Kia Soul EV long-term test: report 5

Our sub-editor wants to go green with an electric car but doesn't want to miss out on making occasional long trips. Does the Kia Soul EV go the distance?...

Kia Soul EV 2021 long-term seeing double

The car Kia Soul EV Run by Chris Haining, sub-editor

Why it’s here To find out whether electricity really can replace petrol when it comes to flexibility, cost and convenience

Needs to Cope with country lanes and motorways alike, accommodate an active lifestyle and be easy to live with day to day

Mileage 4839 List price £34,945 Target Price £34,945 Price as tested £34,945 Official range 280 miles Test range 276 miles

17 December 2021 – Seeing double

I don’t know about you, but when I begin driving a new car, I seem programmed to notice other examples of the breed more immediately. And in my small, relatively remote community in Essex, this doppelganger of my Kia Soul EV didn’t exactly blend into the background.

I first spotted it when my wife and I were queuing for fresh vegetables at the Saturday market – it glided round the corner, making that distinctive Brian Eno-esque synthesiser hum. Some days later, I passed it on the narrow road that leads east out of the village. Then one day I returned to my Soul in the Co-op car park to find its identical twin parked right next to it.

Kia Soul EV 2021 long-term seeing double other angle

Some weeks later, in the same car park, I spotted it again. This time its driver had just parked up so I paused for a moment for a chat. After introducing myself with a few banal pleasantries, I turned the topic towards the Soul and he offered nothing but praise for it. His opinion that this benign-looking electric car is far quicker and more fun to drive than anyone might expect matched my own experience. 

He also mentioned that the winter weather was having an effect on the Soul’s range, and that, too, chimes with my own findings. However, I can’t relate to the scare stories I’ve read elsewhere about batteries fading hopelessly. Alright, winter hasn’t yet grabbed us by the lapels here in Mistley, but it’s definitely chillier out than it was when I first got the car, yet I’ve seen only a relatively modest drop in range.

Kia Soul EV 2021 long-term range display

Back in late summer, the dashboard regularly suggested a 274-mile range. Today, in five-degree December weather, it’s giving me 254 miles. That’s only an 8% decrease, and I reckon that’s pretty good. It’s certainly still enough to take me from home to the Twickenham-based What Car? office and back – a 234-mile round trip – on a single charge. That said, I have been eking out range by wrapping up in arctic expedition garb to avoid using the heater, and keeping to 65mph or less. 

Many will say that I wouldn’t have to adopt such drastic measures with internal combustion power, but I’ll cheerily admit that my regular commute stretches the boundaries of sanity. I reckon any electric vehicle that makes such a silly endeavour at all possible proves they are heading in the right direction.

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