2016 Kia Soul EV Hatchback (Review)

Without a doubt, the 2016 Kia Soul EV with an all-electric powertrain is the best looking all electric vehicle around with smooth on the road performance, a stylish interior and exterior, excellent handling,  incredible hatchback versatility, advanced technology, unique features, and an impressive estimated 93-mile driving range on a full charge. This remarkable range is mainly due to its 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, which gets its power from one of the two charging ports that are hidden behind a concealed panel in the front grille.

The Soul EV can be charged with either a 120-volt current, which takes a full day or 24 hours to fully charge/recharge the battery or a 240-volt current that fully charges the battery in about 5 hours. There is also a supercharge option available- a DC port 480-volt current that delivers an 80% charge from empty in only 33 minutes. The latter charging option is very hard to find, but Kia has equipped many of their EV dealership locations in the state of California with the more powerful DC charging ports, however, during my time in the Soul EV, I was unable to find any of the supercharged ports in my area. Kia has also partnered with companies such as Greenlots and Plugshare, which help Soul EV drivers find nearby charging stations.

Currently the Kia Soul EV is only available in about 10 states with California being the focal point and is offered in three trim levels- EV (base), EV-e (California only), and + (plus).

Standard features for the EV-e trim include- automatic climate control, a 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger, 16-inch alloy wheels, a 120-volt charge cable, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, a DC fast-charge port, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, cloth upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a height-adjustable driver seat, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and a 6-speaker sound system with a CD player.

The base EV trim is similar to the EV-e, but has some additional features, such as a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen with rearview camera, climate control, and an innovative UVO Infotainment System.

The Soul EV+ adds leather upholstery, fog lights, heated rear seats, aerodynamic windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seats, leatherette dashboard and console trim, a luggage net, a cargo cover, and a 12-volt cargo area power outlet. A Sun & Fun package that adds a panoramic sunroof and LED interior lighting is optional.

The front-wheel-drive 2016 Kia Soul EV is motivated by a 90-kW electric motor (109 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque). Energy comes from a 27-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. There are two basic drive modes- Drive and Brake; the latter provides more aggressive regenerative braking when lifting off the accelerator, maximizing range by converting the car’s forward momentum into energy for the battery. A separate Eco mode further promotes energy conservation.

Standard safety features for the 2016 Kia Soul EV include-stability and traction control, hill-start assist, side curtain airbags, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, a pedestrian warning system, brake assist, and front seat side airbags. The interior of the Kia Soul EV is modern with impeccable styling, high quality materials, plush seats, and a spacious front and rear cabin to accommodate five people comfortably, however compared to the regular gas powered Soul, there is slightly less interior head/legroom for taller passengers. Cargo space seems to be just as plentiful as it is with the regular Soul with 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats that can be expanded to 49.5 cubic feet when the 60/40-split rear seatbacks are folded down and an impressive 61 cubic feet when the undertray and cargo flooring is removed.

The all electric Soul EV actually feels more agile on the road than its gas powered counterpart due to the electric engine’s 210 lb. ft. of torque and lightweight materials.

Exclusive features that are only available for the Soul EV include a specially designed gauge cluster with an attractive display and an 8-inch touch screen that shows in perfect detail the status of the battery and power levels.

Those who are used to the features of the gas powered Soul might be a little disappointed that the Soul EV does not come with all the regular Soul’s extras, such as an upgraded Infinity sound system, a 10-way power driver seat, or xenon headlights, but if they were added to the Soul EV, the driving range would be compromised by the weight and energy use of these features.

The 2016 Kia Soul EV is a very easy car to drive with smooth on the road performance, quick maneuvering, and remains completely unperturbed at highway speeds, except for a little wind noise. Although the Soul EV does not have sporty handling, the stylish hatchback feels nimble when navigating around sharp corners and on curvy roadways.

In my opinion, I think that the Soul EV is better suited for drivers who live in a house with a garage rather than an apartment because it does take 24 hours to charge the Soul EV from a standard 120-volt household outlet and 5 hours to charge the vehicle from a 240-volt outlet that requires a special charger to be installed in a home. It is also difficult and time consuming to drive to another city or town to use a DC Fast Charger at a public charging station, which charges the battery to 80% in just 33 minutes.

If you have been looking for an all electric vehicle with a stylish exterior and interior, hatchback versatility, a roomy cargo area, advanced technology, and excellent handling with zero emissions, then the 2016 Kia Soul EV is the perfect choice.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, Reddit Contributor, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

 

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