IRVINE, Calif., June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2012 Kia Soul has "shuffled" its way onto the "Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000" list by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, a leading provider of new and used car information. Kia's iconic hatchback was honored for its unique combination of style and affordability in a fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient vehicle.
"Our intention with Soul was to design a vehicle that is both fun and economical, and its recognition by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com as a 'cool' vehicle is further indication that we hit the mark," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America (KMA). "Everything about Soul, from the viral sensation 'Share Some Soul' campaign featuring LMFAO's hit single 'Party Rock Anthem,' to performance improvements and a strong list of standard technology and safety features, has contributed to its appeal among young buyers and those who are young at heart."
The annual "Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000" list published by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com features vehicles that are fun to drive, fun to own and, most critically, possess the decidedly subjective "cool factor." Editors at Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com compiled the list of qualifying vehicles using Kelley Blue Book's exclusive Fair Purchase Price, which reflects vehicle transaction prices paid by consumers and is updated weekly to reflect changing market conditions.
"A unique blend of funky style and practical packaging, the Kia Soul cranks up its cool quotient for 2012 with even more high-value appeal," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Nose and tail tweaks add edge to its appearance, while drivetrain enhancements for 2012 bring double-digit horsepower gains plus better mpg figures to both its new 1.6-liter direct-injected base engine and the available 2.0-liter upgrade."
Available in three trims—base, + (Plus), and ! (Exclaim)—Soul turns up the fun-to-drive volume with significant horsepower and fuel economy increases for 2012 with new six-speed transmissions and the ability to deliver 35 mpg on the highway. All Soul models feature electronic power steering (EPS), air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, power windows, door locks and mirrors, available SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio with three months complimentary service and MP3 connectivity. New this year is a 350 watt seven-speaker Infinity sound system that is available on Soul+ models and standard on Soul! models for a more dynamic audio experience. Also new for 2012 is Kia's UVO powered by Microsoft® voice-activated infotainment system with a 4.3-inch color touch screen and rear camera display. The available Premium Package includes heated front seats, leather seat trim, automatic climate control, navigation system (in lieu of UVO system) and push-button start with smart key for added convenience.
Soul's 2012 power increases come from two new four cylinder engines. The 1.6-liter GDI engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission produces 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine available with either the six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic transmission produces 164 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
For more information about the "Top 10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000" list from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, visit http://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/10-coolest-cars-under-18000-2012/.
Kia's Unprecedented Growth
Kia Motors is one of the world's fastest moving global automotive brands; from 2009-2011 Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling. Kia Motors America's full line of fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive cars and CUVs has earned critical acclaim and dramatically increased consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand. In 2011, KMA recorded its 17th consecutive year of market share growth, thanks in part to the largest increase of any major brand in perceived quality and the industry's highest brand loyalty ranking. Kia's U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia – KMMG – is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and builds two of the company's best-selling vehicles in the U.S. – the Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan. Kia's value and technology-laden lineup also includes the Sportage compact CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Optima Hybrid, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are built in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.
 EPA fuel economy estimates are 30 mpg/city and 40 mpg/hwy with 1.6L GDI engine and 26 mpg/city and 34 mpg hwy with 2.0L I4 engine. Actual mileage will vary.
 EPA claim for highway mileage for 2012 Soul. Actual mileage will vary.
 Sirius services require subscriptions, sold separately after 3-month trial included with vehicle purchase/lease. Subscriptions governed by SiriusXM Customer Agreement at siriusxm.com. Sirius, XM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of SiriusXM Radio Inc.
 Infinity is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Incorporated.
 Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
 Source: Automotive Lease Guide Spring 2011 Perceived Quality Study.
 Source: Experian Automotive Q2 2011 market analysis.
 Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending April 2007 and April 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.
SOURCE Kia Motors America