The next-generation Kia Soul EV made its world debut at this year’s LA Auto Show. The “Compact Utility Vehicle” as Kia likes to call it, has received not just a refreshed design but also the powertrain and technology upgrades.
The new Soul EV retains the boxy silhouette of the original model, however, there is a fresh new face. The designers have moved the large tiger nose grille to the restyled bumper, and replacing the top grille is a narrow strip that connects the LED DRLs housed in a narrow headlamp casing. The charging door is located above the grille, on the driver’s side. Also, notice the neat looking floating roof on the side profile. The evolutionary design continues on to the rear of the vehicle. Rounding off the looks are 17-inch alloy wheels.
The fresh interiors are loaded with features including a 10.25-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, 6-speaker audio system, and a host of safety and driver assistance systems.
Speaking of which, the Soul EV boasts a total of 7 airbags, ABS, Traction Control, ESC, Hill-Start Assist, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Pedestrian warning system, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go.
Options list includes Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, and Parking Distance Warning – Reverse only.
The electric motor on the Soul EV now develops 201 hp (up from 110 hp) and 291 lb-ft (395 Nm) of torque (up from 210 lb-ft/285 Nm). Kia claims that the handling and driving dynamics are also much improved, thanks to the addition of independent rear suspension.
There are four drive modes on offer – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+, that automatically adjusts power output, regenerative braking, air conditioning and heating settings, and set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency depending on the driving conditions.
Drivers can also choose from four regenerative braking levels (0 to 3) depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency. Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop.
As for the juice, the new Soul EV packs a 64 kWh lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery which is capable of DC fast charging. The range is claimed to be about 280 miles (450 km).
Built at the Gwangju plant in Korea, the Soul EV is expected to go on sale next year. Buyers can choose from two trims, the Soul EV and the Soul EV Designer Collection. The latter gets all the Soul EV goodies, plus a lot more, including: Two-tone paint: Gravity Grey with a Platinum Gold roof; Cherry Black with an Inferno Red roof; and Neptune Blue with a Cherry Black roof, Power-folding gloss-black heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors, 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, Wireless phone charger, Leather-wrapped steering wheel, Heated front seats with Sofino premium non-animal seating upholstery, and Auto-dimming rearview mirror.