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2012 Kia Soul Review

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On: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:42PM | By: Peter C Sessler

2012 Kia Soul Review

If you got to have a foreign car with funky styling, then the Kia Soul has to be your choice. In the Kia Soul, introduced in 2009, the Korean manufacturer decided to inject some pizzazz into their rather staid lineup and, now, three year later, the whole car line is looking “Grand Funk(y).”

Is the new styling for you? Well, we’ll leave that up to you—you’ll know in about a few years if it holds up or not.

The updated Soul styling is only slightly massaged than the 2009 original. The headlights and front fog lights are larger, the front grille is larger, but the side profile is similar to the old model, while the rear bumper and taillight are a bit different. That profile makes the car look like it’s in heat— that’s just my opinion.

In the interior, you’ll notice that somewhat better materials are used, while the dimensions are basically the same. One new addition is a UVO entertainment system with a 7-inch touch screen that also comes with satellite navigation and an Infinity sound system. Naturally, if you must have it, you’ll have to pay extra.

There are two four-cylinder engines to choose from. The standard powerplant is a 1.6-liter direct-injected (GDI) which produces 138hp with 123 ft.lb. torque—16hp more than the 2011 version, and that is a noticeable increase. Optional is a 2.0-liter multi-port fuel injected (MPI) engine that produces 164hp with 148 ft.lb. (22 hp more). Again, that is a nice increase from the 2011 model. Two transmissions are available: the six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

The Soul also benefits from the ECO system, which reduces engine revs and tries to run the engine in its most efficient setting available. The car is also equipped with the ISG, which is Kia’s engine shut-off system. This system, which is available only on the automatics, won’t activate if the vehicle speed is below 5 mph between—this is to stop start and stopping driving if you are just creeping along in traffic. The system also will not work if you are on a 12 degree or steeper incline.

Due to the Soul’s short wheelbase, the car goes around corners well, especially with the upgraded engines, but overall, you might get quickly tired of the noisy interior and jerky ride. Just imagine what kind of ride it will have in New York City.

But, on the other hand, the Soul is what it is and it’s priced rather attractively. The base Soul starts at $13,900 and the Soul + starts at $16,300, while the top of the line Soul! starts at $19,600. And it does get good mileage. So if you can put up with the choppy ride, small trunk, and—most of all—the cheap initial price, then you should at least look at the Kia Soul.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



Stephy21 | 9:43AM (Tue, Nov 1, 2011)

I really liked the 2009 Kia Soul. But the 2012 Kia Soul seems to be kinda like you get what you pay for. if u want a nice smooth ride than your gonna pay for it. But i think they should have made one model and set it at a reasonable price so every one could enjoy a nice version of the 2012 Kia Soul without paying to much.


DipStick | 10:31AM (Tue, Nov 1, 2011)

While I do not own one, my niece has one and loves itgets way better gas mileage than her old Honda Element...

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