4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

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

  • Only one trim level
  • Cramped boot
  • Rather bland and claustrophobic interior
  • More expensive than sister car

Kia Soul SUV rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

Kia might be one of the more ‘sensible’ car brands around, but the Soul is pitched as more of an emotional purchase. It’s a boxy SUV-style vehicle, but one that’s boldly styled and packed with quirky features – aimed at those who are willing to sacrifice a bit of practicality for the perk of standing out.

This time around, though, the third-generation Soul’s a bit different to its predecessors. That’s because it’s offered (in Europe, at least) exclusively as an electric vehicle. This is because the last Soul EV – based on the second-generation car – was a bit of a surprise hit for Kia, especially on the continent. This time around, the brand’s not bothering to bring combustion engines to our shores at all.

2020 Kia Soul EV rear three quarter

We think the EV drivetrain suits the Kia’s futuristic styling well, though, so it’s not really a hardship. Particularly when the change comes with a boost in power and range compared with the old car. The difficult thing for the Soul is how much competition it now has – from in-house rivals such as its e-Niro sister car, closely-related siblings such as the Hyundai Kona Electric or EV mainstays like the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3.

Faster and further than before

The Soul EV uses the same powertrain as its sister car, the Kia e-Niro – one of our favourite EVs. That means you get a powerful, 204hp electric motor (almost twice as powerful as the previous car) paired up to a battery that’s 64kWh in capacity. In laymans terms, that means the Soul EV will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 7.9 seconds and go for a claimed 280 miles on a single charge. These are very impressive figures for an affordable electric car.

This powerful motor – and the nature of an electric vehicle, namely full torque available from a standstill – means the Soul EV is a brilliant city car, perfect for zipping in and around traffic in serene silence, while also being fast enough to embarrass plenty of big, powerful cars at the lights.

The Soul EV is good to drive, too, even outside the confines of city streets. It handles well and is even enjoyable to chuck down a fast A-road – it’s far more agile than its boxy looks would suggest.

One well-equipped trim level

To go along with its sole powertrain choice, Kia’s offering the Soul EV in the UK in just one (albeit very well-specified) trim level. While this is a little bit of a shame – it means you can’t opt for a lower-spec model to save some cash – it’s difficult to argue with the level of equipment provided.

The dashboard is dominated by a large, 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. It’s wide enough to display two sets of information at once, and is provided with live sat-nav as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It’s mated to a good-sounding 10-speaker JBL sound system as well, so your tunes should have plenty of beef to them.

2020 Kia Soul EV interior

You also get leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, a reversing camera and LED lights front and rear, as well as a whole raft of safety equipment.

Not as spacious as its rivals

One thing the Soul does lack is practicality. You pay a steep price for that funky shape – the Soul’s boot is smaller than most superminis, at just 315 litres compared with over 450-litres for its sister car, the e-Niro.

There’s also less room in the back seats, though this isn’t such a big problem as they’re still upright and relatively spacious.

What’s more concerning is that the Soul EV works out to be significantly more expensive than its more practical sibling. While the cash price is slightly lower, monthly payments are higher – and the difference is even more stark compared to rivals such as the slightly older Nissan Leaf.

Does this sharply-styled Kia EV stir your Soul? Read on for the full review

Kia Soul SUV rivals

Other Kia Soul models: