Depressing the accelerator pedal for the first time, one experiences a somewhat eerie sense of forward momentum, unlike anything they’ve ever experienced in a conventional car or light truck, it's exhilarating. This Honda fan is hooked.
It’s difficult to put into words the sensation one experiences as Kia Soul EV seamlessly transfers 210 ft-lb torque to the road. There's no transmission, gear searching or manual shifting, the smell of gasoline or the roar of an internal combustion engine. One ponders; how can this compact import EV be this powerful, road sticky, rock solid and eerily quiet ?
Seriously, Kia has largely eliminated any electric motor whine.The only noise one notes while driving Kia EV is the sound of the wind wrapping around side mirrors, and tire tread meeting the pavement.
Looks can be deceiving
On first view Soul EV looks identical to its gasoline powered cousin with a twist. The two tone metallic blue and white paint scheme, aerodynamic wheels and body moldings hint to a different kind of driving thrill, a glimpse into the future if you will.
Yet, surprisingly for this lifetime internal combustion fired automotive enthusiast, driving Soul EV is just as thrilling in its own way as putting the peddle to the metal in a high performance gas guzzler, while giddily bypassing the neighborhood gasoline stop. Read Patrick Rall’s 2015 Soul EV review here as he drives the roads of Detroit Metro.
A third-eye opening driving experience
There’s something cool, thrilling if you will, in driving a measurably refined car 90 miles or more between charges facilitated from a power plug at one’s home or office. The feeling is one of independence, sprinkled with just a cap full of nerd-rebellion.
No fossil fuel reliance. So much for depending on imported oil, that’s Kia Soul EV, to a certain extent, Anyway...O.K, granted you can’t drive 2016 Kia EV 300 miles between hyper-charging, nor is it practical for that long family vacation, yet.
However, what we did discover after spending a week behind the wheel of Kia Soul EV + is that this compact 5 door hatchback may be the perfect car for short daily work commuting, in city task runs, late night dinner outings, short jaunts to the corner convenience mart and more. Featuring the interior seating capacity and utility of a much larger SUV or crossover, Kia Soul EV may very well be the task-master of the EV segment.
With 210 lb-ft torque, seamless no shift direct drive, regenerative braking, ride stability and more, Soul EV is contagiously fun to drive, and when left connected to the trickle charger between drives, seamlessly, and intuitively practical. You may read my latest Kia Soul EV drive review on the streets of Seattle, Washington here.
Range anxiety conquered, well perhaps
In our week long experience driving Soul EV +, outside of extended high speed highway driving, Soul EV was a no brainer as to practical drive range between charging. Driving Soul EV become second-nature-normal with a twist, it’s quite, easily parked, handles well under all driving conditions and is gasoline-free. On, several occasions, we exceeded that stated city range of Soul EV by experimenting with the 'B' mode shift setting while transitioning downhill, sometimes offsetting range depletion.
How far can one travel on a charged battery module in mild weather? That depends on the car, how that car is driven, the terrain and traffic conditions encountered along the route. What happens when the weather turns hot, freezes, rains or is extremely gusty?
Much more to Soul EV than initially meets the eye
2016 Soul EV just happens to be the Korean based automakers most advanced and well build form of rolling personal conveyance. On first view, Soul EV is surprisingly appealing and pleasing to the eye in a ‘chunky’ substantial sort of way.
The interior is spacious, intuitive as to operation, and is exceptionally well appointed. looking to the blue piping on white leather seats, grey hard and soft touch trim surfaces, ceramic looking door and center stack trim dealing, one begins to appreciate the how far Kia quality has come over the years. When it comes to fit and finish, Soul EV has few peers in the 5 door subcompact segment, none in the EV group.
Great looking, virtual wind tunnel tested
Soul EV’s two tone paint scheme, near flat, white salt-flat-like ventilated wheels, low friction performance tires and seamless, wind tunnel influenced cube and greenhouse 4 door body design, allude to an EV performance fantasy, some of which actually exists in this dimension and time. This rolling cube is much quicker than anticipated, handling near-nimble at times. We further found the overall ride and drive experience of Soul EV to be exceptional.
If I was to change anything, it would be to reduce the aggressive lower seat bolstering, that’s it! And of-course, a bit more range between charging would be appreciated. Other than that, stellar.
2016 Soul EV presents the driver with a glimpse of the near future
Granted, the majority of drivers and vehicle owners will opt to purchase and operate fossil-fueled internal combustion engine powered cars up to the day that gasoline is no longer available, or global warming driven EPA legislation makes fossil fuel fired vehicle illegal to operate on public roads.
For the truly adventurous driver that wishes for possible lower environmentally impacting personal transportation, 2016 Kia EV offers a viable, long term alternative to gasoline, hybrid electrics and makes and brands offering perhaps longer range EVs with a price tag to match.
Limited quantities available in the U.S. Pacific Northwest Note: 2 located in Eugene, Oregon
2016 Soul EV-E sports a base MSRP of $31,950.00 + destination, prep and applicable taxes and licence fees. Our 2015 Soul EV + is priced as tested at $35,950 +, less all applicable federal tax credits. I believe Soul EV to be well worth the ticket of emission, and look forward to continuing my personal EV adventure in the near future.