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Video test – Kia e-Soul: a playing card

In short

Starting from € 37,300 (excluding bonus of € 6,000)

Autonomy: 452 km, WLTP cycle

Fast charge: from 20% to 80% in 42 minutes

It took only ten years for Kia to transform herself. And it is through the electrification of its models that the Korean firm saw its sales take off. The brand recorded an increase of 4.7% compared to 2017, marketing a total of 494,304 vehicles in Europe. On these very respectable volumes, electrified vehicles accounted for 12%.

Electrification means: the hybrid, the plug-in hybrid, the electric and even hydrogen. All of these energies are part of the brand's strategy to grow in Europe. By 2025, the South Korean manufacturer will have put 16 such vehicles on the market. And among the pioneering models of electric at Kia there is of course the Niro, a real star available in electric, hybrid and rechargeable hybrid, but also the Soul.

The Soul is an eccentric vehicle, offbeat, halfway between minispace and SUV. He never really broke through Europe. And precisely, feeling the appetence of its customers for these new energies, Kia has made the strategic choice to market its third generation in 100% electric version.

Video test - Kia e-Soul: a playing card

The manufacturer has not been far to find a source of energy to his model since it fully takes the platform and the power train of his big brother e-Niro. Thus, the Korean will present two offers. The first uses a 136 hp (100 kW) electric motor powered by a 39.2 kWh battery. It offers a range of 276 kilometers in the WLTP certification cycle and will serve as a call model with a price of 37,300 €, from which it will be necessary to deduct an ecological bonus of 6,000 €. The second is illustrated by its generous autonomy of 452 kilometers (WLTP cycle). A rare offer on the market. It consists of a 204 hp (150 kW) engine powered by a 64 kWh battery. The latter will be awarded € 41,300 excluding bonus (€ 6,000) and should represent the majority of sales.

E-Soul is one of the few in the category of "generalists" to offer such a strong autonomy.

The e-Soul retains its very cubic original look that makes it famous. The front is smoother, the look even more threatening with a fine light signature running along the grille while the rear part is distinguished by LED lights boomerang. This electric version is distinguished by a specific full shield, a charging hatch located at the level of the grille and 17 '' rims designed for better aerodynamics. In summary, it is an extraterrestrial who will finally have very few competitors in front of him. The Hyundai Kona? The DS 3 Crossback e-Tense? No, they are pure SUVs. The Nissan Leaf? No, it's a compact one. The Renault Zoé? Still, she's not a city girl. And the others, like the Jaguar i-Pace, the Audi e-Tron and the Tesla, are displayed at stratospheric prices. The Kia e-Soul has a card to play.

The atmosphere on board is austere but the plastics are treated. Too bad, the upholstery of the seats is quite unpleasant to the touch.
The atmosphere on board is austere but the plastics are treated. Too bad, the upholstery of the seats is quite unpleasant to the touch.

On board, the atmosphere is much less exuberant.On could even qualify his interior austere. The e-Soul presents rather well with plastics treated on the high part but some assembly defects remain. The rounded center console, however, hosts a new multimedia system whose screen exceeds 10 "on the high-end version. The latter has great graphics and has a myriad of features (compatibility Carplay and Android Auto with Waze display). Naturally, it benefits from the latest connected services (see equipment page) and adopts an excellent 640 watt Harman Kardon HIFI system. This powerful sound system is composed of 10 loudspeakers and coupled with a mood lighting that varies according to the rhythm to immerse the occupants in sound immersion.

The Korean offers a generous space to the rear seats.
The Korean offers a generous space to the rear seats.
With 315 liters, the trunk volume is in the low range of the market.
With 315 liters, the trunk volume is in the low range of the market.

With its shoe box shape, the e-Soul offers a generous living space. Passengers have plenty of room, especially at the back with a bench with a very sloping backrest. It will however get used to the upholstery of the seats which becomes unbearable in the long run. The placement of the batteries under the floor made it possible not to over-encroach on the trunk volume (315 liters), which remains nevertheless limited for the category of urban SUVs.

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