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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 282 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

most reliable vehicle i have owned

By on Saturday, July 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,500

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Best car for the price, fun to drive."

Cons: "road noise"

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

"Great handling and acceleration. Comfortable, versatile, and roomy. significant road noise at high speeds."

Cute & fun to drive! Interior is a pain! =\

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"The Kia Soul is alot of fun to drive. Handles really well. SO much room in the Soul. Seats lay down for convenience. Gas mileage is alright. Carpeting & upholstery is a nightmare! Everything sticks to the carpet. Hard to sweep up. Seats show every litte stain. There is no such thing as "spot" treatment. Have not found an easy way to clean up holstery. It is recommended to clean the whole seat instead of spot treating."

Great value

By on Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price, styling, mileage"

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

"Bought this car brand new and have loved it since the first day. Great mileage, handles nicely, comfortable front and back seating. All around a great car at a fair price. Would definitely buy another Soul!"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

This car is a diamond in the rough.

By on Monday, June 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I love my Kia Soul. Period! The styling makes me look 30 years younger than my 78 year-old body. I have had zero problems with it and it gives me all the performance I need. The only negative i can think of is the visibility is poor at the right rear/side post."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love Driving my Soul!

By on Friday, June 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"Fun to drive (Manual). Great gas mileage (Ave: 31mpg Highway, rural, city). The manual transmission allows the pick-up I need in order to pass tractor trailers and farm equipment on back country, 2 way, one ways as well as on the highway. Comfortable "sit" and enter/exit (even for my mum, who doesn't like have to "climb up" and/or "squat down and slide"). Command seating (Driver). Great storage capacity!!! Excellent on long-leg room for back seat passengers. Nice entertainment system - A bit of an issue with merging "right" into traffic (since x-ray vision through the blind spot is not an option, you really need to place yourself at an angle yourself so as to avoid the unfore-SEEN). Overall, this has been my favorite car to own ... Ever !!! (Driving: 30+ years) I seriously considered trading in for the new models but KIA no longer makes the + or ! in a manual transmission."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

HAS BEEN TROUBLE FREE

By on Friday, June 06, 2014

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

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: "great value for money spent."

Cons: "gas mileage could have been higher for small car?"

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

"Purchased new in 2010 and have not needed to do anything but oil changes and add gas for nearly 4 years now. Surprising amount of room and comfort for a small car. Overall it has been a great car....."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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