The 2021 Kia Soul EV starts at $42,995 in Canada before freight and delivery charges.
Fun to drive, good cargo space, plenty of comfort and convenience features.
Price/range ratio could be better, irritating lane keep assist system, limited outward rear visibility.
Many automakers have entered the new decade by promising a deployment of fully electric vehicles. Yet, there are already several on the market, including the 2021 Kia Soul EV—in Canada, at least.
And the Soul doesn’t lack interest. This little crossover can be found in a very popular segment in the country, it offers undeniable versatility and it boasts both good power and good driving range. That is, if we’re willing to pay more for the vehicle.
As standard, the 2021 Kia Soul EV in Premium trim is equipped with a 134-horsepower electric motor, which also produces 291 pound-feet of torque. On the other hand, the Limited trim benefits from 201 horsepower and as much torque for quicker and more entertaining take-offs.
Some other electric vehicles offer one-pedal driving, thanks to aggressive energy regeneration during braking or when coasting. In other words, the resistance is so great that the vehicle slows down and even stops by simply lifting our foot from the accelerator, and without needing apply the brakes.
In the case of the 2021 Kia Soul EV, as well as the Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric, it’s not as easy. We can set the intensity of the energy regenerative force with wheel-mounted paddles, but we must get used to the way they work. In short, one-pedal driving is easier in the Soul’s competitors, such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Nissan LEAF, for example.
The Soul EV Premium gets a 39.2-kWh battery pack, providing an estimated driving range of 248 kilometres (155 miles). Meanwhile, the Limited trim boasts a 64-kWh battery for a range of 383 km (239 miles). In comparison, the Bolt EV’s range is 417 km (259 miles), while the LEAF’s range is 240 km (149 miles) with its smaller battery and between 349 and 363 km (215 and 226 miles) with its bigger battery pack. The new Volkswagen ID.4 has an estimated driving range of up to 400 km (250 miles), while the MINI Cooper SE’s range is pegged at 177 km (110 miles).
Pricing starts at $42,995 before freight and delivery charges in Canada. That’s for the Premium trim levels, while the Limited is listed from $51,995.
Why You Should Buy A 2021 Kia Soul EV
- Like the conventional Kia Soul, the EV gets a modern interior with decent fit and finish. We like the textured motifs on the door panels that blend in with the dashboard’s air vents, while circular shapes spread around the cabin add a dynamic touch.
- The Soul EV is fun to drive, especially in Limited trim with its 201-horsepower motor. Throttle response is surprisingly instantaneous, although the same could be said with many other EVs.
- The 2021 Kia Soul EV’s infotainment system includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen as standard. The interface is easy to use while driving, but there are physical buttons as well to quickly access the main audio functions. The climate controls are just as straightforward, and there’s a “driver only” button that concentrates heating and ventilation on the driver, reducing energy consumption when there’s only one person in the vehicle.
- The Soul EV Premium is well-equipped with embedded navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, wireless phone charging, and UVO connected services. It also includes heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, adaptive cruise control, automatic climate control, an intelligent key, 17-inch alloy wheels and LED lighting all around. The Limited adds leatherette upholstery, a Harman/Kardon sound system, a power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
- The Soul may have a small footprint, it’s nonetheless spacious inside. The high roofline and elevated seat cushions result in good rear-seat head and legroom, while cargo space with the seats folded up amounts to 530 litres or 18.7 cubic feet. Once those seatbacks are folded, volume grows to 1,735 litres or 61.3 cubic feet, ranking it among the most spacious subcompact crossovers.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy The 2021 Kia Soul EV
- Well, if we live in the United States, we shouldn’t even consider it, because since the Soul’s redesign for the 2020 model year, the fully electric version isn’t offered.
- While the Soul EV Limited’s range is pretty decent, it’s still down compared to the Bolt EV’s, and even its corporate cousin the Hyundai Kona Electric. As for the Premium trim level, its range is adequate in these pandemic times while we’re not travelling all that much, but otherwise, similarly priced rivals can cover longer distances between charges.
- The 2021 Kia Soul EV’s fat rear pillars limited outward visibility, which shouldn’t normally be the case in a square-shaped vehicle with a high roofline.
- Like in many Kia and Hyundai products, the Soul EV’s lane keep assist system is too sensitive, as it keeps beeping and nudging the steering wheel to keep it centered on the road. To the point where we just shut it off, which defeats the purpose of offering it.
- At $43K, the Soul EV Premium is relatively affordable, if we factor in the federal green-vehicle rebate, in addition to provincial rebates in Quebec and in British Colombia. It costs about the same as the Hyundai IONIQ Electric (274-km or 170-mile range), a little less than the Bolt EV, the base LEAF and the Kona Electric. The MINI Cooper SE is less versatile and its range is much lower, but it costs less than the Kia. We must also mention that the refreshed 2022 Bolt EV will get a price drop and the all-new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV will be about a couple of thousand dollars more costly than its shorter counterpart. The Limited trim at $52K approaches the Tesla Model 3’s price range, which is a much more powerful car, in addition to offering greater range.
If the 2021 Kia Soul EV offers lots of features for the money, space-age looks and good interior space, the base trim level isn’t as interesting because of its smaller battery pack. Meanwhile, the Limited trim with the powerful motor and decent range seemed a little overpriced.
Shoppers looking for a fully electric Kia should check out the Niro EV instead, as it gets the bigger battery pack as standard. And for U.S. consumers, it’s the brand’s only fully electric model anyway.