Kia Soul EV vs. Nissan LEAF

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - July 30, 2018

Electric cars are getting better by the day as automakers work on increasing range and making them as usable as gasoline-powered vehicles. The Kia Soul EV is a funky little EV that combines the regular Soul's boxy design with more efficiency thanks to an electric powertrain. The Soul EV's design is a light-hearted take on improving efficiency and reducing emissions.

While the Soul EV is one of the newer electric cars on the scene, the Nissan Leaf is one of the oldest. Nissan continues to improve the Leaf, making it a stronger competitor in the growing segment. Can the newly revitalized Leaf hold out against newcomers like the Soul EV?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Kia Soul Ev & the Nissan Leaf »

What the Soul EV Gets Right

The Soul EV's unique design makes the vehicle the more spacious offering of the two. Both vehicles can seat five passengers, but Kia's offering has more space on the inside for those passengers. The Soul EV has 4.7 cubic feet more of passenger volume than the Leaf. That equates to more rear leg room, front shoulder room, rear head room, and rear shoulder room. With the rear seats folded, the Soul EV can hold a total of 49.5 cubic feet of cargo, which is more than the Leaf's rating of 30 cubic feet.

As an electric vehicle, the Soul EV can refill its battery pack quicker than it takes owners of a Leaf to fill up on juice. Both vehicles have a 6.6-kW charger, but it takes less than six hours to go from empty to full with the Soul EV with Level 2 (240 volt) hardware. When hooked up to the same 240-volt charger, the Leaf takes 7.5 hours to charge.

What the Leaf Gets Right

Right off the bat, the Leaf makes a case for itself with a more affordable price tag. The Leaf costs $30,875, while the Soul EV is priced at $34,845 (both prices include destination). The $3,970 price difference with the Leaf can be put into getting into a higher trim or tacking on optional features. In fact, you could get into the mid-level Leaf SV trim for $33,375 and still have $1,470 left over.

Nissan's EV also gets the nod when it comes to range, which is the most crucial bit of information when making the switch to an electric car. Thanks to its 40-kW lithium-ion battery pack, the Leaf has a range of 151 miles on a single charge. The Soul EV is equipped with a 90-kW battery pack, but only has a range of 111 miles.

Electric cars aren't known for being powerful machines, but the Leaf's powertrain is the more powerful offering of the two. The Leaf has a total horsepower rating of 147, while the Soul EV follows behind with 109 hp.

Want to Replace a Gas-Powered Machine?

Making the switch to an EV from a gasoline-powered vehicle isn't easy, as there's a steep learning curve and the dreaded fear of not being able to reach one's destination. When it comes to these two vehicles, the Leaf's higher range makes it the more suitable option for consumers looking to transition to a battery-powered car.

The Verdict: Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf can travel further on a single charge and is more powerful than the Kia Soul EV. Those two upsides make it the clear choice for consumers. The Leaf may not be as fun to drive or as good looking as the Soul EV, but it's the better EV.

Take a closer look at the Kia Soul EV »

Take a closer look at the Nissan Leaf »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website