Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Ample performance, especially acceleration
  • Still good on faster roads
  • Instant torque and response from electric motor

The Soul EV is offered with just one ‘engine’ option – a 204hp electric motor, paired to a 64kWh battery pack. It’s a very strong combination, providing ample performance even for demanding drivers – and with 395Nm of torque, outright pulling power rivals a big diesel.

0-62mph in the Soul EV takes just 7.9 seconds, which is more than fast enough. It doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as performance does tail off over about 50mph. The car’s 0-30mph time – while less comparable – is incredibly quick, and you might find yourself embarrassing some hot hatchbacks away from traffic lights, if you're that way inclined.

Put your foot flat to the floor and the Soul EV will chirp its tyres, though Kia has engineered in a minute delay to the throttle that’s intended to give it slightly less immediate response. It works, too, and driving this car is a relaxing experience in and out of town.

The ample performance on tap means that unlike some more affordable electric cars, the Soul EV is relaxed even on faster roads and motorways. You’ll find that the instant response of the electric motor drops off at these higher speeds, but there’s still plenty of push in reserve for overtaking or lane changes. Adaptive cruise control makes it easy to maintain an efficient speed, too.

The Soul EV has an impressive range of 280 miles – or so Kia claims. In practice your mileage will depend on how you drive the car and more importantly, how fast. If the majority of your mileage is in towns, you could see as much as 300 miles of range in total. Travelling on motorways and A-roads, this will drop. In a week's give-and-take driving, we found that 250 miles is a realistic range when driving between towns on longer journeys.

Handling

  • Tidy and composed handler
  • Large wheels spoil low-speed ride
  • Light and easy to drive

Looking at the Soul EV’s boxy shape and tall dimensions, you might expect it to be a roly-poly handler. However, the low-slung position of the battery pack means it’s surprisingly composed in the corners.

The steering set-up is intended to be light and accurate, which means you can position the car easily on the road. But there’s little feedback of the road surface through the wheel, which isn't really an issue aside from in very slippery conditions. This is absolutely fine, however, and most drivers will appreciate the Soul being easy to drive in town than bemoaning its lack of finesse down a twisting B-road.

Unfortunately the ride also lacks a bit compliance and body control, as the large alloy wheels fitted do tend to patter over rough surfaces and give a slightly unsettled quality on anything but the smoothest roads.

Drivers can select from four distinct ‘modes’ – named Normal, Sport, Eco and Eco+. In our experience we’ve found its best to stick with Normal. Sport mode sharpens up the throttle response but at the expense of adding artificial weight to the steering – this feels cloying and unnatural. Eco and Eco+, meanwhile, reduce performance, ostensibly to improve efficiency. They just make the responsive Soul EV feel dead and lumpen, though.