Kia Soul EV – First Look

Kia have announced an EV version of their popular Soul – becoming in the process Kia’s first battery operated vehicle to be sold globally.

Kia have also become one of a handful of manufacturers offering a sole battery operated vehicle for purchase.

The Soul EV is the result of almost 30 years of research and development by Kia into the feasibility of electric cars. Now, with battery technology having reached a mature stage and emissions-based taxation providing an incentive for consumers to ‘go electric’, the time is right for the Soul EV.

The Soul EV has a fun-to-drive character. Its electric motor develops 81.4 kilowatts – the equivalent of 109bhp in a combustion-engined model – with 285 Nm of torque available immediately upon drive-away. This makes the Soul EV particularly brisk in the kind of stop-start urban driving where it is designed to operate. It is also extremely smooth and silent – so quiet that it is fitted with a Virtual Engine Sound system at low speeds in both forward and reverse gears to alert pedestrians and cyclists that it is in the vicinity.

The Soul EV has a top speed of 90mph and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 10.8 seconds, so it is perfectly capable of keeping pace with the flow of urban traffic. Of greater relevance, it accelerates on the move, cruises and tackles gradients with minimal power usage, which all contribute towards its long range. It can climb slopes of up to one-in-three.

The kit looks good too – see the below from Kia’s press release

“The Soul EV is available in a choice of two colour schemes – Caribbean Blue metallic with a Clear White roof, or Titanium Silver metallic. The interior upholstery in both cases is Grey Eco cloth with blue stitching, while the fascia panel, door inserts and gear selector are finished in High-gloss White. The instrument cluster housing, door inserts, steering wheel and gearshifter are trimmed in leather.

Standard EV features include an eight-inch touch-screen with European mapping, traffic messaging channel, reversing camera and charging point locator; automatic air conditioning with the driver-only function; heated front seats; a smart key with a motor start-stop button; projection headlights with LED daytime running lamps; front foglamps; privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate; 16-inch lightweight alloy wheels with super-low-rolling-resistance tyres; two charge points and the Heat Pump system. The car is also supplied with the wallbox charger and Virtual Engine Sound.

Also included in the standard specification are cruise control with a speed limiter, an electronic parking brake, front and rear electric windows, electrically folding adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicators, solar glass for the windscreen and front windows, automatic light control with a follow-me-home function, LED rear combination and high-mounted brake lights, a 3.5-inch OLED supervision instrument cluster with specific EV information display, a trip computer, front speaker mood lights, driver’s seat height adjustment, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and a luggage cargo screen plus retaining net.

In-car entertainment includes a DAB RDS radio with MP3 compatibility, steering wheel-mounted controls, USB and AUX ports and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming. Safety is taken care of by Anti-lock Brakes with Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, Emergency Stop Signalling, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring system and six airbags.”

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