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In-depth reviews

Kia Soul EV review - Electric motor, drive and performance

The Kia Soul EV offers a comfortable ride and plenty of oomph for everyday driving

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Electric motor, drive and performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Some electric cars lose momentum after 30mph, but that’s simply not the case in the Soul. It feels quick and punchy, even at motorway speeds, which allows you to merge with traffic with ease.

Regenerative braking handles the task of bringing the Soul to a halt, and you can adjust the rate of deceleration using the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. With practice, you’ll become accustomed to driving without the brake pedal.

There are four driving modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and Eco+. The latter sticks the Soul into maximum efficiency mode, to the extent that power is reduced and the air-conditioning is switched off. It’s a somewhat tortuous experience, but it could come in handy if you’re down to your last few miles.

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The Soul is a thoroughly pleasant car to drive. The steering is light, but not overly so. There’s a reasonable amount of body roll, but it’s kept in check. And the ride quality isn’t overly firm, which isn’t always a given in a heavy electric car. We did notice a bit of wind noise creeping into the cabin at high speeds, and you hear the whir of the electric motor under hard acceleration, but otherwise the Soul is a pretty relaxing car to drive. 

0-62mph acceleration and top speed 

The Soul uses a single electric motor to drive its front wheels, though the power output depends on the model you go for. The Urban version produces 134bhp and 395Nm of torque, while the Explore offers a beefier 201bhp but the same amount of torque. 

It might take the Urban 9.9 seconds to go from 0-62mph, but the instant torque from the electric motor makes it feel deceptively nippy, especially when you floor it at low speeds, which can cause the skinny front tyres to scrabble for grip. Top speed in this version stands at 97mph.

The Explore manages to complete the same benchmark sprint in just 7.9 seconds, and will reach a top speed of 104mph if you’re determined to lose your driving licence. Acceleration is still not hot hatch quick, but it’s still got plenty of oomph for everyday driving.

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