The Kia Soul EV: A Hidden Gem in the Electric Car Market
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When it comes to electric cars, the Kia Soul EV might be one of the most underrated choices out there. While its sibling, the Kia e-Niro, often steals the spotlight for its impressive electric range and enticing package, the Soul EV has a unique history in the electric car revolution that deserves recognition.
Kia’s Electric Revolution: A Journey That Started Early
Before Kia’s electric lineup became well-known with models like the Niro EV and the ev6, the brand’s electric journey began with the first-generation Kia Soul in 2008. Initially launched with traditional petrol and diesel engines, the second generation of the Kia Soul in 2014 marked the introduction of the first fully electric Soul EV. This electric model featured a 27-kilowatt-hour battery, chademo fast charging, and a real-world range of approximately 100 miles.
However, the first-generation Soul EV faced challenges, including its price tag of around £25,000 after the government grant, which made it less competitive against other electric car options like the Zoe and the Leaf at the time. As a result, the Soul EV didn’t gain significant traction in the market.
A New Beginning: The Second-Generation Kia Soul EV
The second-generation Kia Soul EV, launched in 2020, was a significant improvement over its predecessor. Equipped with the same battery and electric motor as the Kia e-Niro, the Soul EV still found itself overshadowed by its stablemate. Nevertheless, at the start of 2023, Kia made a strategic move to give the Soul EV a fresh start.
The main change came in the form of a new battery option. While the 64-kilowatt-hour battery with an official range of 280 miles remained available, a smaller 39.2-kilowatt-hour battery with an official range of around 171 miles was introduced. This smaller battery option was marketed as ideal for city driving, catering to urban commuters with shorter daily distances.
The Kia Soul EV’s Interior: Simple Yet Effective
Sitting inside the Kia Soul EV, one will appreciate the understated yet functional design of the interior. The seats, available in two trim levels (Urban and Explore), offer excellent adjustability and comfort. Even in the entry-level trim, the seats are supportive and padded, making for a pleasant driving experience.
The dashboard layout is logical and easy to use, with a simple yet effective infotainment system. While the infotainment tech might not be the latest generation, it still features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, providing drivers with essential connectivity features.
Impressive Rear Seat Space and Practicality
In terms of rear-seat space, the Kia Soul EV impresses, especially considering its compact footprint. Even taller passengers will find ample headroom, and legroom is decent, making it suitable for longer journeys. The boot space is not the most generous in the EV world, but the tall load space and underfloor storage offer practicality for daily use.
Navigating Urban Terrain: A Smooth and Calm Ride
As the name suggests, the Soul EV Urban is well-suited for city driving. Its dimensions, resembling a tall boxy design, allow for easy maneuvering through crowded streets. The electric motor with 134 brake horsepower provides sufficient power, and the car accelerates smoothly without feeling underpowered.
The car’s ride is comfortable, albeit slightly firmer than some competitors, and its impressive refinement keeps noise levels low, creating a serene driving experience.
Charging and Model Options
Charging the Kia Soul EV depends on the model chosen. The Urban version, with its smaller 39-kilowatt-hour battery, takes just over six hours to charge from 0 to 100 with a 7-kilowatt home wall box. On the other hand, the Explore version, equipped with a 64-kilowatt-hour battery, takes about nine and a half hours for a full charge.
The Explore model also benefits from faster charging capabilities, with a 10 to 80 percent charge possible in approximately 45 minutes from a CCS charger. However, the Urban model can only accept a maximum of 44 kilowatts of power from a public charger, making it less suitable for long-distance trips.
Conclusion: A Worthy Contender in the EV Market
While the Kia Soul EV may not have gained the same recognition as its siblings, it remains a worthy contender in the electric car market. The newly introduced Urban version, with its smaller battery and city-focused approach, provides great value for urban commuters. On the other hand, the Explore version offers more power and a longer range, making it a better choice for those regularly embarking on longer journeys.
As with any electric car, charging infrastructure and individual driving needs should be carefully considered when choosing between the two models. Regardless of the chosen variant, Kia’s seven-year warranty comes as standard, offering peace of mind to EV drivers.
In conclusion, the Kia Soul EV might be one of the most underrated electric cars, but its practicality, comfortable ride, and overall appeal make it a strong contender for anyone seeking an electric vehicle.
What is the history of the Kia Soul EV?
The Kia Soul EV is part of Kia’s electric revolution, which started with the first-generation Kia Soul in 2008. The second generation, launched in 2014, introduced the first fully electric Soul EV with a 27-kilowatt-hour battery. While the first model faced challenges, the second-generation Soul EV, launched in 2020, received significant improvements and updates.
What are the differences between the two generations of the Kia Soul EV?
The second-generation Kia Soul EV is an improvement over its predecessor in several aspects. It shares the same battery and electric motor with the Kia e-Niro, which enhances its electric range and performance. Additionally, the 2023 model introduced a smaller battery option, making it more suitable for city driving with a range of around 171 miles.
How does the interior of the Kia Soul EV feel?
The interior of the Kia Soul EV is understated, yet effective and comfortable. Both trim levels (Urban and Explore) offer loads of seat adjustments, providing a nice high-up driving position. Soft-touch materials and logical dashboard layout contribute to the overall pleasant driving experience.
Is the Kia Soul EV spacious and practical?
Yes, the Kia Soul EV impresses with its spaciousness, especially in the rear seats. The tall boxy design allows for ample headroom, and legroom is also decent for rear passengers. The boot space, though not the largest among EVs, is still practical, and the underfloor storage adds to its usability.
How does the Kia Soul EV perform in urban environments?
As the name suggests, the Kia Soul EV Urban variant is well-suited for city driving. Its compact size and tall boxy design make it easy to maneuver through tight urban streets. The 134 brake horsepower electric motor provides sufficient power for city commuting.
What are the charging options for the Kia Soul EV?
The charging time for the Kia Soul EV depends on the model chosen. The Urban variant, with a smaller battery, takes just over six hours to charge from 0 to 100 with a 7-kilowatt home wall box. The Explore variant, with a larger battery, takes about nine and a half hours for a full charge. The Explore model also benefits from faster charging capabilities, with a 10 to 80 percent charge possible in approximately 45 minutes from a CCS charger.
Is the Kia Soul EV a worthy contender in the electric car market?
Yes, despite being underrated, the Kia Soul EV offers a lot of value and practicality in the electric car market. The Urban version is ideal for city drivers with shorter daily distances, while the Explore version caters to those who regularly embark on longer journeys. With Kia’s seven-year warranty as standard, the Soul EV presents itself as a strong competitor for electric vehicle seekers.
What are the key features and equipment available with the Kia Soul EV?
Both trim levels (Urban and Explore) of the Kia Soul EV come with a host of standard features. These include 17-inch alloys, adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance, and an infotainment system. The Explore model offers additional features such as heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather interior, and keyless entry and start.
How does the Kia Soul EV compare to its competitors?
The Kia Soul EV faces competition from various electric cars in the market. While it may not be an outright electric car champion, it offers its unique strengths and value proposition. Potential buyers should consider factors such as range, charging infrastructure, and individual driving needs when comparing it with other electric car options.
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