In-depth reviews

Kia Soul EV review

The Kia Soul EV is the funkier member of the Kia electric-car family: more stylish but less practical than the Kia e-Niro

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Loads of hi-tech equipment
  • Long driving range
  • Great to drive

Cons

  • Slightly harsh ride quality
  • Not as practical as an e-Niro
  • Interior could look more interesting
Car typeRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric280 miles10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)45mins (10-80%, 77kW)

Kia isn't holding back when it comes to electric cars, with the EV6 offering sharp styling and handling and the e-Niro a more sober and sensible take on the family EV formula. There's also the Soul EV: a distinctive and boxy small SUV, offering a compelling pure-electric package that’s both affordable and stylish. It competes with the Mazda MX-30Skoda Enyaq iVDS 3 Crossback E-TENSE and Vauxhall Mokka-e.

Offered with the same 64kWh battery as the top-spec e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric, the Soul EV is smaller and a bit less practical than its more utilitarian cousins, with a slightly shorter boot and lower ground clearance. But there’s still masses of space in the front and back, while the boot is big enough for family use and there's underfloor cable storage, so the Soul EV hardly compromises usability for the sake of styling.

And check out that styling: straight out of Star Wars, complete with a purposeful frown, bright colours, a contrasting roof, funky rear light signature and the trademark boxy silhouette, it’s unmistakably a Kia Soul, just distilled for the future. UK cars all get a contrasting, rugged-looking 'SUV Pack' bodykit as standard. Official driving range is 280 miles, and you can charge from a standard Type 2 socket or rapid charger at speeds of up to 77kW. If you can find one of the latter, then you’ll get a 20-80% top-up in just 45 minutes.

In the UK, the Soul EV costs just under £35,000 and is offered in only one trim level: Maxx. That gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, black leather upholstery and heated front seats, plus a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well as 3D navigation and an app that lets you set pre-heating and charging times from your phone.

On the road, the Soul EV is a peach to drive. It has a slick, natural-feeling gait that perfectly suits zipping about town, while it’s also reassuringly stable on faster roads and motorways. There are four driving modes to choose from – Sport, Normal, Eco and Eco+. The last denies you air-conditioning and a significant portion of the car’s performance and throttle response in order to maximise driving range.

Of the others, Sport feels overly hopped-up, while Normal and Eco are likely to be where you stick the car and leave it depending on how keen you like your throttle response. The regenerative braking has three levels and is intuitive and easy to predict in all of them. Riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, the Soul EV feels composed if perhaps a little firm over bigger potholes, but it should certainly be comfortable enough for most.

Overall, this car feels like the complete electric package, with enough range to satisfy high-mileage motorists, modern connectivity and app functionality, neat dynamics and a top-notch safety rating. Our only quibble is that the interior is a bit ordinary-looking after the appealingly characterful exterior styling, and feels cheap in some areas. For more on the Kia Soul EV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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