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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 297 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

Sporty and Fun!

By on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Sporty, Fun to drive, Full of Extras"

Cons: "Handling not great in snow, a little pricey"

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

"I really enjoy this car! I was first attracted to the body style and interior. There are lots of extras that I didn't expect like the very tight handling. I bought a manual transmission on purpose because I love to drive! It s the only way to really experience a car in my opinion :) So I was pleasantly surprised at the tight suspension and almost too easy steering and handling. I live in a very hilly, curvy almost rural area and the roads are fun to drive with this car. It also does impressively on longer highway trips with great gas mileage and comfort. The only reason I rated Driving Dynamics a little low (8) is because I also live in an area that receives lots of snow and ice in winter. THat is the only area where this car didn't manage as well as I'd hoped. Even with traction control, I didn't feel its grip on the snow and hills as much as I'd have liked. I owned a Toyota Matrix prior that was also manual and it handled quite well in snow, etc. Otherwise, this is a fun car to drive, economical and sharp looking inside and out. instrumentation looks very slick and well built. No cheap looking aspects to anything IMO and compared to other similar cars in this class. I personally do not like ABS brakes lol. I cannot seem to get used to the sound or that you don't need to pump them when sliding...that's a personal issue, not the performance of this car! The Value was also rated a little low because it seemed a bit high priced to me by a couple thousand dollars. I purposely buy cars that are about 2 years old in order to get closer to the value of the car and still get most current features so I got a great deal on mine. But they seem a bit pricey to me if new and in this class. If you like fun, sporty, fully loaded with great extra kinds of cars that are also economical, this is the car for you. I highly recommend them. Happy Driving!"

Dependable. Nothing mechanical has broken.

By on Sunday, December 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,500

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "6 speed manual transmission"

Cons: "Lack of trunk/hatch space"

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

"Cost effective. It's hard to find manual transmissions but the Kia Soul offers a 6 speed manual. Easy to shift, great clutch. The drive train has been reliable with no mechanical repairs having to be made. I've had the car for 3 years and have not yet had to replace the battery and tires still in good condition. Gas milage is fairly decent and I get money refunded to me from kia every 6 months b/c they overinflated the MPG. Having children, the soul is not nearly as spacious as other kia SUVs. I feel very cramped and there's absolutely no trunk/hatch space."

1 person out of 6 found this review helpful

ROOMY AND TROUBLE FREE

By on Saturday, December 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

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: "every safety option I could think of was standard"

Cons: "expected better gas mileage"

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

"I purchased my Soul new in 2010 and after nearly 5 years have never had any issues with it. Have returned to dealer for one recall (replaced brake light switch) and for routine oil + filter changes . Still has the original battery and tires still look like brand new showing very little wear at all yet. Has been super dependable, safe and economical."

One of the best vehicles I've ever owned & driven!

By on Saturday, November 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Cute, fun, and zippy. Handles great on the road."

Cons: "Can't think of any."

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

"Just had a potential for a horrible accident on the freeway. Was driving 60 mph when the car in front of me abruptly changed lanes to the left & twenty feet or less in front of me was a 9ft. folded "painter's ladder" lying horizontally blocking my lane. No time to do anything but steer abruptly to the right to avoid collision w/ ladder. My Soul's electronic stability control worked beautifully to keep me from completely losing control or tipping and rolling over. Within seconds I was able to gain control after missing the ladder by inches. First time in 5 years I became aware of the importance of the stability control feature. I believe it saved my life and maybe others' lives. Great little car!"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I just got it and love it

By on Friday, October 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gas mileage, cool seats, touchscreen, backup cam"

Cons: "no small change cubby"

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

"I just bought this car about a week ago. Its 2012 soul + and I love it. I have been getting about 30mpg average. It has the active eco feature which I find to be pretty cool. Plenty of room for me and im 6'3". Definitely recommend this car. Plus it has speakers that light up to the beat of your music. Whats not to love?"

11 people out of 25 found this review helpful

No complaints, fun to drive, safe, dependable

By on Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, easy, roomy, dependable"

Cons: "Would like to get better mileage..."

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

"This 2011 gets an average 30 mpg so long as you keep it under 70...at 60, it gets about 34mpg and at 75, it drops to 28. Turns on a dime, rides well, easy to use bluetooth, options, and more space than we had thought from first glance. No quality issues...it's a fun-to-drive car!"

10 people out of 14 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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