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7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
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2012 Kia Soul Review

While some rivals offer more cargo space, the 2012 Kia Soul impressed reviewers with its comfortable ride and roomy back seat.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious back seat
  • Fun to drive
  • Less cargo space than some rivals

New for 2012

  • More powerful engines
  • Updated transmissions
  • Telescoping steering wheel
  • Navigation became available

2012 Kia Soul Overview

The base 2012 Soul comes with a four-cylinder engine that reviewers said has adequate power. A more powerful engine is available, and critics said that it provides more oomph from a stop or when passing on the highway. The Soul received new transmission choices for 2012, and test drivers said that the new six-speed manual transmission is a breeze to shift. While auto writers said the available six-speed automatic is generally smooth, it can be slow to downshift when more power is needed. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the base 2012 Soul gets an EPA-estimated 25/30 mpg city/highway, which is slightly less than the fuel economy of rivals like the Nissan Cube, but better than that of the Scion xB. Test drivers said the Soul has strong brakes, responsive steering and a small turning radius, which makes it great for tooling around the city. The ride is quiet and comfortable, they added.

Several test drivers said that the blandness of the 2012 Soul’s mostly plastic cabin is offset by its sleek design. Reviewers were impressed with the amount of passenger space, especially in the rear seats, where they said there’s ample head- and legroom. The Soul has a good amount of cargo space for a small car, though box-shaped rivals like the Scion xB and Nissan Cube have more cargo space. The 2012 Soul comes standard with air conditioning, power door locks and windows, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a CD audio system, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary input. Available features include Bluetooth, an Infinity audio system with speakers that light up, a rearview camera, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and keyless entry. Reviewers said that the audio and climate controls are well-labeled and simple to use.

Other Cars to Consider

Like the Soul, reviewers said the 2012 Honda Fit is fun to drive. It has one of the roomiest cargo holds in the class, with more overall storage space than the Soul. For those who regularly ferry passengers, test drivers said the Fit’s rear seats are spacious enough to accommodate tall folks.

Reviewers said the 2012 Scion xB has a spacious cabin with plenty of head- and legroom in all seats. However, it has substantially more cargo space than the Soul. The xB also comes standard with Bluetooth, which required an upgrade in the Soul when it was new.

Compare the Soul, Fit and xB »

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