What's the news?
Kia has revealed the new Soul small SUV in Los Angeles and it's coming to Ireland next summer in electric form.
The current Soul, cute though it is, has been something of a slow seller in Ireland thanks largely to an older-tech diesel engine with relatively high emissions. The new Soul is about to turn that all on its head, as it will be coming to Ireland exclusively in electric form, with the long-range 64kWh battery pack from the Hyundai Kona electric, and the Kia e-Niro.
The EV version of the Soul will get multi-mode regenerative braking, activated by paddles behind the wheel, and you'll even be able to bring the car to a complete halt using just the paddles if you like.
Kia isn't talking official figures yet, but the 64kWh battery Kona has a one-charge range of 482km, so expect to see a similar number for the Soul. The battery stack is liquid cooled, which should improve performance, and will be enabled for CCS fast-charging from public charging points.
There are four driving modes for the Soul EV - Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+ - and these alter and juggle the output of the battery and the electric motor accordingly. The power figures for the electric motor are 204hp and 395Nm of torque, so performance should feel similar to that of a big diesel engine.
It should be sharper to drive, too, as this generation of Soul adopts fully-independent rear suspension, in place of the current model's solid rear axle.
The Soul EV also gets unique styling compared to the standard petrol models of the car (which will only be on sale in the US market). The grille is blanked off, there's a charging socket on the drivers' side, and there are unique LED headlights. EV-specific foglights and 17-inch alloy wheels complete the look, which is clearly derived from the previous two generations of Soul, but which looks a bit smoother, cleaner, and more tech-y.
Inside, while the overall cabin is quite conventional, the Soul EV does get a rotary transmission shifter, and a new 10.25-inch touchscreen which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's a whole bunch of safety kit on offer too, including Available systems include Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (available) and Reverse Parking Distance Warning.
There's also a 'UVO' telematics system, which allows owners to monitor the car's state of battery charge through their mobile phones, and which also has a 'panic button' which can alert the emergency services in the event of an accident or even a car-jacking.
European Soul EVs will come with the option of a Designer Collection edition, which will include equipment such as a 10-speaker Harman-Kardon premium audio system with external amplifier, a wireless phone charger and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front seats trimmed in Sofino premium 'Vegan' upholstery.
Full Irish specs and details will be released soon, and the Soul EV will be on sale in time for 192 registrations next July.