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Life and Soul – Kia Soul EV

What is it?

A good question. The Kia Soul is one of those cars that fits into an ‘odd ball’ bracket – think Fiat Doblo or Citroen Berlingo. Vehicles that don’t match up to the traditional styling, a mash-up of SUV, MPV hatchback and estate.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. The end result is a practical and roomy family conveyance and thenSoulbnow comes as a full EV with an impressive range not far short of 300 miles when specified with the larger 64kW battery. The other option is a 39kW with a range of 171 miles. There is also a £7,000 price difference – jumping from £32K to £39K

The bigger batteried car gets a slightly more powerful 201bhp motor for a 0–62mph run in 7.9 seconds, while the entry model makes do with 134bhp and 9.9s. You don’t notice the difference too much on the move, ultimate range aside.

The latest version of the Soul EV hit the UK roads towards the end of last year with the availability of an exciting, revised, two-grade model tier structure. A new ‘Urban’ specification joins the ‘Explore’ grade to offer buyers a fresh choice.

It can take just 54 minutes to recharge the smaller battery pack from 0-80% using an 80kW rapid charger, while a 7.2kW home charger replenishes the battery from 0-100% in 6 hours and 10 minutes. For owners without a dedicated home charger, a domestic plug socket can recharge the Soul EV from 0-100% in 18 hours.

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The anticipated best-seller in the line-up is the 64kWh ‘Explore’ grade, featuring SUV-inspired design cues. With a (WLTP Combined) driving range of 280 miles, up to 402 miles is possible when driven in the city, making the best use of the Soul EV’s flexible regenerative braking system that can be altered using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Using a 80kW rapid charger, the Soul EV ‘Explore’ can be recharged 0-80 per cent in the same 54 minutes as the ‘Urban’ model, despite the battery being 63% larger. Plug in the ‘Explore’ at home with a 7.2kW charger and the battery can be replenished overnight from 0-100% in 9 hours and 35 minutes, while a domestic charger will take 29 hours to recharge.

The generously equipped two-tier range starts with the new ‘Urban’ grade, priced from £32,795. The more affordable ‘medium range’ model is perfect for shorter commutes, is lower in weight and has a WLTP combined driving range of 171 miles. The specification includes:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual full LED headlamps
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™, and 7.0-inch OLED colour driver instrument cluster
  • All-round electric windows with front auto up-and-down function
  • Electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with LED indicators
  • Automatic headlight control
  • Reversing camera system
  • USB-A sockets in the front cabin, and two USB-C sockets in the rear
  • Engine Start/Stop button with Smart Entry System
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with city, pedestrian, cyclist recognition and junction turning
  • Seven airbags
  • ISOFIX Child Seat Top Tethers and Anchor Fixings
  • Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) and Lane Follow Assist (LFA)
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
  • Drive Mode Select – three settings
  • Cloth upholstery
  • 60:40 split-folding rear seats
  • Adaptive Smart Cruise Control Function (SCC)

The ‘Explore’ grade, priced from £38,995, replaces the previous ‘Maxx’ model and is the new flagship, high specification, version of the Soul EV. With 201bhp on tap, it’s strong on performance, yet is capable of travelling up to 280 miles (WLTP Combined) on a single charge. It features SUV-inspired design cues and adds the following equipment over the ‘Urban’ grade:

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  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system
  • Free seven-year Kia Connect connectivity services
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Black leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats and steering wheel
  • Power driver seat adjustment
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Satin chrome interior door handles
  • Privacy glass
  • Rain sensing front wipers
  • SUV pack
  • Roof rails
  • Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW)
  • Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
  • Rear-Cross Traffic Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Highway Driving Assist (HDA)

The Soul EV has always been offered with a selection of eye-catching colour options, and these latest models are no different. ‘Urban’ models come with a mono-tone livery as standard, with the option of metallic paint, with ‘Explore’ editions available with optional two-tone metallic paint.

‘Mars Orange’ paintwork comes as standard on both ‘Urban’ and ‘Explore’ models, with four other premium metallic hues on offer for £595 on the ‘Urban’ edition, which includes ‘Inferno Red’, ‘Neptune Blue’ ‘Snow White Pearl’ and ‘Fusion Black’. On ‘Explore’ models, ‘Inferno Red’ and ‘Neptune Blue’ colours feature a ‘Fusion Black’ roof, while ‘Snow White Pearl’ and ‘Fusion Black’ editions have an ‘Inferno Red’ roof. The premium two-tone paint costs £745.

What do we think?

We’ll start with the look of the Soul which, if course, is a very subjective thing and this car probably falls into the Marmite category – Love it or hate jt.

But then, the Kia is an unpretentious  car. It makes no claim to sportiness or aggression but what id does is drive very smoothly and with a decent ride. You’ll find Sport, Normal, Eco and Eco+ drive modes to vary the accelerator and responses.

Steering is sharp enough to provide good feel around the country lanes and allowing the car to by light on its feet  around town.

The 64kWh car’s range figure is impressive pretty well doing away with any range anxiety when you can cover 280 miles between charges.
The Soul EV certainly looks like a big car – you go get a particular impression of width when you sit in it but oddly it does feel that big inside. There’s not really that feeling of “wow, look at all this room” but the interior is smart and functional – Maybe the boot could be a bit bigger and unlike some cars of this ilk, it is strictly a five seater.

The Soul EV is the smallest of Kia UK’s current three battery electric vehicle line-up, which has recently expanded with the launch of the all-new Niro EV and the EV6 flagship. Later this year the production version of the EV9 will expand the line-up further and will become the largest battery electric vehicle yet in Kia’s plans to launch 14 EV models by 2027 globally. 10 of the vehicles will be built on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) architecture, and four derivative EVs will be based on other models.

Kia Soul EV £32,845 – £39,995

Vehicle details in our Vehicle Chooser section

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