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Kia Soul EV: Nifty Korean 'leccy hatchback has heart and Seoul
A cracking little wagon and a declaration of intent
The suspension has been well tuned to handle the weight, though, and the electric drive installation has shunted the Soul EV’s weight distribution rearwards. That all makes for very predictable and quite enjoyable handling.
Not the most aerodynamic of shapes but very, very quiet on the road
Kia claims that the Soul EV can cover 130-odd miles on a charge. That may well be possible but you’d have to be driving very, very carefully. Nissan make a similar claim for the Leaf and the same caveat applies.
My review car showed a charge of 98 per cent and a range of 90 miles when it rolled off the trailer. And that’s exactly what I got driving, as I would in any other car. After a handful of recharges every projection and actual journey I undertook led me to conclude that in normal driving you’ll get around 90 miles from a full charge.
Talking of projected range, I was impressed by how on-the-money the Soul's range projector seemed to be. It never once over or underestimated how far I could get on the juice in the battery. And that's vital in a BEV.
Soul's 8-inch display lets you know all that the modern EV driver needs to know
For what it’s worth, according to the trip computer, I averaged 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour of energy used during my week with the Soul EV. This equates to a maximum range of 95 miles, assuming all 27kWh of battery energy is available.
Not that range is such an issue where I live. Drive around Manchester these days and you’ll see the tell-tale blue glow of the city’s new (and currently free to use) EV charging network all over the place. There are half a dozen within a few miles of my front door.
Charge Your Car app knows where GMEV charge points are. Car hasn't a bloody clue
Kia does need to do some work on the Soul’s satnav charger database, though. My review car was blithely ignorant of the entire GMEV network of 150-odd 7kW chargers in and around Greater Manchester.
To get closer to Kia’s stated maximum range I suspect you’d need to leave the Soul EV’s drive selector in B-for-Brake rather than D-for-Drive. As with most EVs and hybrids, the B setting ups the ferocity of the regenerative braking. On the plus side, it extends your range. On the down side, those driving behind you can end up with a rapidly decelerating EV in front on them. Crunch.
Cabin of the Soul EV is very nicely appointed and loaded with kit. Note the funky dash speakers
Ill-informed satnav aside, the rest of the Soul’s interior is rather impressive. The dash and touch-screen displays easily give you all the information you need without taking things too far over the graphical top. Scheduling times for charging and climate control activity is done in moments.