2012 Kia Soul Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

8.2
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
8.0
Expert Rating
Performance
7.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
8.0
Expert Rating
Safety
9.0
Expert Rating
Features
9.0
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
7.0
Expert Rating
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The name rings true: this Kia has a Soul, with fun road manners and tall-wagon practicality baked into its kicky shape.

The Kia Soul brought a new attitude to the compact segment when it was introduced in the 2010 model year. The wedgy, stylish body defined a new look for Kia, and soon the Soul had eclipsed popular urban wagons like the Scion xB and Nissan Cube, and may have helped send the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevrolet HHR into retirement.

The Soul doesn't change much for the 2012 model year, but new powertrains and a reconfigured lineup keep its ratings here at TCC at the higher end of the compact class.

The Soul wins on styling, hands-down. The reverse boomerang of the roofline is a grabby visual hook that isn't matchy-matchy with the bullnosed front end. The cabin isn't as radical, unless smart functionality is a radical concept, with its big buttons and knobs, cheery gauges, and cheeky dashes of pizazz, like the lighted speaker frames that glow to the beat of the Soul's sound system.

This year, the 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines are nudged higher in power and gas mileage. The base engine now has 135 horsepower; the upgrade has 164 hp. With six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and a new Eco package, the Soul's fuel economy hits a new peak. Handling remains friendly, and the Soul is frisky as an urban runabout, much more than the sum of its parts list in the way old Hondas used to be.

The versatile, spacious interior makes the most of the tall roofline, in front and in back. The Soul's the rare compact that fits tall adults well, leaving them extra headroom, even. The back seat's just as fine for two adults or three kids, and the seats fold down to open up a 53-cubic-foot cargo hold. It's no Honda Element, but then again, neither is the Element anymore, since it's also been purged from the new-car universe.

The Soul's extensive equipment list includes the usual safety gear, and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. A rearview camera's now an option--and to go with the stock USB ports and satellite radio, there's now HD Radio as an option, and a navigation system, which unfortunately can't be had if you also opt for UVO, Kia's voice-activated controls for phone and audio. All told, a right-priced Soul at about $20,000 is a great value for anyone who needs a little more wagon in their lives, but could do without the size and weight of a bigger crossover or minivan.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016
For 2012 Kia Soul

Good value

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I get great gas mileage on my Kia, so far no complaints
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Sunday, September 6, 2015
2012 Kia Soul 5-Door Wagon Automatic +

Fun&versatile

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This wee puddle jumper is a hoot to drive- it has more hp than my old LotusElan+2 did, it's engine resonance rivals that of the Alfas!! with great handling to boot AND it's easy to get in&out of...these... + More »
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Saturday, July 18, 2015
2012 Kia Soul 5-Door Wagon Automatic !

One of the best cars I have owned

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I bought my KIA Soul new in 2012 and have been happy with it ever since I brought it home. The only car that I have owned that may have been more fun to drive was my 1950 Jaguar XK120 roadster. I have had no... + More »
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