Now, you might think that the new 2012 Kia Soul got us so excited, what with its “Alien/Kermit the Frog Green” exterior, that we’d decide to punctuate every sentence like a peppy cheerleader. No one can be that excitable and nice all of the time, however, not even cheer happy sorority girls.
But when you are driving the 2012 Kia Soul you find yourself smiling to yourself a little bit more than usual. Not many cars can pull off this exterior paint scheme and even fewer can pull off the odd splashes of color that Kia throws seemingly willy-nilly across the otherwise staid and straightforward cabin. On Sport models, a bright red plastic and cloth/leather motif is the order of the day and makes the inside of the Soul look like a bordello run by vampires. You know, after dinner.
We preferred the Soul ! with its offbeat “houndstooth” (sort of a gray/white interlocking pattern) mixed with beige trim on the seats which in our tester came equipped with very well finished leather seats that really help dress up the interior of this delightfully odd boxy hatchback. But the Soul avoids the wacky appearance of the Nissan Cube or the soullessness offered by the current Scion xB all the while still offering cargo carrying capacity of 23.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 53.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.
Our test Soul ! model also came equipped with a pricey but well appreciated Premium Package (new for 2012) which adds the aforementioned leather, heated front seats, push button start with a smart key, automatic climate control and an in-dash navigation system. The total for all this? Just $22,850 including destination charges meaning Kia really hasn’t lost touch with its value for money roots with the 2012 Soul. Standard goodies include 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, an excellent Infinity AM/FM/CD/USB/MP3 audio system, a back-up camera, steering wheel mounted audio controls, a sunroof and tinted windows.