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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.

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 292 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

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!"

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Its okay

By on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
4/10

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

"I went from a Jeep to this and honestly if I could go back I would never get this car.. They ask way more than this car is actually worth.."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Wish they had 2 tone color hybrids

By on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "It gets you a second look"

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

"Wish they had 2 tone color hybrids. I would buy another in a heartbeat. Looking to trade my 2010 Kia for a hybrid and not available in a Kia Soul. Electric Soul available in 2015 but until charging stations more available in NC I will not be buying that. I would love to see more sport options such as roof rack and 2 tone on the cars in the dealerships."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun and Reliable But Has a Few Flaws

By on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Reliable, fun shape, roomy"

Cons: "Big blind spot, hatchback scratches, seats stain"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

Scratches on rear from pulling items out of hatchback.

"It looks great, has a fun color and shape, and is roomy... but there are some design flaws. First of all, the seat material is strange. When you try to clean them the water leaves discoloration. I don't know what to use to clean my seats because the more I try the worse they look. Secondly, there is a huge blind spot so you have to practically turn your head 90 degrees to change lanes. Third, when pulling items out of hatchback, the paint on rear gets scratched very easily - there should be rubber there or the hard plastic the bumpers are made of. It does not drive well in the rain, tires feel "squirrely." Apart from those items, it's been very reliable and when you put the rear seats down you can fit practically anything, including a LONGBOARD that measures 9' 6" and yes, I know from experience."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Scratches on rear from pulling items out of hatchback.

I love my car

By on Saturday, September 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive easy handleing great on gas"

Cons: "no spare tire"

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

"I love this car i fell in love the moment I stepped into it. the color is Alien green and really stands out. Gas mileage is great. If it were not for the monthly payment I have I would keep it forever"

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Ain't Got No Soul

By on Monday, September 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Low price, warranty"

Cons: "MPG, visibility, windshield"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"4, count 'em 4, windshield cracks in 19.000 miles. Never had that happen with any other car we've owned. Have our chip repair guy on retainer. Car itself is okay to drive, could definitely be more comfortable. Interior looks and feels cheap. Kia settled on misstating mileage claims on several models, so we get a little money from Kia for mileage reimbursement. Not a whole lot of acceleration, but I guess it isn't too bad for a 1.6L engine. Main disappointment is the windshield. Seems to take on rocks way too easily. (glass too soft, poor design?) We are thinking of selling it after just two years and we usually keep our cars a long time."

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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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