The Soul is Kia's version of the Scion xB, or as many people call it, the box car. You could call the Kia Soul a box with flair. This vehicle has sold very well for Kia, introducing a different kind of audience to the brand. The Soul has won a variety of awards since its introduction in 2009, including a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Heading into 2012, the Soul receives a few changes. The refreshed five-door hatchback receives an updated look, as well as more power. The Kia received two upgraded engines that provide both more power and better fuel economy. The first is a 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine that produces 135 horsepower, an 11 percent increase from last year's model. The other engine is a more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower, a 13-percent increase. Both engines provide very respectable fuel economy numbers; 28/34 mpg city/highway for the 1.6-liter and 27/33 mpg city/highway for the 2.0-liter engine.
The interior of the Soul is very much like its exterior; futuristic looking. In fact, it received the Ward's AutoWorld "Grooviest Interior Award" in 2010. The dashboard is uncluttered and numerous controls can be found right at the driver's finger tips on the steering wheel, including cruise control, stereo functions, and Bluetooth.
Body Style: Five-door hatchback
Engines: 1.6L, I-4; 2.0L, I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
Models: Base, +, !, Sport
A few changes have been made to the 2012 Kia Soul. The major change is the increased engine power and fuel efficiency. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine now puts out 135 horsepower, an 11 percent increase from last year, and the 2.0-liter engine produces 160-horsepower, a 13 percent increase from last year. Technologies have been added such as gasoline direct injection and a new Infinity sound system. The exterior has been refreshed for the 2012 model year.
The Soul features an edgy exterior. While many would refer to it as a box, some might consider it a box with flair. It features a low, wide stance and an angled window line. Other features include a chrome-accented grille, body color door handles and side mirrors, and 15-inch steel wheels. The Soul! Is equipped with LED headlights and taillights, a body colored bumper, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The interior of the Soul is somewhat futuristic looking. An uncluttered dashboard and numerous controls right at the driver's fingertips make this a user-friendly driver's car. You can operate the stereo functions, cruise control, and Bluetooth directly from the steering wheel. This is a fairly wide car, which creates a very roomy interior at 40.2 inches of headroom in the front, and 39.6 inches of headroom in the rear. A floating center stack is the focus of the interior, which features Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as MP3 capability. Black cloth seats engulf the rest of the interior.
Performance & Handling
The Soul received an increase in power for 2012, although there's no hiding its subcompact economy car roots. The 1.6-liter engine received an 11 percent horsepower boost, placing it at 135 horsepower. The 2.0-liter engine received a 13-percent increase in power, placing the horsepower for 2012 at 160. Kia offers a six-speed automatic transmission and six-speed manual transmission.
The Soul comes equipped with a number of standard safety features. These include six airbags as well as Electronic Brake Distribution, and Brake Assist System. Also standard is Hill-start Assist Control and a tire pressure monitoring system.
EPA Fuel Economy
Soul: 28 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway
+,!, sport: 27 mpg city/ 33 mpg highway
- Bold exterior
- Stylish interior
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