Kia Soul EV Review

The Kia Soul EV is an electric car that stands out from the crowd with its looks and has great electric range despite its modest price. It isn’t the most practical choice, however.

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8/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Quirky styling will turn heads
  • Instant electric performance
  • Fantastic electric range

What's not so good

  • Boot space isn’t great
  • Interior is drab in places
  • Kia e-Niro is more practical

Kia Soul EV: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

If you’re ready to ditch petrol and diesel in favour of pure-electric power, few electric cars will make it as easy to do as the Kia Soul EV.

But like a band’s difficult second album, things are more difficult for the Kia this time around. In its previous and first generation, it was one of only a few EVs you could buy. Now, it has a sharp new look and a fantastic 280-mile range but is competing against a much longer list of pure-electric cars.

These include similarly sized and priced cars like the Hyundai Kona EV, Peugeot e-2008, and Nissan Leaf, as well as the forthcoming VW ID.3. And, of course, there are plenty more EV options if you want to spend more.

But the Soul EV has something up its sleeve that should make it a strong contender – it’s based on the superb Kia e-Niro, which is one of the very best all-round EVs currently on sale.

You wouldn’t know this from the outside, mind, because they look totally different. The more practical and reserved e-Niro is a bit boring in comparison. The Soul has a high bonnet, squinting LED headlights and a raked roofline. It’ll certainly turn more heads.

Things aren’t quite so in-your-face inside. Sure, there are some funky details on the doors, some ambient lighting and the circular drive selector helps mark the Soul EV out from other Kias but on the whole, the sea of dark black plastic is a bit drab, if well put together.

The first generation Soul EV was one of the first electric cars on sale at the time. This latest one rides a wave of new models from a wide range of manufacturers.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Let’s not beat around the bush – if you nee a large boot, then the more sensible e-Niro is for you. There’s lots of room in the front of the Soul EV and even a couple more adults in the rear will sit comfortably, but its boot is smaller than the e-Niro’s and more awkwardly shaped.

The Soul EV has a big 64kWh battery which can be charged in 10.5 hours from empty to full using a 7kW wall box charger at home. However, it’s possible to go from 10-80% in just over an hour using a 50kW charger. A full charge at home will cost about £9.50, which is some £32 cheaper than fueling the average petrol car over the same range.

Talking of range, the Soul EV’s 280-mile combined figure eclipses all of its alternatives’. One thing that’ll hurt it, though, is getting carried away with its strong acceleration, which helps when ducking and diving in town.

On country roads, the Soul EV benefits from its instant punch when overtaking, too, although its light steering doesn’t really inspire you to drive quickly. Better to sit back and enjoy its comfort over bumps and preserve that range. It’s the same story on the motorway, where the Soul EV is generally a relaxing place to spend time at speed.

So, if you can live without a huge boot and love the looks, the Kia Soul EV will make the transition to electric cars extremely easy. If you’re convinced, head over to our Kia deals page for the very best prices.

How practical is it?

The Kia Soul EV will seat four adults without much fuss, but don’t expect to bring much luggage along with you. You’ll need a Kia e-Niro for that.

Like most cars that are so overtly stylish, the Kia Soul EV suffers reduced practicality.

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
315 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,339 litres

A couple of tall adults will have no problems in the front of the Kia Soul EV, while the driver gets an eight-way power seat and electric lumbar adjustment.

The back seats are accommodating too: a couple more adults will sit behind those in the front without their heads brushing the ceiling or knees the seatbacks in front. The only black mark is the shallow rear windows which make it feel a little dark in the back.

You also get Isofix points on the outside rear seats, although squeezing in a bulky child seat beneath the Soul’s sloping roofline could prove a bit of a challenge. Again, an e-Niro would be a better choice if you’re constantly fitting these seats.

It’s not just passenger space that’s good – the Soul EV also impresses with large door pockets with room for large bottles, two cupholders behind the gear lever and a large glovebox.

At 311 litres the Kia Soul EV’s boot is 25% smaller than a Kia e-Niro’s. What’s more damning is its shape, which is quite tall and narrow.

It does have an insignificant load lip and good access, plus some room below the boot floor, but realistically you will struggle to get a large pushchair in or more than a single large suitcase plus some extra soft bags.

You can split the rear seats in a 60:40 configuration and drop them flat to open up the space, but the bottom line is, if you value a really large, practical boot, then you’re better off buying a different electric car.

What's it like to drive?

The Kia Soul EV is comfortable, quick in a straight line and has an impressive range given its price, but you can have more fun in alternative electric cars on country roads.

Driving the Kia Soul EV won’t set your hair on fire, but that isn’t the point. Drive smoothly and you’ll enjoy a seriously impressive driving range.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Like every electric car, the Kia Soul EV delivers all of its power as soon as you touch the pedal, which in the case of the Soul is a not insignificant 204hp. There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport and in the latter, the Soul EV feels the most spritely in a straight line.

It’s also possible to choose different levels of energy recuperation, meaning when you come off the throttle the car will slow down for you, generate energy and send it back to be stored in the car’s battery. Once you get used to it, it’s possible to drive mostly with just the accelerator pedal.

The Soul EV has a big 64kWh battery which can be charged in 10.5 hours from empty to full using a 7kW wall box charger at home. However, it’s possible to go from 10-80% in just over an hour using a 50kW charger.

A full charge at home will cost about £9.50, which is some £32 cheaper than fueling the average petrol car over the same range.

And that range is seriously impressive – up to 280 miles in mixed driving, which can’t be beaten for the money.

Like all electric cars, the Kia Soul EV delivers all of its power as soon as you touch the pedal, which in the case of the Soul is a not insignificant 204hp. There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport and in the latter, the Soul EV feels the most spritely in a straight line.

It’s also possible to choose different levels of energy recuperation, meaning when you come off the throttle the car will slow down for you, generate energy and send it back to be stored in the car’s battery. Once you get used to it, it’s possible to drive mostly with just the accelerator pedal.

The Soul EV has a big 64kWh battery which can be charged in 10.5 hours from empty to full using a 7kW wall box charger at home. However, it’s possible to go from 10-80% in just over an hour using a 50kW charger.

A full charge at home will cost about £9.50, which is some £32 cheaper than fueling the average petrol car over the same range.

And that range is seriously impressive – up to 280 miles in mixed driving, which can’t be beaten for the money.

One thing that’ll hurt the Soul EV’s fantastic range, is getting carried away with its strong acceleration, which helps when ducking and diving in town. It also has light steering and, despite its thick rear pillars and small rear screen, its sensors and rear camera make light work of parking.

On country roads, the Soul EV benefits from its instant punch when overtaking, too, although its light steering doesn’t really inspire you to drive quickly. Better to sit back and enjoy its comfort over bumps and preserve that range.

It’s the same story on the motorway, where the Soul EV is generally a relaxing place to spend time at speed.

What's it like inside?

The Kia Soul EV has a decent infotainment system, but despite a couple of interesting flourishes, its interior largely feels dark and drab.

Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used Kia Soul EV at a price you’ll love
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