Getting a long electric range is important if you plan to buy an EV. You certainly don’t want to suffer from range anxiety, and every extra mile an electric car can take mean another mile you can go without burning gasoline in your car. Well, the 2018 Kia Soul EV gets an extra few miles this year thanks to its new energy-rich battery, bringing a maximum of 111 miles from the previous 93 miles.
That’s good news for range-conscious, but it is still less than other EV ranges such as the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and VW e-Golf. And like other EVs not named Tesla, the Soul has less than half the Chevrolet Bolt 238 miles estimated of all-electric range.
However, if you’re planning to stay within the city, have a second car, or don’t plan to go very far, the 2018 Kia Soul EV offers a lot that you might like. For starters, it has more style and character than the Bolt and most other EVs. Like the gasoline Kia Soul which it’s based, it offers a unique and handsome exterior, stylish cabin, and a body style that is quite reminiscent of a small SUV. This is certainly a more convincing crossover substitute than the Bolt. You also get a plenty of passenger and cargo space, and of course many features for your money.
In the end, the same things that make the regular Soul so attractive also apply to the EV, and if the range is not everything, we think it’s worth a try.
For 2018, the Soul EV gets a new, more energy-rich battery pack, which increases its range from 93 miles to 111 miles.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Kia Soul EV is an all-electric version of the subcompact SUV Soul. There are three trim levels: the base EV, EV-e and EV Plus (+). All come with plenty of standard equipment, though the top trim luxurious extras could be worth the extra bucks.
The Soul EV-e comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, a DC fast-charging port, LED running lights, automatic headlights, heated mirror, keyless ignition and entry, rear privacy glass, a pedestrian warning system, automatic climate control, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, two-level heated front seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split folding back seat, multiple steering modes (Normal, Sport and Comfort), a 5-inch color display, one USB port, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a media player interface, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The base EV adds better-looking 16-inch wheels, mirror turn-signal indicators, HD radio, an 8-inch touchscreen interface with navigation, 3G Wi-Fi and Uvo Eco services, which includes an app that allows you to lock and unlock doors, find a charging station, monitor the car’s charge, and adjust the in-car climate before you leave.
The EV Plus (+) adds foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a cargo cover, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, three-level heated and ventilated front seats, a faux-leather-trimmed dash, and heated outboard rear seats. Only for the Plus is the Sun and Fun package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, speaker lights and LED interior lighting. A battery-heating system is also available in Washington, Oregon and other eastern states.
The front-wheel-drive 2018 Kia Soul EV is powered by a 375-volt electric motor and 30-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. Together this combination produces a total output of 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. There are two basic drive modes, Drive and Brake; the latter provides more aggressive regenerative braking when lifting the gas pedal, maximizing the range by converting the car’s forward momentum into energy for the battery.
In performance testing, the 2018 Kia Soul EV accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds, which is equivalent with similarly priced all-electric competitors. EPA estimates the Soul EV range at 111 miles and from a mile per gallon equivalent estimate of 108 MPGe combined (124 city/93 highway), which is quite good for the class. The Soul EV will use 31 kWh of electricity per 100 miles driven, which is roughly average for the segment (the lower the number of kilowatt-hours used, the better).
All 2018 Kia Soul EV comes with a 6.6-kW onboard charger and dual grille-mounted ports. On 240-volt AC power, a full charge from empty takes less than six hours. The standard quick-charge DC port enables a charge from empty to 80 percent capacity in claimed 33 minutes or 94 percent in 43 minutes.
With expressive style details and a modern look, the 2018 Kia Soul EV cabin offers a nice balance between function and form. Interior materials have a higher quality than you expect from a car in this price range.
Controls and gauges are placed logically and easy to use. In addition to improving sound quality, the optional Infinity audio system includes an illuminated trim ring for speakers that reflect your music beats. It’s a bit of a ruse, but we have the feeling some Soul EV buyers will find it kind of fun.
Because the Kia Soul was designed from the start with electrification in mind, it did not suffer losses in terms of trunk space. There are 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, rising to 49.5 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down. This is better than most, although the VW e-Golf is roomier with 22.8 and 52.7 cubic feet. Because the Soul EV battery is placed below the rear passenger area, headroom and legroom are less than the regular model, but not to the level that many passengers will notice.
Release Date and Price
Official pricing for the Soul EV-e begins at $32,250 (include $895 destination charge). The base EV trim is priced at $34,845, while the EV Plus at $36,845.