If you’ve read our round-up of reviews on Ford’s Focus Electric, you’ll know that simply replacing a petrol engine with electric workings doesn’t always make for a successful electric vehicle (EV).
However, Kia’s Soul EV – the brand’s first ever all-electric car – proves that it can be done. Yeah, if you came here wanting to know if the Soul EV is any good then that was a bit of a spoiler so we may as well come out and say it, this is one of the most enjoyable electric cars on the market right now.
Its boxy exterior makes it an instant no for some motorists but for those still on board, the Soul’s right-angled frame is a jaunty bonus.
The Soul EV has been on sale for a couple of years now, and like the Leaf, it is one of the more visually striking, but what do the elite of UK motoring journalism think?
Autocar gave the electric Soul a middling three stars. They liked how it comes with the same seven-year warranty offered on any other Kia model, something that would help reassure buyers sitting on the fence.
They also looked fondly on how Kia had done more than just bolt in electric workings and had carried out physical changes to make it more lighter and aerodynamic, such as restyling the front end and blanking out the front grille.
With a 10.8-second 0-62mph sprint possible from its 109bhp electric powertrain, the Soul EV delivered a compelling, dynamic, smooth, torquey and quiet drive, Autocar said.
However, they felt the whole package felt a bit dated, with the likes of VW’s e-Golf and Merc’s B-Class Electric Drive surpassing it even before launch.
The Soul EV’s 132-mile range is also small change compared to the 250 miles possible in the new Renault Zoe.
Auto Express (AE) was kinder, awarding it four stars from a possible five and describing it as near faultless.
One major drawback though was its limited mileage range, and during longer trips, they suffered serious range anxiety, with the thought of becoming stranded with an empty battery being a constant worry.
During their long-term test, AE rarely left the M25 which is ideal because central London has plenty of charging points. They described it as a ‘Zen’ car due to its relaxing nature out on the road. However, they added that the peace was smashed when the range dropped because the car constantly reminds you of the low range every 30 seconds whenever battery capacity falls below 25 per cent.
The Telegraph’s Chris Knapman also bemoaned the car’s range, musing that the Kia Soul EV would be ideal for anyone who lived on a tiny island like Jersey. He did say it was “really quite pleasant to drive” and liked the nicely appointed interior.
CarWow.co.uk rated it 7.6 out of ten and labelled it as an ideal second car. They praised its low running cost and its well-equipped cabin, but were less impressed by its heavy nature and expensive entry price that exceeds £30k.
It’s impossible to hate the Soul EV. Out on the road, it has buckets of personality and its lofty driving position makes it unique.
But with such a high asking price, it’s just tough to recommend ahead of electric rivals like the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.