Kia Soul EV vs MG ZS EV: performance and handling

Both cars feel appealingly rapid, but the Kia is usefully better to drive

Kia Soul EV vs MG ZS EV

Electric cars tend to feel punchy thanks to the immediate torque they deliver; after all, it’s effectively digital acceleration. The Kia gets 201bhp and 395Nm of torque next to the MG’s 141bhp and 353Nm, but while the Kia gets a zestier burst of acceleration in the mid-range, both feel amusingly urgent at lower speeds, especially if you put them in Sport mode for sharper throttle response. In fact, in performance tests both bettered claimed times, managed 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds (Kia) and 7.4 seconds (MG) respectively, so there’s not much in it at all.

Both also have variable regenerative braking setting that allows you to toggle through three levels of braking force – in the Kia by using the steering-wheel paddles and in the MG using a switch on the centre console. Both systems bleed in smoothly as you ease off the throttle, but the Kia’s ‘auto’ setting is a useful addition, as in this mode the car automatically varies the regenerative force to maintain your distance from the car in front.

It sounds complicated, but it takes very little time to trust the system and get used to it; it’s not an intrusive system at all. Neither offers ‘one-pedal driving’ like the Nissan Leaf, but both do have traffic-jam assistance systems that can take the hassle out of town driving.

What you will notice is that the MG feels less confidence-inspiring on the motorway than the Kia due to its vague steering and tendency to wander slightly at cruising speeds. It’s a subtle thing, but you find yourself putting in small steering inputs all the time to keep the car centred, and that makes it a more tiresome long-distance car than the Soul, which is composed and benefits from great directional stability at any speed.

Sure, the MG feels fine to drive around town and on a country road thanks to its ample grip – for the sort of shorter-distance lifestyle that it best suits, the way it drives will likely satisfy most buyers. But the Kia certainly handles with more finesse thanks to its more progressive steering, and it’s also more comfortable. It’s a touch firmer than you might expect, but decent damping means that it’s unflustered over most road surfaces.

The MG’s not uncomfortable, but it does feel lumpy around town, and it doesn’t help that you can feel the vibration from the wheel rebounding of larger potholes – all emphasised by a lot of boomy suspension noise.

Having said that, electric cars are of course generally very quiet and these are no exception. That suspension noise in the MG is the most noticeable background noise around town, and there’s a bit of motor whine in both cars, while the Kia’s bluff front end whips up quite a bit of wind noise at higher speeds. Ultimately, they’re both quiet and both will be excellent commuters through town and beyond, but the Kia is a more polished drive in every way.

Most Popular

Complete guide to the Ecotricity Electric Highway charging network
Ecotricity
Your questions answered

Complete guide to the Ecotricity Electric Highway charging network

Need to charge your electric vehicle on the Ecotricity Electric Highway network? Here’s how it works, how much it costs and how to pay
9 Jun 2021
Skoda Enyaq iV police, fire and ambulance conversion to be offered from July
Skoda Enyaq iV emergency services
Skoda Enyaq iV

Skoda Enyaq iV police, fire and ambulance conversion to be offered from July

Electric SUV will join other models in Skoda range offered through emergency-services programme
23 Jun 2021
New Renault 5 electric car: sub-£20k price suggested for reborn classic
Renault 5 Prototype
Renault

New Renault 5 electric car: sub-£20k price suggested for reborn classic

A new small electric car inspired by the classic Renault 5 hatchback has been confirmed – and it could cost less than £20,000 when it goes on sale in …
22 Jun 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 electric SUV: details, pictures, price and on-sale date
Kia EV6 GT-Line - Exterior
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 electric SUV: details, pictures, price and on-sale date

Kia's flagship electric car is capable of up to 316 miles on a single charge and recharging from 10-80% in just 18 minutes; available to order in the …
17 Jun 2021
Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech: Living with it
Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech - cornering
Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30 GT Sport Tech: Living with it

Mazda’s MX-30 electric car has arrived on our fleet – and we’re just getting our heads around the out-of-the-ordinary SUV
22 Jun 2021
New hybrid VW Transporter van and VW Multivan minibus: pictures and specs
2021 Volkswagen Multivan
Volkswagen Transporter

New hybrid VW Transporter van and VW Multivan minibus: pictures and specs

The new Multivan minibus replaces the Caravelle in Volkswagen's UK line-up and will be available with the eHybrid plug-in powertrain
10 Jun 2021
Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback review
Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback
Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback

Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback review

Sleeker-looking Sportback variant of new Q4 e-tron electric SUV launches at the same time as the regular version – so is it worth considering?
24 Jun 2021
How to choose the best home EV charger
Wallbox charger
Your questions answered

How to choose the best home EV charger

If you’re buying an electric or plug-in hybrid car, you’ll want a home EV charger to top up the battery
23 Jun 2021
Complete guide to the IONITY charging network
IONITY chargers
Your questions answered

Complete guide to the IONITY charging network

The manufacturer-backed IONITY rapid-charging network is expanding across the UK and Europe – here's all you need to know
23 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV: prices, specifications and on-sale date
Volvo XC40 electric SUV
Volvo XC40 Recharge P8

New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV: prices, specifications and on-sale date

Volvo’s first all-electric SUV is available to order online now, with a choice of three trim levels and prices starting from £49,950
22 Jun 2021
Jaguar E-Type is latest classic car to get electric conversion
Electrogenic Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Coupe
Electric

Jaguar E-Type is latest classic car to get electric conversion

Electrogenic is offering three electric conversion packages for the E-Type, the first example of which will make its public debut at the 2021 London C…
24 Jun 2021