2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul gets mid-cycle refresh and more power/efficiency

2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul
2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul

The funky Kia Soul has been with us for about three years now and as a result, Kia debuted the mid-cycle refresh of its hip Scion xB competitor next to 2012 Rio and Rio5 hatch earlier today at the 2011 New York Auto Show.

Other than the usual visual cues such as new LED projector headlamps and two new available paint options, the Soul receives new engine options that help make the Soul more powerful and fuel-efficient. In addition, a new six-speed transmission will help the new Soul achieve an EPA-guesstimated 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

Click here for more news on the Kia Soul.

The engine is an all new 1.6L direct-injected four-banger good for 135 hp and 121 lb-ft of torque, 11 more hp over the original. The new six-speeds can be either manual or automatic, which both replace the old five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The new engine is guesstimated to return 28/34 city/highway mpg.

The more powerful 2.0L four-pot is still available but was upped 18 hp to 160 and when mated to either six-speeds, can achieve 27/33 city/highway mpg.

Check out the high-res gallery and press release after the jump.

2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul:

2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul 2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul 2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul 2011 New York: 2012 Kia Soul

All Photos Copyright © 2011 Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.

2012 Kia Soul:

Press Release:


– Popular Urban Passenger Vehicle Builds on Successful Formula with Updated Styling, New Technologies, More Power and Improved Fuel Economy
– New six-speed transmissions and direct injection help Soul deliver up to 34 miles per gallon
– Award-winning Soul receives stylish updates and new technologies such as gasoline direct injection and a new Infinity premium audio system

NEW YORK, April 21, 2011 – The product that began Kia Motors’ design-led transformation returns to New York with a fresh and updated look, more power, and the same funky demeanor consumers have come to love from the compact crossover. Kia Motors America (KMA) today pulled the cover off the mid-cycle update to its iconic Soul urban passenger vehicle at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The wildly successful Soul is fine-tuned for 2012 with a significant number of technology and powertrain enhancements with an emphasis on delivering more power and improved fuel efficiency.

“After just two model years, we’ve given the 2012 Soul significant improvements in power, style and fuel economy, making this iconic vehicle the perfect package for consumers looking for something a little outside the box,” said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. “The Soul has always stood out from the crowd and is responsible for bringing new customers to the Kia brand and positioning the company for a series of record-breaking successes. With gas prices on the rise, this mid-cycle refresh adds even more style and fun-to-drive performance to the vehicle that started our design-led transformation while also improving fuel economy by 10 percent.”

Since debuting in Spring 2009, Soul has earned a trophy case full of prestigious awards, including earning a 2009, 2010 and 2011 “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), being named a Consumers Digest “Best Buy,” achieving a “Top RecommendedSM Vehicle for 2011” by Edmunds.com, being a recipient of the “Best Family Cars for 2010” designation by Edmunds.com and Parents Magazine, recognized as “Best Hatchback of 2010” by Cars.com and being named to TopSpeed.com’s “Top Ten Small Cars For Under $20K.”

More Power, Less Fuel
The 2012 Soul will amplify the fun-to-drive factor with significant horsepower and fuel economy increases with new six-speed transmissions and the ability to deliver up to 34 miles per gallon on the highway. A new 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission produces 135 horsepower (an 11 percent increase in horsepower from the previous engine) and 121 pound-feet of torque. For those looking for a boost in power, a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available with either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The latter engine produces 160 horsepower (a 13 percent increase in horsepower from the previous engine) and 143 pound-feet of torque, and is standard on Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport models. Fuel economy for the 1.6-liter comes in at an impressive 28/34 mpg1 (city/highway), three miles per gallon more than the previous engine while the 2.0-liter offers a fuel-sipping 27/33 mpg for both the automatic and manual transmissions2.

More Style & Refinement
In addition to the 2012 Soul’s performance upgrades, the mid-cycle refresh also introduces a number of significant design and performance improvements. On the outside, Soul is freshened with subtle changes that its legion of fans will instantly recognize from new projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights that are slightly bulged, to a redesigned hood and new front and rear bumpers. New and modern LED rear light clusters enhance the Soul’s unique design while the overall shape of the vehicle was finessed to give Soul a smoother and more streamlined silhouette. New for 2012, Soul buyers can choose from two new, exotic exterior paint colors – Canyon and Moss – that complement a wide palette of existing colors. Inside and new for 2012, an Infinity premium audio system is available on Soul+ models and standard on Soul! and Soul sport models for a more robust listening experience. Also new for 2012 on Soul! and Soul sport models is UVO powered by Microsoft®3 in-car hands-free communication and infotainment system and available premium package that includes heated front seats, leather seat trim, automatic climate control, navigation system (in lieu of UVO system) and push-button start for added upscale comforts.

Available in four trims, Soul, Soul+, Soul! (exclaim) and Soul sport, the base trim, offering standard convenience features, including air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, available SIRIUS® Satellite Radio with three months complimentary service4 and MP3 connectivity.

Edgy and Confident Exterior
Lauded for its standout design, the versatile five-door’s low, wide stance is complemented by an angled window line and rounded nose. The beltline rises from the front wheel arch to create a gentle wedge shape that continues under and around the rear side window.
Offering plenty of standard features, the Soul trim features a chrome-accented grille, clear lens auto-off headlamps, body color door handles and side mirrors, black body side molding, rear wiper/washer, variable intermittent windshield wipers, front and rear disc brakes and 15-inch steel wheels fitted with P195/65R15 tires.

Upgrading to the Soul+ the 2.0-liter engine adds keyless remote entry with flip key, Bluetooth®5 hands-free phone connectivity, privacy glass on the hatch and rear side windows, body-color door handles and dual body-color power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, along with 16-inch alloy wheels with P205/55R16 tires. Soul+ also comes with optional front fog lamps and a power sunroof.

The Soul! adds a power sunroof, new LED projector headlamps, LED tail lamps and fog lamps, body-colored bumper and 18-inch alloy wheels paired with P235/45R18 tires standard. The dynamic Soul sport builds off of the Soul+ trim and adds an Infinity audio system, UVO powered by Microsoft®, rear camera display6, Supervision™ meter cluster, unique body color front and rear fascias, side sills, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, and fog lamps wholly personifying the athletic, urban look Soul embodies.

Adding to the distinctiveness of Soul, buyers can choose from a wide palate of exotic exterior paint colors, including: Canyon and Moss (new for 2012), Dune and Clear White; metallic tones of Shadow, Titanium and Bright Silver; red-hot Molten; Alien green and Denim blue. Further adding to Soul’s stylish and funky appeal, KMA will continue offering Special Edition Souls7 in the 2012 model year.

Spacious, State-of-the-Art Interior
Inside, Soul envelopes its passengers with a more high-tech, futuristic cabin featuring a well-equipped blend of technology features at a tremendous overall value. Soul is a recipient of the Ward’s AutoWorld “Grooviest Interior” award for 2010, making the cabin the perfect personal lounge on wheels or an efficient cargo carrier with 14 storage zones. Passengers will find comfort in the roomy cabin that offers 40.2/39.6 inches of headroom (front/rear), shoulder room of 55.2/55.1 inches, 42.1/39.0 inches of legroom and a passenger volume of 102.3 cubic feet.

Soul’s interior design is decidedly influenced by the car’s highly specified audio system. An uncluttered dashboard with a three-dial instrument cluster, LCD illumination and floating center stack design is the key visual feature and offers enticing access to the AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and three months complimentary service. Standard USB and auxiliary input jacks can also be found in the center console with full iPod®8 and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit and steering wheel-mounted controls achieved with an optional accessory iPod cable.

Additional standard interior features that make the Soul stand out from the rest include air conditioning, power door locks, illuminated window switches, power windows with driver’s side auto-down, external temperature display and digital clock in the radio, an upper storage bin, dual-level glove box, 12-volt power outlet, rear window defroster, cargo area light and a dome light with delay out. Soul is stylishly appointed with black cloth seats, adding to its comfortable interior. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat with headrest height adjustment offers multiple seating and cargo arrangements depending on driver and passenger needs.

Soul+ with manual transmission offers additional standard features, including telescoping steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted controls, cruise control (on automatic transmission models only) hands-free Bluetooth® wireless technology connectivity, dual 12-volt power outlets and tweeter speakers, all enhancing creature comforts on the road. Standard on the Soul+ is a covered upper storage bin, dual visor vanity mirrors with covers and dual map lights, while black cloth seats are adorned with Soul logo inserts. An optional Audio Upgrade Package also is available for Soul+ featuring an Infinity audio system with UVO technology that enhances the sound with a center speaker, subwoofer, external amplifier and speaker lights in a rainbow of colors that pulse to the beat of the music or add mood lighting. A rear camera display is part of the audio upgrade package for enhanced visibility.

Advancing to the Soul! adds carpeted floor mats, combined with sand-black cloth interior trim with houndstooth inserts for a distinguishing Soul style. The Soul! also includes an Infinity audio system standard, UVO technology and a rear camera display, for a high-tech in-cabin experience.

For those with more active lifestyles looking for even more exhilaration, the Soul sport offers a sport-tuned suspension, prominent and bold red-black interior trim with red-trimmed cloth seats and metal-finish interior accents. For 2012, Soul! and Soul sport models offer available premium package items like heated leather seats, automatic climate control, navigation system (in lieu of UVO system) and push-button start for added upscale comforts.

Unique Platform/Chassis
Soul is different, right down to its platform. With its own distinguished style, Soul features front-wheel drive, a high roofline and a wide, distinctive stance. Built with a wheelbase of 100.4 inches, an overall length of 161.6 inches, an overall width of 70.3 inches and overall height of 63.4 inches, the Soul offers a comfortable interior with roomy seating for up to five passengers. Constructed with more than 70 percent high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength without adding a lot of weight, the Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness, benefiting handling, ride quality and refinement.

Additional measures to help ensure good noise vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities also are fitted throughout the Soul, including a thicker dash insulation panel, an A-pillar noise-absorber pad and an optimized exhaust silencer, a vibration-damper, a center floor anti-vibration pad, and vinyl sealing on door trim. All Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport trims also receive an added sub-frame dynamic damper and a heavy engine support dynamic damper, which help lessen transfer of NVH into the cabin.

Soul features a fully independent, sub-frame mounted front suspension system with MacPherson struts, coil springs, rear monotube gas shock absorbers and stabilizer bar designed to maximize the friction between the tires and the road, providing steering stability with responsive handling to offer passengers optimal comfort. At the rear, Soul’s suspension is sub-frame mounted with a transverse torsion beam axle with trailing arms, coil springs and gas shock absorbers for a smooth ride and minimum intrusion into the cargo space. Soul sport models feature a sport-tuned suspension that includes firmer springs, re-tuned shock absorbers and a larger front stabilizer bar resulting in a lively, more energetic ride.

Standard Kia Safety Features
All Soul models continue to offer the same high level of standard safety equipment as all Kia vehicles, offering a comprehensive list of safety features, including front seat active headrests, dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and full-length side curtain airbags9. An Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) also are standard, as are front and rear crumple zones, side-impact door beams, impact-absorbing steering column and a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH).

Industry-Leading Warranty
The 2012 Soul is covered by Kia’s warranty program, which offers consumer protection at an exceptional value. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the vehicle coverage.

2011 Kia Motors America Product Line
Kia’s model year 2011 vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio sub-compact sedan, Rio5 sub-compact hatchback and Sedona minivan.

1 2011 EPA fuel economy estimates. Actual mileage may vary.
2 Based on manufacturer’s fuel economy estimates. Actual mileage may vary.
3 Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
4 SIRIUS, XM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. and its subsidiaries. SIRIUS Radio requires a subscription, sold separately after 3-month trial subscription included with vehicle purchase. Prices and programming are provided by SIRIUS and are subject to change. Subscriptions governed by SIRIUS Terms & Conditions available at sirius.com. SIRIUS Radio U.S. service available only to those at least 18 years of age in the 48 contiguous United States,
D.C. and Puerto Rico (with coverage limitations).
5 A compatible Bluetooth® wireless technology-enabled cell phone is required to use Bluetooth® wireless technology. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Kia is under license. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.
6 The rear-view backup camera is not a substitute for proper and safe backing-up procedures. Always drive safely and use caution when backing up.
7 Special Edition Soul vehicles will have limited availability while supplies last. Vehicles will not be available in all regions. See dealers for details.
8 Optional Kia accessory cable required for iPod® mobile digital device connectivity; both sold separately. iPod® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
9 For maximum protection, always wear your seat belt.

– By: Chris Chin

Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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