It seems crazy, but the Kia Soul is very nearly the oldest model in the Korean carmaker’s line up – but this new refresh should keep it going for a few years longer.
2012 Kia Soul: spot the difference
For the 2012 model year – which is actually available to buy now – Kia has given the Soul a makeover inside and out, together with tweaks under the skin.
Available in two standard specifications – badged ‘1’ and ‘2’ – plus a pair of new ‘Originals’ special editions, the Soul receives remodelled front and rear bumpers, plus changes to the grille, lights, some of the front bodywork and the wheels.
The Soul 1 now benefits from body-coloured door handles and mirrors, plus a top-tinted windscreen, while the Soul 2 features chunky foglight surrounds, 16-inch alloys and electric folding door mirrors with indicators built in. Should you wish to impress people with your ability to tell the two apart at a distance.
All versions now feature daytime running lights as standard – as per European legal requirements – and are 15mm longer than before, apparently to accommodate the new powertrains. Total length remains a relatively compact 4.12 metres.
The spacious interior now features a redesigned fascia, centre console and gearshifter – said to improve both usability and the impression of quality.
New petrol, improved diesel
Engine options in the Soul are limited to one 1.6-litre petrol and one 1.6-litre turbodiesel.
The petrol, however, is a new Gasolene Direct Injection unit – GDi – which offers 14bhp more than before for a total of 138bhp. This reaches 60mph in 10.0 seconds, and returns a claimed 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 149g/km. It drops a VED band, making it £35 a year cheaper to tax at £130. Helping with the fuel economy both here and with the diesel is a new six-speed manual gearbox, replacing the previous five-speed unit.
This not only makes the overhauled diesel accelerate faster – 0-60mph now taking 10.3 seconds, 0.6 seconds less than before – it also sees the fuel economy improve 3mpg to 57.6mpg while CO2 emissions drop 8g/km to 129g/km. The resulting £95 annual VED is £20 cheaper than before. A six-speed automatic option on the diesel replaces the old four-speed unit.
Another less obvious upgrade is to the Electronic Stability Control system, which now features a hill hold function and new Vehicle Stability Management, which helps deal with situations where grip levels are spit on either side of the car – such as in icy conditions or when driving over patches of wet leaves.
New Soul Originals – Hunter and Quantum
Standard kit on the Soul 1 includes six speakers, aux-in socket, air conditioning, and six airbags – plus new for 2012 Bluetooth, electric mirrors, remote audio controls and illuminated vanity mirrors in the sunvisors. Soul 2 adds an iPod cable, 16-inch alloys and a more powerful eight-speaker stereo.
There are also two new Soul Originals editions – the Soul Hunter and the Soul Quantum.
Based on the 2 trim line, these add 18-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, heated door mirrors, tinted glass and cruise control (although this won’t be available on manual gearbox versions until the end of the year).
The Hunter also includes an electric sunroof and a reversing camera, and comes in Olive Green metallic with beige and tartan interior, or Moonlight Blue metallic with black and black tartan interior. Yes, we did indeed say ‘tartan’.
The Quantum gets black leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, piano black bumper inserts and chrome exterior door handles. This comes in Titanium Silver, complimented by a black finish on the alloys.
On sale now
Prices start at £12,495 for the petrol-only Soul 1, £13,595 for Soul 2, £15,095 for the Hunter and £15,595 for the Quantum. The range-topping Quantum diesel auto is £17,795.
The 2012 Kia Soul is available to buy right now.
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