The 2023 Kia Soul EV: Your Guide to the Redesigned Electric Crossover

Hey there! Have you heard the news about the 2023 Kia Soul EV? As your resident EV expert and lead data analyst at History-Computer, I wanted to give you an insider‘s overview of Kia‘s revamped electric crossover. Whether you‘re new to the world of EVs or have been driving electrified vehicles for years, there’s something here for you. Let’s dive in!

A Quick History of the Soul EV

Before we get to what’s new for 2023, some background is helpful. The Soul EV first arrived in 2014 as Kia’s first all-electric vehicle sold in the US, converting their popular gas-powered Soul compact CUV into an electron-powered alternate version. Adoption started slow, but interest and sales have accelerated thanks to rapid advances in EV tech.

For 2023, Kia is applying lessons learned over the last nine years into a ground-up redesign, promising the most competitive Soul EV yet. The fresh styling, upgraded interior, increased range and improved driving dynamics should appeal both to loyal fans and newcomers to the model.

Exterior Design: Standout Styling with an Aerodynamic Focus

Kia‘s designers have kept the signature boxy exterior profile largely intact, but made some meaningful styling enhancements. Up front, the "tiger nose" grille is wider and sleeker with an integrated charging port door. The front fascia, hood, front fenders and wheel arches have all been re-sculpted for a flush, streamlined look.

Out back, the rear tail lamps receive a modern makeover with "heartbeat" LED signature lighting integrated into a full-width light bar. Below, a redesigned rear bumper with integrated reflectors minimizes drag. Finally, new available 18-inch alloy wheels continue the smoothed-out motif.

Make no mistake though – with its 164-inch length, 63-inch roof height and 70-inch width, the Soul EV retains its iconic chunky silhouette. Love it or hate it, there‘s nothing else quite like it!

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase102.4 inches
Length164 inches
Width70 inches
Height63 inches
Track width (front/rear)62.0/62.8 inches
Ground clearance6.7 inches

Interior Comfort: Familiar Packaging With Premium Upgrades

Climbing inside, Kia designers wisely opted not to tamper too much with the Soul interior layout, a highlight consumers consistently praise. The high roof line afforded by the boxy exterior translates into superb headroom front and rear along with peerless cargo capacity.

That said, the 2023 refresh does usher in higher-end materials to enhance comfort and aesthetics. The redesigned dashboard and door panels integrate available soft-touch surfaces, leatherette and contrast stitching for a more upscale vibe. New ambient interior lighting offers 64 adjustable colors to set just the right mood.

Occupants will appreciate the Smart Pure Air System with an internal air quality display. Plus, new rear side-window curtains provide additional privacy. Otherwise, the intuitive controls, comfortable seats and user-friendly infotainment carry over.

Interior Dimensions & Capacity

Passenger Volume101.2 cubic ft
Cargo Volume (behind rear seats)18.8 cubic ft
Cargo Volume (rear seats folded)62.1 cubic ft
Front Headroom39.6 inches
Front Legroom42.1 inches
Rear Headroom39.5 inches
Rear Legroom38.8 inches

Dual Battery Options: Maximize Range or Value

The Soul EV platform supports two distinct battery configurations allowing buyers to prioritize driving distance or upfront cost. The "Standard Range" 39.2 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery offers up to 143 miles per charge. Stepping up to the "Extended Range" 64 kWh battery extends max range to 243 miles.

Both pack types leverage state-of-the-art nickel cobalt manganese chemistry with liquid thermal management to maintain ideal operating temperatures in extreme ambient conditions. This helps limit rapid battery degradation issues early EVs struggled with after a few years.

Let‘s compare how charging rates and times stack up across the two battery choices:

2023 Kia Soul EV: Battery & Charging Specs

SpecStandard RangeExtended Range
Battery Capacity39.2 kWh64 kWh
Max Driving Range147 miles243 miles
Peak Charging Rate7.2 kW11 kW
Charge Port TypeSAE J1772 ComboSAE J1772 Combo
0-80% Charge Time (Level 2)5 hours 30 min8 hours 40 min
10-80% Charge Time (100 kW DCFC)65 min57 min

So in a nutshell, the Extended Range battery bumps cost but enables road trips beyond 200+ miles between charging stops. The Standard Range version keeps MSRP lower for urban commuters less concerned with max mileage per outing. Choose wisely based on your unique driving needs!

Electric Motor Performance: Lower Center Gravity Boosts Handling

Both Soul EV variants utilize a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor mounted low in the chassis to drive the front wheels. This motor integration strategy also concentrates weight below the cabin to aid handling and stability.

The Standard Range motor generates 201 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of instant torque off the line. This propels the Soul EV from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 7.5 seconds – sprightly performance for an electric compact crossover. The single-gear transmission keeps acceleration smooth across the RPM band until an electronic top speed limiter cuts in at 104 mph.

Thanks to sophisticated traction and stability programming, the Soul EV maintains grip and control when accelerating hard or chucking it into corners. Motor Trend found the "well-balanced platform provides compliant damping over rough pavement while retaining an athletic poise in transition maneuvers." In other words, it‘s equally adept cruising in comfort or carving up winding canyon roads!

Cutting-Edge Tech & Safety Systems

Being the EV new kid on the block, Kia equips the redesigned Soul with all the latest high-tech gadgetry and safety gear modern drivers expect. An intuitive 10.25-inch color touchscreen runs UVO Intelligence telematics with over-the-air updates and seamless smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Wireless device charging, multiple USB ports, Bluetooth and SiriusXM capability round out the infotainment goodies.

You‘ll also appreciate segment-leading standard safety technology, including forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, rear occupant alerts and driver attention warning systems. Higher trims add extras like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and safe exit assistance.

Charging Network & Public Infrastructure Growth

As more automakers jump into EVs, charging networks are rapidly expanding nationwide. Today there are over 48,000 public charging ports in the US, doubling in just the last three years. J1772 connectors (CCS/Combo) compatible with the Soul EV account for almost 90% of new public charging hardware installations like those run by EVgo, ChargePoint and Electrify America.

DC fast charging up to 350 kW is also proliferating, promising to refill 200+ miles of range in 15 minutes for enabled vehicles. Kia provides all Soul EV owners with two years of free 30-minute charging sessions across these networks. And by 2025, forecasters project there will be over 100,000 DC fast charge plugs available nationwide – peace of mind for both urban dwellers and road trippers alike!

So in summary, the redesigned 2023 Soul EV builds on nine years of electric mobility advancements to deliver Kia’s most competitive crossover EV yet. With twin battery options, quirky style, impressive performance tech and extensive safety gear, it hits a sweet spot affordability versus range while appealing to emotions as much as logic.

What do you think? Considering making the switch to electric with Kia‘s refreshed Soul EV? I‘m happy to address any other questions or commentary you may have on EVs so that you can make the most informed decision ahead of hitting dealerships mid-2023. Let me know!

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