- Spacious for passengers
- Four driving modes
- Fast charging
- Wide range of safety equipment
The Kia Soul made its initial debut in 2008, and has always sported a funky, unique look.
Designed in California, its boxy appearance didn't appeal to everyone, but the student and surfing crowd loved it and sales took off.
It's also become a common sight on UK and European roads over the years, and the latest third generation model is available with electric-only power.
The first fully-electric Soul EV went on sale in the UK back in 2014 alongside normal combustion engines, but the new version is a giant step forward.
Powertrain and Performance
The Kia Soul EV can cover up to 280 miles on a single charge and although it retains its unique 5-door shape, it now looks more conservative.
It's also good to drive and, like most electric cars, gets off the mark quickly and silently. There's also a choice of driving modes, but most owners will simply leave it in Eco to conserve the power and stretch the driving range.
Steering wheel paddles operate regenerative braking which allows you to increase the range even more, and it's possible to spare the brakes almost completely with generous use of the paddles once you get used to electric motoring.
The Soul has always given the impression of fun and thankfully that has not changed. Its 64Kw battery enables it to sprint to 62mph in just 7.6 seconds before going on to a top speed of 104mph. You have to remember though that tanking along motorways will reduce the distance you can travel.
It's very comfortable to travel in since there's hardly any noise from the power plant and as it's well put together there are no annoying rattles.
The all important battery pack can be charged from 0 to 80 percent in 54 minutes using a 100Kw charger if you can find one, while a 7.2Kw typical wall-mounted house charger will take 9 hours and 35 minutes for a 0 to 100 percent load.
If you use a standard AC domestic plug to charge, it will take 31 hours.
It's almost impossible to work out what charging the Kia will cost, as prices vary from supplier to supplier. In any case, most owners will charge their car at home or at their place of work.
For peace of mind, it's good to know that Kia’s 7-year warranty extends to the battery pack and electric motor while the car also has all the latest safety equipment.
Design and Practicality
Slightly larger than the last model, every panel on this car is new, but its overall striking look has been retained, and it's instantly recognisable as a Soul from any distance or angle.
Inside there's more space for passengers and the new interior is really impressive with quality materials and stacks of kit. It delivers a premium feel, and all the controls are easy to use.
Occupants may have more room, but the boot space is still tight at 315 litres – much less than many of its Crossover rivals.
Equipment and Technology
You get a range of passive and active safety systems including autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection with rear-cross traffic alert, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, semi-autonomous lane follow assist, and driver attention warning.
The Soul EV is also fitted with seven airbags – dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and driver’s knee airbag.
This model is really well-equipped and as a result you get leather seating, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, and heated steering wheel.
The Soul EV Explore certainly has lots of character and is great to drive around town, while it also cruises quietly at motorway speeds.
This is the perfect choice if you're looking for a high-performance, spacious, and well-equipped vehicle for your day-to-day activities. The interior design of the Explore trim gives a premium feeling, and the infotainment system allows customisation for driver's personal usage habits.