LOS ANGELES — One of my favorite vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show is the bright yellow 2020 Kia Soul EV. It was introduced during AutoMobility LA, the auto show’s press days, last Wednesday afternoon.
The new plug-in electric CUV comes equipped with a liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64-kWh battery. It produces 201-horsepower on its electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque. The battery is currently being tested so an exact electric range is not yet available at this time. That is expected to be announced early in 2019.
The Soul EV features four drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+. In addition, it offers regenerative braking to add additional range when stopping. The instrument cluster also displays a Smart Eco Pedal Guide to let the driver know how much of their battery is being used when accelerating.
“We have a Soul for the Whole Foods crowd including myself,” said Saad Chehab, vice president of Marketing Communications at Kia Motors America. “Enter the Soul EV…The most eco-friendly member of the family. The state-of-the-art 64-kWh battery with 201 horses compared to just 109 for the previous model. There’s more torque as well with 291 foot pounds. You can expect more than double the range of the previous generation. As a California company, we like our Double Doubles, don’t we? We are the only company to offer, not one, but two crossover EVs with such incredible range.”
On the interior, there is a 10.25-inch color touchscreen with rear view monitor and parking guidance along with a 6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM) with USB input. Other interior features include Bluetooth wireless connectivity with voice recognition and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Basically, once your phone is connected, many of your apps will appear on the color touchscreen.
For those who want a little bit more, there’s a Designer Collection model with many more custom features. Those include two-tone paint, a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon premium audio system, a wireless phone charger, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and an auto dimming rear view mirror, just to name a few.
The 2020 Kia Soul EV will be manufactured at the Gwangju plant in Korea. Pricing has not yet been announced, but it will arrive in U.S. showrooms sometime in 2019.