IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The Soul EV blends all the likable features of its gas-engine counterpart with the benefits and efficiency of a pure-electric powertrain.
Like most other EVs, the electric powertrain brings with it a hefty price premium, and a bit of “range anxiety.”
The Soul EV is unique among electric vehicles because of the uniqueness of the basic Soul platform. With its slightly elevated ride height and tall “box-on-wheels” body shape, the Kia Soul EV offers surprisingly generous passenger room, versatile cargo space, and ease of entry/exit that no other popularly priced EV can match.
WHAT IS IT?
The Kia Soul EV is exactly what its name implies: an all-electric variant of the popular Soul subcompact car. The Soul EV, which was introduced for the 2015 model year, shares the same basic architecture of its gas-engine counterpart, which was redesigned for 2014. Despite the necessary provisions for its 27-kilowatt-hour battery, the Soul EV retains 91 percent of the conventional Soul’s cargo space, as well as the versatility of fold-down rear seatbacks. The Soul EV’s electric charge ports are located at the front of the vehicle, where the grille resides on the gas-engine Soul.
Standard features on the base Soul EV-e model include alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors and steering wheel, keyless access and starting, automatic climate control, and Bluetooth connectivity. The midline Soul EV model adds features such as an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and a rearview camera. The topline Soul EV Plus adds power-folding mirrors, front and rear park assist, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and leather upholstery.
Official information on the 2017 Kia Soul EV was unavailable as of this writing, though its gas-engine counterpart gets updates such as freshened front and rear styling, an available 8-way power front-passenger seat, and available rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitor. The Soul EV is likely to receive similar updates for 2017. For 2016, the Soul EV got a few new comfort and convenience features and the aforementioned lower-priced Soul EV-e model.
The Soul EV is EPA-rated at 120 MPGe city/92 MPGe highway (105 MPGe combined). The official EPA driving-range estimate is 93 miles. In Consumer Guide® testing, we’ve experienced significant fluctuations in the Soul EV’s driving range based on the ambient temperature. Our long-term Soul EV tester consistently reported maximum ranges of more than 105 miles in optimal temperatures (around the low- to mid-60s); our best-ever reported range was 114 miles. By contrast, cold weather really took a toll on our test Soul EVs. With temperatures in the low 40s, we saw the projected range drop to around 77 miles, and temps in the mid-teens brought the range down to just 55 miles—a 40-percent drop from the EPA’s 93-mile range estimate.
VALUE WITHIN CLASS
The Kia Soul EV doesn’t escape from the typical downfalls of most current electric vehicles—most significantly the stiff price premium and limitations in driving range and quick “refueling”—but it stands out from its pure-electric kin by virtue of the inherent likability and versatility of the basic Kia Soul platform. Thanks to its seamless, peppy acceleration and quietness, the Soul EV might actually best the base gas-engine Soul in terms of driving satisfaction. If you’re ready to step into the market for a pure-electric vehicle, the Soul EV is a great place to start.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$31,950 – $35,950 (Before Tax Rebates)—Soul Evs Are Sold Only In California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, And Washington For Now|
|BODY STYLES||4-Door Wagon|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||109-Hp Electric Motor|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Front-Wheel Drive|
|BUILT IN||South Korea|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||92-120 MPGe|