The new Kia e-Soul
The new Kia e-Soul

Caroline drives the 2019 Kia e-Soul!

The new Kia e-Soul is an exciting new electric vehicle to hit the market in 2019. We are entering a new era for mainstream electric vehicles with the availability of 64 kWh batteries. The new Kia e-Soul is a five seat crossover with a range in excess of 400 km. This makes a real difference when you are living with an electric vehicle daily.

However this battery technology still does not come cheap. The e-Soul is priced from €35,995 including VRT relief and Government grants for what is still a relatively compact car. But Kia has revived the funky Soul, this time exclusively as an EV. Not everyone will fall for its oddball looks but it adds some welcome character to the EV segment! There are four vibrant two tone exterior combinations available. You won’t forget the e-Soul in a hurry.

The interior of the new Kia e-Soul
The interior of the new Kia e-Soul

The interior of the 2019 Kia e-Soul

The e-Soul has the elevated driving position of a crossover and gets Kia’s newest interior design, technology and infotainment. This is another big boon for the e-Soul compared to competitors like the Hyundai Kona EV and the Kia e-Niro. The cabin quality is good and there are lashings of gloss black around that cool new touchscreen, which has a wide screen and is easy to use. There are a number of well labelled shortcuts and EV menus, including a facility to find the nearest charging stations. It’s a very sophisticated system.

Standard equipment on the e-Soul includes the 10.25” touchscreen AV/nav display, 7” supervision cluster, lane keep assist, smart cruise control, front collison avoidance, full leather trim, Harmon Kardon sound system, heads up display and blind spot detection. The Kia e-Soul K2 is priced from €35,995, while the K3 with some more equipment is priced from €37,495, including VRT relief and government grants.

The e-Soul’s boxy shape and squared off roofline is great for maximising interior space. The rear bench is a decent enough width with a good amount of legroom, though two will be more comfortable back here than three. However the boot is probably the stickiest point for family buyers. It’s just 315 litres and you will also find yourself storing the cables in here, which makes it more awkward.

The Kia e-Soul is a fashionable crossover priced from €35,995
The Kia e-Soul is a fashionable crossover priced from €35,995

So how far will it get you?

The 64kWh battery allows the Kia e-Soul to travel up to 452km according to the official WLTP rating. I achieved between 350 km and 400 km over a week of varied driving that saw me on the motorway, rural roads and in town. The powerful battery also means that the e-Soul holds onto its charge better, even on the motorway. As I zipped along the motorway at 120 km/h, I didn’t start to sweat with the apocalyptic loss of range that blights some EVs. The e-Soul feels like EV motoring with few compromises.

Ideally a Kia e-Soul owner will be charging their car overnight at home from a wallbox charger. Then the 400 km range is going to be very comfortable for most drivers. I say this because I again encountered difficulties with the public charging network – faulty chargers and chargers blocked by non-EVs. It’s a jungle out there, no doubts!

A Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast charger is fitted as standard, which facilitates charging to 50% battery power in as little as 30 minutes. A normal charge is up to 9.5 hours. There are also a range of energy-recuperation technologies to maximise driving range including an energy efficient heat pump system and a regenerative braking system operated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Boot space in the Kia e-Soul
Boot space in the Kia e-Soul

Driving the Kia e-Soul

The Kia e-Soul also happens to be a lot of fun to drive. It’s seriously agile and the battery torque means that this things bombs along with loads of punch no matter what speed you are driving at. Okay, so there is not much feedback reaching the rim from the tyres but there’s weight in the steering so it feels precise for an electric vehicle. The e-Soul 64 kWh will accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in just 7.9 seconds.

I really enjoyed driving the Kia e-Soul. It’s an electric vehicle with lots of character, and whether you like it or not, it says something about you. It’s also got a good cabin ambience with a very modern interior. It is clearly expensive for a medium sized crossover but that is the current price for this sort of technology.

The Kia e-Soul widens the playing field a little more for this new era of mainstream electric vehicles with over 400 km range.

The e-Soul combines the trend for crossovers with an electric powertrain
The e-Soul combines the trend for crossovers with an electric powertrain

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Kia e-Soul 64 kWh
Battery: 64 kWh
204 hp
Torque: 395 Nm
7.9 seconds
Top speed: 167 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
0 g/km
Motor tax: 
€120 per year