More powerful and fuel efficient 2012 Kia Soul debuts at the New York International Auto Show

Friday, 22 April 2011

  • New six-speed transmissions and direct injection for new Soul
  • Stylish updates and new technologies including gasoline direct injection

The car that kicked-off Kia's design-led transformation has been given a fresh and updated look with more power but keeping the same funky style, as Kia Motors America revealed the face-lifted iconic Soul at the New York International Auto Show. 

The head-turning Soul has been fine-tuned with a significant number of technology and powertrain enhancements to deliver more power and improved fuel efficiency. 

"We have given the new 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.  This mid-life refresh adds even more style and fun-to-drive performance to the vehicle that started our design-led transformation whilst also improving fuel economy by 10 per cent," he added.

Since its debut in Spring 2009, Soul has challenged the established order by bringing fun and individuality to the small car segment.

The 2012 Soul amplifies 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 (US figures).

A new 1.6-litre gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission produces 138 bhp (140ps) - an 11 per cent increase over the previous engine - and 121 lb/ft of torque (16.73 kg/m).  In some markets - including the US - a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is available with either the six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.  The latter engine produces 160 bhp (162.2ps) - up 13 per cent - and 143 lb/ft of torque (19.77kg/m)Fuel economy for the 1.6-litre comes in at an impressive 28/34 mpg (city/highway - US), three miles per gallon more than the previous engine while the 2.0-litre delivers 27/33 mpg (city/highway - US) for both the automatic and manual transmissions.

In addition to the 2012 Soul's performance upgrades, the mid-life changes also introduce a number of significant design and performance improvements. 

On the outside, Soul gets subtle changes including new projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, a redesigned bonnet and new front and rear bumpers.  Modern, new LED rear light clusters enhance the Soul's unique design while the overall shape of the vehicle gives Soul a smoother and more streamlined silhouette. 

New, for US customers - as yet, on some models, is the UVO, powered by Microsoft, in-car hands-free communication and infotainment system. Premium features including heated front seats, leather seat trim, automatic climate control, navigation system and push-button start are also available.

Praised 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. 

Inside, Soul envelopes its passengers with a more high-tech, futuristic cabin featuring a well-equipped blend of technology features.  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. 

An uncluttered dashboard with a three-dial instrument cluster, LCD illumination and floating centre stack design is the key visual feature and offers enticing access to the AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system.  Standard USB and auxiliary input jacks can also be found in the centre console with full iPod and MP3 controllability via the audio head unit and steering wheel-mounted controls.  A reversing camera display is part of the audio upgrade package for enhanced visibility.

The new Soul is expected in UK showrooms from the autumn.


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