2012 Kia Soul — Flash Drive
This 2012 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The Kia Soul has been around for a couple of years and it's proven quite popular. I see many examples of its distinctive styling every day. This is the second time I've driven one, and this time I'm quite impressed by how agile it is. The turning circle is tiny, perhaps the smallest of any car I've driven, making the Kia a breeze to drive in town. The trunk of the Kia is also very small, about the same size as a MINI Cooper's, so hopefully your city errands won't involve carrying too much stuff. The Soul offers the driver a high vantage point, and compared to the otherwise similar MINI, there is also a lot more rear-seat legroom. There is one thing that strikes me each time I drive the Kia Soul: The illuminated door speakers are just silly, activating only when the radio is so loud that ear damage is more top-of-mind than the song currently playing. Good marketing they may be, but nothing more. –Paul Hagger
The 2012 Kia Soul is a fun car with plenty of style that uses design, colors and materials to cleverly disguise the fact that it is a totally practical compact. For 2012, the Soul receives subtle interior and exterior updates, including projector headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights for the Soul ! (Exclaim) trim level. We tested the Soul !, now powered by a 2.0-liter 164-horsepower engine with a new 6-speed automatic that improves fuel economy to 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway. There is plenty of power for good overall drivability, the transmission works nicely, and my combined fuel economy was right at 30 mpg. Inside, the center stack is updated and the UVO hands-free entertainment and communication system is standard on the Soul !, including a rear-camera display. There is still quite a bit of interior road noise at highway speeds, probably caused in part by the good-looking 18-inch wheels and tires. –Mike Meredith
The Soul adopts Kia's trademark grille for the 2012 model year, but it still keeps its unique shape and style, which is a good thing. In addition to helping it stand out from the crowd, the shape contributes to an interior much larger than expected. There's plenty of headroom in front, and two adults can easily fit in the rear seat. The added power for 2012 is quite welcome; the Soul won't win any races, but it no longer feels underpowered. Kia's also been able to eke out a few more mpg in addition to the power increase. With prices starting below $14K, the Soul makes a great option for a first car, offering unique styling as well as plenty of versatility and utility. –Perry Stern