First Drive Review: Kia Soul EV

Independent review by Chris Russon

4-minute read

Blue Kia Soul EV Exterior Front Driving

First Drive: Kia Soul EV

Explore the key features of the Kia Soul EV in our expert first drive review

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The new Kia Soul EV has levelled up in almost every way while retaining its distinctive boxy looks.


  • More spacious than previous generations
  • Plenty of advanced tech
  • Impressive all-electric range
  • Quick to charge
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Another zero emissions model is joining the Kia lineup as the Korean carmaker launches an all-new Soul that's purely electric.

Joining the Niro EV SUV, the pair give Kia a strong presence in the emerging EV market.

The new Soul EV uses the same 64KWh powertrain as the larger Niro and comes with a range of around 280 miles. It also looks set to become one of the cheapest long range plug-in models on the market.

Design and Practicality

The new Soul EV retains its characteristic bodystyle, but has been reworked by Kia’s design team in California to make it bigger with sharper lines.

It's more than two inches longer, has a greater wheelbase, and boot size is significantly larger at 315 litres – up from 281 litres in the previous Soul EV.

All British models will come with an SUV pack that adds a front skid plate, wheel arch protectors, and side cladding, as well as more pronounced roof rails.

From a design perspective, the greatest change is on the inside, where the new Soul has retained its funky flair that includes a pulsating light show for the audio system but marks the introduction of Kia’s new Kia Connect app-based connectivity system.

Equipment and Technology

Kia Connect is an impressive bit of kit, and not only includes access to live traffic information, availability of EV charging points, and the price of parking, but also allows for remote control of many of the Soul EV's functions such as adding routes to the navigation and pre-programming the air conditioning.

With a 10.25-inch central touchscreen and a 7-inch TFT cluster in the instrument panel, the cockpit is high-tech and functional, and includes a head-up display and an auto hold parking brake, as well as heated front seats and steering wheel.

Driving Experience

Kia’s electrical system is highly energy efficient and makes use of a variety of drive modes and regenerative braking settings to maximise its potential.

On our drive in the Soul EV, we set out with a fully charged range of 287 miles showing on the trip computer, covered 48 miles and still had 248 miles left at the end of the run.

That shows the practical ability of the electrical system, and our route included motorway work as well as city and rural traffic, and makes the new Soul EV a very capable everyday vehicle.

Dynamically, the car is much improved and has a different suspension system and sharper steering to complement its near silent running.

With instant power, performance is brisk – 0 to 62mph takes around 7.9 seconds, as opposed to 11.2 seconds in the original electric Soul.

It's not quite as quick under acceleration as the Niro EV, which is down to the Soul’s boxier aerodynamics, but maximum speed is the same at 104mph.

Recharging takes around 40 minutes to 80 percent battery capacity from a fast charging point, while a full recharge at home is in the region of six hours. The charging point is located at the front of the car behind a flap on the bumper.

On the road, the Soul EV feels much more composed and refined – a proper car for the new breed of ultra clean driver.
Chris Russon


Compared to rivals, the latest Soul EV puts Kia in a commanding position in the EV market. Only a handful of cars come close in terms of all-electric range and value for money.

As Kia's electric car offering continues to expand, it's a brand that's most certainly on a charge in the new age of motoring, and the Soul EV is a great example of this. Loaded with tech and featuring a distinctive new design, it's definitely worth considering if you're looking for an impressive electric car.