We highway take a look at the most recent variations of the quirky Kia Soul EV – the lengthy vary Discover and City commuter…
It’s honest to say that the Kia Soul has all the time been one thing of a left-field selection.
Initially launched in 2008, it’s now in its third era. Through the years the Soul’s divisive seems have been softened and it’s now extra cool than bizarre.
Nonetheless, it stays tough to classify its boxy design as a result of it has components of a hatchback and crossover.
One factor is for certain, there’s luggage of head and legroom in the back and front. And whereas the boot isn’t the most important (315 litres), with the rear seats flipped down the load house expands to 1,339 litres.
An electrical model of the Soul has been accessible within the UK since 2014. Again then, it had a modest 27kWh battery pack with a claimed vary of 132 miles.
The most recent mannequin (launched in 2020) is barely accessible as an EV (no petrol, diesel or hybrid variants). New for 2023, there are actually two fashions – City or Discover.
The primary distinction between the 2 is that the previous has a small 39.2kWh battery pack, whereas Discover boasts a 64kWh battery. Claimed ranges are 171 miles and 280 miles respectively.
We drove them each over a few days and people vary figures are sensible. Actually, in the proper circumstances with a little bit of restraint, it could even be doable to squeeze extra miles out of a Soul.
Priced from £32,845, City supplies an entry-level EV for Kia. It’s additionally considerably cheaper than Discover, which begins at £39,045.
In addition to the brand new battery choices, the Soul has additionally obtained the lightest of exterior makeovers. From what we may see, the daring new Kia badge is now built-in into the horizonal trim linking the slim LED headlights and there’s additionally a brand new Kia emblem on the boot, whereas the tail-light clusters seem to have a darker tint.
Apart from an infotainment system replace, it’s a lot the identical inside as earlier than. In different phrases, it’s a reasonably generic old skool Kia inside with a ‘black plastic’ appear and feel, paired with a ‘conventional’ central infotainment display and driver’s digital instrument binnacle.
We are saying ‘conventional’ as a result of the Soul’s newer stablemates (the Sportage, Niro and EV6), all profit from futuristic twin panoramic curved shows.
That’s to not say that the Soul’s infotainment system is poor, as a result of it’s actually not. It’s clear and responsive, however simply lacks the wow issue of its youthful siblings.
Nonetheless, like the remainder of its inside, it’s beginning to look a bit dated.
For the document, the City will get a small 8.0-inch touchscreen and a 7.0-inch driver’s digital cluster, whereas the Discover is handled to a bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat nav.
Each the City and Discover fashions are generously geared up, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a reversing digital camera, lane-keep help, LED headlights, a wise entry system and adaptive cruise management all normal. Discover provides goodies together with black leather-based upholstery, heated entrance seats and heated steering wheel.
Beneath the bonnet the 39.2kWh battery pack is paired with a 134bhp electrical motor, whereas the 64kWh model will get a 201bhp motor. Drive is thru the entrance wheels on each fashions.
The latter is quicker (0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, prime velocity of 104mph), in comparison with 9.9 sec/97mph for the City Soul.
On the highway, there doesn’t appear to be a lot between the 2 by way of acceleration as a result of the much less highly effective City’s battery weighs 140kg much less. Actually, on a unfastened or slippery floor, it’s doable to spin the Soul’s entrance wheels when you flooring your proper foot.
That stated, there’s a extra noticeable distinction in relation to dealing with, as a result of the lighter City feels barely extra agile.
Whichever model you select, you’ll get a clean, whisper-quiet EV expertise, spiced up with a little bit of instantaneous torque.
For a comparatively tall automotive, physique roll is properly managed. And although the experience is on the agency aspect, it’s completely acceptable, whereas grip is nice for a front-wheel drive automotive.
So, the Soul doesn’t ship essentially the most participating drive, however it could have its enjoyable moments.
There are 4 driving modes – Eco, Eco+, Regular and Sport – and the latter is correctly quick, however as ever, Regular will just do advantageous. Eco and Eco+ are heavy on regenerative braking, which recharges the battery by harvesting energy in any other case wasted throughout deceleration, however tends to uninteresting the additional dulls the driving expertise.
Should you do persist with Regular, then use the paddles behind the steering wheel to regulate the extent of brake regeneration, particularly on downhill sections or when slowing down from velocity for a junction.
Finally, the Soul EV is extra about being reasonably priced, a doddle to drive, well-equipped, snug and sensible. Judged on that foundation, it ticks all the proper containers.
Lastly, the batteries on each variations could be charged from 10-80% in 47 minutes through a 100kW connection, whereas a 10-100% cost on a 7kW wallbox takes six hours – supreme for charging in a single day at residence or in the course of the day at a office.
On the finish of the day, when you like its seems, the Soul could be very succesful and a simple automotive to reside with. Plus, it comes with peace of thoughts as a result of like all Kia automobiles, it’s blessed with a beneficiant seven-year guarantee.
Verdict: The Kia Soul is a unusual household EV selection. Providing good worth for cash, it’s spacious, secure and well-equipped.