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 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 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.
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