Less than two months after its global media launch, and only weeks after becoming available to Canadian consumers, the Kia Soul EV has just picked up its first significant award.
At a press conference held today in Toronto, Ontario, the Kia Soul EV was awarded the “Best City Car” designation from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, better known as AJAC. The award was included among Fifteen “Best New” category winners which were announced.
The category winners represent the vote results by the largest group of Canada’s best-known automotive journalists, who gathered this October in Niagara Falls, Ontario for “TestFest,” a five-day test-drive evaluation of brand-new or significantly changed vehicle models.
“TestFest is the most intensive new vehicle evaluation process on the planet,” said Canadian Car of The Year Co-Chair, Gary Grant. “No other organization employs such stringent testing methods to determine their car of year award winners.”
The rigorous testing program includes “real world” driving on public roads – exactly where consumers drive – so that the test data and vote results are directly relevant to potential car and truck buyers. The results are not based on the personal opinion of just one or two journalists. Instead, the 73 automotive journalists each drove a vehicle in 15 categories back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions, to ensure fair and objective comparisons.
As a category winner, the Kia Soul EV is now eligible for consideration for the overall Canadian Car of the Year Award, which will be awarded on February 12, 2015 during Press Days at the Canadian International Auto Show, held in Toronto.
The Kia Soul EV offers an EPA-estimated range of 92 miles, which is 15 percent higher than the Nissan Leaf. Estimated EPA fuel efficiency of the Soul EV is 102 MPGe combined.
While interested US buyers have had to deal with the Soul EV being available only in California for its launch, Canadian availability has been more wide spread. Kia Canada has launched the Soul EV in 3 Provinces, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, which are the strongest markets in Canada for EV sales.
The provincial governments in both Ontario and Quebec each offer rebates on purchases of EVs. Ontario offers $8,500 CDN while Quebec offers $8,000 CDN. The government of British Columbia recently ended their rebate program due to the exhausting of funds allocated for the program, but is considering bringing it back.
For US buyers outside of California, Kia hopes to introduce it to states that follow California’s zero-emission rules in 2015. These could possibly be Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.