The 2020 Soul EV aims for efficiency rather than excitement.

The 2020 Kia Soul EV was unveiled only a few months ago, but the upgraded model is getting close to launch. The South Korean automaker has made several major improvements over the first generation Soul EV. The most obvious is the drastically improved range.

The 2020 Soul EV will arrive with 2 battery pack sizes globally. The short range model sports a 39.2 kWh battery. Unfortunately for budget buyers, that version will not be made available in the United States. Only the long range 64 kWh version will be available here.

The Car Guide was recently given the opportunity to take the 64 kWh model for a full day test drive. The publication took the vehicle when it was 98 percent charged, with the display estimating 399 kilometres (248 miles) of range. This lines up well with the official EPA rating of 243 miles.

Reviewer Gabriel Gélinas says "At the end of the day, the 2020 Kia Soul EV puts range anxiety issues to rest with its larger 64-kWh battery (...) It’s perfectly suited to hauling passengers and would actually make a great taxi."

The Soul EV is peppy at 201 hp and 291 lb-feet of torque. There is no shortage of power for navigating heavy traffic and merging or passing at highway speeds. One pedal driving can be activated as one of four regenerative braking modes.

Charging is mostly typical for this type of vehicle. A completely depleted battery can be recharged at home in 9.5 hours with a Level 2 EVSE. On the road, the Soul EV can reach 80 percent charge in 75 minutes at a 50 kW fast charger. More exciting is the ability to utilize newer 100 kW stations for a 54 minute charge time.

Kia Soul EV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia Soul EV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show

The Soul EV is lacking in the handling and ride quality categories.

Gabriel says not all is perfect with the Soul EV:

On twisty roads, the car’s weight (1,682 kilograms) directly affects handling. What’s more, steering is fairly light and lacks feedback. (...) Like most electric vehicles, which carry more weight than comparable gasoline-powered models, the 2020 Kia Soul EV struggles at times with bumps and other road imperfections, compromising ride quality.

Thankfully, the interior is comfortable despite the large pack size. The vehicle's rear seats offer passengers plenty of leg room. Although cargo capacity is lower than the gas powered model at 315 liters (~11 cubic feet) or 1339 liters (~47 cubic feet) with the rear seat folded down.

Of course the main issue for many North Americans will simply be finding the vehicle at a dealership. Kia and Hyundai have failed to adequately stock their electric offerings like the Niro EV in the United States. Hopefully this trend changes following the launch of the 2020 Soul EV.

To read the full test drive, check out the link below.

2020 Kia Soul EV

Gallery: New Kia Soul EV Says Goodbye To Range Anxiety: Test Drive Notes

Source: The Car Guide