Refreshed Soul adds new engine to lineup
By ARV VOSS Motor Matters July 12, 2012 1:57PM
2012 KIA SOUL!
ENGINE: 164-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: front-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 26 city/35 highway
BASE PRICE: $19,600
AS TESTED: $20,350
Updated: February 4, 2013 10:59AM
Kia just launched its freshened Soul for the 2012 model year. There are significant modifications to the new Soul lineup, including more power and a smooth six-speed automatic transmission yielding improved fuel economy of up 10 percent.
The 2012 Soul is available in three trims: the base Soul, Soul+ and Soul! The base Soul with the manual transmission starts at $13,900; the Soul+ with automatic transmission starts at $17,300. The top-of-the-line Soul! begins at $19,600.
For 2012 there’s a new 2.0-liter engine that generates 164 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, along with 148 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. The existing 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine makes 138 horses using gasoline direct injection while producing 123 pound-feet of torque.
The new Kia Soul has managed to retain its somewhat funky out-of-the-box charisma, but in addition to its newfound power, it also features a refreshed front fascia. New projector beam headlamps add LED accents and LED lighting all around. There’s also a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. The new Soul maintains the same wheelbase, but is longer overall and is lighter.
The front-wheel-drive Soul is a compact five-passenger, five-door hatchback. It is poised to do battle firsthand with the Scion xB and Nissan’s Cube. Let’s face it: Given the state of today’s economy, buyers are ready to consider purchasing vehicles that are visually appealing, comfortable, functional and economical to operate.
The Soul displays a reverse wedge greenhouse with blacked-out A- and B-pillars, giving the roof a floating effect. Wheel-well arches are highly pronounced in the form of fenders. Front air inlets housed below the grille take on the look and form served up by Audi.
The interior features a floating center stack, driver-oriented gauges and a comfortable cabin ambience. There’s also a dual-level glove box and an under-floor cargo tray. Soul offers a host of exterior colors and three interior two-tone combinations along with more than 50 ways to personalize one’s vehicle to suit individual tastes and requirements.
My test 2012 Soul came in Exclaim trim with the 2.0-liter engine and six-speed automatic finished outside in Alien Green metallic; the inside was done in sand and black.
Acceleration is not blistering, but is adequate with a little spirit thrown in for good measure. The electric power steering is speed variable, which takes a little getting used to but is responsive enough to create smiles through the twisters.
There are lots of thoughtful storage nooks and crannies, along with cool, quirky features such as the audio speakers that flash mood lighting to match the bass notes. Rear-seat passengers will find sufficient space behind even tall front-seat occupants. The 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and the Soul on any level provides a hip value-packed compact ride.
You Might Like
- Beetle Convertible debuts with sportier style
- Lexus ES350 maintains luxury feel
- Jeep Wrangler Sport a dual-purpose SUV
- Click & Clack: How to replace a car’s interior
- Chrysler Group makes substantial investment in Ohio machining plant
- Chevrolet Equinox a distinctive and comfortable crossover
- New Ford Explorer Sport a high-performance SUV