Kia Soul EV 2020 detailed review good and bad
We have now had our Soul EV 2020 for one week and its time to do our first detailed review.
I have my electronic key in a waterproof pouch and it lives in an inside pocket. I can walk up to the car and unlock by pressing the button on the door handle.
Sit inside, put foot on brake pedal and push the start button.
One of the reasons for buying this car is the high seating position for the driver. Range of adjustment is excellent:
Height of seat
Raise or lower front of seat
Move seat forward and back
Change angle of seat back
Change lumbar support.
The same cannot be said of the front passenger seat. There is no height adjustment. Just a simple manual forward and back and manual adjust angle of back.
Once the seat is just where you want it, it is easy to adjust the position of the stearing wheel.
Release the lever on the left of the steering wheel and pull the steering wheel out or in, up or down until the position is comfortable.
Then make sure the lever locks your chosen postion in place.
I have found the drivers seat to be very supportive and comfortable.
The rear view mirrors are also easy to adjust. The wing mirror adjustment is on the drivers door, as is the button to fold in the wing mirrors - essential on some narrow devon lanes!
Starting the car is easy. Put right foot on brake pedal.
Turn direction control to forward. It automatically takes off the handbreak.
If you haven't driven an EV before, very gently put pressure on accelerator and get the feel of creeping forward. - and the complete lack of engine noise!
Brake to stop.
Push the park button. Lift the front edge of the handbreak button and you should hear the handbreak being applied.
Now do the same in reverse.
Put right foot on brake pedal.
Turn direction control to reverse.
Very gently put pressure on accelerator and get the feel of creeping back. - and again the complete lack of engine noise, but there is an audible reversing warning! The reversing screen, and the rear view mirrors give an excellent view of what is behind you.
Brake to stop.
Park and apply handbreak.
You do need to repeat the slow forward and back several times until you are confident of the start and stop process.
I live on a very steep hill so I tested the creeping forward and back several times on the hill, and parking on the hill. It passed with excellent results.
Ground clearance was also good enough on the steep corner into my drive, where several other cars have grounded in the past.
The head up display I find very useful. It places the speed limit and your current speed at a point where it is easy to read without refocussing your eyes or taking your eyes off the road. Size and colour of the HUD can be changed to suit yourself.
Wipers and headlights are excellent.
Driver visibility is excellent.
Seating in the back is comfortable for two, and room for three. The boot seems small until you realize that there is a lot more space under the boot floor. The back door is almost vertical so there is more usable space than in many cars. Take out the false floor, move the cables to the back seat well and the boot suddenly becomes quite spacious.
Storage space inside is on the mean side with small door pockets, a useful glove box and a central drinks and storage box. A small pocket in the roof for dark glasses.
For rear passengers there is a storage net only on the back of the passenger seat, and room for one drinks bottle in each door.
Internal lights for the front seats are excellent with lights also behind the visors.
One central light for rear passengers and a light to one side in the boot.
In the front there is a 12 volt socket as well as a power USB socket which we are using for our dashcam, and a USB socket for media devices.
For the rear passengers there is a single USB socket. No sockets in the boot for a rear facing camera
The media system sounds excellent and the menus are very easy to use.
Ventilation is excellent in the front for the driver, easy to control the temperature and speed of the fans. But there is no separate control for the passengers, except to turn it off for the passenger, and no separate air vents in the back
Steering is light and precise.
Lane assist is a nusiance on narrow country lanes - very distracting, but useful on the motorway.
Acceleration is phenomenal even in Eco mode, and it is easy to find your speed on the motorway drifting up...
Blind spot warning displayed in the mirror is useful, and the cross traffic warning is very useful when backing out of a driveway. - but better to back in if you can.
Suspension, depends a lot on the quality of the road surface. Feels much harder than the pickup I used to drive.
Reversing camera is excellent and rear sensors also work well. Shame there are no parking sensors on the front.
Use of buttons and dials to control settings I find excellent as you can change things by touch without having to look.
The UVO app has some useful features. You need to follow the instructions to set it up, but once running you can locate your vehicle on a map, see the progress of charging, check its locked or not. You can also start and stop charging if it is plugged in, set climate controls, defrost. But it won't tell you the current inside and outside temperatures. You can see the time, distance and speed for previous journeys but not the energy consumed. You can set a destination in the app and send it to the car.
Inside the car you can see a display based on a trip meter that gives distance and energy consumption since the trip was reset.
In the menu from the EV button -> eco driving -> fuel economy history, you can see distance and energy consumption for previous completed journeys.
The navigation map is clear and directions are clearly and pleasantly spoken. However the route is not always one I would take and I couldn't find any option to avoid the narrowest of lanes. Live traffic updates are used by the routing and you can see them displayed on the Nav -> Kia Live -> traffic updates option. I have set the star button to go directly to Kia Live.
Charging at home is easy, even with a three pin plug and you can set a reduced maximum charge current so that the house wiring isn't overloaded. You can also set when charging starts and stops, and you can set a maximum state of charge - I have set this to 90% for the three pin charger. 80% for a fast charger.
The UVO App together with the in car information display provide most of the information I want to analyse how well the car is working.
My conclusions are that this is a very practical and economical electric car, that is fun to drive.
To me, one of the best value on the market today with a good range.
Overall costs of ownership depends very heavily on depreciation. That in turn will depend on how quickly the price of batteries comes down, but day to day running costs should be very low.