Kia Soul EV Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Good news: it’s like an e-Niro, only a bit more interesting

Good stuff

Long range, comfortable, controversial looks

Bad stuff

Boot isn’t big enough, controversial looks


What is it?

Almost everyone who bought the last Kia Soul got the one with an actual engine. Until, that is, the last year it was on sale. In 2018 Kia sold more Soul EVs in Europe than it did petrol and diesel ones combined. So while elsewhere in the world the Soul is still available with a normal petrol engine, in Europe it’s electric only.

Under the, erm, polarising body lives the same powertrain you get in the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric. And like those two cars, the Soul EV seems like good value given it costs the same as a top-spec Mini Electric – around £34,000 post £3,000 Government grant – yet claims a massive 280 miles of range and better efficiency than “Europe’s current best-selling electric vehicle” (otherwise known as the Nissan Leaf). If you want to go much further on a single charge, you’ll need a vastly more expensive Tesla Model 3 Long Range.

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The Soul is even pretty brisk – with 201bhp and 291lb ft (for what it’s worth that’s vastly more than the old Soul EV) it’ll do 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds and hit 104mph. Charging is quick too – the standard Combined Charging System (CCS) means you can use 100kW DC fast-chargers that top the battery up from 20 to 80 per cent in just 42 minutes. A full charge takes 9hrs 35mins on a typical 7kW domestic wallbox.

You might have noticed the Soul is a crossover, because everything is nowadays, with a 30mm longer wheelbase and 80mm longer body than the old car. That makes it about the same size as the Hyundai Kona – a bit longer and taller than a Ford Puma or Renault Captur, but some way smaller than the more practical, plainer Niro.

There’s only one spec for the moment – the ‘First Edition’ – and it gets everything. We suspect more lowly trims will be along soon, sacrificing equipment for a lower price of entry.  

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Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

Good news: it’s like an e-Niro, only a bit more interesting

It’s a very good car, the Soul EV. And now it has a useful 280 miles of range thanks to the impressive drivetrain it shares with the Hyundai Kona and Kia e-Niro, we don’t think Brits will miss the petrol model all that much. Our criticism of the e-Niro has always been that it’s a bit boring – a clever if uninteresting item. The Soul adds a bit of personality, with a funkier interior and controversial styling, but sacrifices practicality. As they’re basically the same price, it’s a straight choice.

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