Roadshow Video Reviews
2015 Kia Soul EVThe Soul is the rock star of its class -- can Kia bring its winning ways to the EV? Brian Cooley gets behind the wheel and checks the tech.
[MUSIC] The Kia Soul is a undeniable rock star in it's category and a big seller. Now they've got an electric version. Are they able to take something that is of special essence from the Soul and make it a great and different EV. Or is it a look a like car with a big battery? Let's drive this 15 Soul electric and check this out. [MUSIC] Now the Soul EV looks like any other Soul, body is the same. Spot one of these guys by the unusual grill, where the charging door lives, these aerodynamic alloy wheels, these badges on the side, and obviously no tail pipes. The battery basically lays flat along the floor but kicks up toward the rear. Therefore the back seats do loose three inches of leg room. Now our Sol ED is 34.5 with Destination. There are no tech options. So that's the price CNET Style. But take off ten if you roll in Federal and California tax credits, at least. For $24,500. Let's see what you get. Now inside the Soul it's like just about every other Soul with some differences in the instrumentation. Let's start on the left there. You've obviously got your traditional gauge. It shows whether you're using power or regenerating it. There's your battery level and your projected range and on the right a digital speedo with some. Bizarre band around it that shows you what speeds apparently are more efficient on battery usage, although I find it hard to believe that 50 and 90 are equally efficient as it suggests. In the main head unit with the eight inch screen, you get navigation is standard on this car, also blue tooth streaming, all the major sources, rear camera, under the you go button they're telematic system you've gotten more than just sort of the OnStar competitor, now you can add in some meaningful apps like Yelp. Sound Hound and iHeartRadio. We've seen most of this before. What I wanna go to is this button here, the EV Screen. Here's where you really get some difference on the Soul EV, obviously. You've got your range indicator right here. Which can also give you a graphical map, kind of sack bomber style. Or pull up a list of nearby charging stations, you can also see these on a map, though not from this screen. And the screen to show you what systems are using juice, the drive obviously uses the most of it, you can also see what climate and other electronics are zapping from your all important reign. Eco driving let's you play a silly game lie turning that tree all blue green because you drive efficiently. You'll do that for about a week and then you will get bored with it. Here's where you can program your charging times, tell the car to charge automatically at certain times and also set up it's pre conditioning of the interior cabin. And a setting here for EV Route. That means when you program a place on the navigation system, it's going to indicate whether you're going to have a problem getting there on your current charge and then of course. Guide you to charging stations along the way if need be. Now to drive this guy, you've got a traditional-looking transmission, so like do it of course no transmission, neutral, park, reverse, drive, and B is your high regen mode. Below that is an eco button. So here's how it works, standard drive is kind of your most power and your least regen. Putting it into eco mode. Tapers back the power and increases the region drag a little bit. A little more efficient And then putting it in B and eco gets you the least acceleration forward and the highest region when you decelerate, Now powering the sole e v is of course and electric motor. Backed up a 27 kilowatt battery pack that's near the top of the industry. In the measurement of watt hours per pound. It's very dense. Horsepower's a measly 109, but torque's what you care about at 210 pound feet. Front wheel drive only. zero to 60 is lazy on paper 11.2, but we'll check it on the road. You get 93 miles of EPA. An EPA rated range that may be the best out there sort of a Tesla Model S and this one costs a lot less. Your MPGe rating is 120 charging is done up here behind this door, two outlets. The one on the left gives you household current at 120 volts. To use that you want to remake the longest day, because that's 24 hours. If you put a 240 outlet in there, you're going to get done in four to five hours. Now the right is a high current charger, 480 volts, if you can find one of those stations, you're looking at 33 minutes to get a 80% charge. [MUSIC] Now a soul av weighs about 500 pounds more than a standard soul. Give or take. That's like throwing out three passengers, that's a lot. So it has that very planted, very sort of heavy footed electric car ride, but it's got that great tork. It feels much quicker than that 11 some odd seconds we saw on paper. Very quiet inside with one problem, there's this piercing like eight kilohertz whine almost all the time. You especially notice it when you crack the windows. That's a dealbreaker for me. It's really audible I think. An interesting carryover from the standard Soul is this steering wheel mode button. here on the wheel for comfort normal or sport feel. which is going to give you a difference in weight and assist. You particularly feel it at higher speed. I'm just poking around the city right now and it's imperceptibly different. But it's a nice coupling to go with your drive modes [MUSIC] The Kia Soul's available only in a few states, so for the most part it's somewhere between a compliance car and a side bet. It doesn't break a lot of ground, but does have the best range anywhere near its price class and one of those high-level superfast chargers. But perhaps more importantly, it doesn't lose its Soul-ness as it sheds its engine. [MUSIC]