Is The Soul EV Actually Kia’s Best Electric Vehicle?
Kia unquestionably makes some of the world’s most capable electric vehicle and it was already doing it before the arrival of the advanced new EV6. The manufacturer’s previous generation of electric vehicles, like the highly appreciated Niro EV, have been impressing owners and reviewers alike and it shares its underpinnings with the more controversial looking Soul EV.
This boxy EV was originally destined to be launched in the United States, but Kia changed its mind at the last moment (after initially confirming it for the US market) and decided not to offer it (you can only buy a gas-burning Soul in the States now). And after driving the Euro-spec e-Soul (exactly the same vehicle, just sold under a different name) immediately after driving the even newer EV6, I actually prefer the former and I’ll try to explain why.
First let’s talk powertrains and range. The EV6 can be had with two sizes of battery pack, and with the larger of the two available packs, it exceeds the 500 km (310 miles) mark on one charge. The e-Soul also gets two sizes of battery, but with the bigger of the two packs, the vehicle is only rated at 457 km (283 miles) and as I discovered driving it in winter, you can see it show almost 400 km (249 miles) even when it’s really cold out.
When I picked the car up, it was fully charged with the outside temperature being just barely above freezing. The vehicle showed up to 380 km of maximum range, which is an impressive number given the fact that the vehicle only has a 64 kWh battery pack.
The e-Soul proved quite efficient on the move too and with my sporty driving style (the vehicle was very frequently in Sport mode just because it was really fun to punch the accelerator) – the average by the end of my drive was around 24 kWh/100km or about 2.59 miles/kWh. Another screen in the trip computer, that had not been reset for hundreds of kilometers, showed a consumption of 20.5 kWh/100km or around 3 miles/kWh, which is what you can expect if you try to drive efficiently.
Interestingly, the newer, more advanced EV6 didn’t edge me on to drive in the same manner and I actually had more fun in the e-Soul, even though it’s only front-wheel drive.
My 201 horsepower e-Soul tester also felt considerably quicker to accelerate compared to the EV6 Long Range rear-wheel drive, even though both vehicles had comparable acceleration times on paper. This has to do with the fact that even though the e-Soul has slightly less peak power, it has more torque and is significantly lighter.
And it was this lightness that made me really enjoy driving the e-Soul, making it a more simple affair than with the EV6. Even with the big battery, the e-Soul still only weighs 1,682 kg (3,708 pounds) versus the EV6’s almost 2,000 kg (4,400 pounds) and it really feels more tossable and willing to turn – this was a major (and pleasant) surprise.
Another thing I liked about the e-Soul was that it didn’t try to feel overly techy or flashy. It doesn’t really try to hide its internal combustion engine roots, but it somehow really makes sense as an EV, which is probably why Kia decided to only offer the electric version here in Europe.
The only area where the EV6 felt far superior to the e-Soul was in the charging department, since it can charge over three times quicker. However, in my area I only really have access to 50 kW chargers, so I actually had to wait longer for the EV6 to charge, but if you do find chargers capable of providing 240 kW, then the difference should be far more noticeable.
As much as I loved driving the EV6, which is a fun, sporty and premium feeling EV with lots of cool sporty touches and plenty of character, as I was driving the e-Soul back to drop it off, I couldn’t shake the feeling that of the two vehicles, it was the weird boxy-looking one with the awesome sound system that I would actually like to take home and own – check out my video where I really go into detail explaining my choice.
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