Kia will be bringing its Soul EV to the UK in one specification only – named 'First Edition'. But don't think this will mean any compromise in trim and equipment, as the Korean brand has essentially gone through the options list and put a tick against all the best bits. Even better, the Soul EV promises around 280 miles between charges, and relatively short charge times. It will set you back £33,795 (with the Government grant), however.
In profile, the all-new Soul's lineage is pretty obvious as it maintains that upright silhouette that is synonymous with the model. It's more rounded, however, giving it a swept-back, aerodynamic feel which – to our eye – is far more pleasing to the eye than previous models. The charging port is on the driver's side, while at the front there are new LED headlights, which are integrated into the car's 'brow' which gives it a wider stance. New five spoke, 17 inch alloys and new colour choices round off the external updates.
Kia has made the bold move of choosing to ditch all internal combustion engine versions of the Soul in Europe and will now only be importing the Soul EV to the market. The previous generation Soul EVs were well thought of, and with the new 'First Edition' Kia is hoping to build on this notoriety, as well as complementing its e-Niro and building on its 'Go Electric' mantra.
We'll get onto the fairly significant spec list soon, but underneath the all-new third generation car has got a powerful new drivetrain. Boasting 201bhp of power and 291lb-ft of twist, giving the family crossover a 0-62mph time of just 7.6 seconds. Powering the motor is a 64kWh battery which endows the Soul EV with a WLTP range of 280 miles. When plugged into a 50kW fast charger, the Soul EV will go from 0-80 per cent charge in 75 minutes. The car is provided with a Type 2 three-pin connector which charges it in a rather more leisurely nine hours and 35 minutes.
It's hard to get away from the fact that the Soul EV is only available in 'First Edition' spec and comes with a price tag of £33,795 with the plug-in car grant (£37,295 without). Thirty four grand for a Kia is a lot, but the Soul EV First Edition comes packed to the gunnels with kit.
Alongside an 'acoustic inspired' interior update that Kia calls “fresh, funky and distinctive~, the Soul EV First Edition comes with a 10cspeaker, 640 watt Harman Kardon sound system, wireless phone charger and head-up display. As is expected these days, the system is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – with voice control functionality.
The interface to control all of the various standard technologies is a 10.25 inch touchscreen which features a new UVO CONNECT telematics system. This can display useful information such as navigation, live traffic updates, weather, parking availability and the location of the nearest charging station. UVO CONNECT can also be accessed by a smartphone app, giving owners an overview of the car's status such as battery level, state of charge and last known location.
As with the in-car technology, safety is taken care of with a list as long as your arm – providing you have long arms, that is.
Making the most of that central touchscreen display, the rear parking sensors are complemented by a reversing camera. When going forwards, the First Edition comes with forward collision avoidance assist, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, hill-start assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Naturally, ABS and ESC come as standard.
As with all new Kia models, the Kia Soul EV comes complete with a seven year, 100,000 mile warranty which is fully transferable if the car is sold on within these limits. Kia has chosen to open the orders now to gauge demand and ensure that it can get enough cars shipped from Korea in time. The first Soul EV First Editions are set to hit the roads in the UK in Q1 2020.