- Distinctive looks
- Comfortable ride
- Fun to drive
Designed in California, the Kia Soul became an instant hit when it first arrived back in 2008.
Its funky boxy looks didn't appeal to everyone, but the student and surfing crowd loved it and sales took off.
It's become a common sight on UK and European roads over the years, and the latest third generation model arrived in March 2021 with electric-only power.
The first Soul EV went on sale in the UK back in 2014, alongside normal combustion engines, but the new version is a giant step forward.
The First Edition model I tested here is packed with handy features and technology. It can cover up to 280 miles on a single charge and although it retains its boxy 5-door shape, it now looks more conservative.
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.
It's very comfortable to travel in since there is hardly any noise from the power plant and as it's well put together, there are no annoying rattles.
Occupants may have more room, but the boot space is still mean at 315 litres – much less than most of its Crossover rivals.
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.
It's also good to drive and like most electric cars gets off the mark quickly and silently. It offers 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 hasn't changed. Its 64Kw battery enables it to sprint to 62mph in just 7.6 seconds before going on to a top speed of 104mph.
Technology and Charging
Only one model is available in the UK called the First Edition and that is Kia’s best equipped level. As a result, you get leather seating, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a pop-up head-up display, and a large 10.25-inch touchscreen sat nav display.
A 10-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system adds to the appeal and comes with DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The all important batteries can be charged from 0to 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'll take 31 hours.
The Soul certainly has lots of character - it's good to drive, looks striking, and has a premium feel upon stepping inside. The First Edition model brings an impressive amount of standard tech and stylish design characteristics, including Kia's 10.25-inch sat nav display and luxurious leather accents around the cabin.