2020 Kia Soul EV first drive review: More style, more range, more fun

    In the previous few months, we have examined Kia’s new Niro EV, in addition to the brand-new 2020 Soul. Both vehicles are nice. These are two of essentially the most likable merchandise in Kia’s US lineup. Combine one of the best attributes of each, and also you get the 2020 Soul EV.By now, you have probably seen the 2020 Kia Soul, with its contemporary tackle the mannequin’s boxy design. The slim lighting components and sharper edges give the Soul a bit extra curb attraction, and the upright hatchback solely grows marginally on this new era.Every Soul EV will get the full-LED entrance lighting remedy from the gas-powered, GT-Line trim. That means LED headlights built-in up high, whereas bigger openings flanking the grille home the foglights and switch alerts — once more, all LED. Around again, the Soul EV will get LED taillamps and a small “Eco Electric” badge on the underside proper nook of the hatch.All Soul EVs experience on model-specific, 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 215/55-series Nexen N’Priz AH8 all-season tires. Just just like the common Soul, the EV might be out there in a spread of shade choices, together with seven two-tone selections.Inside, the EV replaces the usual Soul’s gear lever with a shift-by-wire digital unit, just like what you get within the Niro EV. It takes just a little little bit of getting used to, however definitely is not difficult. Aside from that, the 2 Souls’ interiors are just about equivalent, with the identical comfy seats, a lot of head- and legroom and nice fit-and-finish all through, even on my preproduction check automobile.Aside from the digital gear shifter, the Soul’s inside carries over unchanged for EV responsibility.
    On the infotainment entrance, the EV will get the identical 10.2-inch touchscreen as different Soul fashions, operating Kia’s newest UVO software program. Navigation is customary, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The split-screen setup is comparatively simple to make use of, with no lag in response whenever you press icons or swipe by means of screens. It’s not the prettiest system on the market, however everybody at Roadshow frequently praises UVO for being so darn simple, and the brand new Soul EV’s setup is not any totally different.Because of the battery packaging, the EV provides up a little bit of cargo capability in comparison with the common Soul, however its form means this hatchback remains to be a lot practical. Official US specs have not been launched simply but, however beneath the German VDA measuring system, the 2020 Soul EV is claimed to have 47.3 cubic ft of bags house with the rear seats folded. The US-preferred SAE measurement will probably be just a little greater, nearer to the 49.5 cubic ft of the last-generation Soul EV. Yes, the 2020 Soul is just a little bit larger than its predecessor, however the EV’s battery has additionally grown considerably, which means it takes up extra room beneath the cargo flooring.The larger battery in query is the 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit from the Niro EV — an enormous enchancment from the 27-kWh pack that powered the outdated Soul EV. An electrical motor sends 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque to the entrance wheels by means of a single-speed transmission, which makes the 2020 Soul EV decently fast. Kia estimates a 7.6-second dash to 62 miles per hour, and with all that on the spot electrical torque able to go at a second’s discover, this factor actually scoots.The Soul EV’s 10.2-inch touchscreen runs Kia’s glorious UVO infotainment interface.
    As for the all-important driving vary, the Soul EV is extraordinarily aggressive. The EPA formally charges the Soul EV at 243 miles of vary, which bests the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles), Kia Niro EV (239 miles) and Nissan Leaf Plus (226 miles). Only the Hyundai Kona Electric can go farther than the Soul, with its EPA-rated 258-mile vary. As at all times, your mileage might range, however in my expertise, I’ve had a neater time reaching the EPA-estimated vary in Hyundai and Kia EVs than I’ve in its opponents. Kia says it’s going to provide the Soul EV with a chilly climate package deal, too, which features a battery heater to assist forestall important vary loss in frosty climates.Since its battery pack is ripped from the Niro, so too are the Soul EV’s charging instances. On a 240-volt Level 2 charger, you will totally cost the battery in 9 hours and 35 minutes. Move as much as 50-kilowatt DC quick charging, and you will get an 80-percent replenishment in 75 minutes. If you could find a 100-kilowatt DC charger, shorten that point to 54 minutes. And if you happen to really feel like kicking it tremendous old skool and need to cost your Soul EV from a daily 110-volt family outlet, you’d higher cancel your weekend plans — it’s going to take a full 63 hours.Interestingly, Kia will provide a shorter-range model of the Soul EV in different markets, powered by a 39.2-kWh battery. This “midrange” Soul, as Kia calls it, provides 134 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, and a spread of round 154 miles. A Kia consultant informed me “the final decision hasn’t been made” about whether or not or not this feature might be provided within the US, however I would not maintain my breath.With on the spot electrical torque and nimble dealing with, the Soul EV is a blast to drive.
    Driving the Soul EV is a well-recognized expertise, and a superb one at that. The Soul provides an upright seating place and nice sightlines from all angles, and its compact dimension means it is easy to maneuver once I take it for a drive throughout morning rush-hour visitors in Seoul, South Korea. Power supply is instantaneous and plentiful, and the general experience high quality is comfy and compliant.On extra attention-grabbing roads within the hills by means of the Korean countryside, the Soul EV reveals a playful demeanor. It’s about 140 kilos lighter than a Niro EV and sits barely decrease to the bottom, and makes use of a faster steering ratio — 12.8:1 in comparison with 13.3:1. This all makes the Soul EV a bit extra enjoyable to drive, with higher turn-in response and barely flatter cornering. It’s an pleasant steer.The Soul EV has the identical driving modes as its Niro sibling, with Normal, Sport, Eco and Eco+ settings. Normal and Eco really feel most acceptable for normal commuting, although I really like the best way Sport mode heightens throttle response. (Flooring the Soul EV in Sport mode doesn’t get outdated, belief me.) Paddles on the steering wheel activate totally different ranges of brake regeneration, with the utmost Level 3 providing for the type of one-pedal EV driving traits that many individuals (myself included) love. That stated, the Soul will not regeneratively brake to an entire cease like another EVs, although if you happen to press the Auto Hold button on the middle console, you’ll be able to let go of the brake whenever you’re stationary.An entire mess of superior driving aids come customary on the Soul EV, making life just a little simpler behind the wheel. You get adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go performance, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, lane-keeping help and pedestrian detection. The solely lacking amenity is steering help, one thing the Nissan Leaf provides as a part of its ProPilot tech.Soul EVs get full-LED lighting, although the location of the charging door is type of bizarre off-center on the automobile’s nostril.
    Even so, I might a lot fairly have the Soul EV over the Leaf Plus, and never simply due to its longer vary. The Soul is just an all-around extra attention-grabbing product, from its higher driver engagement to its well-appointed cabin and attention-grabbing design. I might have it over a Chevy Bolt and Hyundai Kona Electric for a similar causes.Even the Niro EV would not pose a lot of a risk, to my thoughts, which is essential since Kia will promote the 2 fashions alongside each other. The compact hatchbacks provide comparable inside house, with the Niro providing barely extra cargo room. But the Soul nonetheless wins for its higher onboard tech, to not point out its extra spirited on-road nature.Pricing might be out there nearer to the Soul EV’s Stateside arrival later this yr. Expect it to start out someplace between $35,000 and $40,000 earlier than out there incentives, which is about par for the course.Of course, the large caveat is availability: Kia is simply planning to supply the 2020 Soul EV in a couple of dozen states initially, identical to the present mannequin. The plan is to finally provide gross sales nationwide, although, so preserve your fingers crossed. Considering how interesting the 2020 Soul is, Kia could be good to supply it to as many EV customers as attainable.The Soul EV is a significantly interesting EV.
    Editors’ observe: Travel prices associated to this characteristic had been coated by the producer. This is frequent within the auto trade, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from producers with a purpose to present scored editorial opinions, all scored automobile opinions are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial workforce are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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