The good the bad and the misleading of Kia Soul EV
February 1, 2017
If your intention is to drive a very comfortable electric vehicle around town or on VERY short trips -- then this would be a great car for you. I've owned the Soul EV for a couple of years and think that, overall, it's a very solid car. I'm tall, and this car has more headroom that most other cars - EV or otherwise. The interior is nicely appointed with comfortable (heated and cooled) leather driver and passenger seats, a large, easy to follow touchscreen and voice accessed GPS system, three different settings for how the steering performs and several other positive elements. It even has decent leg room for people in the back seat. The storage space in this hatchback is pretty limited, but fold down the backseats for extra room when you need it and you should be fine. The sounds system is just OK -- certainly not high-end, but not bad, either.
As for performance -- well, here's where I ding this car. In addition to the above, I went with the Kia Soul because I was told it would get at least 90 miles to a single charge. And at first, when I got the car, the charge actually went up to 106 miles. After that however, the mileage distance kept shrinking, and now after a full charge is says 83. This is still better than some other EVs on the market, but not what I expected. Now, here's the real deal when it comes to evaluating mileage claims on the Soul EV. If you drive 35-40 miles an hour, you'll get achieve the 90 miles and maybe more. But if you're like a normal owner, you'll also take the vehicle on the freeway/highway - and at 65 MPH, you will NEVER get close to the 90 miles advertised. For example, I live approximately 32 miles from San Francisco International Airport. Starting with a full charge of 85miles+, when I get home, I will have 7-10 miles or less of power still available. However, if I happen to get caught up in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the vehicle will perform much better, and I'll end up with 25-30 miles remaining.
If Kia would invest in better battery technology (ala Tesla) this vehicle would be fantastic. It's actually surprisingly quick off the line and very smooth at freeway speeds.
So, if you want -- and can afford -- an EV to take longer drives, buy or lease a Tesla. If you want to stay pretty close to home and want to feel good about helping the environment, then you can get this vehicle and show a little "Soul."