Just like the regular Kia Soul, the Soul EV received a significant facelift for 2020. Along with the new look, the EV also got an impressive boost in range, almost doubling that number on a full charge.
There are two available trim levels available on the new Soul EV. They might look identical on the surface but present significant differences under the sheet metal. The version I drove is the higher trim, the Soul EV Limited, equipped with the bigger electric motor and battery, and producing more power than the entry-level Premium version. The entry-level Soul EV is now rated at a range of close to 250 km.
Kia advertises the Soul EV Limited with a range of roughly 383 km. That being said, the one I picked up had over 415 on the counter. After close to 80 km in the car (the booking was only for a few days), I used up 15 per cent of the total charge and was left with 348 km of range. If we do a bit of quick math, the range went down by 67 km versus the 80 km actually traveled and that's with a healthy balance of city and highway commute. I even indulged in the sport mode a few times because it’s just that fun.
If 348 km of range represent more or less 85 per cent of the battery charge, the way I drove the car, this means I could probably get closer to 400 km of real-life driving out of it — in optimal conditions, of course. Factors such as weather and traffic will impact that range and you could either get less or more, but even by losing a few dozen kilometers to say winter conditions, this remains an interesting number to consider. It doesn't happen very often but the actual number is better than the one advertised.
The Soul EV is fast charging compatible as well which can allow you to get a full charge in an hour or so on the Limited — the Premium will take a little less. At home, using a regular socket, a full charge will take up to 59 hours — it could be worth considering having a level 2 installed at home if you choose to commit to electric vehicle ownership.
On the inside, the proportions are the same as in the regular Soul which results in a comfortable daily commuter. It easily navigates an urban setting while providing a practical space perfect to give friends a ride or to carry small cargo. Interestingly, unlike some of its competitors, rather than creating a "thematic" interior design, Kia chose to adapt the existing Soul's cabin to the needs of an electric powertrain.
No grey on beige interior gimmick meant to make the car feel like it’s as clean as it drives and that's something I really like about the Soul. Aside from the dial selector for the transmission that replaces the usual lever, the cabin of the Kia Soul EV looks like a "normal" car.
I mentioned earlier that the two available versions of the Soul also feature different motors and therefore receive different power figures. The Limited is rated at 201 electric horsepower and a surprising 291 lb-ft of torque—the beauty of electric powertrains! Trust me, a lot of fun can be had driving this car.
Electric cars might seem tamed due to their Gaia-friendly image but driving without producing emissions has its perks and you definitely get to take advantage of them in the Soul EV. Especially when you switch the mode over to sport in which case the throttle becomes more responsive and the car wakes up.
The Eco mode, on the other hand, makes the regenerative braking more aggressive, perfect for traffic situations to put all that going and stopping to good use.
New generation, new look, and better range: the 2020 Kia Soul EV now means business and offers one of the best electric ranges in an “economy” model on the market.
Model: 2020 Kia Soul EV Limited
Engine: Lithium-ion polymer battery, 356 Volts Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor
Transmission: Single-speed Reduction Gear, front-wheel drive
NRCan rating (L/100km city/highway): 1.9/2.5
Length: 4,195 mm
Width: 1,800 mm
Wheelbase: 2,600 mm
Weight: 1,754 kg
Price: $42,595 base, $53,490 as tested, including freight
Competition: Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona EV, Kia Niro EV
Standard equipment: Heated front seats, Heated steering wheel, Automatic climate control, Battery heating system, 10.25" multimedia interface with integrated navigation, AM/FM/MP3/HD/satellite radio, USB audio input and charging port, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Wireless phone charger, Steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Advanced smart cruise control (ASCC), Drive Mode Select, Paddle shifters for regenerative braking system, Smart key with push-button start, UVO Intelligence connected car services, Blind-spot Detection System, Lane Keep Assist System, Driver attention warning, Advanced forward collision-avoidance assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Rearview camera