After months of wait, I finally tracked down a Kia Soul EV and went for a test drive. It was a base model in black/red, my least favorite color. The seat surface feels like an Ikea cloth sofa. I turned off the radio, lower the AC, turn off ECO, set steering effort to standard. I can tell it's brand new off the lot because many things on dash are still warped in clear plastic, some with label sticker with text written in Korean. Everything do seems to be where they should be, and the car was ~50% with ~90km range left, everything's good, let's go!
2015 Soul EV (base model)
- The steering wheel feels cheap, compare to Honda and Mazda.
- Throttle mapping is mostly tuned for efficiency. With ECO mode off, it took 40% to get power and ~50% to get any good acceleration from a stop.
- Torque is not as instant as expected. It's there but they programmed it in a way that the car feels quite slow.
- Together with the throttle mapping, the Soul EV just not that fun to drive.
- acceleration to highway speed with 100% throttle is adequate, but not satisfying. No insane mode.
- cornering feels stable and flat.
- engine whines is non-existence. Much better than the Leaf.
- cannot hear any beeping that were meant to alert other road users from the cabin. The beeps when the car reverses are louder than when the car is moving forward.
- road noise isolation is pretty good. I'd say it's better than most Honda's.
- suspension works pretty well in absorbing road imperfections.
- regen @ B mode is quite aggressive. Once I went off the gas, it dragged immediately and I will be pissed if I am a passenger and a driver does that to me.
- regen @ D mode is comparable to any regular AT car. I wish it would just have 0 regen and let me cruse...
- great visibility throughout, with very practical size for a family of 4.
- didn't spend much time playing with the infotainment system, but the screen looks great. It's bright and high res.
- gentle driving without much acceleration does give a sort-of luxury feel. No vibration at idle is sweet.
At this point, I've pretty much given up on my pursuit for a Soul EV. Unless I'm super eco-minded, I find the car quite numb and boring to drive. Overall, I am not satisfied with the Soul EV.
P.s. The 2016's are coming in and they will have a sunroof, finally.