Kia Soul EV (2014-2019) Review
The Kia Soul EV was one of the first electric SUVs to go on sale in the UK, and it’s a decent used buy
Strengths & weaknesses
The Kia Soul EV was one of the first electric SUVs to become available in the UK. Since this type of car is now widely available - there are electric SUVs from budget makers like MG all the way up to luxury cars like the Jaguar I-Pace now - the Kia Soul EV is bound to be of interest to plenty of used car buyers.
The Soul EV is actually still on sale, but we’re focusing on the 2014-2019 model in this buying guide. We have separate pages covering the latest Soul EV and even the petrol and diesel versions of the second-generation Soul as well.
Since it was quite an early electric car, the Soul EV doesn’t have many direct rivals. Electric cars that came out around the same time include the BMW i3, Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf, though none are SUVs. There’s the MG ZS EV, which came out later and competes with newer versions of the Soul EV on price and practicality.
The Soul EV comes with a 109hp electric motor and a 27kWh or 30kWh battery. This means it has a claimed range of up to 150 miles, but expect around 100 miles realistically as the measuring method for range wasn’t as accurate when the Soul EV came out.
It’s easy to spot next to a normal Soul (with a petrol or diesel engine) because of the blanked-off grille at the front. Part of that section flips out to reveal the charging port. It takes around four hours to charge up at a home wallbox, or half an hour to go from 10-80% charge at a public rapid charger.
Read on to find out more about the Kia Soul EV of 2014 to 2019 and see if it’s right for you.
Should I get a Kia Soul EV?
✔ Unusual looks
✔ Practical for an electric car
✔ Long warranty
✘ Low range
✘ Expensive for what it is
✘ Dull interior
If you only travel a short distance each day and you really love the way the Kia Soul EV looks, it could be worth a look as a used car. It’s easy to drive, quiet, relaxing, practical and well-equipped, plus it brings the ultra-low running costs of any electric car as long as it suits your lifestyle.
- 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 has 109hp electric motor and either a 27kWh or 30kWh battery, with a claimed range of as much as 150 miles. You can expect less than that in the real world, as conditions like temperature, traffic and driving style all play into how much range you can expect.
It’s a boxy SUV with quirky, unusual styling. There’s a version of the Soul EV that’s still on sale but it’s a much more modern prospect with nearly 300 miles of range thanks to a much larger 64kWh battery. The version we’re looking at in this review is the second-generation version on sale between 2014 and 2019 in the UK.
|Kia Soul EV||From £4,995: There’s actually only one trim level in the Kia Soul EV, so all used models will have a very similar set of standard equipment. It came with 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav, a reversing camera, digital radio, Bluetooth, heated seats, cruise control and a heated steering wheel. It’s really well equipped inside, although the interior does look a little drab next to the quirky exterior design.|
There’s only one motor in the Kia Soul EV, a 109hp unit. It’s punchy enough and good for driving in town, as it’s ultra-quiet and the single-speed automatic gearbox means it’s very relaxing to drive in traffic. It’s not the best for motorways, as the relatively humble motor isn’t great at keeping up with higher-speed traffic.
Early models had a 27kWh battery pack capable of 95 miles. Later models built after 2017 received a larger 30kWh battery pack and improvements to efficiency, so a range of around 150 miles was claimed. In reality, even the larger battery will struggle to reach 100 miles on a full charge, especially in colder weather when EVs tend to be less efficient.
It takes about nine hours to charge up fully from a normal home wallbox charger, because it can only take 3.6kW despite most home charging points being able to provide 7.2kW. If all you have is a normal home three-pin plug, that increases to around 12 hours, so an overnight charge should still be possible. Note that the charging port is a less common Type 1 connector. An update in 2017 saw charging speeds increase to 6.6kW, and the introduction of a larger 30kWh battery, meaning a full charge would take around 4.5 hours.
At a public rapid charger, the Soul EV takes half an hour to charge from 10-80% using a 50kW unit. It’s not a good choice of electric car if you regularly do long trips, as it has a pretty limited driving range between charges and poor charging speeds compared with more modern rivals.
The Kia Soul EV is only available in one trim level and there’s no choice of motors or batteries, so the best Kia Soul EV for any and every situation is the same. Usually, we’d pick out different models to help you decide which is best for you in this section but as that’s not relevant, we can just say that you should look for a Soul EV that’s in budget, has been well looked after and as new as possible, since later models still have factory warranty left on them.
The closest rival to the Soul EV is perhaps the MG ZS EV, which came out quite a bit later than the Soul EV and so is more expensive on the used market simply because it hasn’t had as much time to depreciate. It’s another electric SUV, though, and it’s also quite good value.
Rivals that match the Soul EV for quirky appeal include the BMW i3 and Renault Zoe, which are excellent used buys. The Nissan Leaf is another one to consider, and it’s quite practical for its size plus prices are low. The i3 is one to keep your eye on, as it’s far better to drive than other electric cars of this era and has a fantastic interior that trumps even the latest electric cars.
Kia Soul EV practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Kia Soul EV is 4.1m long, 1.6m tall and 1.8m wide (excluding the door mirrors), the same as the petrol and diesel Soul models of the same era. This means it’s a little bigger than a Nissan Juke and a very small amount smaller than a current-generation Kia Soul EV.
There’s lots of headroom in the Soul EV because of the car’s boxy shape and high roofline. This goes for passengers in the back as well, and there’s a good amount of legroom too - so you can fit four adults inside without much trouble. The middle seat is fine for kids and since the floor is flat, it’s easy to shuffle in and out. There’s not quite enough room for three adults to sit side-by-side, though, as it’s still quite a narrow car overall.
|Length 4,140mm||Width 1,800mm|
|Height 1,593mm||Weight 1,580kg - 1,638kg|
While the normal Soul has 354 litres of boot space, the EV model has just 281 litres behind the rear seats. This is because the battery is under the floor and takes up quite a bit of room there. Fold down the seats and this space opens up to a total of 891 litres. This is quite poor considering how roomy the Soul EV is for passengers.
Since the seats don’t fold down flat, it’s not the most useful space either. Getting big items in and out isn’t as easy as it ought to be, especially as the boxy shape means you expect it to be more practical than it is.
|Seats up 281 litres||Seats down 891 litres|
The Kia Soul EV didn’t appear in Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys when new, although in 2018 Kia came eighth in the manufacturer section of the poll, which was a good result. The Soul EV should be very reliable, though - not only was it sold with a confidence-inspiring seven-year warranty, it’s an electric car and has fewer moving parts and bits to go wrong than the petrol or diesel versions.
The Kia Soul EV had a warranty from new that covered it for seven years or 100,000 miles including the battery pack. This is one of the best warranties around and it means that there are still certain models available second-hand that have lots of warranty still remaining.
It’s highly unlikely that owners will have driven more than 100,000 miles in their Soul EV so most of the models built after 2016 will still have some Kia warranty left on them.
|7 years||100,000 miles|
The Kia Soul EV is a really eye-catching SUV that has lots of space inside for passengers, should be really reliable and it’s very well equipped. It’s quiet and relaxing to drive, plus you can benefit from really low running costs if you can get on with the rather low real-world range of around 100 miles.
You’ll need to have a short commute and not want to do a lot of long trips to get along with the Soul EV, and it’s relatively expensive for an older electric car. A BMW i3 is a much more luxurious model that’s better to drive, a Nissan Leaf is cheaper and an MG ZS EV offers more range, so competition is tight and you’ll have to love the Soul EV’s looks to want to buy one.
There’s only one version of the Kia Soul EV, as it was sold with one engine, one battery and one trim level. It’s equipped with 16-inch alloys, sat-nav, an eight-inch media system with smartphone connectivity and heated seats.
The biggest differences between models will be down to mileage and age. We’d try to go for a model that’s as new as you can afford, since there’s still time left on the seven-year factory warranty on the later versions.
If you want to spend a bit less, there’s no reason to avoid the oldest of the models that are on sale, as hardly anything changed over the years it was on sale and the earlier models should be just as reliable as newer ones. Just be aware of the change in battery size in 2017.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example||APR rates available|
|Cash price £12,000||APR 7.90%||Value of loan||From|
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12||Annual mileage of 8,000pa||£25,000+||6.9%|
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55||Term 48 months||£12,000-£24,999||7.9%|
|Optional final payment £4,285.79||Loan value £12,000||£8,000-£11,999||8.9%|
|Total amount payable £14,755.55||Deposit £0||<8,000||9.9%|
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.