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.

 

2017 Kia Sportage SX AWD (Review)

The Kia Sportage is a stylish compact crossover vehicle that offers a lot more than the average SUV. It has a luxurious flair with a distinctive exterior and excellent driving dynamics. It is fun to drive, stylish, spacious, and affordable with upscale interior details, high-tech features, and excellent fuel economy.

For 2017, the Sportage has been redesigned with a bold new look, a variety of interior cabin upgrades, a new exterior inspired by a modern jet fighter design, and features a new engine that yields better fuel economy, making the new and improved Sportage an excellent choice and a great alternative to its competitors.

The new look includes stylish suspended headlights, LED foglight clusters, and is 1.6 inches longer than earlier models allowing for more head/legroom, and more space for easier entering and exiting the rear cabin. Cargo space has also been increased to almost 31 cubic ft.

Interior features of the 2017 Sportage are very nice with better, high quality materials and technology, comfortable seats, wireless phone charging, upscale trim elements, and more insulation to subdue road noise. The panoramic sunroof is broader and there is better visibility due to thinner supporting pillars.

The Sportage is available in three trims: LX, EX, and SX and comes equipped with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower, 177 lb. feet of torque, and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is good for the front-wheel-drive (FWD) model and yields an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, whereas the all-wheel-drive (optional) yields an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available and delivers 241 horsepower and 260 lb. feet of torque.

The base LX trim comes fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, 5 inch touchscreen display, cruise control, automatic transmission, streaming audio, Bluetooth, reclining rear seats, power windows/door locks, a tilt-telescoping steering column, rear privacy glass, USB/iPod interface, an AM/FM/CD stereo with 6 speakers, and air conditioning.

The Sportage EX trim adds additional features, such as- rear spoiler, automatic headlights, leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, a cooling glove box, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch touchscreen, rear backup sensors, one-touch driver’s window, fog lights, keyless entry, sun-visor illumination, Infinity audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, trip computer, heated front seats, a rear backup camera, UVO infotainment system, a power driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, WiFi hotspot connectivity, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The top-of-the-line SX trim comes equipped with a more powerful turbocharged engine that produces 260 horsepower and 269 lb. ft. of torque, HID headlights, push-button start with Smart Key, power-folding exterior mirrors, LED daytime running lights and rear taillights, better 19-inch alloy wheels, and voice-command navigation with a larger 8-inch color touchscreen.  An automatic opening liftgate, heated front seats, and a premium eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system are optional.

Additional features can be added to each trim level with certain packages. The Popular Package can be added to the base LX trim and adds a trip computer, rear spoiler, roof rails, a rear backup camera, UVO system, and rear backup sensors. The EX Premium Package adds leather seating, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, ventilated front seats, power-folding outside mirrors, and keyless entry with push-button start. The SX Luxury package adds ventilated front seats, a garage door opener, a panoramic sunroof, and leather interior.

The SX trim’s turbocharged engine is what makes it an ideal choice in my opinion, because it delivers an impressive amount of power on the road that is similar to higher priced luxury crossovers, but at a more affordable price.

Standard safety features for the Sportage include- standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 6 airbags (front, front-side, full-length side curtain), and active front head restraints.

On the road, the Sportage delivers a smooth ride, handles extremely well on various terrains, and feels nimble, even when travelling in heavy traffic and on busy highways. The interior is very quiet and spacious with ample head/legroom for taller passengers in both the front and rear cabin seating areas. The seats are supportive, comfortable, and provide enough cushioning for longer trips on the road.

Due to its firmer suspension and responsive steering, the Sportage is very engaging and with new interior features, smoother chassis, and a turbocharged engine on the SX model, it is even a more fun driving experience.

If you have been looking for a crossover vehicle that is stylish, spacious, inexpensive, fun to drive, offers a great value, and is versatile with solid on the road performance that is on par with many of its higher priced competitors, then I highly recommend taking a look at the new 2017 Kia Sportage.

To find out more information about the Kia Sportage, please visit- www.kia.com

2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX Sedan (Review)

The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid is a luxurious, midsize sedan with an upscale feel to it and smooth on the road performance that is reminiscent of higher priced luxury vehicles in its segment.  The Optima Hybrid comes in two trims- LX and EX and was completely redesigned a few years ago and now the new model is better than ever with changes that can be both seen and felt, helping to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics and fuel economy with the LX yielding 36 MPG in the city/38 MPG on the highway and the EX yielding 35 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway.

The Optima Hybrid EX comes equipped with a stout 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder hybrid engine that produces 199 horsepower and 235 lb. feet of torque. The engine is powerful, yet amazingly quiet. Acceleration is quick and getting up to highway speeds is easy, almost effortless.  The interior cabin is quiet as well with little to no road noise. The Optima Hybrid is one of the only Kia vehicles I have tested besides the K900 and Cadenza that possesses these qualities.

Standard features include- a 6-speed automatic transmission, 4.3-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, push-button start, a cooled glove box, and dual-zone automatic temperature control. My test vehicle came equipped with power-adjustable seats, leather seat trim, an Infinity Sound System, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera, HD radio, gloss black interior trim, a navigation system with an 8-inch touchscreen display power windows and door locks, SiriusXM Radio, and a panoramic sunroof.

Both trims come with standard safety features, such as- dual front advanced airbags, front seat mounted aside airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist control, and 3-point seat belts. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, rear view camera, and rear parking sensors, and an UVO System that includes roadside assistance and automatic collision notification are optional.

I tested the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX Sedan and I was very impressed with the luxurious and spacious interior, uniquely styled front grille, smooth on the road performance, and comfortable seating in both the front and rear cabin that feels a lot like an Audi A6 or Lexus ES 350. During the testing period, my daughter sat in the in the 2nd row and liked the design, spaciousness, and appearance of the vehicle. She is about 5’6 and thought the rear cabin was more spacious than a Nissan Versa and was amazed by how much legroom the Optima Hybrid EX offered.

The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX is the best midsize hybrid sedan I have ever driven with a sleek design, luxurious interior, advanced technology, and top notch performance for less than $38,000.

If you have been looking for a stylish hybrid vehicle that is both spacious and fuel-efficient, then I highly recommend checking out the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX.

To find out more about the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid, please visit- www.kia.com

2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan (Review)

The 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan is a luxurious 5-seat, midsize sedan with an upscale feel to it and smooth on the road performance that is reminiscent of higher priced luxury vehicles in its class.  For the 2015 model year are minimal and subtle with repositioned cruise control buttons to improve driver ergonomics and an upgraded UVO 2 system with additional features, such as speed alerts, geo fencing, and curfew reminders.

The Optima comes in five trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, and SXL Turbo.

All LX, EX and SX models come equipped with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 192 horsepower and 181 lb. feet of torque and yields an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The standard transmission is a 6-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission with manual shift control.

The SX Limited and SX Turbo trims come fitted with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 274 of horsepower and 269 lb. feet of torque. The additional horsepower is wonderful, but with it comes a decrease in fuel economy yielding 20 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The base LX trim features- fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM/CD stereo with 6 speakers, USB port, a tilt-telescopic steering column, air conditioning, power windows, mirrors/door locks, a 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment, remote keyless entry, heated outside mirrors with turn indicators, steering-wheel-mounted audio/Bluetooth controls, and cloth seating.

The EX trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch wheels, an 8-way power driver’s seat leather seats, push-button start with keyless entry, and rear-seat vents.

The SX trim adds bigger 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, a 4.3-in LCD display screen, metal foot pedals, metal interior accents, sport suspension, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The SX Turbo trim offers HID headlights, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a powerful turbocharged engine, and driver mode select.

The Optima SX has a powerful, yet amazingly quiet engine. Acceleration is quick and getting up to highway speeds is easy, almost effortless.  The interior cabin is quiet as well with little to no road noise. The Optima is one of the only Kia vehicles I have tested besides the Cadenza that possesses these qualities.

The top of the line SXL Turbo includes- chrome 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, power-folding outside mirrors, red brake calipers, an 8-speaker Infinity surround sound system, UVO 2 infotainment with a rear backup camera, navigation system, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, black-cloth headliner and pillar trim, a heated steering wheel, a 4-way power passenger seat, an electronic parking brake, Nappa quilt-pattern leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated rear seat, driver’s seat memory, and a panoramic glass sunroof.

There are trim-specific packages available, such as a Convenience Plus package for the base LX trim that adds UVO 2 eServices, an acoustic laminated windshield, and a 10-way power driver’s seat. Technology and Premium packages are available for the EX and SX trims, which add a navigation system, heated steering wheel, a panoramic glass sunroof, a blind spot monitoring system, rear backup sensors, a power passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory heated rear seats, and an Infinity audio system.

All Optima models come with standard safety features, such as- dual front advanced airbags, front seat mounted aside airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist control, and 3-point seat belts.

I tested the 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan and I was very impressed with the luxurious and spacious interior, uniquely styled front grille, smooth on the road performance, and comfortable seating in both the front and rear cabin that feels a lot like an Audi A6 or Lexus ES 350. On the road, the Optima provides a fun and enjoyable experience and the seats provide enough cushioning for longer trips.

The 2015 Kia Optima is one of the best midsize sedans I have driven with a sleek design, luxurious interior, advanced technology, and top notch performance for less than $25,000.

If you have been looking for a stylish and spacious vehicle that is fuel-efficient, comfortable, is fun to drive, and feels like a luxury sedan, then I highly recommend checking out the 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan.

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