2012 Kia Soul + new car reviews

For 2012, the Kia Soul gets revised looks and new engines.

Better than: Nissan Cube
But not as good as: Buick Roadmaster
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 85.44

The term "station wagon" may now be taboo, but that doesn't mean the need for a small, car-based hauler has gone away. Yesterday's wagons have become today's urban crossovers—or whatever buzzword Madison Avenue has tagged them with.

Kia's entry into that field is the Soul.

The Soul has been with us for a couple of model years, and for 2012 it gets a freshening: revised looks along with new engines. The base model is available with a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter, direct-injected inline four, while the two upmarket models get a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter four. (Those two upmarket models, by the way, carry the somewhat unconventional + and ! designations.)

Our test vehicle was a fairly loaded + model: six-speed automatic, upgraded audio package with rear camera display and subwoofer ($900), and a power tilt/slide sunroof ($800). Then there was another $95 for the carpeted floor mats. While that equipment bumped the final tally to $19,845, the Soul line starts at $13,900.

Finally, a tidbit learned via Wikipedia, source for all the world's knowledge:

In October 2011, the Kia Soul hamsters were inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame, the advertising industry’s equivalent of Hollywood and Vine. As of 2011, Kia is also the only car manufacturer to be inducted.

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now!

Visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

A couple of months ago my brother came to me with a popular question: What car to buy? His Altima had finally past the point of being considered reliable, long-distance transportation, and he needed something to supplement his Miata.

He wanted a small wagon that wouldn't cost a mint. After some back-and-forth discussions, the Soul rose to the top of the list.

His local dealer had a single manual-equipped 2012 Soul on the lot--a black + model. Sold. My brother got the bigger engine yet passed some of the MSRP-increasing options. He paid about $17,000 out the door. So far, he reports, so good.

A few days after he bought his, our test car arrived. I called him after spending a few minutes in the car to tell him that he done good. The 2102 Soul is quicker than you'd think--even with the automatic found in our test car--and I thought that the interior materials are definitely class-leading. I'd put them way closer to Buick than Mitsubishi.

Then there's the value. The Soul offers mid-sized power and room very close to a B-Spec price.

Alan Cesar FartSmeller69
SuperDork

This car is a shocker. Seeing hamster commercials and a two-box shape, I didn't expect much of a driver—just a utilitarian box. But hot crap, this machine is value and fun. Super roomy inside, impressive power output from that 2-liter engine, and an entertaining drive.

My girlfriend brought up a good point: This is a great alternative to a minivan. No, you can't tow much and it won't fit seven kids. But if you don't need all that, you can fit several adults comfortably, get great gas mileage, and haul a ton of cargo if you fold those seats down. It has an impressive array of features at that price, too.

Kia is doing wonderful things these days. The soul, odd as it may sound, is one of them.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The term "station wagon" may now be taboo, but that doesn't mean the need for a small, car-based hauler has gone away. Yesterday's wagons have become today's urban crossovers—or whatever buzzword Madison Avenue has tagged them with.

Kia's entry into that field is the Soul.

The Soul has been with us for a couple of model years, and for 2012 it gets a freshening: revised looks along with new engines. The base model is available with a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter, direct-injected inline four, while the two upmarket models get a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter four. (Those two upmarket models, by the way, carry the somewhat unconventional + and ! designations.)

Our test vehicle was a fairly loaded + model: six-speed automatic, upgraded audio package with rear camera display and subwoofer ($900), and a power tilt/slide sunroof ($800). Then there was another $95 for the carpeted floor mats. While that equipment bumped the final tally to $19,845, the Soul line starts at $13,900.

Finally, a tidbit learned via Wikipedia, source for all the world's knowledge:

In October 2011, the Kia Soul hamsters were inducted into the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame, the advertising industry’s equivalent of Hollywood and Vine. As of 2011, Kia is also the only car manufacturer to be inducted.

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now!

Visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.
Our Preferred Partners
gSUsVn6iHvl5X1AhnpjdtU8C193LCj5OIIy3QeY0USWkjSDs9Cbea8VG9d0dV5pC