Kia Soul EV

Styling

Since its introduction nearly a decade ago, the Soul has been characterized by its boxy style. It has an undeniable quirky charm—although admittedly it’s a polarizing design.

The 2020 model gets a visual upgrade. You see it in a front fascia offering slimmer lighting elements, sharper body creases, and a tapered rear-window treatment (instead of the outgoing model’s odd, trapezoid window shape). The 2020 model is two inches longer with a wheelbase that also adds an inch. The new version retains its width and height.

The Kia Soul has the least traditional and most playful style among the emerging affordable, long-range EV models. The Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro look similar to most crossovers, while the Chevy Bolt has a stubby appearance. Of course, the stylish Tesla Model 3 (often selling for higher dollars) has the sportiest look.

For added fun, you could opt for two-tone paint job offsetting the hue of the body with an accent color on the roof. The Kia Soul EV comes standard with five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.

The cabin is made up of whimsical shapes. You can grab more attention on the inside with customizable, colorful, glowing ambiance themes. The 2020 Kia Soul EV’s interior is better equipped with high-tech gear. Gear-shifting happens via a rotary knob while a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen, embedded in an oval space, controls key functions. Large glossy black elements are used on the dash and center console—and textured trim adorns the on door panels. Reviewers consistently praise the Soul for excellent visibility.

Performance

The outgoing Kia Soul EV was not exactly a speed demon given its need for more than 11 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. The 2020 iteration cuts that down to 7.2 seconds thanks to a 201-horsepower motor, which also puts 291 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. You’ll find similar specs for the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Kia Niro EV, as well as the Chevy Bolt.

As with its predecessor and sibling models, you can choose from four driving modes—Eco, Eco+, Normal, and Sport—to modulate between maximizing range or driving engagement.

The low center of gravity and responsive steering make for a fun ride. Handling and better management of roadway bumps are reported in early reviews—due to a change from a rear-beam axle to a multi-link setup.

Reviewers of the pre-production 2020 Soul EV also point out that noise from the motor and road intrudes into the cabin more than on competing models. A Sci-Fi tone is used for pedestrian warning outside the car while traveling at parking-lot speeds.

The 2020 Soul EV comes standard with a decent package of assisted driving, including adaptive cruise control at all speeds, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and active lane-keeping.

Kia Soul EV

Efficiency/Range

The 2020 Soul Electric is officially rated to provide 243 miles of driving range. That’s a giant increase from the 2019’s range of 111 miles. The new version is also more efficient with a combined city/highway rating of 114 MPGe.

The improvement in the range comes by virtue of a 64 kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled battery—the same pack that gives the Kona Electric its 258-mile range and the Niro Electric its 239 miles.

To help the Soul achieving promised range throughout the year, the Soul offers a cold-weather package that adds a heated steering wheel and an ability to warm the battery while the car is plugged in. Heated seats already come standard.

Charging

To keep up with the latest charging technology, the 2020 Kia Soul Electric now uses a 7.2-kW onboard charger and a CCS quick-charging port capable of taking up to 100 kilowatts.

This equipment means home-charging via a 240-volt charger should add nearly 25 miles of range in an hour. When 100-kW quick chargers can be more readily found—they are still being installed throughout the country—you can bring the Soul EV from 20 to 80 percent state-of-charge in about 45 minutes. Using an existing 50-kW charger takes nearly twice the time.

Kia Soul EV

Passenger/Cargo Room

The Soul’s cabin, which seats five, is roomy for its class. The 2020 version adds an extra half-inch of rear legroom. Reviewers rave that the interior packaging is exceptional with rear seats and cargo space described as “huge.”

The Kia Soul earns high points for comfort and use of high-quality materials. The seats provide excellent support. The rear seats split 60/40 to offer greater versatility for carrying cargo.

Kia Soul EV

Price

Official pricing for the 2020 Kia Soul Electric will be announced prior to going on sale in fall 2020. We expect a starting price of around $36,000—so that it slightly beats the price of the Kia Niro Electric and Hyundai Kona EV.

Like those two sibling electric vehicles, availability will be limited to about a dozen states. The list will most likely be California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Unfortunately, Hyundai-Kia has not been producing its electric cars in quantities that meet demand (partly due to higher-than-expected popularity combined with reportedly limited battery supply). Therefore, if you're interested, we suggest getting on a waiting list at a local dealership as soon as possible and then expect to wait for your desired color and trim.

Kia Soul EV specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $36000
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Electric Vehicle
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 243 miles pure electric
Battery size: 64 kWh
Charging rate: 7.2 kW

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