Hot on the heels of the five-star crash-test rating for the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid, Kia’s first mass-produced, non-domestic electric car, the 2015 Kia Soul EV, has been awarded a four-star safety rating by EuroNCAP.
The five-seat compact family wagon is already on sale in a few select key markets in the U.S. and European deliveries are expected to start in the coming weeks. Powered by a 27 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack married to an 81 kilowatt motor, the Kia Soul EV features a 6 kilowatt on-board charger and DC CHAdeMO quick charge capability. Further, it’s the longest-range electric car of its price bracket on sale anywhere in the world.
As the EuroNCAP tests prove, it’s also a pretty safe car inside, with test results for adult and child occupant safety that beat that of the five-star Audi A3 Sportback e-tron we told you about earlier today. Sadly however, the high level of passenger protection offered by the South Korean plug-in was let down by a less impressive pedestrian and safety assist rating.
Passengers first. With an overall score of 32 points (84%) for the section, the Kia Soul EV scored ‘good’ and ‘adequate’ for all front-seat adult occupant tests with the exception of the side-pole passenger test in which it received a ‘weak’ rating for the upper chest region. For whiplash injuries, front seat passenger protection was rated as ‘good’, while rear seat protection was given a ‘marginal’ rating.
As with its adult occupant protection, the child occupant ratings were marginally better for the Kia Soul EV than they were for the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. Overall, the car scored a total of 40 points (82 %) for the section, performing perfectly in its protection of the 1.5-year and 3-year old dummies. The car won a few extra points over the Audi however by having a more conventional air bag warning system for the front passenger seat, and accepting all of the child seats in Euro NCAP’s arsenal.
When it came to pedestrian safety however, the Kia Soul EV scored ‘good’ through ‘adequate’ for the majority of the pedestrian tests. However, a ‘poor’ rating for pelvic protection dragged down overall scores, resulting in the car scoring just 21 points (59%) for its pedestrian safety rating.
With no advanced safety assistance systems like lane departure warning or city emergency braking, the Kia Soul EV scored just 7 points (56%) for its final test category, further pulling down its overall rating.
Despite only gaining a four-star overall crash test rating from Euro NCAP however, we’d like to leave you with a slightly different take on the Kia Soul EV that the four-star rating might not at first portray.
The Kia Soul EV scored higher than the Tesla Model S in terms of adult and child protection, despite earning one star less than the highly-scored luxury plug-in. Only its pedestrian protection and safety assistance technologies let it down.
And while we’re not saying the Kia Soul EV is safer than the Tesla Model S overall, it does highlight the importance of thoroughly reading the entire crash test rating — not just the number of stars — in order to figure out just which car is best for your chosen priorities.
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