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 hotly anticipated Kia EV6 on the way and the Kia e-Niro becoming a fixture on our list of the best electric SUVs. There's also this Soul EV: a distinctive, boxy small SUV that could offer you a compelling pure-electric package that’s affordable and stylish. It competes with rivals like the Mazda MX-30DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE and Vauxhall Mokka-e.

Offered with the same 64kWh battery that powers the e-Niro and the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Soul EV is smaller and a bit less practical than its more utilitarian siblings, with a slightly shorter boot and lower ground clearance. For all that, there’s still masses of space in the front and back seats, while the boot is big enough for family use and also has dedicated underfloor cable storage, so the Soul EV hardly compromises usability totally 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. The car has an official driving range of 280 miles, and can charge from a standard Type 2 socket or DC rapid charger at speeds of up to 77kW. If you can find one of the latter, then you’ll get a 20-80% charge in just 45 minutes.

In the UK, the Soul EV is offered in just one 'First Edition' trim level, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well as advanced 3D navigation and the ‘UVO Connect’ app, which 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+) and 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 overtly 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 system 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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