It didn’t take long for Kia to release a facelift version of the Soul, did it?

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.

  • 2012 Kia Soul
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    160 horsepower
  • MPG(Cty):
  • MPG(Hwy):
  • Torque @ RPM:
    143 lb/ft of torque
  • Price:
  • body style:

Exterior and Interior

2012 Kia Soul High Resolution Interior
- image 399681

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.


2012 Kia Soul High Resolution Exterior
- image 399682

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.


2012 Kia Soul High Resolution Exterior
- image 399683

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.


2012 Kia Soul High Resolution Exterior
- image 399737

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.

2012 Kia Soul High Resolution Exterior
- image 399678
  • Leave it
    • Why not just get an SUV?
    • It’s not a ’business’ car
    • Caters only to a specific market
What do you think?
Show Comments


  (498) posted on 01.5.2012

It’s just funny on how they compare to their car in China’s product. Well, looking at the performance of this car, and it looks, I would say that this one looks better than the latter.

  (434) posted on 11.10.2011

In spite of having only a simple detailing and don’t have any striking styling, I still can say that it looks so impressive most especially on the fact that it is very reliable on the road.

  (541) posted on 09.29.2011

Its dark shiny color scheme gives an eye-catching view to the car. I like how it have the still and consistency of the design and color. Very convenient and save spacing too.

  (459) posted on 09.14.2011

I like its well laid-out interior with lots of available accessories. But i know that there are one issues of Soul that recall thousands of Soul cars because of fix interior lighting panels that can cause fires

  (306) posted on 09.1.2011

Yeah! it still looks so cute even after its face lift but I just don’t like the color that they used on this car. It didn’t suit for it.

  (395) posted on 07.8.2011

Yeah, I would agree with you on that. One thing that I really like about kia is that they are a ctually very knowledgeable when it comes to cars. Just take a look at their works.

  (410) posted on 05.4.2011

I just remember the KIA commercial that has out recently. And its just funny on how they compare to their car in China product. Well, looking at the performance of this car and it looks, I would say that this one looks better than the latter.

  (446) posted on 05.4.2011

I really don’t like that color for the car it doesn’t looks so lively and it gives me a boring feeling. However, when it comes to the performance I don’t think that its impressive! I was expecting the power output would be in the standard 180 mph.

  (412) posted on 04.27.2011

Wow, I was a bit surprised when I saw the price tag on this on. $15,000 definitely seems very low for a crossover like this one, but since it is a Kia, it seems rather fair.

  (683) posted on 04.26.2011

Well, one thing that these Korean cars are actually good in is quality. I never thought that these cars would really be that reliable at first.

  (447) posted on 04.25.2011

Yeah, Korean cars are newbie in this industry. They still need to learn lot of things. I think they been needing to work out on making a characteristic for their car.

  (402) posted on 04.25.2011

Well, I think it look more of a Smart Fortwo and the performance is like a hybrid car. Well, I’m sorry but I don’t feel ease with the reliability of this car.

  (798) posted on 04.25.2011

Well, one thing that I really liked about the Soul is the looks, it is really rather unique when you compared it with other crossovers. Good thing that they have kept much of that on this new model.

Car Finder: