Kia has introduced the updated 2012 Soul at the 2011 New York Auto Show. The quirky box has received a slew of styling updates both inside and out alongside a number of mechanical improvements designed to give the vehicle a little extra power and fuel efficiency, to boot. Up front, the Soul gains projection-beam headlights accented with LED daytime running lights, and two new paint colors have been added to the option sheet – Canyon and Moss. Indoors, top-trim buyers are treated to Kia's new Microsoft-branded hands-free connectivity system called UVO or an optional navigation system for the first time.
But the most exciting news comes from under the Soul's hood. The engineers at Kia have fitted an all-new 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine that produces 135 horsepower and 121 pound-feet of torque. That's a pony increase of 11 percent over the old, non-DI 1.6-liter engine, and Kia says that when coupled to either a new six-speed manual transmission or a similarly minty six-speed automatic gearbox, which replace the old five-speed manual and four-speed automatic, the engine will return 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg highway.
A more powerful 2.0-liter engine is also still on hand, but Kia has a new version that's more powerful than the one it replaces, producing 160 hp or 18 hp more than the engine its replacing, and it too can now be bolted to the new six-speed transmissions. Fuel economy for the updated 2.0-liter engine is now rated at 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for both cogswappers. Follow the jump for the full press blast.