Kia trace it roots all the way to 40’s, but many decades past since it starts to emerge as one of worthy to consider car makers. In 1997 it suffered a huge blow from financial crisis hitting Asia at the time, and it was partially acquired by Hyundai. The path to success went only upwards from then and from 2006 when former Audi’s designer Peter Schreyer took charge of their design department, things exploded in a positive manner.
Together with Hyundai, Kia is today in fifth place on the list of biggest car manufacturers in the world, and times of dull, cheap offers are long gone. Progressiveness is one of its virtues these days, and one of the prime examples is 2017 Kia Soul EV.
WHAT IS IT?
It is an electric version of Kia Soul. The regular Soul model was first introduced in 2008 featuring interesting design ideas very similar to the ones of Scion’s xB. Kei car design is overflooding the Japanese market, but it is very rarely seen outside of it. The second generation was introduced in 2013, and just one year later electric version followed after it has been showcased at Chicago Motor Show.
The second generation of Soul brought much funkier and trendy design. It is one of the lifestyle cars for younger buyers and EV version could just enhance that statement. The lines are softened on here, and brand’s signature tiger grille nose is replaced with plastic cover, which became the distinctive feature for electric cars of all brands. The aggressive front grille is replaced with mildly tempered one, as aggressiveness and preservation of nature contradict each other.
Rear end stays the same and pretty much the interior too, besides the addition of some higher gloss plastic hard to spot at first glance. Interior is, by the way, a huge step forward from the previous generation with incredibly improved materials and overall refinement. It is far from perfect, but the improvement is highly notable. Despite being less aggressive at front in this version, Soul stays incredibly stylish and boxy thing, interesting to look at.
2017 Kia Soul EV UNDER THE HOOD
Here lies electric motor delivering 109 hp that sends power to the front wheels and taking 11.2 seconds to 60 mph. It receives power from 27 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery hidden under the floor. The combined range is 93 miles which far from the top of the class and more than Leaf’s 84 miles before battery upgrade. Energy efficiency is rated 105 MPGe which is more than just a good result.
The Soul is a pretty tall car and fortunatelly that isn’t affecting its driving abilities. Interestingly EV model carries batteries laid under the floor as low as they can, so, in the end, additional weight makes the car feel more planted and more stable on the road. The suspension is configured for smoothness, but it will still corner decently. The downside would be the lack of feedback when at the wheel, something that we are used to with Kias, and going through steering modes doesn’t change anything even if you chose sport mode.
Aggressive regeneration makes possible driving with the only gas pedal, as each release of gas creates the sensation of the engaged brake pedal, which is not the case, as this is the manner in which electric motor can gather energy for recharging the batteries.
If you are green thinker than the 2017 Kia Soul EV is one of the top choices. Until this year it offered better range than rivals and it probably will again in future when Koreans decide to update it. It is more spacious than classic compact opponents, and it is definitely more amusing to look at. It leaves the statement that its owner is modern, urban and stylish person caring about its environment. This seems to fit many today as sales success caught even Kia’s officials by surprise.