?

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