Kia Soul EV Maxx

Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, front
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, front, action
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, front, static
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, nose, action
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, nose
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, side, action
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, interior
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, side, static
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, rear
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, tail
Kia Soul EV Maxx, 2022, boot

KIA sold nearly 91,000 cars in the UK last year, an increase of 29 per cent on 2020 and 20,280 units compared to 2020, making the country Kia's number-one European market.

Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars accounted for almost a third of those sales, exceeding the target the company had set itself.

Among those cars is Kia's funky diva, the third-generation Soul, which is available as an all-electric model only. It brings long-range, zero-tailpipe emissions power to the urban crossover class.

The third-generation Soul EV retains the iconic design and playful character of its predecessors but every exterior panel is new. It's bigger, better-looking and more upmarket. In short, it has grown up.

The Soul EV is currently available in one high spec Maxx model which features 17-inch alloy wheels, low-rolling-resistance tyres, a great-sounding Harman Kardon premium sound system, an easy-to-use 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather seats - including an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat - heated steering wheel, aircon, wireless phone charger, privacy glass, and full LED headlamps, front LED fog lamps and LED rear combination lights.

In the UK, the Soul also comes with an SUV Pack as standard, beefing up its looks with bolder wheel arches and side sills.

Due to its boxy shape, there's plenty of legroom and headroom throughout the cabin, although the middle seat of the rear bench is best suited to children or for occasional use. However, that it can seat four adults in comfort is impressive for a car of its size.

The boot offers 315 litres of luggage capacity - 34 litres more than the old Soul EV. With the 60/40-split rear seat folded down, space extends to 1,339 litres.

It is powered by a single electric motor which sends 201bhp and 395Nm of torque, nearly 40 per cent more than its predecessor, to the front wheels, fed by a 64kWh battery mounted beneath the floor. Officially, up to 280 miles of range is available from a single charge - again, much more than its predecessor.

Replacing the torsion beam axle of previous models, the third-generation Soul is the first generation to feature fully independent multi-link rear suspension, making the car more engaging, responsive and comfortable to drive. The suspension has also been tuned to deliver more stability and better handling.

This is combined with a slightly wider stance than its predecessor and because the battery pack's location means the majority of the powertrain's weight is located between the axles, it's enjoyable to drive on winding roads, with minimal body-roll under cornering. Not something that could be said of its predecessor.

The Soul's Drive Mode Select system lets drivers choose from Normal, Eco, Eco+ and a pretty expendable Sport mode.

There's also a regenerative braking system which has three levels of aggression, as well asan ‘automatic' setting that uses the car's radar to automatically maintain distance from the vehicle in front when you come off the throttle, which allows the system to harvest energy rather than using the brake pedal.

Operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, it takes a little getting used to but you'll soon find yourself becoming accustomed to driving without the brake pedal.

Important for potential family buyers, a range of passive and active safety systems ensure that occupants remain as well protected as possible on every journey.

There's autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection with rear-cross traffic alert, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, semi-autonomous lane follow assist, and driver attention warning.

The Soul EV is also fitted with seven airbags - dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor and driver's knee airbag.

The Soul is great to drive, feeling nippy and agile in the city, yet comfortable and supremely quiet on a motorway.

The battery can be replenished to 80% in 54 minutes when plugging the Soul EV into a 100kW DC charger. Using a Type 2 cable and a 7.2kW home wallbox charger, a complete charge should take around 9.5 hours.

FAST FACTS

Kia Soul EV Maxx

Price:£34,995

Mechanical:201bhp, electric engine driving front wheels via a single-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:104mph

0-62mph:7.9 seconds

Combined MPG:280 miles

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions:0g/km

Bik rating: 2%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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