Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld
2023 KIA SOUL EV
This week we are reviewing the 2023 KIA Soul EV Limited. Our vehicle was assembled at the Gwangju plant in South Korea and had an MSRP of 52095.00 CAD before incentives.
Fun Factor: 8
With an updated logo come some barely noticeable changes, such as the placement of the front logo. Kia removed the Soul logo on the C pillar. The interior is almost the same; the only significant change was the comfort of the seats. Engine still has the same 201hp electric engine that propels the Soul and its astonishing 291 lb-ft of torque. The Soul EV's suspension is much softer than its gasoline counterpart, trading some of its sportier feeling around corners in favour of a smoother ride.
Can it Family: 5
The Soul EV makes the most of its compact exterior by taking full advantage of its interior space; this helps it as a city family hauler. Our three kids were pretty snug in the back, with our son in a booster car seat. It would be more suitable for two passengers. The bolstering of the outer seats is comfortable and heated, a rare feature in this category. We tried the Limited variant and benefited from leather seats and heated and cooled front seats. The trunk is acceptable; it will suffice for your daily shopping needs.
We noticed the most significant change was to the overall electric consumption during the week, which was 15.7 kWh/100km. We saw the most significant drop in traffic or city driving, dropping as low as 12.9 kWh/100km. We also found it astonishing that driving the Soul at 120 km/h kept the usage under 16 kWh/100km. Finally, the 64 kWh battery was sufficient for all our weekly and weekend needs. We only recharged the vehicle on our last day to return the car fully charged, which was possible overnight using a level 2 charger.
The Soul EV Limited is equipped with a heat pump; longer routes in colder weather are easier to manage. This heating system consumes much less electricity than traditional heating systems found in older EVs. With an announced range of 383km, it is easy to travel to the cabin and back to the city without having any range anxiety, even in the winter months. During our test, the vehicle showed a maximum range of 454km; this is far from the announced range, and during some city driving tests, the mileage only dropped slowly compared to the distance we drove. Semi-autonomous driving worked fairly well, even if, at times, the vehicle was hugging the right lane a bit more than we would have liked.
The premium Harman Kardon® sound system is stellar; if the sound isn't enough to get you jamming, you can adjust the vehicle's interior ambient mood lighting to get you dancing. The interesting part is that the ambient light is set up to work at a stop; hence, it doesn't become a distraction while driving. The infotainment's 10.25-inch multimedia system is easy to operate and integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Thanks to the massive screen, you can set up a section to see your radio station without needing to flip out smartphone mirroring. We also see Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wireless now.
Car seat installation was a little more complicated as the ISOFIX ports were hidden underneath the seats and required us to play around with the latches to get them attached. Additionally, with the cold weather, the leather hardened and made the task even more difficult. You'll find 2 of these ports on the rear bench, meaning you can install 2 car seats. On the other hand, 3 rear anchor tethers are available, which are easily accessible. Toddlers can open the car doors without help; they are light and open effortlessly. It will also be easy for them to enter the vehicle; once inside, the belt buckles are only a grab away.
City Cruising: 10
Naturally, like most EVs, they shine in the city while everyone is burning fuel stuck in traffic with vibrations from the engine; the Soul EV is calming and quiet. It was satisfying to know that by accelerating and then letting the vehicle regenerate, coasting to a stop or braking, we recouped the power needed to accelerate thanks to the regenerative braking. The Soul's compact size makes it easy to navigate in smaller streets. Parking is often a joy as it will fit pretty much anywhere with the added benefit that most city centres now have dedicated parking spots where you can charge your EV while shopping.
Why would we buy the KIA Soul EV, or what we liked about it?
The standard warranty on the battery is 8 years/150 000km in Canada, quiet and relaxing drive; it can quickly recharge to 80%; quirky look and comfortable ride, ideal for small families or families who no longer need to bring a big stroller.
Why would we not buy the KIA Soul EV, or what did we not like about it?
ISOFIX ports are hidden; the KIA Niro would be more appropriate for larger families. The variant with the bigger battery only comes in the Limited trim hence missing out on features such as the heat pump.
KIA has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with KIA Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.
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