2017 Kia Soul EV Review
Edmunds expert review
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.
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.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
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.
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.
Noise & vibration4.0
Ease of use4.0
Getting in/getting out5.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.