2018 Kia Soul EV+: Squeezing Extra Miles Out of Its Battery

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | 10:46 PM

2018kiasoulev475If you haven’t heard of range anxiety you haven’t driven an all-electric vehicle. It’s a very real thing, I know because I don’t happen to have accessible electricity at my home/office so I am dependent upon public chargers. What I liked about the Soul EV besides the maximum range of 111 miles, is that it has a CHAdeMO quick charge port and I happen to have a quick charger that fits that port down the street. Every couple of days I would drive to the quick charge and sit for 20 minutes or so (you can’t leave your car unattended during a quick charge) and I would have my battery charged up to 80 percent. I’ve also gotten the hang of using apps that indicate where the closest charging station is to your destination.

Using the same body style as the gas powered Soul, its an acquired taste. I happen to love the Soul’s looks and the feel of the roomy interior with all the fun little extras that make the Soul a fun car to drive. Yes, there are a couple of other electric cars out there that give you more battery mileage, but if you are going to stick around town and have another car for longer trips, the Soul is a great buy.

The Kia Soul EV comes in three trim levels: EV-e (which is only available in California), EV, and EV+. This review will focus on the EV+.

2018 Soul EVWith front and rear parking sensors, foglights, power-folding mirrors, a faux-leather-trimmed dash, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cargo cover, three-level heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats and leather upholstery the EV+ has plenty going for it.

All these extras are in addition to the generously outfitted base EV which comes with, DC fast-charging port, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, heated mirror, rear privacy glass, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, a pedestrian warning system, multiple steering modes (Normal, Comfort and Sport), a height-adjustable driver seat, two-level heated front seats, cloth upholstery, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding back seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, one USB port, and a six-speaker sound system with a 5-inch color display, a media player interface, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

A Sun and Fun package is offered only on the EV+ and was included on my model. This trim added, a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting and speaker lights.

Powered by a 30-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 375-volt electric motor, the Soul EV+ glides along the highway with 109 horses and 210 pound-feet of torque. The driving range on a full battery is 111 miles which of course is affected by speed, terrain, whether the a/c is on etc.

Because of its box-like styling, the Soul is very roomy on the inside with great sight lines. Materials used are of the hard plastic variety but in the Soul it works. The touchscreen is easy to use as are all the other gauges and gadgets. Both front and backseat passengers will be plenty comfortable, as the seats are roomy and there is plenty of headroom. Cargo room is plentiful too, which is not always true for EVs because of the placement of the battery.

Driving an EV is really a joy. It fairly glides down the road and is whisper quiet. Acceleration is great with plenty of low-end torque, but don’t expect to cruise down the highway at 80 mph, it’s just not that kind of car. The suspension is tuned for comfort and steering is responsive.

Want an EV with a bit of pizzazz? Give the 2018 Kia Soul EV+ a test drive.