Kia Soul EV review
|Car type||Electric range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||280 miles||10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||45mins (10-80%, 77kW)|
The Kia Soul EV is s familiar name to electric-car aficionados, since the distinctive, boxy small SUV was offered with a short-range electric powertrain in its previous generation. This latest car, however, is about to take it mainstream. In fact, if you thought the Kia e-Niro was a big hit, the Soul EV could offer an even more compelling pure-electric package.
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 masses of space in the front and back seats, while the boot is big enough for light family use and also includes 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, and complete with purposeful frown, bright colours, contrasting roof, funky rear light signature and the trademark boxy silhouette, it’s unmistakably the Soul, just distilled for the future. UK cars all get a contrasting, rugged-looking 'SUV Pack' bodykit as standard, too.
The car has an official driving range of 280 miles, and can charge from a standard Type 2 socket or DC rapid charger at 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 and advanced 3D navigation, as well as a new ‘UVO Connect’ app that lets you set pre-heating and charging times from your phone.
On the road, the Soul EV is a peach. 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 has three levels of aggressiveness and is intuitive and easy to predict. Riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, the Soul feels composed if perhaps a little firm over bigger potholes, but it should certainly comfortable enough for most.
Overall, this car feels like the complete package, with enough range to satisfy high-mileage motorists, modern connectivity and app functionality, neat dynamics and top-notch safety. 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.