2017 Kia Soul EV Review
2017 Kia Soul EV Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Travis Langness has worked in the automotive industry since 2011. He has written thousands of car-related articles and tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career.
- Plenty of cabin and cargo space for its small size
- Comes well equipped with features
- Availability limited to select states
- Wind noise can be excessive at highway speeds
- Max driving range is less than what newer EVs offer
The 2017 Kia Soul EV gets a few updates to optional and standard equipment. Otherwise, it carries over unchanged.
Based on the standard Kia Soul, the 2017 Kia Soul EV is what its name says it is. It's a Soul, but with electric power. Simple, right? Well, Kia's engineers probably don't see it that way, but the end result for you is very much that easy.
Continue reading Edmunds Expert Rating below
2017 Kia Soul EV Insights
Soul EV e
See All EV Insights
Estimated Range Based on Age
Estimated range mapThis map is a visual representation of the possible one-way and round-trips by this vehicle (on a full charge) from the geometric center of Ashburn, Virginia. The depicted ranges are based on the estimated new vehicle range value provided by the EPA, rounded down to miles for one-way and miles for round-trip. Actual range will vary depending on the condition of this vehicle’s battery pack, how you drive, driving conditions and other factors. from
Charging at Home
No charging time information available
EV Battery Warranty
10 yrs or 100,000 milesThe federal government requires that EV batteries be warrantied for a minimum of eight years or 100,000 miles. The EV battery warranty includes replacement if your battery capacity drops below a certain percentage of the original capacity.
Estimated battery warranty remaining is 4 years or 16,000 miles for this car.Warranty remaining value is based on the vehicle year, and on driving 14,000 miles per year. Confirm exact warranty coverage for each vehicle with the dealers and the manufacturer before purchasing.
EV Tax Credits & Rebates
Available Rebates. Restrictions apply.
- Restrictions: Dominion Energy offers EV owners a rebate of up to $125 towards the cost of a Level 2 charging station.
To qualify for this rebate, the customer and/or charging station must meet the following requirements:
- Receive electricity from Dominion Energy.
- Have an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.
- Networked/Smart charging capabilities to program the station to off-peak periods and respond to managed charging events
- You also earn a $40 e-gift card on the anniversary of your enrollment every year you remain enrolled.
Cost to Drive
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Kia fits the Soul EV with a 109-horsepower electric motor and a 27-kWh (kilowatt-hour) battery, and the combination is good enough for an EPA-estimated 93 miles of driving range. In the past, this was an above-average figure for a low-cost EV. But a few key competitors, such as the new Hyundai Ioniq and updated Volkswagen e-Golf, can now go a little farther. There's also the new all-star of the class, the Chevrolet Bolt, which has more than double the Kia's range.
From a utility standpoint, though, the 2017 Soul EV still offers a distinct advantage. Its boxy shape allows for greater cargo-carrying capacity than many other EVs, particularly if you're looking to haul bulky items. The Soul EV is also relatively quiet and comes well equipped with convenience and luxury-oriented features. Overall, we're fans of the 2017 Kia Soul EV, but we recommend that you look at the newest rivals if range and interior quality are your main concerns.
Edmunds' Expert Rating4.0 / 5
Among compact electric vehicles, the 2017 Kia Soul EV stands out with its crossoverlike hatchback cargo area. True, its EPA-estimated range of 93 miles is a bit lower than what some newer EVs offer, but overall the Soul EV is worth a look.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the2015 Kia Soul EV Plus (+).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Soul EV has received some revisions, including the addition of a standard 5-inch center screen and an available panoramic sunroof. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Kia Soul EV.
|Overall||4.0 / 5|
The Soul EV displays run-of-the-mill electric vehicle driving dynamics, which is disappointing compared to the gas-powered Soul, which has surprisingly adept handling, braking and acceleration. On the other hand, the Soul EV delivers silent, torque-rich power and aggressive regenerative braking.
Abundant low-end torque makes the Soul EV feel spritely pulling away from a light, but this eagerness peters out as speeds rise. In Edmunds testing, a Soul EV accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds, which is behind the leading all-electric competitors.
In traffic, the Soul EV's brake pedal isn't particularly responsive or easy to modulate. But aggressive regenerative braking is available, and it is a boon once you get used to it. The Soul EV's panic-stop distance of 125 feet from 60 mph is about average for the class.
The steering response is slow without much feedback regardless of the weight dialed in through the driver-adjustable steering system. Settings include Normal (relaxingly vague), Comfort (sloppily loose) and Sport (ironically the most "normal").
This is not the surprisingly keen handler that the regular Soul is. The suspension favors comfort, limits are low and grip is unimpressive. Most EV competitors, especially the Chevrolet Bolt, Fiat 500e and Ford Focus EV, are sharper to drive.
Slotting the shifter to "B" engages aggressive regenerative braking. It feels unusual at first, but you'll quickly learn to love the car doing much of the braking for you, especially in traffic. The Soul EV is otherwise simple and easy to drive.
Without the gasoline Soul's raspy engine churning under the hood, the Soul EV is a quiet car to spend time in even with the elevated wind noise caused by its boxy shape. Ride comfort is average. The seats are commendably comfortable and supportive.
The firm, leather-covered seats with an elevated placement are supportive and comfortable during long drives (well, they would be if you could actually drive far in the Soul EV). But these are better than what you'll find in most small cars.
The added weight of the batteries, smaller wheels and increased tire sidewall result in an improved ride compared to the rather jiggly and sometimes harsh ride of the gasoline-powered Soul. Ride comfort is about average for the small-EV segment.
Noise & vibration4.0
The Soul EV's boxy shape creates more wind noise than is typical, and this is exasperated by the lack of engine noise. You pretty much just hear the wind. But that silent electric motor replaces the regular Soul's rather raspy, slightly crude engine.
For the most part, the Soul EV's interior is user-friendly. It has a likable tech interface that's relatively easy to use, as well as easy entry and exit. Materials quality isn't as good as we'd like for the price, but it's not a deal-breaker.
Ease of use4.0
All dashboard controls are placed within easy reach. The large, optional touchscreen is generally a model of simplicity for its audio controls, with big icons and logical menus, but swiping to scroll phone numbers or track lists often results in errant selections.
Getting in/getting out5.0
The seats are placed higher than in your average car, making climbing in and sitting down easy. There's no "fall-in" as in a car or "climb up" as in most SUVs. There's near-perfect step-in height. Wide door openings help as well.
The battery placement raises the rear floor a few inches, reducing rear seat legroom and comfort compared with the gasoline-powered Soul. Still, high-mounted seats in all positions yield good room for a vehicle of this size. It's similar to a subcompact SUV.
The boxy shape makes it easy to know where the vehicle's corners are. Tall windows make the view forward clear, but thick rear-quarter pillars restrict the crossview while reversing. A rearview camera is standard on the Soul EV, and our Plus tester came with front and rear parking sensors.
We gave the regular Soul a higher score in this category for its abundant soft-touch points and above-average materials and switchgear. However, it cost much less than the EV. The Soul EV is well built, but in the price range, interior quality is a bit subpar.
Some EVs suffer a reduction in cargo space due to their extra batteries, but the Soul EV does not. In terms of passenger and cargo room, it lines up more with the new batch of subcompact SUVs rather than compact hatchbacks.
A fast-charge port, navigation, an 8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and leather upholstery are all a part of the Plus trim level. The Soul EV's touchscreen commands are easy to learn and use.
Which Soul EV does Edmunds recommend?
Our top choice for the 2017 Kia Soul EV is the top trim level called the Plus (+). The Plus is only marginally more expensive than the base trim level below it and includes all sorts of extra equipment such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, front and rear parking sensors and even heated rear seats. The Plus trim level also makes you eligible for pretty much the only significant options package that the Soul EV gets, the Sun and Fun package. Basically, the Plus is the best bargain for the money in the Soul EV's three available trim levels.
2017 Kia Soul EV models
The 2017 Kia Soul EV is a four-door electric-powered hatchback available in three trim levels: EV-e (available only in California), EV (also known as base) and Plus (+). Regardless of trim level, you get a 90-kW electric motor (109 horsepower, 210 pound-feet), a 27-kWh battery pack, a DC fast-charge port and a 6.6-kW onboard charger.
Standard equipment is pretty generous for the bottom EV-e and base EV trim levels, but there are a few optional extras on the top trim level that are appealing. Look for the ventilated front seats and the potential upgrade to a panoramic sunroof, if that's to your liking.
If you go with the EV-e (California only) you'll get 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control (with a "driver only" function to save energy), a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch center screen with a rearview camera, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB port.
In the middle of the Soul EV's trim-level structure is the base model. It's similar to the California-only EV-e, but it also gets a heat pump for the climate control system (helping to improve energy efficiency and maximize driving range), an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and Kia's Uvo infotainment system (with additional electric-vehicle-oriented features).
Probably the most attractive of the trim levels for the Soul EV is the Plus (+). It gets almost all the equipment that the Soul EV has to offer, without a massive increase in price. On top of the base model, the Plus adds aerodynamic windshield wipers, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, simulated-leather dashboard and console trim, heated rear seats, a luggage net, a cargo cover and a 12-volt cargo area power outlet.
Optional for the Plus is a Sun and Fun package, which provides a panoramic sunroof and LED interior lighting.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Quick car top quality all around
2017 Kia Soul EV e 4dr Wagon (electric DD)
Kia has created a very high quality product in their 2017 Soul EV. It is a fantastic winter car, heated seats and steering wheel, iPhone app to warm it up while plugged in. We use it as our urban car in a two car household. You may not even need a 220 volt charger, ours works fine on the supplied 110volt charger. We leased it but we plan to purchase it at lease end.
5 out of 5 stars
Best reasonably-priced EV available in 2016
2016 Kia Soul EV 4dr Wagon (electric DD)
After driving a Nissan Leaf for nearly 4 years, I thought I'd check out what else was available. Here in WA State, there weren't many choices beyond a Kia Soul or a Nissan Leaf. BMW and Tesla were too expensive for me, and other choices (e.g. Ford, VW) were not yet available here. I was sold on the Soul EV less than 5 minutes into my first test drive. Even though it is shorter than a … Leaf, the Soul feels so much roomier inside, with a much better driving position and more comfort in all the seating locations. The engine is quieter and smoother, as if that is even possible! Handling and steering feels taught, and that torque-y electric acceleration is great. The controls are well thought-out, as is the navigation/entertainment system. Pretty much everything that I wished the Leaf had is present in the Soul. The base model is nicely decked-out, and I felt no need to go up to the next (plus) trim level. March 2019 Update: The lease is now up on my '16 Soul EV, but I obtained a month-to-month extension, for up to 6 months. So, the clock is ticking on getting a new car. I will say that I am still quite pleased with the Soul. It is now 3 years old, and has required no repairs or non-routine maintenance. It has been a long cold (for Washington) Winter, and typical range I've been experiencing lately is only 70 miles. If I could get a longer-range model, I would do it, but it appears that my lease extension will run out (August) before the 2020 Soul becomes available.
5 out of 5 stars
A.J. Eisenbart, 08/29/2018
2017 Kia Soul EV + 4dr Wagon (electric DD)
This Kia Soul Plus is everything I thought it would be for comfort, reliability and safety. I get many compliments from my passengers, having completed over 500 LYFT Rides so far. My previous car was a Honda CRV, and I do miss the storage capability compared to the KIA. I added blind spot mirrors to my KIA because I am only 5'3" tall. Overall rating is still 5 Stars.
4 out of 5 stars
Soul EV is a Plus
Ethan Derner, 08/20/2016
2016 Kia Soul EV + 4dr Wagon (electric DD)
I drove a Nissan Leaf for three years prior to taking delivery of a new Soul EV+ last month, and thus far it has been enjoyable. This is my second all-electric vehicle, and while it has key differences from the Leaf I do like it for the positive ones. On the downside, the cargo space is not nearly as capacious as that in a Leaf. And the hatchback release on the key fob only does that: … release the hatchback. I am constantly annoyed at having to unlock the doors after I've already unlocked the hatch when I walk around to get in the car. The extended range is noticeably different from my 2013 Leaf, and the driver only AC as well as the ventilated seats are a huge energy saver. The UVO EV Services are functional if not entirely well-executed. And I wish I could get out of the car with it turned on and NOT have it beep as loud and as long as it does. (Some volume and duration control would be welcomed.) The ride quality is sporty, it handles excellently on the city and highway roads I've been traveling on. Parking is quicker as the backend isn't as extended as the Leaf. I am taking it on our first extended trip to the coast this weekend.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2017 Kia Soul EV, so we've included reviews for other years of the Soul EV since its last redesign.
2017 Soul EV Highlights
|Cost to Drive||$60/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
|EV Battery Warranty||10 years / 100,000 miles|
Our experts like the Soul EV models:
- Pedestrian Warning System
- Alerts pedestrians of the quiet Soul EV's approach with a soft, artificial noise at 12 mph and under.
- Front and Rear Parking Sensors
- Warn you if the car's bumpers are approaching exterior objects such as walls or other vehicles.
- Uvo Connectivity
- Allows owners to set parameters for secondary drivers such as geo-fencing, curfew alert and speed alert.