We street check 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 alternative.
Initially launched in 2008, it’s now in its third technology. Through the years the Soul’s divisive seems to be have been softened and it’s now extra cool than bizarre.
Nevertheless, it stays tough to classify its boxy design as a result of it has components of a hatchback and crossover.
One factor is for positive, there’s baggage of head and legroom in the back and front. And whereas the boot isn’t the largest (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 newest mannequin (launched in 2020) is simply 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 practical. Actually, in the suitable circumstances with a little bit of restraint, it might even be attainable to squeeze extra miles out of a Soul.
Priced from £32,845, City gives 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 acquired 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 fashioned Kia inside with a ‘black plastic’ feel and look, 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 definitely not. It’s clear and responsive, however simply lacks the wow issue of its youthful siblings.
Nevertheless, 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 outfitted, with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a reversing digital camera, lane-keep help, LED headlights, a sensible entry system and adaptive cruise management all customary. 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 street, there doesn’t appear to be a lot between the 2 when it comes to 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 attainable to spin the Soul’s entrance wheels should you flooring your proper foot.
That mentioned, there’s a extra noticeable distinction relating to dealing with, as a result of the lighter City feels barely extra agile.
Whichever model you select, you’ll get a easy, whisper-quiet EV expertise, spiced up with a little bit of prompt torque.
For a comparatively tall automobile, physique roll is properly managed. And although the experience is on the agency aspect, it’s completely acceptable, whereas grip is sweet for a front-wheel drive automobile.
So, the Soul doesn’t ship probably the most partaking drive, however it might 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 do exactly 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 boring the additional dulls the driving expertise.
Should you do keep on 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 inexpensive, a doddle to drive, well-equipped, snug and sensible. Judged on that foundation, it ticks all the suitable containers.
Lastly, the batteries on each variations will be charged from 10-80% in 47 minutes by way of a 100kW connection, whereas a 10-100% cost on a 7kW wallbox takes six hours – best for charging in a single day at dwelling or throughout the day at a office.
On the finish of the day, should you like its seems to be, the Soul may be very succesful and a simple automobile to dwell 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 alternative. Providing good worth for cash, it’s spacious, secure and well-equipped.