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Kia Soul EV Test Drive Review

Date: 18 November 2014   |   Author:

Kia readily admits the Soul EV is not going to do massive sales volumes with the UK expected to do between 100 and 200 units in its first year, but fleets are being courted for those numbers.

The Soul EV is the first electric vehicle for the Korean brand and it's a toe in the water ahead of Kia adding hybrids, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuelled vehicles on sale throughout out its range in the next few years.

Like with other EVs, there are some impressive tax advantages with nothing to pay in road tax or benefit-in-kind. The Soul EV has a slighter better range compared to the EV market leader, the Nissan Leaf, with an eight-mile advantage due to a higher density battery.

Another way Kia differentiates from other EVs is including a higher-powered 30amp wall box in the price, including installation, which can charge the car to 100% in five hours.

There are two cables included with the Soul EV so it can be charged at a standard home three-point pin plug which will take 12 hours and a fast charger compatible lead which will charge the battery from flat to 80% in 33 minutes.

There is one highly-specced model in the range and Kia has decided to follow the industry and sell the vehicle and the battery as one package, rather than split out the cost between the two. This should be positive news for setting a residual value, which has been notoriously difficult for pricing guides to do when the battery is not owned.

In most other ways, the Soul is much like other EVs on the market. It's nice and quiet inside, courtesy of the electric powertrain and while it's not as zippy from a standing start at the Leaf or BMW i3, it's swift enough to get you up to speed for city driving. The route BusinessCar took the Soul EV on was in central London so there was only one opportunity to accelerate up to 50mph, but there's no reason to believe it can't handle motorway driving.

The steering is quite light but it was handy for navigating through London traffic and there is a drive mode and brake mode, the latter takes gives you slightly harsher regenerative braking to recoup back to the battery.

There is some stiff competition in the market now for EV customers and while there are some differentiators with the Soul EV, the pricing means customers will be looking at all competitors with a magnifying glass. Those looking for an EV with the most value could look at the Renault Zoe. At £13,443 after the government plug-in car grant it's difficult for any other EV to get close and it's got a bigger boot than the Soul EV too.

P11D price           £24,995 including £5000 grant
Range            132 miles
CO2 (tax)           0g/km (0%)
BIK 20/40% per month       £0/£0
Service interval         12 months/10,000 miles
Insurance (1-50)         TBC
Warranty           7yrs/100,000 mls
Boost space (min/max)       281/891 litres
Engine size/power         90kw/109hp
Top speed/0-60mph         90mph/10.8 secs
On sale           November 2014


Solid proof of concept, but it's pricey