Kia Squeezes More Juice Out of Battery on its 2018 Soul EV+

2018 Kia Soul EV+ is so metallic-y with its Titanium Gray exterior paint job. Photos by Matt Coker

 

“What does it say? What does it say?”

With my 2018 Kia Soul EV+ loaner car fully charged–from having plugged the accompanying trickle charger into a household outlet in my garage overnight–my wife was curious about the top range displayed on the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.

111 miles, I answered, to which we both replied in unison: “Pfft.”

Close Ride Me readers will recall our sour experiences with dubious top mileage readings during a desert crossing in a different manufacturer’s electric car.

However, our cynicism was unwarranted, because Kia increased the energy from 27 kilowatt hours to 30 kWh in the lithium ion polymer batteries on its 2018 Soul EVs, whose estimated range courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  jumped from 93 to–yes indeed–111 miles.

The two-tone gray interior gives the inside of the Soul EV+ a clean, modern look.

Of course, your mileage will vary depending on how you drive the thing, but those additional 18 miles can be significant to any EV drivers who have sweated through their polo shirts due to range anxiety.

As one who has twice before sung the praises of the Soul EV (click here and here), I was content with Kia leaving well enough alone in the fourth model year of its first mass market, zero emissions, battery electric vehicle.

But squeezing more juice out shows the South Korean automaker is among those in the industry continually looking for ways to improve electric-car technology.

The timing to do so is ripe: More and more consumers are interested in alternatives to traditional gasoline-powered engines.

The EPA fuel economy rating is 124 miles per gallon (equivalent) in the city and 93 mpg on the highway for a combined 108 mpg (at 31 kWh per 100 miles). That amounts to a measly $600 in annual fuel costs or $3,750 in fuel cost savings over five years when compared to the average 2018 vehicle.

I’d hate to spill coffee on that carpet.

Meanwhile, the EPA gives the 2018 Kia Soul EV+ perfect 10 ratings on smog and fuel economy/greenhouse gas.

(Government 5-Star Safety Ratings for crashes were not available.) 

The color scheme of my particular test ride–Titanium Gray exterior and two-tone gray interior–also demonstrated that Kia is mixing things up when it comes to the looks of its electrics. Coupled with the 16-inch alloy wheels in a satin metal finish, my tester gave off a clean, modern aura. 

Some things have not changed, thank God. It’s still a peppy little ride, with the 109-horsepower/210 lb. ft. torque electric motor generating adequate oomph to get around slowpokes and keep up with normal roadway traffic.

As with many electrics, the smooth ride is especially noticeable when coming to a stop or accelerating after one.

The cargo area floor lifts up to reveal storage for the charger (inset).

There is plenty of room for riders in the front, but if their leather-trimmed seats are slid too far back–or the backseat passengers are jumbo-sized–leg room can be an issue. Then again, two adults who rode in the front with three adult women in the back reported there was plenty of room for all of them.

The cargo area behind them is spacious, and the back seats can be folded down to make it even larger.

Lift up the black cargo area floor with the Soul logo and you’ll find even more storage area, including a little cubby that holds the trickle charger. 

Electric Souls come in EV or my test ride’s EV+ trim. Many features are standard, including those mentioned previously in the story as well as: projection fog lamps; heated/ventilated front seats; heated rear outboard seats; and illuminated USB/auxiliary port and charge port with sliding door. (There is a port for fast-charging, by the way.)

Also standard are: the push-button start with smart key; front/rear parking assist system; power-folding outside mirrors with turn-signals; navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen and rear camera; and the infotainment system with satellite radio (and complimentary three-month subscription).

No throwing shade on this car.

Standard safety features include: electronic stability control; vehicle stability management; dual front advanced air bags; dual front seat side air bags; full-length side curtain air bags; and brake-assist and anti-lock braking systems.

With those and a few other goodies, you are looking at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $35,950, which you’ll notice is right around the MSRPs of Soul EVs from previous years in the links to past reviews featured earlier in this story.

However, my particular test ride included extras that, along with the inland freight and handling fee, shoots the MSRP up to $38,160. They include a cargo net, a cargo tray, carpeted floor mats and the $1,100 Sun & Fun package with speaker lights, LED overhead interior lighting and the highly recommended panoramic sunroof.  

(Kia lists a battery heating system as being included at no extra cost.)

The automaker offers generous 10-year/100,000-mile (whichever comes first) warranties on the powertrain and battery. Those go along with Kia’s five-year/50,000-mile limited-basic warranty as well as roadside assistance over that same period of time.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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