Kia Soul EV Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Tuesday 21st March


What is it like to drive?

The new Soul EV delivers vastly bigger numbers than the old one, which went on sale towards the end of 2014. We’re talking 84 per cent more power, 39 per cent more torque, 25 per cent more efficient battery tech’ and more than double the range. And £10,000 more expensive admittedly, but it’s a bigger, nicer, more useful thing now, and its price is more or less in line with competitors’.

201bhp means 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds – power is delivered smoothly and immediately, as you’d expect from an EV, often with a chirp of the front-tyres if it’s a bit slippery underfoot or if you’ve got a bit of lock on. Of course that’s not the most efficient way to drive – pilot the Soul a bit more conservatively and it rewards you with upwards of 4 miles per kWH around town, which is more than we’ve ever got from a Nissan Leaf. Naturally it’s not as efficient at higher speeds.

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Even with these more realistic WLTP range figures everyone uses now, EVs still rarely travel quite as far as their manufacturers claim on a single charge. But Kia/Hyundai get closer than most – drive thoughtfully (and sort charging the other end) and you could do a 250-mile non-stop trip in the Soul with only a mild level of panic as you near your destination.

The clever regenerative braking system from the Niro and Kona, which adjusts the level of regen based on traffic ahead, is back. No doubt it’s effective, but we’re not massive fans because it introduces a bit of unpredictability into the pedal. Happily you can let it do its own thing, or adjust the ferocity of the regen through four levels using paddles on the steering wheel.

And this is a comfortable car – it rides very well around town, though at higher speeds the body sometimes gets a bit out of sorts. Not that you’ll want to drive it quickly down a country lane, the steering doesn’t involve you in the process and besides, just think of what a quick blast would do to your indicated range. On the motorway you do notice wind- and tyre-roar, though that’s probably because you haven’t got an engine to listen to.

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