Review: Kia Soul EV


I'm now on my third EV. You can read my thoughts on the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. This review is primarily focussed on the tech included with the car.
A grey coloured car.

Bluetooth

Connects quickly, and no glitches with streaming audio. Call quality was clear, but didn't show caller's photo - which is a shame.

Doesn't show album artwork - so no AVRCP 1.6 support.

I couldn't get it to do a 30-second-skip using the steering wheel buttons. It is next/previous track or nothing.

Android Auto

Allows mirroring of a small number of apps onto the car's main display. Android Auto is basically fine. It shows your GPS on the screen, and some other approved apps. Honestly, it isn't much better than having your phone visible in a holder.

Because it needs a hardwired connection, you need to plug the phone into the car's USB port. Sadly, this is very slow at charging. Annoying, because you'll probably want a faster charger if you're using GPS, streaming podcasts, etc.

Voice Control

Pretty shitty. If you're using the car's voice services, you'll be continually frustrated. Slow and inaccurate.

GPS

Bargain basement GPS. It works, but you'll probably want to use Google maps. There's no live traffic in the Kia, updates to the maps are done yearly, and cost £25! WTF?

The one good thing is that it does show you the speed limit for the road you're on.

Missing mobile app

In a major oversight, there's no mobile services for the car. The Zoe's app was utterly crap - but at least it allowed me to pre-heat the car on demand.

That also means there's no API - which is a crying shame.

Missing Tech

There are a number of other curious omissions.

The reversing camera doesn't show the direction of travel. A minor nit, but seems standard in all other vehicles.

No way to default the speed limiter or cruise control. I make heavy use of the speed limiter and I have to activate the function ever time I start the car. Why can't it remember my preferences?

Windscreen wipers aren't automatic. The lights are, but the wipers really should be too.

Power

The car has two "cigar socket" chargers - with variable power outputs - in the front.

The rear has a single socket.

Charging

A mixed bag. The rapid charger is ChaDeMo - rather than the more modern CCS. A bit annoying, depending on which rapids you usually attend.

The slow charger is similarly outdated - it's type 1 rather than the type 2 found on every other car. You can buy adapters, but it's a shame that Kia haven't modernised their charging ports.

The car comes with a standard 3-pin 240V charger, and a type 1 to type 2 Mennekes cable - so you'll be able to charge it at most public charge points.

Verdict

This review may seem fairly negative - but I've deliberately focussed on what annoys me.

I pay £215 per month for this car - and I reckon that's a very fair price. This is obviously the last production run for this version of the Kia Soul EV. I expect future ones will have more modern charging options.

The in-car touchscreen is about as bad as any other modern car. Slow and janky. But car manufacturers just aren't interested in investing in better systems.

You're better off getting a decent Android phone and using that rather than the built-in services.

It's a good little car, the tech is basically adequate for a modern vehicle - but nothing too exciting.

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