Kia Soul Urban EV

Kia Soul EV, 2022, nose
Kia Soul EV, 2022, side
Kia Soul EV, 2022, rear
Kia Soul EV, 2022, interior
Kia Soul EV, 2022, rear seats
Kia Soul EV, 2022, boot

KIA sales are soaring in Britain and to keep ahead it has seemingly taken a step back with the latest generation of the popular Soul EV.

The Kia Soul was first launched in 2008but a completely new second generation with larger proportions was shown in 2013 and went on sale the following year with the first generation ev powertrain added shortly afterwards.

The third generation petrol or electric powered Kia Soul models appeared from 2019 but the pandemic affected their launch in Britain.

Now the push is on to ramp up registrations of the latest Kia Soul EV and it comes as Kia Charge connection system for owners passes 30,000 power points including almost 1,000 rapid chargers over 100kW.

Today's Soul EV is available with a choice of new39.2kWh Urban battery as driven here for those who do not venture far on a regular basis, or the familiar 64kWh Explore battery, both charging up to 80 per cent capacity or close to 140 miles range in around three-quarters of an hour.

The Soulthird series now has the latest slim LED units front and back with eye-catching body colours.

Inside, appealing to music lovers, there are new tweeter speakers, and eight or 10.25-inch floating touchscreens for infotainment, navigation, smartphone integration for calls and music, system settings and a multi-mode display infront of the driver.

There are the latest driver assistance, safety and convenience features together with intelligent cruise control, reversing camera and parking sensors.

Introducing the Urban model intended for those not requiring covering long distances on a regular basis means that while not lacking the specification expected of a modern family car, the costs are being kept down as only a rapid charge-box cable is provided in the same way as one rival to the Soul EV.

However, it does mean an owner who charges at home for short trips must install a smart-box charger.With its decade of experience building electric vehicles, KIA has developed a very good Urban model, even if it's taking a step back from the current trend towards extending range with cabled cars.

Starting and moving the Soul Urban is simply a matter of pressing a button and turning a rotary knob to go forwards or backwards and that's it. Transmission is automatic and the more you press the throttle the more volts flow through and accelerate the car.

It's a very smooth and mechanically quiet powertrain with selectable eco, normal or sport modes to maximise miles or performance as desired and there is a noticeable difference, including increasing retardation regeneration to top up the charge still more.

Selecting which mode to use will immediately alter the display infront of the driver, essentially just speedometer and power meter to accentuate different aspects such as pulling power or economy, and they are of good size and fairly well marked.

It is possible to "dial-in" single foot operation using the retardation feature but even driven normally the footbrake is well up to the task and slows the car quickly and smoothly without drama while the steering although weighted towards lightness gave good feedback and the turning circle was good for town use without being twitchy on sweeping roads.

Secondary controls on stalks were well laid out and close to fingertips, additional buttons on the wheelspokes operated the convenience features, communications and entertainment settings so you did not have to constantly look at the touchscreen.

The screen was big, clear and quick to change functions as selected, while the climate control was effective and easy to use.

Oddments room was good for a family car except it had only one seat back pocket in the back for some reason, but there were bins in the doors, a front glovebox of useful size and cubby and trays on the central console.

The bootspace had a very low lip, a flat wide floor and would quickly expand capacity dropping the offset split rear seats, but in five-seat configuration it was not as large as some conventional hatchbacks.

Access was easy for users with wide opening doors, low sills, very good headspace and once inside the legroom was generous for everyone but elbow room would be cramped for three in the back. Seat and column adjustment was wide for a driver.

Visibility was excellent all round with thin roof pillars, low glass waistline, very effective washers and wipers each end and at night the lights were reasonably bright as well.

A driver can very accurately place the Soul and turning or parking in town was no problem while open roads were covered with ease and as quickly or calmly as wanted, with good roadholding and responses to steering and brakes. The parking brake securely held it on a steep slope and slipped off as the car moved off.

The ride quality was generally very smooth over all manner of roads thanks to the independent suspension all round, but you were occasionally jarred by deeper potholes or raised tarmac and the drumming from the tyres was probably the most noticeable source of noise with no mechanical or wind intrusion.

The Kia Soul Urban makes no pretence about what it is, a well put together modern family car, ideal for weekday commuting and weekend shopping or sporting trips.

If you need more range it may be worth considering the Explore version, but either would be a good choice depending on personal requirements.

FAST FACTS

Kia Soul Urban EV

Price:£32,845

Mechanical:134bhp motor with 39.2kWh battery driving front wheels via single speed automatic transmission

Max Speed:97mph

0-62mph:9.9 sec

Combined MPG:130 to 170 miles

Insurance Group:26

Bik rating:2%

Warranty:7yrs/100,000 miles inc battery and motor

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