One’s perception of an electric car was, and still is, that they are natively weird in design, slow in speed, and small in size. Some might also state that the technology behind them has long been forgotten, and deemed unpractical in today’s times. But with the slew of high-tech electric cars, you can clearly sense the change in the air; especially when seeing high profile companies investing millions in the research and development of alternative power.
Last week I was given the keys to the Kia Soul EV, a rework of the popular compact car, but powered solely by a 27 kwh Lithium ion polymer battery.
Aesthetically the car looks like the 2014 Kia Soul, with the only noticeable difference, being the front grille, which has been replaced by the charging ports. The car sports a younger finish, with fantastic colour combinations, which seem to blend in quiet well with the younger generation. On the inside, you can see that attention to detail has been given to the trim and finish. The dash board is large in size, and hosts an 8 inch display, which is basically the central control unit of the car.
This screen will allow you to control most of the features of the car, as well and being a media player for your video and audio files. From the EV system, you get access to the statistics behind your driving, and also pin point the location of the charging stations closest to you. The car is surrounded by parking sensors, and at the back you can find a camera, making parking relatively easy. Perhaps my only complaint in the parking aspect, would be, that I expected a ‘self parking’ system from such a revolutionary vehicle, seeing as new generation cars are sporting it.
The driving position is great, allowing a decent road visibility and enough comfort to actually enjoy the trip. The steering’s rigidity can be altered at the touch of a button, to best match one’s driving preference. The ride is smooth, and combine that with the motor’s silence, and you get the driving comfort you really hope for on our roads. The car features an automatic gearbox, which also has a break regeneration mode, which allows the batteries to recharge every time you step on the break.
A full battery charge will get you roughly 200Km in range, which is spectacular, considering we have such small driving differences. During my full test drive, I barely saw the energy gauge move. Charging from the comfort of your home roughly takes 5 hours, whilst quick charging from the various charging points around the island, will take as little at 30 minutes.
I really was astounded by the acceleration and torque of the vehicle. For an electric car, the Soul EV is quick, and has decent road holding to match..
I have to be honest, and admit that I enjoyed being behind the wheel of the Soul EV. I never expected an electric car to feel so comfortable and well balanced. If it isn’t for the ridiculously silent motor, first time drivers might actually think this is a regular vehicle.
Ride & handling: 8
Overall Rating: 6.8