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Monday, 21 June 2021
ABOUT a year ago I wrote a column about an electric car that has just picked up a 2021 award for being the “best value” EV around.
But what makes an EV attractive to buyers when it is frankly still a type of car that is anathema to many motorists?
Is it because it is good for the environment (debate abounds on the extra electricity that will have to be found to supply an EV infrastructure) or the EV’s range (stories are legion about EV motorists experiencing range anxiety).
Well, the Kia Soul EV, which I was very impressed with when I drove it in 2020, picked up its “best value” prize at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2021.
The Soul EV was commended for its “power, range, durability and ease of driving” plus a “standout design”.
Eligible for the £2,500 government plug-in car grant and capable of 280 miles on a single charge, the Soul EV was “great value”.
It came top of the class for excelling in all requirements of an EV, based on a survey of 148,000 UK car owners.
Erin Baker, Auto Trader’s editorial director, said: “Owners described the Kia Soul EV as great value for money, roomy, efficient, small on the outside and big on the inside.”
Last year I wrote that the refined boxy Soul look was one that you either loved or hated, but you could not deny this EV has bags of interior room.
“The Kia Soul EV is lightness personified to drive,” I wrote. “You breeze along, the steering and handling demonstrating a deftness of touch that would have been difficult to imagine in a car of this size, and with this power source, a decade ago.”
The most striking feature, I recall, was its interior space. This was achieved partly by the fact that the all-new Soul EV was 80mm longer than the car it replaced.
But there is obviously more to it than that. I think the simplicity of interior design is key to adding the winning touch to this car.
Inside, there are the visuals that strike you: the black leather upholstery, a 10.25in touchscreen satellite navigation system that dominates the dashboard.
This has European mapping and traffic messaging channel (TMC), as well as UVO App connectivity and is combined with a seven-inch colour display cluster and head-up display.
The driver has an eight-way power adjustable seat (sliding, reclining, height adjustment) together with power lumbar support.
The steering wheel features both tilt and telescopic adjustment, the headlining is in light grey and the interior door handles are finished in satin chrome.
A reversing camera with dynamic guidelines is integrated into the centre fascia screen, as well as the fitment of rear parking sensors. A wireless mobile phone charger is also included as standard equipment.
And there is no skimping on equipment just because this is an EV.
As standard, the Soul EV First Edition comes with a 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system with subwoofer, external amplifier and front centre speaker. In addition, there’s DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, a 12-volt power socket and a pair of USB fast chargers within the front centre console.
The Soul EV has many safety devices, including Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Lane Follow Assist (LFA), Blind Spot Detection (BSD).
Kia is obviously proud of its latest accolade. Paul Philpott, president and CEO of Kia UK, said: “To see the Soul EV win this award is a truly impressive feat, and one which means a lot to us as a company.”
It may be that you still have serious reservations about switching to an EV (or adding one to your stable of cars) but I think the Soul EV demonstrates that ownership of an all-electric powered vehicle is possible and even desirable.