Kia has been on a roll with one of the most pronounced product offensives in modern memory. If you sell cars at a Toyota or Nissan dealership you likely know well what we mean. For 2012 Kia has given their cute little Soul micro-box a facelift to bring it in line with its latest styling as well as added some new features to keep it funky fresh.
A new 2.0 liter GDI direct injection four-cylinder engine tops the range with class leading horsepower of 164. With the 2.0 liter engine, the Soul can achieve 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The base 1.6 liter GDI direct injected four is also up to 138hp. Both engines are now available with a new six-speed automatic transmission that helps boost fuel efficiency as well. The 1.6 liter can achieve an impressive 35 highway mpg, up 4 mpg from the 2011 model. City efficiency is a still an impressive 27 mpg.
Later in the year you will also be able to get the Soul with a new start-stop engine option that shuts the engine off at stops and restarts when the brake pedal is released. This system is expected to boost city mpg significantly.
Outside, the Soul’s exterior design has been updated with subtle changes to front and rear fascias to project a wider stance, while new headlamps, taillights, side mirrors and wheels project a more modern look.
The upgraded Soul! model is easily distinguishable from the others with exclusive projector headlamps with front LED accents and LED taillights complemented by stunning new 18-inch alloy wheels. Not only does the Soul! have a striking design, it also offers class-leading features like standard UVO powered by Microsoft voice-activated infotainment system (expected to be available this fall) with a 4.3-inch color touch screen and rear camera display matched to an all-new 350-watt seven-speaker Infinity audio system (also optional on Soul+). Navigation with SiriusXM traffic also will be available.
All Soul models are improved with redesigned and upgraded interiors, significantly better noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities, a more refined ride and many new standard features, including a tilt and telescoping steering column, Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC). The 2012 Soul remains a class-leading value with the lowest price of its competitive set starting at $13,900 MSRP while the Soul A/T starts at $15,700. The Soul sport model is no longer offered.
New colors are added to the palette for 2012 as well. You can choose Moss (new for 2012), Dune and Clear White; metallic tones of Shadow, Titanium and Bright Silver; red-hot Molten; and Alien green. Further adding to Soul’s stylish and funky appeal, Kia will continue offering Special Edition Souls in the 2012 model year.
Inside, Soul’s more high-tech, futuristic cabin features a well-equipped blend of technology features at a tremendous overall value. All Soul models are improved with redesigned and upgraded interior materials, making the cabin the perfect personal lounge on wheels or an efficient cargo carrier with 14 storage zones. Passengers will find comfort in the roomy cabin that offers 40.2/39.6 inches of headroom (front/rear), shoulder room of 55.2/55.1 inches, 42.1/39.0 inches of legroom and a passenger volume of 102.3 cubic feet.
The Soul is decidedly not and SUV or even a crossover. It however offers the same interior packaging and utility as many of its much larger and more expensive competition in a smaller, smarter and more efficient package.