2018 Kia Soul EV Review
If you're a current or potential EV buyer, chances are that getting a lot of electric range is important. Nobody wants to suffer from range anxiety, and every extra mile an electric car can eke out represents another mile you can go without burning gasoline in your second car, taking public transit or getting an emergency recharge. Well, the 2018 Kia Soul EV can go a few extra miles this year with the debut of a more energy-rich battery, bringing with it a new maximum of 111 miles. That's up from 93 miles.
That's great news for the range-conscious, but it falls a bit short of the range of other EVs such as the VW e-Golf and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric. And, much like every other EV not named Tesla, the Soul has less than half of the Chevrolet Bolt's estimated 238 miles of all-electric range. For many, that will make their EV choice obvious.
Still, if you're planning to stay within the city confines, own a second car, or quite simply don't plan on going very far, the Kia Soul EV offers a lot to like. For starters, it arguably has far more character and style than the Bolt and most other EVs. Like the gasoline Kia Soul upon which it's based, it boasts a handsome-if-quirky exterior, a stylish cabin, and a body style that's pretty reminiscent of a small SUV. It's certainly a more convincing crossover substitute than the Bolt. You also get lots of passenger and cargo space, plus an abundance of features for your money.
Basically, the same things that make the regular Soul so appealing also apply to the EV, and if range isn't everything, we think it's most definitely worth a look.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Kia Soul EV as one of Edmunds' Best Electric Cars for this year.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Kia Soul EV is, as the name suggests, the all-electric version of the Soul. Though not marketed as such, that car is similar in size and concept to subcompact SUVs. So is the EV. There are three trim levels: EV-e, the base EV and EV Plus (+). All come with generous standard equipment, though the top trim's luxurious extras could be worth the extra bucks. All use the same 30-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and 375-volt electric motor that produces 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque.
The EV-e is sold only in California. It comes standard with a DC fast-charging port, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, heated mirror, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, a pedestrian warning system, multiple steering modes (Normal, Comfort and Sport), a height-adjustable driver seat, two-level heated front seats, cloth upholstery, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding back seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, one USB port, and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch color display, a media player interface, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.
The base EV is the starting point for those Soul EV shoppers outside California. It adds better-looking 16-inch wheels, mirror turn-signal indicators, HD radio and an 8-inch touchscreen interface that brings with it integrated navigation, 3G Wi-Fi and Uvo Eco services, which includes an app that allows you to monitor the car's charge, find a charging station, lock and unlock doors, and adjust the in-car climate before you leave.
The EV Plus (+) adds front and rear parking sensors, foglights, power-folding mirrors, a faux-leather-trimmed dash, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a cargo cover, three-level heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats and leather upholstery. Exclusive to the Plus is the Sun and Fun package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting and speaker lights. A battery-heating system is also available in Oregon, Washington and eastern states that sell the Soul EV.
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 an increase in range, and 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 & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
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.