Kia Soul EV Review
The Kia Soul is a small electric SUV that stands out from the crowd yet under the skin it’s up there with the best electric family cars.
Strengths & weaknesses
The Kia Soul EV is a small electric crossover that stands out from the crowd with cute, rounded styling, yet under the skin it’s up there with the best electric family cars on sale. The current version of the Kia Soul is only available in the UK as an electric car, which is why it’s called the Soul EV (Electric Vehicle).
The Soul EV is closely related to the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Kia e-Niro, as all of these cars use the same batteries and electric motors. The Soul EV is really similar to the e-Niro in a lot of ways but one of the big criticisms with that model is its bland looks - something the Soul EV doesn’t share.
The Kia Soul EV is only available in one version, using a 64kWh battery and a 204hp electric motor. This means it’s quite fast and has a long driving range of around 280 miles on a single charge. It can charge up to 80% in about an hour and a quarter at a normal 50kWh public charge point.
It doesn’t have the incredible 350kW charging tech from the newer Kia EV6, but there’s capacity for 100kW charging, which cuts the 0-80% charge time to about an hour.
The Soul EV is a little on the expensive side, even if you’re buying a used model, but it’s a great choice if you are looking for an electric car. The interior is high quality, there’s loads of standard kit, it’s easy to drive and very comfortable.
Read on to find out more about the Kia Soul EV and see if it’s right for you. Here, we’re only looking at the 2019-on second-generation Kia Soul EV.
Should I get a Kia Soul EV?
✔ Excellent electric set-up
✔ High-quality interior with lots of tech
✔ Practical and comfortable
✘ Not everyone will like the looks
✘ Expensive to buy
✘ Interior not very stylish
The Kia Soul EV is one of the best electric family cars around, so if you like the way it looks then it makes a great buy. It’s capable of driving a long way on a single charge, is quiet inside and there’s loads of standard kit. It’s not the cheapest option but the tech you get is excellent and it’s high-quality and should be really reliable.
If you don’t love how it looks then the Kia e-Niro is a worthwhile option instead - it’s almost the same car, as it uses the same electric motor and battery, but it has more bland looks that are less likely to offend.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Batteries and range
- Charge time
- Best Soul EV for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Kia Soul EV
The Kia Soul EV is a small SUV with a very distinctive look - it’s more eye-catching than the Kia e-Niro, despite the fact that both cars use the same 64kWh battery and 204hp electric motor. A lot of the interior is similar as well including the media system and a lot of the switchgear.
There’s a bit less room inside than the e-Niro, and the boot is also quite a bit smaller, so you will have to really like the looks to choose the Soul EV over the e-Niro. It’s still big enough to work as a family car, though, as there’s a good amount of space for passengers and the boot is fine for weekly shopping or trips to the garden centre.
|Limited stock: There is only one trim level in the Kia Soul EV. It’s very well equipped, as it comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated seats trimmed in leather, a 10.3-inch media system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and sat-nav.
|Limited stock: Early versions were sold in ‘First Edition’ trim, and got pretty much all the same equipment as Maxx - when buying a Kia Soul EV you can be sure that you are always getting a good amount of kit as the only versions available happen to have pretty much identical equipment.
There’s only one motor in the Kia Soul EV. It has 204hp and is great to drive as a result - there’s loads of power from low speed and it doesn’t feel out of its depth on the motorway like some electric cars can.
There are different driving modes including Eco, Normal and Sport, so you can choose a more relaxed or a sportier setting depending on which kind of road you’re on. There are also different levels of regenerative braking when you lift off the throttle, which lets you tune the driving experience even more to your liking.
There’s only one battery available in the Soul EV, and it’s a 64kWh unit shared with the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric. This battery allows a range of 280 miles on a charge, which is pretty impressive, though slightly less than the Kona.
It can charge up from empty to full at a home wallbox charger in nine and a half hours, which is doable overnight, and from 0-80% in one hour and 15 minutes at a public 50kW charger. If you can find a faster 100kW charger then this cuts the time to 54 minutes, according to Kia.
The Kia Soul EV doesn’t really have a range, so while we usually list the best versions for value for money, families, performance and one to avoid in this section of our buying guides, it’s not relevant here. There’s only one version of the Kia Soul EV, the Maxx, so that’s the best version for anything by default. There’s also the First Edition if you are buying used, but since it has pretty much identical equipment, there’s essentially no difference between them. Buy the best one you can afford on mileage and service history rather than specification.
BuyaCar prices Limited stock
The Kia Soul EV is incredibly similar to the Kia e-Niro, so that’s the main rival here - it has the same electric setup but is a bit more practical but less eye-catching. The Hyundai Kona Electric is a halfway house between the two, and also offers the same 64kWh battery and 204hp electric motor in its range.
Other rivals include the Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka-e, plus there’s the Nissan Leaf if you’re not dead-set on an SUV. The Mazda MX-30 is another really stylish small electric car, but it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Kia and has significantly less range.
Kia Soul EV practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Kia Soul EV is 4.2m long, 1.6m tall and 1.8m wide (excluding the door mirrors), which means it’s shorter than the Kia e-Niro but a little taller. It has a very upright look that won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it does mean that it’s relatively practical despite not being a large car.
There’s loads of headroom in the back thanks to the high roof, and even tall adults will be able to sit comfortably in the back seats because there’s lots of legroom as well. The middle seat is a bit tight, though, so it’s only really for short trips or if you need to fit three kids in the back.
Unfortunately despite the square shape of the Soul EV, the boot isn’t as big as you might expect. It’s 315 litres, which is over 100 litres smaller than the e-Niro’s luggage area. The Nissan Leaf has a much bigger boot as well.
The good news is that if you fold down the seats there’s a total of 1,339 litres, which is closer to its rivals’ spaces and plenty for the occasional trip to the garden centre or even for a couple of kids’ bikes.
|Seats up 315 litres
|Seats down 1,339 litres
The Kia Soul EV is electric only, so there’s not much to go wrong and even though it’s a rather new model, we wouldn’t expect it to be anything other than very reliable. The Soul didn’t appear in the 2021 Driver Power customer survey, but its sister car the Niro did, and that model came in a very impressive 15th. Kia itself came in second overall as a car marker, so reliability and ownership should be a strong point for any Kia model.
The Kia Soul EV gets a fantastic warranty that covers it for up to seven years or 100,000 miles. This is one of the best warranties around, and only Toyota offers one that’s longer - up to ten years - though its bZ4X is very new so prices are typically higher than the Soul EV.
The Soul EV’s long warranty is the same as the e-Niro’s, and it shows how confident Kia is about its cars and their reliability. Even the oldest Kia Soul EVs on the used market still have more warranty left than you get from a brand new model from Nissan or Volkswagen.
The Kia Soul EV is a worthy choice if you love the looks, because it takes all the best bits of the Kia e-Niro’s recipe and puts them into a more quirky, eye-catching body. It’s a little bit less practical, but if you don’t mind the smaller boot there’s still plenty of space inside and the interior is well-built and has all the tech you could want.
The long driving range means that it’s practical from a usage standpoint as well, since long trips aren’t too much of an issue, and it will be reliable and good to own as well. It’s comfortable, easy to drive and really quiet, so there’s every reason to consider buying a used Kia Soul EV.
There’s only one motor setup in the Kia Soul EV, using a 64kWh battery and a 204hp electric motor. It’s fast and enjoyable to drive but also delivers up to 280 miles of range, which is a really good figure for daily use and the occasional long trip.
The Maxx model is the current version that’s on sale new, and it comes with loads of standard equipment including an excellent 10.3-inch media system with all the connectivity you expect of a new car included.
The First Edition model is one you’ll see on the used market, as it was the only trim level available when the car was launched in 2019. This version has pretty much all the same kit, so there’s no real difference between the two models, just age.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
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