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2012 Kia Soul

Overview
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2012 Kia Soul Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Since its debut in 2009, the Kia Soul has enjoyed brisk sales and rave reviews that have helped the Soul get off to a good start, but questions remain about its popularity in the long-run. Of course, an impressive array of standard features, one of the most original and modern interiors in the segment and a price tag starting well below its competitors make the Kia Soul a tempting morsel indeed. For 2012, Kia has restyled the Soul and given it features that make it even more competitive with the likes of the Nissan Cube and Scion xB. At this rate, we could wager a good guess that the Soul will be around for years to come.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a vehicle that is both versatile and affordable, but you don't want to look like you're driving a car whose only attribute is that it's versatile and affordable, the 2012 Kia Soul is the car for you

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Kia Soul is a formidable competitor for cars like the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube, it doesn't hold onto its resale value as well as either.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Kia Soul receives a minor facelift, new drivetrains and a host of new interior features. The Soul Sport trim level has been discontinued.

Driving the Soul

Driving Impressions Our time behind the wheel of the 2012 Kia Soul was spent with the Soul + trim level with the new 2.0-liter engine. While we would have preferred more city...

driving in order to get a rounded evaluation of the revised powertrain, the high-speed cruising gave us a taste of the passing power that the additional 22 horsepower can deliver. While this was impressive, the new 6-speed automatic does require a downshift or two on inclines and when passing, but it also allows for quieter, low-rpm cruising at freeway speeds. The manual-shift mode came in handy a couple of times and we liked the fact that there wasn't a long pause between gear shifts. While the ride quality remains the same as the previous-generation Soul, it was noticeably quieter thanks to the added insulation.

Infinity Audio System
The new 350-watt system is music to our ears, quite literally. We enjoy the crispness and the clarity of the new sound system.

6-speed automatic transmission
We always wondered why the Soul even came with a 4-speed automatic in the first place. The two extra gears aid in greater fuel economy and the tap up/tap down shifting makes passing effortless.

2012 Kia Soul Details
2012 Kia Soul photo Interior

We give high praise for the 2012 Kia Soul's interior. Not only does it feature radical themes, such as an available hounds-tooth fabric interior and multi-colored backlit speaker grilles that pulsate to the music's beat (this feature can be turned on and off), it also is highly functional and just plain fun. Functional features include front and center iPod bins, a dual-shelf glovebox, fold-flush rear seats and a storage bin under the cargo area's floor. A tilt/telescoping wheel is now standard for 2012 and the improved isolation promotes a quieter cabin.

Exterior
2012 Kia Soul photo

From its intricately-detailed headlamp housing to its uncommon profile, the 2012 Kia Soul is anything but commonplace. Three differing trim levels – the Soul, the Soul + and the up-level Soul ! – offer varying visuals, in addition to their non-standard names. For 2012 all models received new front and rear fascia and headlamp treatments and a new Moss color option is available. The Soul has 15-inch wheels, the Soul+ rides on 16-inch wheels and The Soul ! has 18-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2012 Kia Soul comes with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. All other Souls feature a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, with a new 6-speed automatic transmission. Other standard equipment on the inexpensive base model includes air conditioning, power windows and locks, tilt/telescoping wheel and a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sirius XM audio system with USB and auxiliary ports. All Souls feature six airbags and electronic stability control.

Optional Equipment

Check all the option boxes and your 2012 Kia Soul will include front fog lamps, a moonroof, a new 350-watt 7-speaker Infinity sound system, leather-covered steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Other notable options include ISG (Idle Stop and Go) technology, a navigation system, UVO infotainment system and a rearview camera.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Kia Soul features a 1.6-liter engine with 138 horsepower - 16 more than the engine it replaces - mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. And the 2.0-liter engine in the higher trim levels has been revised as well, offering 164 horsepower - 22 more than before - but is available only with the 6-speed automatic . Both versions receive a welcome bump in fuel economy.

1.6-liter in-line 4
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35, 29/36 (automatic transmission + low-rolling-resistance tires)

2.0-liter in-line 4
164 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34, 27/35 (automatic transmission + low-rolling-resistance tires)

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2012 Kia Soul Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 308 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Great car!

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, good mileage, suprisingly roomy"

Cons: "cup holders are marginal"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Has been very reliable & fun to drive. Fits 4 adults comfortably. Get about 26 mph in town & 32 on interstate."

Good little car

By on Thursday, February 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Rides good , great radio uvo speakers are ok"

Cons: "bigest con is value and the 2015 are not cool"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Kia needs more incentives Looking at 2015 and all they got is $500 on a lease a lot of better cars out there for less, I guess we will wait and see as Far as the Soul fun car we owned 2, kind of the city cruiser but fun to drive any where people still ask what is it Brakes grab a lot gas mileage 28 highway 21000 car lucky to get 13000 less then 14000 miles"

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

I love my Kia Soul

By on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price, fun to drive, limited edition"

Cons: "Isn't AWD"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I really love my Kia Soul. It has been very reliable. I would keep it, but, I need something more powerful. Looking for an AWD for traveling up to my camp."

Great Car for The Money

By on Sunday, February 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price, Included Features"

Cons: "Interior plastic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Okay, I loved the hamster commercials but that is not what convinced me to buy my Kia Soul. My old car was getting to the point where it required a trip to the mechanic every month and I decided enough was enough. I went to the local KIA dealer and drove the model I eventually purchased. I was impressed at how the car performed. It has a peppy little engine and features that I really liked. It came with Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, stability control, abs and comfortable seats. This car performs well in winter, it grips the road and instills a feeling of confidence to the driver. The controls are simple to operate and the controls are all lit up in an eye soothing red for night time driving."

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

I have the orange 2011 plus. I LOVE it.

By on Monday, January 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "roomy, comfortable, reliable, cute"

Cons: "console area could be bigger"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is awesome! Super roomy, cute and reliable! If I had to pick one thing that could be improved it would be the little console areas, the one on the dash won't even hold a CD,it's too short. the one in between seats seems like its a little too far back. That is all I can think of. I've only had this car a few months, bought it with 36,000 miles on it and now it has 39,000. Before I bought this vehicle I would stop people in parking lots who had them and they all said they loved theirs. I can see why! I really believe that you would love it too, I say go for it!"

70k+, almost 4 years ownership

By on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,800

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Bluetooth, MP3, sit high"

Cons: "Driving experience during the day and the night."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Agreed with others on loud environment - car is cheap. Harsh ride, weak engine. Gas mileage - can be good only on steady 45-55 mph ride - can be up to 33-34 mpg. Hwy - truly depends on speed and style, mpg can easily go down to 24 mpg if the speed is around 75-80 mph. New car had bad tires, and I had a small accident sliding toward a vehicle on a wet road going 20 mph. Replacing tires fixed the issue. The headlights have a poor adjustment. The service on local dealership is tired on my complaints, but the answer that the lights are meeting the specs. Driving at night I feel blind. Driving during wet weather I feel insecure, wet nights - I feel unfortunate to drive. The car withstand a deer run and hit to the car side - I feel grateful on happy ending. A/C, heater - sometimes it gets foggy inside with no reason. I suspect worn window seals but not sure. Overall - it is a car that will bring you from the point a to the point b with some comfort, usb stick can play your favorite MP3s but be somewhat careful. The car is easy to park."

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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