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Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
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Super cool crossover with improved performance and range

Kia Soul SUV (19 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
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PROS

  • Great design inside and out
  • More power than before
  • Improved ride and handling
  • Realistically usable range

CONS

  • Likely to be one trim only
  • Slower and less practical than e-Niro
  • Some hard interior plastic
  • Not much storage for rear passengers

PROS

  • Great design inside and out
  • More power than before
  • Improved ride and handling
  • Realistically usable range

CONS

  • Likely to be one trim only
  • Slower and less practical than e-Niro
  • Some hard interior plastic
  • Not much storage for rear passengers

Verdict

The Kia Soul is an enigma for the Korean maker – selling in huge numbers in the USA, where this Californian-designed car originates - but never quite emulating that success in the UK.

However, in Europe the previous car’s electric drivetrain proved a surprise hit, outselling petrol and diesel combined. So for this generation the Soul EV is a purely electric crossover for UK and continental buyers, putting it in direct competition with the VW e-Golf, Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona Electric.

We think the EV drivetrain suits the Kia’s futuristic styling though so that’s no hardship at all, particularly when it has been given a suitable hike in power and range compared with the old car.

Faster and further

There are two options and it’s not 100% clear which we’ll take in the UK yet, whether it’ll be the standard 39.2kWh car or the more powerful 64kWh version.

The latter is used already in the Kia e-Niro and promises a 7.9 second 0-62mph time and a real-world range of 280 miles – suitably more convincing than the 9.9 second, 172 mile lower-powered car.

Either way, torque is up to a very useful 395Nm which is accessible from the word go, meaning the Soul EV makes for a very decisive city car, helped by its compact proportions and sharper handling.

Sophisticated suspension

This time around the Soul EV features a multi-link rear axle for better handling and refinement, plus more use of lightweight aluminum in the suspension structure, and a faster steering rack.

Kia Soul EV 2019 interior

Altogether this makes the Kia much more agile and responsive, useful in city driving but also more enjoyable on faster roads, the likes of which you can now enjoy fully thanks to that boosted range and power.

Being an electric car the Soul EV is hushed in the cabin at low speed too, with a bit of drivetrain noise and wind rustle building up the faster you go.

One Kia Soul EV trim

The Soul EV’s standard equipment roster for the UK hasn’t been published yet, but Kia says there will only be one trim to choose from, and it’ll feature the off-road style SUV Pack.

This adds plastic mouldings to the front bumper, side skirts, and wheel arches, plus more pronounced roof rails, and we think it really enhances the look of the car.

Inside the Soul EV the dashboard features a new 10.25-inch touchscreen with customisable widgets and smartphone integration, complemented by a 7.0-inch driver’s screen with digital dashboard. The cabin looks great overall, free of button clutter and featuring an attractive wrap around design.

There’s a huge amount of safety and driver assistance tech on offer too, again we’re not sure what we’ll getin the UK, but indications suggest the Soul EV will be a stress-free car to drive.

Should I buy a Kia Soul EV SUV?

Boldly styled with boxy practicality and a futuristic drivetrain that works in the real world too, Kia should have a real hit on its hands here, as long as battery supply can keep up with demand.

Granted you can already get a similar car in the (more expensive) Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric but there’s something about the combination of design, tech and interior space that makes the Soul EV stand out – it feels like an electric car, rather than a conventional car converted to battery power.

We’ve said before that a 300 mile range feels like the tipping point for electric cars to start to find mass appeal, and providing Kia UK decides to sell the 64kWh version, the drivetrain is no longer a reason to pick a more conventional SUV over the Soul EV. It’s that good. 

If you’re keen orders will be open from the last quarter of 2019, with deliveries in 2020.

Kia Soul EV 2019 rear