Kia Soul EV long-term test review
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?...
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 724 List price £34,945 (before gov't grant) Target Price £34,945 Price as tested £34,945 Official range 280 miles Test range 276 miles
14 October 2021 – In tune with the times
Like certain bands, my Kia Soul EV is difficult to pigeonhole. Walk into a high-street music retailer, for example, and you’ll probably find the jagged soundscapes of Scottish electronica duo Boards Of Canada in the ‘dance’ section, along with the novelty rave of The Vengaboys, who are probably more fun at a party, but didn’t exactly move the genre forward.
The Soul EV is, quite categorically, an electric car, but it’s one that shows genius in doing things its own way. Its perpendicular shape is a bit SUV-like, with a high roofline so – even at 6ft 5in – I can sit in the back without getting hair gel on the ceiling. The big, steep windscreen provides a panoramic forward view, too, while letting in masses of light for an airy atmosphere.
It isn’t quite a full SUV, though. It sits low, so it’s easy to get in and out of, and its 17in alloy wheels are modest in size by today’s standards (yet they don’t exactly look lost in the wheelarches). What’s more, they’re wrapped with rubber that’s actually substantial enough to absorb bumps, unlike the sportier tyres of so many rivals.
Unlike many electric cars (including the Volkswagen ID.3), while the Soul EV embraces sophisticated digital tech inside, it isn’t dominated by it. Okay, the infotainment relies on a touchscreen, so it’s wise for a co-pilot to deal with complicated processes such as typing an address into the sat-nav, but, mercifully, you can adjust the interior temperature or switch on the heated rear screen without wading through on-screen menus.
In fact the whole car is a triumph of common sense over fashion, and the same goes for the materials used to build it. While the soft leather rim of the steering wheel feels fantastic (just what you want for the one component you’ll be constantly touching), every other material you’ll find is merely precisely adequate to get the job done. Every surface is well suited to being wiped down with a damp cloth – busy families rejoice.
So let’s throw a party for cars that do things differently. You’ll recognise me there; I’ll be the guy throwing shapes to Brian Eno on an empty dancefloor.
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