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Kia Soul EV (2021 - )

The Kia Soul has always prided itself on its bold design delivering bags of versatility. Thankfully, the latest model is consistent with those plaudits.

Starting price:
£39,045

Why we love it:
  • Stand-out charismatic design
  • Choice of battery sizes
  • Practical and spacious interior
Where it could be better:
  • Quite noisy on motorways
  • A fairly firm ride
  • Design can divide opinion
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Introduction

Kia Soul EV

I can’t help myself sometimes, but each time I get behind the wheel of the Kia Soul, I start humming lines from The Killers classic “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” – it’s totally irrelevant, but in a way it’s not. That’s because the Kia Soul is possibly the most aptly named car ever as it has Soul by the bucketload. 

It’s immediately recognisable on the road thanks to its characteristic boxy shape. It’s so nice to see a company with designers brave enough to venture from the norm and the Soul is the perfect example of that.

But now, for the first time, the Soul has two models in its line-up. There is the Soul EV Urban with a 39.2kWh medium-range battery pack which can cover 171 miles between charges, making it ideal for city dwellers. Or, for those wanting to venture further afield, there is the Soul Explore model with a larger 64kWh capacity battery delivering a range of 280 miles. This is perfect for anyone who clocks up extra miles on a regular basis.

Kia Soul EV

I can’t help myself sometimes, but each time I get behind the wheel of the Kia Soul, I start humming lines from The Killers classic “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” – it’s totally irrelevant, but in a way it’s not. That’s because the Kia Soul is possibly the most aptly named car ever as it has Soul by the bucketload. 

It’s immediately recognisable on the road thanks to its characteristic boxy shape. It’s so nice to see a company with designers brave enough to venture from the norm and the Soul is the perfect example of that.

But now, for the first time, the Soul has two models in its line-up. There is the Soul EV Urban with a 39.2kWh medium-range battery pack which can cover 171 miles between charges, making it ideal for city dwellers. Or, for those wanting to venture further afield, there is the Soul Explore model with a larger 64kWh capacity battery delivering a range of 280 miles. This is perfect for anyone who clocks up extra miles on a regular basis.

On The Road

Kia Soul EV

Handling & Performance

We tested the Kia Soul Explore with the larger 64kWh battery and 280-mile range. This is a car that is great fun to drive thanks to 201bhp of power and 395Nm of torque. It’s sharp out the starting blocks with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 104mph.

The Soul features a single-speed automatic transmission which is wonderfully smooth with plenty of instant power available at the first signs of throttle pressure.

That makes overtaking slower-moving vehicles easy and there are also  drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport that change the reactions and driving dynamics of the car. For added convenience in busy town centres with lots of stop, start traffic the driver can use steering wheel paddles to adjust the strength of the regenerative braking. And, at its strongest level, single-pedal driving is possible. Alternatively, this can all be left to the car to do automatically.

The Soul EV is a competent performer no matter what type of roads it is faced with. It can cruise effortlessly at 70mph on motorways, although the high design does result in quite significant wind noise.

But surprisingly, it is deceptively agile when fizzing through country lanes with impressive grip levels through tight corners. Finally, in city centres, it is agile and easy to manoeuvre. The excellent driver visibility is another plus-point on a car that will often be used for family outings and credit to the excellent suspension system that smooths out all but the most severe bumps and dips along the way.

Kia Soul EV

Space & Practicality

The Kia Soul has always prided itself on its bold design delivering bags of versatility. Thankfully, the latest model is consistent with those plaudits.

Boasting a strong road presence, the Kia Soul is 4,195mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,605mm tall with a wheelbase that stretches 2,600mm. And it’s that final figure that makes for such a generously-sized cabin area. Admittedly, with the front seats pushed well back, adults in the back will find their knees are a tad cramped, but this is a car that’s perfect for a trio of youngsters to sit comfortably. And the cool design will score lots of credits on the school run too.

Even the tallest of adults will find the head space, front and rear, is ample and the boot is decently-sized when it comes to storage. With all seats occupied, there is a 315-litres capacity which is easily enough for the weekly shopping trips. Drop the split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to a very decent 1,339 litres. And for added convenience, all the charging cables can be stored in a separate compartment beneath the boot floor.

In addition, there are a number of handy storage options scattered throughout the cabin, such as a large glovebox, sunglasses holder, a deep central cubby box, door bins, front cup holders, a single seat back pocket and some non-slip trays. 

And, of course, there is a good supply of USB and USB-C ports to keep devices connected and charged on the move.

Speaking of charging, the Soul EV Explore can be boosted from 10 to 100 per cent in nine hours and 15 minutes via a 7.2kW wallbox (six hours on Urban models), or from 10-80 per cent in just 47 minutes using a 100kW fast charger (this is the same time for the Urban model too).

Ownership

Kia Soul EV

Running Costs

The pricing structure for the latest Kia Soul is refreshingly simplistic with the lower-powered, lesser-range Urban model with the 39.2kWh battery, costing £32,845 and the Soul Explore, with its 64kWh battery pack, priced at £39,045.

With zero carbon emissions, the Kia Soul EV is exempt from any road tax charges for now, although the government has announced that this will all change in 2025. And while it is also free to travel through Congestion Charge and low emission zones for now, that is going to change too.

Anyone considering the Kia Soul for a business car will see a Benefit in Kind tax rating of two per cent making the car an attractive choice for fleet markets and the insurance rating for the Kia Soul Explore, as tested, is group 31.

Another very important selling point in Kia’s favour is the excellent warranty package that offers cover for seven-years or 100,000 miles and is also fully transferable if the car is sold on.

Verdict

With the number of EVs hitting showrooms increasing by the day, it’s nice to see an old favourite grow in strength and appeal. The Kia Soul may not be everyone’s cup of tea with its ‘out there’ design cues, but it is refreshing to have a car with its own identity.

Now, with two trim levels with differing sized battery packs, there is added choice for people looking for some fun in their day-to-day driving.

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By Maxine Ashford
May 16, 2023

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