2020 Kia Soul EV Review

Soul EV

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2020 Kia Soul EV Overview

Kia’s quirky Soul subcompact crossover gets a complete redesign and goes into its third generation for 2020 with an all-new version of the all-electric Soul EV. Like the rest of the new Soul range, the Soul EV looks good without losing its boxy charm. The electric version stands apart thanks to its solid grille insert and a charging door on the driver’s side as well as special 17-inch alloy wheels. DC fast charging is now standard for the cutting-edge electric powertrain shared with the also-new Kia Niro EV. Two trims are available: the base Soul EV and the Soul EV Designer Collection.

As of this writing, the 2020 Kia Soul EV hasn’t been EPA tested for fuel economy. The battery in the new Soul EV is a 64-kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion polymer unit that makes 201 horsepower and a whopping 291 pound-feet of torque, which is a massive bump from the 210 lb-ft in the 2019 Soul EV. Kia hasn’t released estimates for how long the battery takes to charge.

Drivers can choose between four driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Eco+, that adjust air conditioning and heater settings, set speed limits, and alter the regenerative braking output in the interest of efficiency. The Soul EV’s regenerative braking system has four levels of adjustment, from 0 to 3, that the driver can change via a paddle shifter. The car’s Brake and Hold feature can even stop the car completely using the hand-operated paddle.

Base Soul EVs come with a 10.25-inch color touchscreen with a display for the reversing camera and parking guidance features, a 6-speaker stereo, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth with voice recognition. The only way to dress the car up is to spring for the Designer Collection trim, which adds buyer’s choice of three different two-tone exterior paint scheme along with heated gloss-black exterior mirrors, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, wireless device charging, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

The all-new Kia Soul EV hasn't been through the usual run of crash testing, but the gas-powered model earned Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), so it’s reasonable to expect good things from the new version. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration also gave the gas-powered 2019 model 5 stars for overall rating. The available Kia Drive Wise suite of safety features also includes forward-collision warnings, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, driver-attention warning, smart cruise control with stop-and-go features, blind-spot collision warning, rear cross-traffic collision warning, and parking-distance warning.

The Soul EV took one of Kia’s most popular models and broadened its appeal with a look to the future. The new model improves on just about everything, from looks to performance to comfort and convenience. Provided it delivers a more competitive range, it should be a solid contender in the increasingly competitive market for fully electric vehicles, going up against roomy hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf EV and the Toyota Prius.

Updated

Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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