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2012 Kia Soul

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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 342 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

My 2nd Kia & my daughter & I each have a Soul now

By on Monday, April 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,039

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Excellant interior space and versitility"

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

"From the start I was pleased with the quality of the car and the extras are wonderful. It is a great value as well. Please remember that one Kia dealership is not the same as another. If you are not happy with the treatment you receive, contact another Kia dealership for assistance!"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Cute & simple to drive! LOVE IT!!

By on Thursday, April 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,126

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: "Wonderful price! Fun to drive!"

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

"I have nothing bad to say about the KIA Soul! Cute & easy drive!! The best I love it is I can talk on the phone & not hold it on my hand!!"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

never again not worth it

By on Sunday, March 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "looked nice new funny commmercial"

Cons: "mechanical poor quality.not even a spare tire"

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

"wife loved it had to have it . my opinion disposable car no valve .car did not hold up to normal ware wife backed into mail box mail box no damage car lost.factory paint piling dealer says it a water base paint not covered (incredible).next time spend a little more for quality and not on what seems to look good.we even get a ck for mileage from kia"

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Don't buy this car

By on Tuesday, March 08, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "roomy inside"

Cons: "not well build, engine died"

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

"At 100k miles the engine died, I was 500 miles over so the warranty doesn't cover anything. Its going to cost me almost $4k to replace the engine. I was looking forward to driving this car for 10 years, but it hasn't even been 5, I still owe money on it and have to make this investment. Kia sucks."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great car for the money

By on Monday, February 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive and quick pickup."

Cons: "carpet is cheap"

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

"If I were looking for an economical small car again, I'd choose another Soul. For a small car it is easy to get in and out of and plenty of leg and head room for a 250 lb. man. Totally reliable. The only complaint with the interior is the carpet. It is more of a fuzzy mat than it is carpet but we use carpeted mats anyway."

Highly recommend this car.

By on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, handles well, great in snow."

Cons: "Could use more luggage space."

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

"I downsized from a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 to my 2011 Kia Soul Sport and I've not regretted this move. It has great gas mileage, great take off and it handles very well. I have a five speed standard and wouldn't drive anything else. This is a comfortable car, easy to handle and fun to drive. If you are looking for a comfortable, efficient, and fun car, I highly recommend this vehicle."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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