Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
To make things simple, there’s only one Kia Soul EV model and it comes with a 64kWh battery. Officially, this will manage up to 280 miles between charges. With 201bhp, it’s brisk, too.
Like the bigger Kia e-Niro, the Soul EV feels urgent from the moment you put your foot down, but because all of the power is sent to the front wheels, it’s all too easy to trigger the traction control when pulling out of a T-junction.
You can vary the amount of regeneration using paddles on the steering wheel, and when the system is set to maximum you can stop the car simply by lifting off the accelerator. The Soul can also increase the regenerative braking effort automatically if it senses traffic slowing ahead, further helping to recharge the battery and making for a more relaxed driving experience.
Suspension wise, the ride is quite a bit more pliant than that of the Hyundai Kona Electric but is firmer than the e-Niro’s. The Soul controls its body movements well over undulating B-roads and takes the sting out of potholes. That said, it’s still choppier than the more sophisticated ride in the Volkswagen ID.3. The Soul fidgets slightly at all times, even on smooth roads.
Electric cars tend not to handle as deftly as the best conventionally powered rivals, primarily due to weight — their big batteries are heavy, and more weight nearly always equals less agility. So, if you want an SUV that handles sharply, for now at least, we’d suggest sticking with petrol or diesel rivals such as the Seat Arona or Seat Ateca.
Even next to other electric cars, such as the e-Niro, the Soul EV rolls a little bit more through twists and turns, although it's by no means disconcerting. The steering is quicker than you might expect, although you soon get used to it and it doesn’t make the car feel too nervous on a motorway. Placing the nose of the Soul in bends is easy, too.