'Kia Soul EV one of the best I have tested'

Hugh Maguire: finds the Soul EV has plenty to offer

'Kia Soul EV one of the best I have tested'

Let me start this article by stating where I am on the Electric Vehicle.

No one can deny its a good thing to reduce carbon emissions, re cycle and so forth.

However unfortunately a lot of the methods by which we need to do this have not been really thought out. Ever asked the true carbon footprint of an EV? Makes interesting reading!

Taxing people as in this months budget is not the way to go. Our government wants to see 1 million electric cars on the road by 2030! Not a hope! Why? Because as each time I road test an EV such as the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe or this weeks review the Kia Soul EV it rams home one simple fact.

The charging infrastructure is bloody hopeless. So instead of putting more “carbon taxes” on people this government need to get their act together and rapidly build a proper charging infrastructure if they want people to take up EV motoring.

The charging Infrastructure, or lack of it is the biggest reason not to buy an EV.

I found that when I needed to charge the Soul away from my home charge point I discovered inoperative charge points, had to drive 16 km on a low remaining range ( a nail biting experience) to find another one. It had two cars charging in it so it was full. (Two charge points in a huge shopping centre car park). I Found others in Dublin City permanently occupied by “Go Cars”. In short it was a miserable experience trying to find a suitable fast charger. That said if its still for you then the new Kia Soul is one of the best I’ve driven of late. Kia claim a range of 450km from a full charge. So lets see?

Two versions are available K2 and K3. Prices start at €35,995 including VRT relief and government grant.

So has it any street cred?

I like the strong bold lines of the new Soul. There are many detail design touches which I like such as the two colours, red roof and white body on my test car the snazzy alloys and really slim LED head lights. Its boxy but attractive and kinda funky.

Whats it like inside?

The interior reflects the funky exterior with more lovely detail design touches which combine to make the cabin of the new Soul a very attractive place in which to travel.

The Soul EV is well equipped with comfort, technology and safety features including Alloy Wheels, Bluetooth, Audio mood lamps, front fog lights, privacy glass, Cruise Control/Speed Limiter , climate control, digital radio and rear view camera .

I found the cabin to be very roomy with ample leg and headroom both front and rear.

Whats under the bonnet?

An electric motor powered by a 64 KW battery, with energy regeneration technology. The new Soul EV has a Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger. In short I tested it a few times and got from 18% battery charge to 60% in 38 minutes. Thats excellent! So what of the claimed range of 450km. Driving very carefully and without using the heater (each time I turned it on it cut the range by 18km) I got a realistic 368 km. Still a good result but a bit off the claimed 450km.

Whats it like to drive?

In a word. Silent! The Soul EV has bags of torque and accelerates rapidly. On the open road its refined. On the twisty stuff the weight does dull the handling a bit but its surefooted enough nonetheless.

The ride is reasonably firm over poor surfaces but feels just right. It offers a good blend of decent handling and good levels of ride comfort.

Verdict

The new Soul EV offers style, practicality, excellent levels of standard equipment and of course Kia’s unbeatable 7 year bumper to bumper warranty.

As electric cars go the new Kia Soul EV is quite simply one of the best around beating rival on range and rapid changeability.

The K3 version tested costs €37,995 after grant and VRT relief.