2015 Kia Soul EV Test Drive Review


It was only yesterday when Kia spilled the beans on the 2015 Soul EV.

This Redesign Has Soul Written All Over It - And a Tailpipe...Images of the Pure Electric Version Aren't Yet Available

This Redesign Has Soul Written All Over It – And a Tailpipe…Images of the Pure Electric Version Aren’t Yet Available

Here already is one of the world’s first test drive reviews, courtesy of the folks over at Autocar.

Before delving into that review, allow us first to remind you of the known specs for the 2015 Soul EV:

  • 109 HP
  • 210 Pound-feet of torque
  • 27 kWh lithium polymer battery pack
  • Target range of more than 120 miles (expect 90 or so for an official EPA rating)
  • Recharge in under 5 hours on 240 volt or in 25 minutes via quick charge (likely CHAdeMO, though Kia doesn’t specifically mention this)
  • 0 to 62 MPH in less than 12 seconds
  • Top speed of 90 MPH

Moving on…

The Soul EV weights approximately 440 pounds more than the ICE version.  The electric Soul rides on a modified version of the Kia Cee’d platform, though this platform was designed form the get go to eventually go electric.  Therefore, almost no interior space is lost by adding the battery pack, which slots in under the rear seats.

Autocar spent only a brief time behind the wheel of the Soul EV, so the review is limited in scope.

The 2014 Kia Soul Is All New (2013 to the right)

The 2014 Kia Soul Is All New (2013 to the right)

Here’s Autocar’s take on what the Soul EV is like:

“The key visual differences between the standard Soul and its electric sibling include: subtle aerodynamic tweaks, different lights, a revised bonnet and grille and low-rolling-resistance 16in tyres.”

“In the grille are two charging points, one each for standard and rapid charging.”

“The Soul EV prototype we drove was heavily disguised, but offered some hints as to the design and ambience of the new car. It has sharper, cleaner exterior styling than its predecessor and a more upmarket interior, albeit one that is more akin to the standard Soul than the futuristic Renault Zoe or Nissan Leaf.”

“It has bespoke dials and gauges, and there are some neat energy-saving touches, such as the option to turn off the climate control to empty passenger seats to conserve power. Forward visibility is mildly improved thanks to slimmer A-pillars.”

As for driving impressions, Autocar says this:

2014 (Left) and 2013 Kia Souls

2014 (Left) and 2013 Kia Souls

“The Soul EV moves quickly away from a standstill, and the smooth, linear power delivery and very light steering make it an effective tool for driving in built-up areas.”

“…It feels less at home on faster roads, where a lack of positive steering feel is evident and there’s surprisingly aggressive deceleration upon throttle lift off.”

“Although the regenerative system charges the battery, it means the Soul EV doesn’t cruise under its own momentum particularly effectively.”

“On the strength of this prototype drive, the Soul EV rides comfortably, absorbing road imperfections well, but feels a touch ponderous during faster cornering.”

Should you buy one?  Will you buy one?  Without a firm price, answering either of those questions would be rather ridiculous.  But if priced right, we’re thinking the Soul EV will be a hit, provided Kia decides to manufacturer it in volume.

Check out the whole review at Autocar

Categories: Kia, Test Drives

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

14 Comments on "2015 Kia Soul EV Test Drive Review"

newest oldest most voted

Strong regen is a plus, not a minus, though it does take a bit of adjustment to get maximum benefit from it.

I was going to say the same thing.

Having multiple options of regen is a huge plus

The Spark EV automatically turns on the brake lights when you remove your foot from the accelerator.

I understand that, on some of the higher regen modes, the Tesla Model S does too.

My i-MiEV, however, does not. Makes for fun times with tailgaters.

Control of ReGen strenght via steering wheel based paddles like Smart ED & VW e-Up would be welcome. Hopefully there will be some selection(s) other than maximum regen. Sometimes max. ReGen is wanted (on a hill), other times no ReGen is ideal in particular driving situation (coasting to distant red light).

The Cadillac ELR has steering wheel regen paddles.

(hit enter too quick)
But I was not aware that the Smart & VW had them.

In the Leaf, it’s not too hard to control anywhere from no regen to near max regen using the foot pedals and the “energy use” screen. This is good enough for me, but for a more typical driver, it sure would be nice to have easier control.

I’m the same way in my Volt in L-mode. I’ve got to the point where I know almost exactly when to let off the pedal to stop at a red light. That being said, regen paddles on the steering wheel would be a lot of fun (regen on demand). I also suggested Sport-mode on demand when I heard about the ELR paddles. Push for regen, pull for sport mode. Or maybe differ by Right & Left.

Regen paddles are a poor idea – one more thing to fumble with. Regen tied into the accelerator or brake pedals is much more natural and is a side effect of normal driving behavior. It sounds like Kia is doing the same thing as Tesla. I love regen control via the accelerator on the Model S. You have proportional control over regen braking, can find the coasting point easily and seldom need to hit the brakes at all. All with one foot. This also leads to a faster emergency stop because even before you hit the brakes, the car is slowing significantly as you move you foot to the brake pedal. You also have regen and brakes going at the same time. Model S drivers call this one-foot-driving.

Soul EV looks to have a conventional shifter. Mild lift regen in D, with added regen in L2, L1 (B2, B1) using shift selector would be sensible and intuitive. In my Fit EV replacement list, strong lift throttle regen would put the Kia Soul EV ahead of the Nissan LEAF, Fiat 500 and Ford Focus. 6kW on board charging puts it ahead of Chevy Spark EV. A mid 90 mile EPA would put it in front of all except maybe BMW i3 / Toyota RAV4EV / Mercedes B segment EV, all pricier. But is it as fleet a foot as a hip hop’n hamster to drive? “a touch ponderous” sounds less promising.

Pokey Hamster Mobile with no soul… 🙁

I’m still waiting for the SOUL EV to be available. I’ve read Oct -Nov 2014 time frame. Then we can see how the real world range and EPA test show the range. It could be a compact car leader. We will see .