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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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 324 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

a lot of fun to drive--gets lots of attention

By on Thursday, May 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "value for the money---lots of content and features"

Cons: "no all wheel drive available"

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

"excellent gas mileage ( at least 30mpg average)and very good build quality--except for routine maintenance(oil and filter changes) no repairs were necessary.plenty of power for freeway merging. this car may look small on the outside but I was surprised by the room inside for people and/or packages.uvo /infinity is a great sounding stereo."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Fantastic Car for the Price!

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

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
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage, reliable & roomy."

Cons: "Cheaper interior features"

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

"This has been a great car for me, especially with long distance commutes & vacation drives. On average it's given me 28 - 33 mpg and still does. I like the space it gives as well. Good head space & plenty of room in the back for transporting things. I have really enjoyed owning this & would recommend to anyone in need of a vehicle for a long commute. My only issue with the vehicle is that the interior is a bit on the cheap side. Fabric seems to stain fairly easily & carpet, too. But covers have helped with all of that. It's been well worth it for both the safety features of the car and the great gas mileage & comfortable ride that I get. Really like the blue tooth & Sirius features as well."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Best car in its price range, by far

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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: "Fun to drive and at a great price."

Cons: "None"

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

"I bought this car in July of 2012. I have had ZERO issues with this vehicle. I have had 2 other KIAs and liked them, however this is different. I looked at Chevy Sonic, Nissan Versa and Mazda 3. This car had more options and at a better price. 4 wheel disk brakes, cruise, Satellite radio, power windows, and locks. Versa was a shell of a car by comparison. This is also a fun car to drive with great visibility all the way around. I would definitely buy this car again. Plus rear seating head room for 6+ footers."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best value and fun to drive

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, 5 stars for safety, fun to drive,"

Cons: "When I find one I will let you know"

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

"I love this car. To say I am fussy is an understatement. I test drove 23 cars before I decided on one but from the moment I sat in this car I knew it was mine. Comfortable, easy and fun to drive, low maintenance, low repair cost. How could you ask for more? The sound system is amazing. I have not had a single repair or any problems at all in 4 years. Air filter and oil changes are all it has ever needed. That is saying a lot since my driving is up and down hills and stop and go driving.I know that is hard on brakes and tires let alone the engine and drive train. I have recommended this car to several friends and 2 of them have also purchased one."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

GREATEST, SAFEST, FUNEST CAR EVER!!!!!

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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: "She gets up and goes!! Comfortable safe reliable"

Cons: "none except no light in glove box"

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

"I LOVE MY KIA SOUL SPORT. SO FUN TO DRIVE AND VERY CUTE. MY LIL RED CAR IS THE BEST. VERY HIGH SAFETEY RATINGS TOO!!!!!"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Value is unbeatable and better mpg than stated

By on Saturday, April 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,390

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
10/10

Pros: "Great price, fun drive, great looking."

Cons: "Turning off a/c to climb mtn slacks the "drag"."

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

"This car is well worth the money. I average 32+ mpg and that is with a daily paper route and 1 and 1/2 mile mountain climb to get back home. If I am total highway/trip 39.5. It has the perfect amount of room and easy access with the four doors and my 6'4" hubby sits in back comfortably."

7 people out of 11 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

Buying this car?