No one would ever dispute the fact that the Kia Soul is one sassy, quirky little car. But if you are among those who thought a peppier engine would have added more, er, soul, to the Soul, here’s good news. For the 2017 model year, the Korean carmaker has introduced a turbocharged engine option that ups power significantly over the current range-topping engine. The 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mill is good for 201bhp, which is a good 40 horses more than the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine and 71 horses more than the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-pot.

“We wanted to provide loyal Soul lovers and new buyers a sportier option,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America. “The 2017 Soul Exclaim with its turbocharged engine gives the car’s fans another wonderful choice from an already wonderful line-up.”

Adding to the turbo mill’s bump in performance is a new seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, which Kia claims shifts quicker and smoother than its previous transmissions. The new engine will make its debut in the US market’s top-spec Exclaim trim, which will also get exclusive 18in wheels, red-accented body trim, chrome grille surround, as well as dual chrome twin-tip exhaust. Inside, the Soul Exclaim gets a leather-wrapped, D-shaped steering wheel as standard, push-button start with smart key, smartphone integration for both Apple and Android platforms, a 315-watt, eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, dedicated USB charge ports, eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat and sat-nav with an 8.0in touchscreen display. It will also be equipped with safety features like rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot detection among others.

The new model also introduces two new exterior colours to the Soul, along with redesigned headlights and fog lights, and a more aggressive front fascia. While this is definitely good news for US customers, unfortunately, Middle East customers will have to be content with the current normally aspirated powertrain duo as the turbo model will not make it to our shores.