New Kia Soul EV 2019: details and pictures

The Kia Soul EV will have a range of 280 miles when it goes on sale in a few weeks’ time

Kia Soul EV

The new, third-generation Kia Soul EV will go on sale this spring with a choice of two powertrains, the South Korean carmaker has confirmed.

A 64kWh version promises up to 280 miles range (according to WLTP testing) and will combine with a 201bhp electric motor for a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds.

A smaller, 39.2kWh battery will also be offered, delivering 172 miles of range via a less powerful, 134bhp electric motor.

Using the same batteries as the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia claims the Soul EV is as much as 30% more efficient than Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.

Its cells hold 25% more energy per unit of volume than those of the outgoing model, meaning Kia has been able to deliver a big range boost while keeping the battery as light and compact as possible.

New Kia Soul EV charging

Fast charging will be included as standard, with the manufacturer claiming a 20-80% charge in 42 minutes from a 100kW charger. The Soul EV’s charging socket is located beneath a panel at the front of the car.

Four drive modes can be selected: Normal, Eco, Eco+ and Sport, each offering varying levels of acceleration, regenerative braking power and interior ventilation in order to either maximise performance, comfort or driving range as required.

Paddles behind the steering wheel allow drivers to modulate the strength of the regenerative braking – recycling energy back into the battery and boosting range – while a single-pedal driving mode will act in much the same way as Nissan’s E-Pedal system.

Fully independent, multi-link suspension replaces torsion-beam suspension on rear axle, which should improve handling.

Styling

Looks have been updated but not radically altered for the third-generation Soul EV, although Kia says every panel is new. Fans of the original will recognise the familiar boxy profile instantly, but at the front and rear there are now smoother, more aerodynamic bumpers.

The LED headlamps are integrated into the 'brow' of the car up front, while the Soul EV also gets its own design of five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels, distinct from those available on the regular Soul.

The new car will be 4,195mm long –  55mm longer than its predecessor – with boot space rising from 281 to 315 litres.

Buyers will be able to choose from seven single-tone and a pair of two-tone paint finishes.

Interior, technology and specifications

The new Soul EV will come with an extensive suite of driver-assistance systems as standard, with others available as options.

These include forward collision warning, collision avoidance assistance, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, driver alertness monitoring, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts.

Inside, there's a rotary shifter to select drive, neutral, reverse and park, as well as 10.25-inch colour infotainment touchscreen with a rear-view camera and parking sensors. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity and wireless smartphone charging all feature, as does voice recognition.

A seven-inch digital instrument cluster sits behind the steering wheel, and a head-up display projects key information onto the windscreen so that drivers needn’t divert their eyes from the road ahead.

The interior can be finished in a range of single and two-tone colour schemes, with a choice of fabric, leather and synthetic leather upholstery depending on trim level.

Finally, the Soul EV also boasts multiple 'telematics' features, including the ability to remotely monitor battery and charging status, schedule charging and get real-time updates from charging stations.

A panic button allows instant contact with the emergency services, while sat-nav destinations and points of interest located on a phone or home computer can be sent to the car's navigation system, too.

Price and release date

A price and complete UK specifications will be announced soon, with the Soul EV expected to go on sale at the end of 2019’s first quarter.

The Kia Soul EV will come with the brand’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, inclusive of the battery and electric motor.

The Soul will be available in Europe exclusively as an electric car, with no petrol or diesel alternatives.