Here’s our review of the 2015 Kia Soul EV, which is an impressive new entry in the electric vehicle segment. It also feels more refined than the standard Soul.
The Kia Soul is easily one of the best models in Kia’s lineup, which explains why it’s also one of the brand’s best-sellers. Its combination of style, fun to drive nature and low entry price should put it on any one’s shopping list. Now how well does it hold up if you take out the four-cylinder engine and swap in Kia’s first electric powertrain? Well it actually gets better.
The 2015 Kia Soul is Kia’s first foray into the electric segment that includes models like the Nissan Leaf, Focus Electric, Fiat 500e and newcomers like the VW e-Golf and BMW i3. Rather than spend millions of dollars to create a standalone model, like Nissan did with the Leaf, Kia decided to turn its most popular model into an electric car. That’s a great thing if you love the Soul, but want an electric car.
On the outside you’ll barely even be able to tell the difference between the Soul EV and its fossil fuel powered counterpart. Besides a slightly restyled grille, less sporty wheels, the white roof and a few other small tweaks, everything else is the same. Inside its even more the same with the only big difference being new gauges. Unfortunately the panoramic moonroof has also been deleted. The best part about the interior is the fact that there aren’t any compromises on interior space. The Soul EV’s interior is just as comfortable and roomy as the standard Soul. Even though it’s great that the Soul EV looks almost identical to the standard Soul, I wish it had better looking wheels and maybe a few other add ons to make it look a bit sportier. If BMW can manage to put 20-inch wheels on the i3 there’s no reason why the Soul has to make due with tiny, unattractive wheels.
How does it drive? Thanks to its quiet electric motor, the Soul EV is vault-like quiet. Since the sounds of the standard Soul’s gas engine and transmission have been deleted, the Soul EV feels even more refined and luxurious. Also thanks to the immediate torque that comes with an electric motor, the Soul EV is zippy around town, making it more fun to drive than the standard Soul. With 93 miles of driving range, the Soul EV will be able to go travel a few miles further than the Nissan Leaf. You can also recharge its battery up to 80 percent in 30 minutes if you plug it into a DC fast charger. On a more readily available 240-volt outlet it takes about four hours to recharge.
At the end of my week with the Soul EV I was impressed with how great Kia’s first electric car turned out. It’s not dorky looking like the Leaf and its much cheaper to get than the BMW i3. It’s interior is just as comfortable as the standard Soul and even though 93 miles of range isn’t anywhere near Tesla territory, it’s more than enough for the average city dweller.
2015 Kia Soul EV
Base Price: $33,700
Price as Tested: $36,525