Kia Soul EV Review & Prices

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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RRP £39,075 Avg. Carwow saving £2,228 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£36,847
Monthly
£447*
Used
£17,500
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wowscore
6/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Quirky styling will turn heads
  • Good visibility makes town driving relaxing
  • Decent rear space for two adults

What's not so good

  • Boot space isn’t great
  • Interior is drab in places
  • Infernal beeping

Find out more about the Kia Soul EV

Is the Kia Soul EV a good car?

The Kia Soul could be seen as something of a difficult second album for the model. When the first all-electric Soul was on sale, it was one of only a few EVs on the market. It may have a distinctive new look and very decent 280-mile range, but it’s now competing against a whole fleet of electric cars.

These include similarly sized and priced cars like the Hyundai Kona EV, Peugeot e-2008, and Nissan Leaf, plus the Volkswagen ID3 and carwow's 2023 Car of the Year, the MG 4. And that list of alternatives is only going to get longer. 

The Soul EV shares most of its electric drive system with the first generation Kia e-Niro and, though that car has now been superseded, it remains a decent EV.

You wouldn’t know about the link between the Soul EV and e-Niro from the outside, though – they look totally different. The Soul EV’s high bonnet line, squinting LED headlights and raked roofline make the e-Niro look rather boring in comparison. The Soul EV will certainly turn more heads as it drives past, although reaction to the styling isn't universally positive and it may be a turn-off for some. 

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

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

If you need a big boot, the more spacious e-Niro is for you. There’s lots of room in the cabin of the Soul EV and a couple of adults can sit comfortably in the back, but the boot is smaller than the e-Niro’s and more awkwardly shaped.

The Soul EV has a choice of two battery options. The bigger and more practical 64.8kWh battery offers an official range figure of 280 miles and a 201hp motor, while the 39.2kWh has an official 171-mile figure and gets a less powerful 134hp motor. The larger battery is only available in the higher-sec Explore trim level, while the smaller is branded Urban and misses out on some of the top-end equipment.

On country roads, the Soul EV benefits from its instant punch when overtaking, although its light steering doesn’t really inspire you to drive quickly. Better to sit back and enjoy its comfort 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. But around town the light controls and good visibility are key strengths.

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. See how much you could save through carwow on a new Kia Soul, or check out our Kia deals page for the very best prices on all the brand's models. And you can also see used Kia deals through our trusted dealer network if you’re looking for a nearly new model, and when you've found the car you want, you can sell your current car through carwow too.

How much is the Kia Soul EV?

The Kia Soul EV has a RRP range of £39,075 to £39,075. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,228. Prices start at £36,847 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £447. The price of a used Kia Soul EV on Carwow starts at £17,500.

Our most popular versions of the Kia Soul EV are:

Model version Carwow price from
150kW Explore 64kWh 5dr Auto £36,847 Compare offers

The Kia Soul comes with two trim levels. The Explore grade gets the smaller of the two batteries, giving it a 171-mile EV range. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloys, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and reversing camera.

Step up by over £6,000 to the Explore grade and the bigger battery pushes the official range figure up to a far more useable 280 miles, and there's a big list of extra equipment including 10.25-inch touchscreen with satnav, rear parking sensors, heated front seats and steering wheel, privacy glass, roof rails and auto wipers.

Alternatives include the Peugeot e-2008, Citroen e-C4, Vauxhall Mokka-e, Volkswagen ID3, Nissan Leaf, MG ZS EV and Kia’s own e-Niro. All but the ID3 and e-Niro undercut the Soul EV, though those costlier cars can’t match the Soul EV’s generous helping of standard features.

Newer entries such as the BYD Atto 3 also pack plenty of kit and a bigger footprint for similar money,

Performance and drive comfort

The Kia Soul EV is smooth, quiet and easy to drive, but almost hot hatch quick when you want it to be, but battery range will drop quickly if you keep the speed high on the motorway

In town

Electric cars are a doddle to drive in town and the Soul EV is no exception. You just put the gear selector in drive, turn the steering wheel and press the pedals. It’s all so effortless, feeling light and nimble. 

The Soul EV has regenerative braking, as all electric cars do, that generates power for the battery by spinning the electric motor in reverse when you lift off the throttle or apply the brakes. As a side effect, it amplifies the force of the brakes. Switch the regen into its most powerful of the three modes and the car slows down so much just by lifting off the throttle that you really only need to press the brake pedal to bring the car to a complete stop.

Visibility out from the driver’s seat is excellent. The Soul EV is a compact, square car so you have a good sense of where the extremities are. That’s a big help when parking, as are the standard rear parking sensors and reversing camera, ad the front pillar are pleasing narrow and the wing mirrors large, so visibility is excellent. There’s lots of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel too, so you can easily find a driving position that works for you.

Acceleration from stationary is really rapid if you stamp on the throttle. But, with a lighter touch on the pedal, it’s quite docile. So you can nip around town in a hurry or cruise at a more relaxed pace.

One thing you will have to deal with is the Soul's desire to beep at you as much as possible. A particular annoyance is the speed limit warning - commendable though it is, it's not always right about the limit, so beeps repeatedly to tell you you're speeding when you're not. It's several button presses to disengage it, and you have to do it every time you start in the car.

On the motorway

The Soul EV gives a really smooth, comfortable, quiet ride on the motorway. The tyres are quite large, so can generate noticeable noise – just drown it out by turning up the stereo.

The powerful, responsive electric motor hauls the car up to 70mph rapidly, though the rate of acceleration tails off at higher speeds – a characteristic of all electric cars. Still, it feels perfectly happy to rock along at the speed limit all day. Or until you need to stop to recharge the batteries, at least, as range plummets on the motorway in particular - as is the case with all electric cars. Fortunately, recharging from 10-80% takes about an hour using a 50kW charger.

Plan your recharging stops carefully, turn on the adaptive cruise control and the Soul EV is a pleasure to do long journeys in, thanks to the refinement, equipment and surprisingly comfortable front seats.

On a twisty road

The Soul EV isn't exactly in its natural environment when you try and make progress on twisty roads. It's too tall, and there's a bit of body roll that passengers won't appreciate, and the light steering - so welcome in town - doesn't help when you pick up speed on a windy road. The powertrain is responsive - as is the case with most EVs - but the 201hp almost seems too much for a regular small SUV with no performance pretensions.

The Soul EV better suits a more relaxed pace, at which you can enjoy how comfortable and easy to drive it is.

Space and practicality

The Kia Soul EV has ample space for four adults, but a small boot limits its practicality

Practicality

The Soul EV has bags of space in the front seats. Leg, head and shoulder room accommodates even really tall people. Plus there’s excellent seats with lots of adjustment, so it’s easy to get comfy. The seats are also mounted quite high up, so most people will be able to simply slide in, without bending down or climbing up.

There’s decent under-arm storage, although it's a shame the armrest doesn't slide, and the door bins could be larger, but there's a cubby hole under the centre armrest, two cupholders in the centre console, phone tray in front of the gear selector and a very decent size glovebox. Nothing out of the ordinary, but you can stash quite a lot of stuff away.   

You also get a 12V socket, and one each of USB and USB-C in the front for plenty of device charging options.

Space in the back seats

There’s space in the back for two six-foot tall adults to sit in comfort, if not stretch out. It’s not quite wide enough for three adults to sit in the back, either. Kids are much more generously accommodated, though. There are two sets of ISOFIX mounts that cold be easier to get to, but the doors open quite wide, so lugging in child seats and the children that go in them is no great effort. The only real complaint is that the hard back of the front seats isn't very welcoming for the rear passengers' knees.

Most alternatives are pretty evenly matched with the Soul EV for passenger space. But the Volkswagen ID3, Nissan Leaf and Kia e-Niro are noticeably more spacious, simply because they’re physically bigger cars.

Rear passengers do get a pair of USB-C sockets between them, but the door bins are basically just a bottle holder.

Boot space

The Soul EV’s credentials as a family car are reduced by the boot. Its 315-litre capacity is rather small for a car of this type – indeed, plenty of small hatchbacks have more. A week’s food shopping goes in with room to spare, but you’d have to pack light for a family holiday. There’s extra storage space under the floor where you can keep the charging cables.

The boot is at least good and square, which makes packing easier. But the opening is quite high off the ground and there’s a drop of a few inches from the loading lip down to the floor. The back seats fold down if you need to carry bigger, bulkier stuff., and a nice plus point not all cars at this level have is that when you drop the seats there's a clip to keep the seatbelts out of the way so you don't trap them when you lift the seats back up. But there's no cleverness like moveable floor, just a single bag hook and no power sockets, nets or compartments. The parcel shelf doesn't lift up when you open the boot, but flicks back on itself manually to make things a bit easier to access.

Every alternative we’ve mentioned here has a bigger boot. The Kia e-Niro is the most practical of the bunch, so that would be our pick for a family car. The Soul EV has plenty of space for most single people and couples, though.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The interior of the Soul EV isn’t as bold as the exterior. The circular shapes add a bit of visual interest but, apart from a couple of silver highlights, the colour scheme is very dark. At least the windows let in lots of light. The buttons, knobs and most of the surfaces have a high-quality feel, but there are some cheaper scratchy plastics low down. It's not plush, but it's alright.

A 10.3-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system occupies the middle of the dashboard. Kia’s system is pretty usable and easy to navigate, but looks dated against the cutting edge system fitted to many electric cars. But the screen is responsive and navigating the menus is relatively easy. Or you can just connect your phone and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Other good news comes in the fact that the climate control buttons are still separate to the touchscreen. Too many cars have a 'cleaner' cabin with the controls moved in to the touchscreen, which is much harder to adjust while driving. The Soul keeps it nice and simple.

Electric range, charging and tax

There are two battery options with the Soul. The cheaper 134hp Urban specification gets a 39.2kWh battery with an official range figure of 171 miles. According to Kia, it will charge from 0-80% in 54 minutes at a maximum rate of 50kW, or a 7kW home charger will do 0-100% in just over six hours. That car's 0-62mph acceleration time is 9.9 seconds.

The Explore trim grade has an official 280-mile range, which makes it the much more usable alternative. This car gets a 64kWh battery and 201hp motor, which knocks exactly two seconds off the 0-62mph acceleration time. Charging at an 80kW public charger will take 54 minutes to go from 0-80% charged, and nine hours and 35 minutes on a domestic wall box to go from 0-100%. Not that you're likely to be charging from 0%.

Of course, being an electric car means there’s no vehicle excise duty to pay until the rules change in April 2025, other than the price-based charge incurred when you buy the car. Benefit-in-kind rates for company car drivers are very low, too.

Be aware that the UK government no longer provides grants to new electric car buyers, so you don’t get any help towards the cost.

Safety and security

Car safety expert Euro NCAP hasn't assessed the latest Soul EV, however it did score highly when crash tested by the equivalent body in the USA – the IIHS.

All cars get safety systems including lane keep assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning and adaptive cruise control, while the Explore grade adds blind spot warning, safe exit warning when leaving the car, rear-cross traffic avoidance and highway driving assist.

Reliability and problems

Kia has a very strong reputation for building cars that are highly dependable and generally a pleasure to own. The Soul EV hasn’t yet featured in any UK owner satisfaction surveys, but we don’t doubt that it fits Kia’s form.

We’re certainly not aware of any issues with it, other than a small-scale recall to replace part of the braking system. But that doesn’t affect brand new cars. Kia provides its industry-leading seven-year/100,000 mile warranty as standard.

Buy or lease the Kia Soul EV at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £39,075 Avg. Carwow saving £2,228 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£36,847
Monthly
£447*
Used
£17,500
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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