I HAVE always been a fan of the funky Kia Soul since it firstarrived back in 2008.
Designed in California its boxy looks did not appeal to everyone but the student and surfing crowd loved it and sales took off.
It has also become a common sight on UK and European roads over the years and the latest third generation model is available with electric-only power.
The first electric Soul went on sale in the UK back in 2014 alongside normal combustion engines but the new version is a giant step forward.
It can cover up to 280 miles on a single charge and although it retains its unique five-door shape it now looks more conservative.
Slightly larger than the last model, every panel on this car is new but its overall striking look has been retained and it is instantly recognisable as a Soul from any distance or angle.
Inside there is more space for passengers and the new interior is really impressive with quality materials and stacks of kit. It delivers a premium feel and all the controls are easy to use.
It is also good to drive and like most electric cars gets off the mark quickly and silently. It offers a choice of driving modes but most owners will simply leave it in Eco to conserve the power and stretch the driving range.
Steering wheel paddles operate regenerative braking which allows you to increase the range even more and it is possible to spare the brakes almost completely with generous use of the paddles once you get used to electric motoring.
The Soul has always given the impression of fun and thankfully that has not changed. Its 64Kw battery enables it to sprint to 62mph in just 7.6 seconds before going on to a top speed of 104mph. You have to remember though that tanking along motorways will reduce the distance you can travel.
It is very comfortable to travel in since there is hardly any noise from the power plant and as it is well put together there are no annoying rattles.
Occupants may have more room but the boot space is still tight at 315 litres - much less than most of its Crossover rivals.
This model is really well equipped and as a result you get leather seating, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, heated steering wheel,a large 10.25-in touchscreen sat nav display and much more.
A ten-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system adds to the appeal and comes with DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The all important batterypack can be charged from zero to 80 per cent in 54 minutes using a 100Kw charger if you can find one, while a 7.2Kw typical wall-mounted house charger will take 9hrs 35min for a 0-100 per cent load.
If you use a standard AC domestic plug to charge it will take 31 hours.
It is almost impossible to work out what charging the Kia will cost as prices vary from supplier to supplier. In any case most owners will charge their car at home or at their place of work.
For peace of mind it is good to know that Kia's seven year/100k mile warranty extends to the battery pack and electric motor while the car also has all the latest safety equipment.
You get a range of passive and active safety systems includingautonomous 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.