Compact Car: 2012 Kia Soul
5-Year Ownership Cost: $31,417 MSRP: Starting at $13,900Among the compact car category, 2012 Kia Soul was calculated to be cheapest to own. The boxy looking design is unique and practical, receiving rave reviews and good sales figures. Costing just above $30k to own over the course of 5 years, Kia Soul is well ahead of the second-place winner Hyundai Elantra by $1,300.The MSRP information is from the company’s website, and it may be different than the data KBB used for calculation. Kia

Kia has announced that its next-generation Soul will offer the company's first all-electric powertrain.

Slated for 2014 launch, details on Kia's new EV are limited but disguised Soul development prototypes have already been spotted performing shakedown tests near Kia's technical HQ located in Russelsheim, Germany, as well as on the roads of UK. Sources believe the electric Soul will make its public debut either at the Chicago or New York international auto shows.

Beyond the Soul EV, Kia has pushed for fuel efficiency technology in other vehicles in its line-up as well. Two years ago, Kia first introduced its Optima hybrid vehicle, which features a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor producing 40-hp with a unique lithium-polymer battery.

What's more, Kia has also developed an all-new range of diesel powerplants designed to meet Europe's new Euro 6 pollution regulations. According to Kia engineer, the diesel engines will prove expensive to manufacture but still cost significantly less than its hybrid offerings, which is hindered by complex and expensive electrical components. Despite the challenges of creating a price-competitive hybrid, Kia has enjoyed climbing hybrid sales in Europe, rising nearly 80 percent from only 72,000 sold in 2008 to 129,000 units in 2012.

While the European auto market continues to struggle due to economic volatility and steeper austerity measures, Korean automaker Hyundai-Kia believes the company can stand to make serious global sales gains for 2012. Kia has gained an additional 23 percent of the European market in the first 7 months of 2012 despite the Euro market having fallen by 7.1 percent. All in all, according to Hyundai-Kia's figures, the company expects global sales exceeding 7 million for 2012, nearly 1 million more than the 6.1 million sold for 2011.

As Hyundai-Kia's sales performance continues to climb, expect the company to unveil more and more attractive and competitive vehicles to their model range in the months ahead. Look for more information on the latest Kia Soul EV as we draw closer to the 2013 New York Auto Show.