2012 Kia Soul priced under $14,000, start/stop coming later in year

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The Kia Soul, otherwise known as Korea's answer to the Scion xB and Nissan Cube, has sold 65,118 units so far this year, close to twice as many as last year, and is now consistently racking up sales every month of over 10,000 units. The refreshed 2012 model will throw gasoline on the fire with updated engines, styling tweaks and new infotainment options, and Kia has confirmed it won't be messing too much with one of the Soul's best selling points: its low price.

A base 2012 Kia Soul will start at $13,900, not including a $750 destination charge, which is $600 more than a 2011 model. Kia can justify the price difference because it's upgraded the Soul's anemic 1.6-liter base engine with the company's GDI direct injection technology that not only makes it more powerful, but also helps it reach 35 miles per gallon on the highway, four mpg more than before. The five-speed manual transmission has also been ditched for a six-speed, and you can now order the base Soul with an automatic transmission for the first time: a six-speed unit that replaces the prior four-speed. The new base Soul with the six-speed automatic starts at $15,700.

Kia has discontinued the range-topping Soul Sport model for 2012, which leaves the Soul + (Plus) and ! (Exclamation) models above the base Soul. A Soul Plus with a more powerful 164-hp (+22 hp) 2.0-liter engine starts at $16,300 for a manual and $17,300 for an automatic, while the Soul Exclamation now starts at $19,600. Each Soul costs a little more than last year's model, but they all still fall under the all-important $20K mark and come well equipped before options, including new ones like an ECO package, the brand's UVO infotainment system and a rear-view camera.

Kia has also confirmed that the Soul will get "Idle, Stop and Go" (ISG) technology, essentially a start/stop system, later in the model year that will further improve its fuel efficiency numbers.
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IRVINE, Calif., August 19, 2011 - Kia Motors America, Inc. (KMA) today announced pricing for the more powerful and fuel-efficient 2012 Soul will begin at a best-in-class $13,900 MSRP while the Soul A/T starts at $15,700. The funky urban passenger vehicle's highest trim level – Soul! (Exclaim) – starts under $20,000 and delivers refined and modern features such as exclusive projector headlamps with front LED accents and LED taillights complemented by stunning new 18-inch alloy wheels, Kia's UVO powered by Microsoft®4 voice-activated infotainment system (expected to be available this fall) with a 4.3-inch color touch screen and rear camera display5 and an all-new 350-watt seven-speaker Infinity audio system (also optional on Soul+).

Unveiled earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show, the 2012 Soul won critical acclaim for its finessed styling and increased power and higher fuel economy. With the new 2.0-liter engine, Soul now delivers a class-leading 164 horsepower6 (an increase of 22 horsepower over the previous model year), and the new 1.6-liter engine offers 138 horsepower (an increase of 16 horsepower) and fuel-saving and emissions reducing gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology. Mated to new more efficient six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, the 1.6-liter engine delivers up to a class-leading 35 miles per gallon (mpg)7 on the highway (up four mpg), while the new Soul will be among the first in the segment to offer Kia's new Idle Stop and Go (ISG) technology, further enhancing its fuel-sipping capabilities.

Available in three trims – Soul, Soul+ (plus) and Soul! – the 2012 Soul's exterior design has been updated with subtle changes to the front and rear fascias to project a wider stance, while new headlamps, taillights, side mirrors and wheels project a more modern look. All Soul models also are improved with redesigned and upgraded interiors, significantly better noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities, a more refined ride and many new standard features, including a tilt and telescoping steering column, Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).

Design-Led Transformation and Product Line

Kia Motors has undergone a dramatic, design-led transformation, which has been delivering dynamically styled vehicles in several important segments at exactly the right time, contributing to the brand's continued gains in U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and brand growth through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technology. Kia's commitment to the U.S. market is represented by its U.S.-based manufacturing facilities in West Point, Georgia – KMMG – which will add the critically-acclaimed Optima midsize sedan to its production line in the near future. Kia's model year 2012 vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, all-new Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.

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