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2012 Kia Soul

Overview
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2012 Kia Soul Review

By

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.
Favorite Features

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 262 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

wonderful car.

By on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

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: "FUN, A BLAST TO DRIVE."

Cons: "HUH? THERE ARE NONE."

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

"INCREDIBLE STEERING, GAS MILEAGE = 35-40MPG. (BUT WE DON'T RACE IT) SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL DESIGN. EVERY TIME WE PASS ANOTHER ONE, BOTH DRIVERS GIVE A "THUMBS UP". WHEN PEOPLE SEE THIS CAR, THEY SMILE."

Great first car/Good value for what its worth

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,071

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very reliable, smooth driving, great price, MPG"

Cons: "Touchy breaks, slow take off"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This is the first car I have bought and owned and I loved it. The engine is very quiet, rides smooth, and a Kia will last you forever if you keep up the maintenance. The only downside I could say about this car is that the breaks are REALLY touchy, no matter what (it gets worse in the rain). The look of the car is unique, something you will have to get used to! Also, if you want to go from 0-60 in seconds, this is not the car for you. The econ button makes for a slow take off (but the MPG are amazing!). Unfortunately I just recently totaled this car (about a week ago). However, I can personally vouch for the good safety ratings. Just minor seat-belt injuries is how I walked away from it being totaled, and even though major damage on the outside the inside hardly gave at all allowing for my injuries to be as minor as they were."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

very happy with vehicle,must sell because of money

By on Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I don't own this car

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: "good price,great style,cleans up perfectly."

Cons: "some exterior blemishes, does not take away"

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

"great sounds,mood lights around front speakers,fantastic cargo and or back seats,very clean no tears or wear, small spare tire with tire jack intact. safety rating with air bags very high. Having to sell because of financial crisis. When I get back in the saddle I will buy another Kia. SAT radio ability,USB site, MP3/CD player,tilt wheel, very low miles, electric windows, color is "alien green" factory original,5 speakers up front,many stash boxes for sunglasses etc,large glove box plus middle console box. Area for cell phone with 4 cup holders in front seat. Driver and passenger lighted vanity mirrors. The list goes on....low mileage 37,000 gets avg 30mpg. Automatic trans. quiet motor,smooth ride,sweet package."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great little car for work or liesure

By on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Perfect little car for little car needs"

Cons: "Other than sirius radio, reception needs power."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This little car is very dependable and excellent for work or just running around. Good gas mileage. Plenty of room for 4 people and plenty of storage space. Fun to drive. Doesn't feel small on the inside and easy to park in tight places. Lots of safety air bags."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

best car for the price.

By on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "for the money best car ever."

Cons: "for the size it should get better gas mileage."

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

"I love this car. It fits five full grown adults easily. With the backseats down it will fit a full recliner. It's a perfect height to get in and out of without either stepping up or lowering down. It is solid and doesn't sound like a tin can when you shut the doors. The only down side is I think it should have much better gas mileage. I'm only getting 26/28. But for the money this is one of the nicest cars I have had. If I buy another car it will probably be another soul. But I would also upgrade to the better sound system."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Very dependable and economical

By on Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "The cockpit is very "user friendly for the driver"

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

"This care have proven itself for the past 3 years I have it. I haven't had any major mechnical problem with it during this time.The interior is very durable and it looks very nice after all the years of wear."

1 person out of 1 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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