The 2018 Kia Soul now breaks the 100-mile range marker thanks to improved battery performance. Its low price, practical nature, and charming styling belie the age of this current generation, which first debuted in gas-powered form in 2014.
2018 Kia Soul EV Overview
What's New for 2018
The 2018 Kia Soul EV gains a higher-performance battery, which enables an increased EPA range estimate of 111 miles per charge.
Choosing your Kia Soul EV
Like most electric vehicles, the Soul EV comes equipped with a single power system and no drivetrain options. The electric system features a 30-kWh battery that powers the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. There's 109 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque from the Soul's sole electric motor.
The new battery improves the Soul EV’s range from an EPA-estimated 93 miles to 111 miles and from a mile per gallon equivalent estimate of 120 city, 92 highway, 105 combined to 124, 93, and 108 MPGe combined.
A DC Fast Charge system will allow a 90-percent charge in just 45 minutes while Kia’s telematics system allows the owner to keep tabs on the car’s state of charge.
The lasting design of the Kia Soul means this EV continues to look like a modern crossover. Only subtle touches like a softer front fascia, a body-color grille that also acts as the plug port cover, and more aerodynamic wheels are present. Overall those changes make the Soul EV easy to identify for those in-the-know, but generally, it will fly under the radar of most other drivers.
Considering that none of the Soul EV trims offer active-safety equipment – these are fairly old vehicles, after all – the mid-range EV trim is the sweet spot below the pricier Plus model. With federal and state subsidies considered, the Soul EV becomes even more practical, as long as range anxiety isn’t too big of an issue.
2018 Kia Soul EV Review
The 2018 Kia Soul EV impresses with outstanding fuel economy and hatchback versatility, all wrapped up in styling that doesn't herald its greenness. But it lacks advanced safety features, the base model is only available in California, and its range doesn't match that of many competitors.
Outside of California (where the $33,145 EV-e base model is sold), pricing for the 2018 Kia Soul EV starts at $34,845 for the EV trim and moves from there to $37,945 for an EV Plus model equipped with the optional Sun and Fun Package.
The decision most 2018 Soul EV buyers face is choosing between leather and cloth seats. With the usual power features plus an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation, rearview camera, and 16-inch alloy wheels standard on all models and advanced safety features unavailable, it comes down to how many extras you need.
For our money, we'd pick the base EV trim, which looks like this:
- Model: 2018 Kia Soul EV
- Engine: AC Synchronous Permanent Magnet Motor
- Output: 109 hp / 210 lb-ft
- Transmission: Gear Reduction Unit
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- MPG: 124 City / 93 Hwy MPGe
- Options: None
- Base Price: $34,845 (including an $895 destination fee)
- Best Value Price: $34,845
Although aimed at efficiency and not enthusiasm, the Soul EV is fun to drive with nicely-weighted steering and enough power to move it smoothly and quietly. Battery placement is under the floor and the resulting lower center of gravity translates to less body lean through corners and more compliance over uneven pavement than the gasoline-powered version. Moreover, fuel economy borders on spectacular with an EPA-estimated 124 miles per gallon equivalent in the city, 93 MPGe on the highway, and 108 combined.
At the same time, like other Soul models, the EV's steering doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback to the driver, top speed is limited to 90 miles per hour, while an aggressive regenerative system means feedback through the brake pedal falls short of other Soul models.
Like the rest of the Soul lineup, the EV's exterior manages to combine functionality with slick styling cues and a class-above interior offering plenty of room for four adults, soft touch points in all the right places, and an infotainment system that's intuitive and easy to use.
It eludes perfection as the front seats lack thigh support, while the quieter drivetrain means you're even more aware of the copious amounts of road, wind, and tire noise that enter the cabin when cruising around town and on the highway.
The Best and Worst Things
The Soul EV's expressive design, hatchback versatility, and stunning fuel economy are sure to impress buyers, although the lack of advanced safety features could limit its appeal.
Right For? Wrong For?
A smooth ride, plenty of interior space, and spectacular fuel economy make the Soul EV a good choice for eco-friendly buyers.
The Soul EV's surprising lack of advanced safety features is bound to turn off safety-conscious buyers.
The Bottom Line
Despite a dearth of advanced safety systems and a driving range that falls short of many competitors, the Soul EV's adventurous styling, intuitive infotainment system, overall versatility, and terrific fuel economy make it a top contender in its class.