What's the used Kia Soul EV hatchback like?
The conventionally powered Kia Soul is an extremely likeable small SUV that is well equipped, good to drive and spacious inside. Its distinctive and boxy looks have always won it an audience of admirers here in the UK, and even more so in the USA, where it’s a popular car with youngsters looking for something cool to drive to college.
The Soul EV dispenses with all the old oily bits - the engine, gearbox and associated heating systems, for example - and replaces it with an electric motor and a battery pack. It then tweaks the bodywork and strengthens the car’s structure to accommodate this new power source, with the EV wearing a new front grille, that houses the twin charging sockets, and a restyled rear bumper and tailgate. Inside, the dash is all new and built of higher-quality materials than the conventional models. The EV version gets digital instruments, a large central touchscreen, a shapely steering wheel, and a new shift lever and surround.
As for the rest of the standard equipment, there is only one trim to choose from but it came with a comprehensive specification, including dual-zone climate control, electrically heated and folding door mirrors, keyless start and entry, heated front seats and steering wheel, parking sensors, cruise control and privacy glass. There was also Kia's 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system fitted as standard with dedicated EV monitoring software, sat-nav, a reversing camera, a DAB radio, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
On the road, the Kia Soul EV is a brisk performer, with a 0 to 62mph of just 10.8 seconds. The instant hit of torque from its electric motor is great for zooming away first from the lights, but from about 50mph you notice its performance starting to wane, although it’ll still cruise happily at 70mph on the motorway. It steers and handles well, if not in an exciting fashion, and it rides firmly but not uncomfortably, although it can get caught out quite badly by larger bumps and ruts.
Owners lucky enough to already have a wallbox charger at home or work of either 7kW or 22kW should find the charging time is around five hours from empty to 100%. The EV is also fitted with a Japanese-standard Chademo fast-charging socket, which can deliver an 80 percent charge in just over half an hour.
Although the quoted range of the earlier Soul EVs is in the order of 132 miles, the realistic range between charges is around 70 miles, which is some way behind electric car rivals such as the VW e-Golf and Nissan Leaf. However, the Soul was comprehensively updated in 2019, with only this electric version left on sale, and one of the updates was to incorporate the battery pack from the award-winning Kia e-Niro. This raised the Soul EV's range to a claimed 280 miles under the latest WLTP tests.
Inside that dash looks neat, and tall drivers will be relieved to find plenty of reach and height adjustment available for the Kia Soul EV’s steering wheel, which already makes the job of getting comfortable easy. There’s a wide range of up and down adjustment to the driver’s seat, too. The view out to the front is good, although rear visibility is a little restricted by the large pillars. A reversing camera is standard, though. There’s plenty of space, too, with huge amounts of head room front and rear, and a good amount of leg room too. Boot space is about average for the class and no smaller than a regular Soul. It’s also usefully deep and square in shape and loading things into it is an easy job.
What used Kia Soul EV hatchback will I get for my budget?
You’ll need about £14,000 to get your hands on an early Soul EV. This’ll buy you a 2015 car with a low to average mileage for the year and a full service history, bought from a dealer. Expect to spend between £15,000 and £17,000 on a car from a franchised dealer. You'll need nearer to £20,000 for models from 2017 and 2018, and at least £30,000 for the updated 2019 onwards version.
How much does it cost to run a Kia Soul EV hatchback?
Electricity may be cheaper than regular petrol or diesel but it’s not free, and prepare to pay more, up to double, for it if you recharge from an independent rapid charging point while you're out and about, particularly ones at motorway service stations. If you have a home charger installed, which will obviously cost you a sum of money to put in (think around £300 after discounts at today's rates), then your electricity should cost you less.
Earlier Soul EVs claimed a range of 132 miles. Later, post-facelift 2019 onwards models claim a range of 280 miles.
There’s no road tax to pay, and insurance costs are low. Servicing costs should be low, too, although Kia doesn’t yet operate any special plans for the EV. Some electric cars require that you lease the battery separately but with the Kia Soul EV you buy them outright at initial purchase.
Which used Kia Soul EV hatchback should I buy?
There is only the one model and it comes favourably equipped with highlights including lightweight 16in alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres, an 8.0in touchscreen with sat-nav and a charging point locator, climate control, keyless entry, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, privacy glass, and a reversing camera.
Our favourite Kia Soul EV: Soul EV
What alternatives should I consider to a used Kia Soul EV hatchback?
The Renault Zoe is one of our favourite electric cars and a bargain used. It has very low running costs and is quiet and easy to drive. It also has a longer real range than most electric vehicles.
The Volkswagen e-Golf has all the traditional qualities we’ve come to love from the Golf. it’s great to drive, has a spacious interior and it’s well equipped too. Its range isn’t as long as some more modern rivals, but it betters the Kia Soul EV.
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