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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 316 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

good for economy

By on Sunday, March 22, 2015

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "reliable, good fuel economy, agile"

Cons: "ugly body style"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

custom paint

"Great daily driver. Actually handles and accelerates very well. (Manual) more room than appears, other than "trunk" space."

custom paint

Great Little car

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,300

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
8/10

Pros: "Accessibilty, interior comfort, sportiness"

Cons: "Probably not made for cross-country touring."

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

"Buyers of this car are very young or very old. I'm old. I thought my Ford Focus was a small car - this one is 30 inches shorter overall. And seems vastly larger inside. It doesn't happen often, but even large and tall people sit comfortably in the back seats. Plenty of room for people and luggage, groceries, etc. Ease of entry and seating are important at my advanced age - this car is the best. It sits low; you sit upright. 8 airbags means I'm probably safe, too. IT drives like a sports car and parks so easy. Great little car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Was the best "new" and lasting vehicle we owned.

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "This awesome gas-saving mobile is da' bomb!!!"

Cons: "At 52 YO, I coulda' used heating seats lol"

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

"The limits placed on describing our positive experience via IT is shameful. My husband and I decided to buy a "new" vehicle for the first time in, who knows. We LOVED our Kia Soul. My husband died April 5th, last year. I still love this ever dependable vehicle but,...need to let our sweet 'soul', go."

Love the color ,the extras in it .

By on Friday, March 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,938

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: "Love driving it. Its my little toy."

Cons: "No moon roof more extras."

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

"Love it, love it, love it. I just purchased my Kia. I always wanted one from the time they came out. I just wish it would have been a silver metallic. But the white will do."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Comfortable and easy to get in and out of.

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,500

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: "Easy to drive and roomy."

Cons: "No cup holders in rear."

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

"Lots of room inside. Put a dishwasher in back of car with the back seats down. Very stable on expressway even when windy."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

2012 Kia Soul Exclaim

By on Wednesday, March 04, 2015

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
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "price, fun to drive, styling of interior"

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

"I love this car. Great value for the money and a pleasure to drive. Very pleased with navigation and back-up camera."

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