After only three model years, the Korean automaker has decided that their K-pop crossover needed a facelift, and so they gave it one, providing the 2012 Soul with all the styling, power, and fuel economy improvements needed to satisfy the vehicle’s growing number of fans.
While the car already looked the part of something eclectic, Kia went the subtle route with their changes, opting to give it improvements that are less about style than they were about substance. This substance is provided with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and 143 lb/ft of torque with an improved fuel economy rating of 27 mpg on the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
"The Soul crossover vehicle has always stood out from the crowd and was responsible for bringing new customers to the Kia brand and positioning the company for a series of record-breaking successes," said Michael Sprague, vice president of Marketing & Communications at Kia Motors America.
"With gas prices on the rise, this refresh adds even more style and fun-to-drive performance, while also improving fuel economy by 10 percent."
Details on the Kia Soul after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
While the overall look and design of the 2012 Soul remains largely the same, Kia did provide a number of design improvements, particularly the new projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, a redesigned bonnet, and a new set of front and rear bumpers. To go with the new rear bumper, Kia also gave the Soul new and modern LED rear light clusters. Inside the new Soul is largely the same interior that received Ward’s AutoWorld “Grooviest Interior” award back in 2010. Taking its cues from the highly-touted interior design, Kia decided to keep a lot of things the same, adding only a number of premium items that takes the genuine comfort and state-of-the-art feel to a whole new level. Among the additions to the interior include an Infinity premium audio system, which is available as an option on Soul+ models while coming standard for the Soul! and Soul Sport trims. To go with the new sound system, the 2012 Soul also has a Microsoft-powered UVO in-car hands-free communication and infotainment system and a Premium Package comprising of heated front seats, leather seat trim, automatic climate control, and a navigation system among its upscale comforts.
The 2012 Kia Soul will feature a number of engine options, including a new 1.6-liter GDI engine that produces 135 horsepower and a higher spec 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and 143 lb/ft of torque. The numbers for the 1.6-liter is an increase of 11 percent from the previous version whereas the 2.0 liter engine comes with an increase of 13 percent from the previous engine. Taking to heart the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, the 1.6-liter model rates at an impressive 28/34 mpg for the city/highway while the 2.0-liter model rates at 27/33 mph for the city/highway.
No word yet on the pricing details of the 2012 Kia Soul, but you can expect it to stay within the range of $15,000 and up, similar to the previous models.
If this were a battle for quirkiness, the Kia Soul would completely own the Nissan Cube , which, if we’re being honest, has the design appeal of a loaf of bread. Not that we don’t find any redeeming qualities about the Cube, but it’s design language certainly isn’t one of them. That being said, the Cube’s engine does compete very well against the Soul, thanks to its 122-horsepower, 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine. The torque is rated at 127 lb/ft with a fuel economy that hits well over 30 miles per gallon in the highway.
But despite whatever you may think of the Cube and its boxiness, it’s hard for us to pick that car over the Soul. Aesthetically, it’s no contest. As for the engine, the 2012 Soul’s new 2.0-liter engine with 160 ponies is way better than anything the Cube can throw its way.
- Nice styling upgrades
- New engine options
- Still looks cute after facelift
- Why not just get an SUV?
- It’s not a ’business’ car
- Caters only to a specific market