Kia Soul EV review
A quirky exterior design makes the Kia Soul EV an interesting left-field alternative to the more-practical Niro EV
- Funky styling
- Long driving range in Explore model
- Good to drive
- Firm ride
- Dated interior
- Rivals have faster charging
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Urban 39kWh||171 miles||6hrs 10mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||54mins (0-80%, 77kW)|
|Explore 64kWh||280 miles||10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||54mins (10-80%, 77kW)|
Kia Soul EV verdict
The Kia Soul injects some funk into the family EV formula, offering head-turning looks as well as an effortless – and sometimes even enjoyable – driving experience. As is often the case with Kias, the Soul comes loaded with standard equipment and a near-unbeatable seven-year warranty should mean it’ll be painless to own. The entry-level Urban model’s limited range means it's only suitable for town and city buyers, but the range-topping Explore’s bigger battery and 280-mile maximum is right up there with the class leaders. However, at roughly the same price as the newer and more spacious Kia Niro EV, we struggle to see why anyone would choose the Soul over its top-selling sibling.
Details, specs and alternatives
Kia isn't holding back when it comes to electric cars. The EV6 offers sharp styling and handling, while the new Niro EV is 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 small electric crossovers like the Peugeot e-2008, DS 3 E-TENSE and Vauxhall Mokka Electric, as well as electric family cars such as the Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born – not to mention the much cheaper MG4 EV.
While on the outside the Soul EV dons the face of a Stormtrooper – a minor facelift in 2022 saw the new Kia logo being integrated into the gap between the headlights – underneath it’s powered by the same 39kWh and 64kWh batteries as the outgoing Hyundai Kona Electric. Soul EV models fitted with the smaller battery are quite fittingly badged ‘Urban’, as their 171-mile range makes them best-suited for those who spend most of their time driving around town. The Soul ‘Explore’ brings the bigger battery and a more powerful motor.
The Soul Urban is powered by a 134bhp electric motor, getting it from 0-62mph in near-as-makes-no-difference 10 seconds. Step up to the 64kWh Kia Soul EV ‘Explore’ and that punchier 201bhp electric motor cuts the 0-62mph sprint to just 7.9 seconds. Range also increases to 280 miles – the same as you’d get in a Renault Megane E-Tech.
Powertrains are not the only thing that separate the two models, however, as the Explore trim also adds more standard kit. That’s not to say the entry-level Urban comes sparsely equipped, as all cars get LED headlights, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, part-digital dials, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera. Explore adds some rugged SUV-esque exterior cladding, a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen and some more driver assistance tech.
No matter which version of the Kia Soul EV you choose, all come with rapid 77kW DC charging capability as well as plenty of safety kit; however, it’s worth remembering the Soul is yet to undergo safety testing by Euro NCAP. Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty should bring peace of mind, though.
For more on the Kia Soul EV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingA quirky exterior design makes the Kia Soul EV an interesting left-field alternative to the more-practical Niro EV
- 2Range, battery & chargingWhile the smaller battery offers a range figure better suited to town driving, Soul EV Explore cars are competitive even with newer rivals
- 3Running costs & insuranceLike most EVs, the Soul EV is relatively affordable to run – but it’s quite expensive to insure and service
- 4Performance, motor & handlingThe Kia Soul EV is better to drive than you might expect, with punchy acceleration and a clever regenerative braking system
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Kia Soul’s interior doesn’t match the pizazz of its exterior; the infotainment system is a highlight, though
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Kia Soul EV's practicality is hard to fault for a small SUV, but there are larger and more versatile alternatives available for similar money
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThere’s no Euro NCAP scores for the Soul EV yet, but it comes with a lot of safety kit and should prove reliable