2015 Kia Soul EV Wagon Review

As gas prices remain high and as concern for the environment increases, more consumers are desiring fuel efficient vehicles that help save money, eliminate the need to use gasoline, and reduce carbon emissions.

The 2015 Soul EV is Kia’s first and only all electric vehicle with a stylish exterior, advanced technology, strong performance, a comfortable interior, and incredible versatility. The four-door hatchback is spacious too with plenty of head and leg room to accommodate taller passengers and travels farther on a single charge than its competitors yielding an estimated 93 miles driving range. The extraordinary range is mainly due to the 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which receives its power from one of two charging ports that are hidden behind a sliding panel within the front grille. The vehicle can be charged with either a 120-volt current, which takes 24 hours to be fully charged or by 240-volt current, which takes about 5 hours to be fully charged. There is also a supercharger that delivers 480-volts and charges the Soul EV to 80 percent in only 33 minutes, but there not many superchargers available and only a small amount of Kia dealerships in California that offer them. There are none in my city and I would have to drive many miles to get the nearest supercharging station. Kia has a partnership with PlugShare to help people find nearby chargers, but from my experience in the city in which I reside, many of the charging stations are located in parking lots or structures that charge a fee and take many hours to charge up the Soul EV.

In states besides California, it is very difficult to find a charging station, which would make the Soul EV best suited for consumers who live in a house and can have a charger installed in their garage. Until more charging stations are installed in other parts of the county, the Kia Soul EV will be primarily available in California.

Cargo space is plentiful measuring 18.8 cubic feet, expanding to an impressive 49.5 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down and is not minimized by the battery under the floor. 61 cubic feet of space can be attained when cargo floor and undertray are removed. The Soul EV accelerates quickly due to the electric motor’s 210 lb. ft. of torque and is much quieter than the gas-powered Soul.

The 2015 Kia Soul EV is available in two trims- base and + or Plus.

The base trim comes equipped with standard features, such as- automatic climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels with covers, a 120-volt charging cable, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, cloth upholstery, rear privacy glass, a DC fast-charge port, a height-adjustable driver seat, keyless ignition and entry, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks heated front seats, an EV-specific gauge cluster with a multifunction display, smartphone integration with remote vehicle access, voice controls, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB audio interface, Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system, and a 6-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The Soul+ trim adds leather upholstery, aero windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, fog lights, premium leatherette dashboard and console trim, heated rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a 12-volt power outlet, a luggage net, and a cargo cover. A special battery heating system is optional for both trims.

Standard safety features include- a rearview camera stability and traction control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags, hill start assist, side curtain airbags, and a pedestrian warning system that emits a soft sound at 12 mph and under.

The interior of the Soul EV is very nice with a contemporary appearance that is similar to the gas powered Soul, but with a distinctive style that adds a glossy white trim throughout the dashboard area, a uniquely designed gauge cluster with a 3.5-inch display, and a large 8-inch touchscreen that shows the battery status, power movement, and other projected metrics.

On the road, the Soul EV is enjoyable to drive, easy to maneuver, and drives smoothly, however, the lack of a gas engine makes wind noise a little more noticeable at higher speeds. Because the Soul EV only has one speed, there is no need to wait for the vehicle to downshift like a gas powered model, instead it accelerates quickly and almost effortlessly.

Because there are not many charging stations available and it takes many hours to charge the Soul EV, I think the vehicle is better suited for drivers who live in a house, not an apartment, and have a garage to install a charger.

In summary, I like the Kia Soul EV and think that it is a wonderful all electric vehicle available at a starting MSRP of $33,700 and has more range than the Nissan Leaf.  The Soul EV is a high quality electric crossover that is fun to drive, stylish, and is eco-friendly with plenty of torque to get around town quickly and easily.

To find out more about the 2015 Kia Soul EV, please visit- www.kia.com

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