2015 Canadian Green Car of the Year Kia Soul EV
Award-winning electric vehicle certainly stands out among its peers, offering great design and a quiet ride
Move through rush-hour traffic easily—and quietly—in an electric version of the Soul that’s a nearly perfect city vehicle.
Five-door compact crossover
AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor powered by a 27 kWh polymer lithium-ion battery
109 hp, 210 lb-ft of torque
Single-speed constant ratio
- Ford Focus Electric
- Nissan Leaf
- Chevy Spark EV
- BMW i3 EV
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Your everyday commute and city driving
Driving an electric vehicle (EV) still feels like a novelty. Plugging the car in at the end of the day? No trips to the gas station? A limited range to be aware of at all times? It still sounds countercultural and a bit futuristic. Yet from smaller automakers such as Mitsubishi to giants like Toyota and flashy startups such as Tesla, they are quickly becoming the norm.
And the Soul EV is a standout among them. It captured the 2015 Canadian Green Car of the Year as well as the 2015 AJAC Best New City Car in Canada. And that’s just here at home. The Kia Soul EV has won a number of other awards in the U.S. and internationally.
After a week of test-driving it, it’s hard to argue with the accolades.
Of course, the Soul EV is based on the regular gas-chugging Kia Soul. Thankfully, the sharp folks at Kia didn’t think it necessary to alter the design of the Soul when creating the EV version. And that’s one of the things I love most about it—you’re driving a vehicle that looks like it belongs on the streets today, not an outlandish design concept.
Inside, expect the same look and feel as the regular Soul. Starting at $34,995, the base model has pretty much everything you could want: navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, rear-view camera, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, automatic climate controls and more. It’s all arranged expertly, making it very straightforward to operate, with every dial and button in just the right place.
On the road, the Soul EV is one smooth operator. Obviously, it’s supremely quiet. Driving through rush hour traffic has never been so peaceful. And, because it has all of its torque available all the time, it has some nice get up and go.
I had my eye on the range all the time. After a full charge, I generally had anywhere from 147 to 160 kilometres. I spent a few days driving across Toronto, making a number of stops along the way, and that was more than enough. Its regenerative braking helped quite a bit.
I always plugged it in when I got home. I used the normal 120V charging port, and when I woke up in the morning, it was good to go. It can take up to 24 hours to fully charge using this method, but because I didn’t reach empty, it never took that long.
The 240V port fully charges the car in under five hours. If you do opt for the Luxury trim ($37,995), you have the opportunity to charge using a 480V port. From empty it should get the Soul EV to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
My only issue was the location of the charging port. It’s right on the nose of the Soul EV, which meant I couldn’t back it into my driveway—I always had to drive directly in to ensure it was near the outlet.
But that’s a minor complaint when Kia has nailed everything else. The ride quality is excellent and incredibly quiet, the design is great on the inside and out, and range anxiety will be a thing of the past once there’s better charging infrastructure throughout cities. Until then, consider the Soul EV a nearly perfect city vehicle that can tackle your day-to-day commute with ease.