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Long-term review

Kia Soul EV – long-term review

Published: 03 Jun 2021
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    64kWh First Edition

  • Range

    280 miles

  • ENGINE

    1cc

  • BHP

    201bhp

  • 0-62

    7.6s

Is our Kia Soul EV a practical car?

I have a standard test of a car's versatility: will a me-sized bicycle fit in the back? I mean laid down flat, with the rear seats folded. In most smallish hatches, I have to take the front wheel off. But the Soul will swallow it intact. I have to move the front passenger seat forward, but then in it goes. 

Don't worry, I rope the frame down to a lashing point because I'm keen to avoid being biffed on the back of the head by a bicycle in a sudden braking event. But two bikes won't go. The other day I went for a ride with my very good friend Col, some distance from our town. So I dug out my tailgate-mounted carrier. 

The Soul's very vertical tailgate and lack of an obvious bumper ledge meant the carrier rested slightly awkwardly, but it took the weight. Albeit I have to admit I drove fairly gingerly over speedbumps. No reason to tempt fate, eh?

But perhaps because of that vertical tail, it seems the bikes were in the car's wind shadow. They didn't badly effect the overall drag and electricity consumption. On the motorway I probably travelled only about 5-10mph slower than I otherwise might have.

On the subject of energy, the warm weather means it's using less. My most recent battery charge took me from home in North London to somewhere beyond Chelmsford and back, then on another day from home to somewhere beyond Guildford and back, and on another day from home to Oxford and back. And some intermediate local running about.

That's about 11 hours' driving. Two hundred and ninety miles. Then I just plugged it into a lamp-post two minutes' walk from my house, and it was fully recharged in the morning. At a cost of just £16. In other financial news, Kia has just cut the Soul's price, so it limboes under the new £35k grant threshold, while leaving its equipment intact. But then some tempting new electric opposition has been launched too.

OK, to 290 miles – the first time I've ever taken an EV beyond its WLTP range – it's important to remember that all the main arterial dual-carriageways out of London have over the past few years had their speed limits reduced and average speed cameras installed. So these journeys rather suit an EV. 

To return to the Soul's very vertical tail. Unlike in a fastback, it means the bottom of the tailgate swings dead backwards in the first part of its opening arc. So if you need access it's important to park with some space behind. I don't mind the look of that back end, and its shape-defining light-cluster outline. But the rest of it? I'm not so sure. It's the least crisp of all the three generations of Soul. 

Imagine you had an original Soul and you asked your kid what shape birthday cake they wanted. And they said 'our car'. You get something that looks like this one. It's only missing the candles on top. My wife disagrees. She says it's like Postman Pat's van, so I asked Liam our postman if he likes it. He does, actually.

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