By KBB.com Editors
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
By Reg on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
By kia lover on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "head room and body room and cute factor"
Cons: "bumpy rides when roads are bad"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"love this car. am getting a new one just to upgrade to leather and change colors. It is wonderful fun and comfortable. A bit bumpy but maybe 2014 will fix that but no problem. Great in and out, so easy for big and small people alike. Great head room. So much room for stuff and people. Fun to drive, Cute and just perfect. Love it"
By JenJo on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "terrible in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car has heated seats to keep you warm in the winter. The handling and traction are so bad you are going to need them to keep you warm as you are sitting in the ditch or in your own driveway waiting to get pulled out."
By Eastsideguy on Saturday, February 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, interior, handling, safety, fun to drive"
Cons: "lack of traction on snow of 6 inches or more."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is my second Soul Exclaim. My first one was a 2011, I swerved to miss a deer and lost control of the car roll and slammed into a utility pole. The car was totaled, all air bags deployed and I walked away with a bruise across my chest that was it. Of course I purchased the 2013 as a replacement, same model all the options. I have really enjoyed it and the newest tech on it has been great. If I had one complaint it would be the traction in the winter. Indiana hadn't been having very bad winters in the last 10yrs. Until this year, with more than 50 inches of snow its been a challenge. After about 6 inches on the ground very poor traction for driving. I wish they offered it in 4WD."
By Me on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Load lots of stuff, including 7 foot cabinet."
Cons: "Hard ride, plastic interiors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is a fine around town and to the beach cottage vehicle. Lots of plastic and bumps--hard ride. Still, it get around 30 mpg and Kia kicks in a few bucks due to its exaggeration about mileage. At age 73, would not do it again but a nice little gift to pass on to my grandson as he begins to drive. Easy on gas and parking."
By El Maestro on Monday, February 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "transmission , interior plastic , MPG"
Cons: "versatilee ,conpact SUV,interior design, sound ,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"small suv ,very usefull ,very versatile ,not happy with MPG. ride too bumpy ,interior cheap plastic, transmission should perform better ,decent sound system , I like it's seating and there is enough room for luggage ."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful