Business drivers who want to benefit from a tax advantage in 2019 are dependent on electric cars of less than 50,000 euros. The Kia e-Soul is new in that category, as is the upgraded Nissan Leaf E +. They compete against the leader in the segment: The Tesla Model 3.
Thanks to cars such as the Model S and Model X, Tesla has the reputation of being an expensive brand. However, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus is available from 48,980 euros, making the car hardly more expensive than the models that are considered (relatively) affordable, including the Nissan Leaf.
The electric Japanese car recently received a larger battery pack for a greater range. Thanks to a battery of 62 kWh on paper, the Leaf E + achieves a range of 385 kilometers compared to 270 kilometers for the standard Leaf.
Tesla argues that the Model 3 Standard Range Plus is 407 kilometers in theory, while Kia claims a range of 452 kilometers thanks to a 64 kWh battery pack. The three models will travel approximately 350 kilometers during the test kilometers.
Thanks to a three-phase charger, the Tesla is also fully charged in about six hours at the right charging station, while the Kia and Nissan need at least ten hours on a regular pole for a full battery.
Three newcomers in an important part of the market. (Photo: AutoWeek)
Driving experience in the Tesla the most enjoyable
As an E +, the Leaf not only has a larger battery pack, but also more engine power than the regular variant. That is noticeable, because with 217 hp the car is nice and quick from its place. This has reached the top in terms of driving pleasure, because otherwise the Nissan is primarily a neutral and comfortable car.
If you want to recover as much energy as possible when decelerating, you can control this with the push of a button by switching on the e-Pedal function. At Kia you don't even have to take your hands off the wheel, because here the adjustment of the regeneration is done via the flippers on the steering wheel.
Just like the Leaf, the e-Soul is certainly not particularly dynamic, but its somewhat more communicative controls and slightly tighter chassis provide a very pleasant balance. The 204 hp strong car involves its driver more when driving than the Leaf and tilts less, but at the same time is therefore very comfortable. However, the lack of grip is striking.
With the Model 3, Tesla has created an extremely dynamic car that knows how to take full advantage of its low center of gravity. Grip is plentiful, the car remains particularly flat even in fast corners and the steering is wonderfully heavy and communicative. Anyone who prefers to use the power supply to move forward will be pleased with a well-adjusted, yet comfortable car.
In the Model 3 you imagine yourself in a different world. (Photo: AutoWeek)
Car apps not yet perfect
The e-Soul is the first Kia available in Europe with the UVO-Connect infotainment system. With UVO, the Kia now also has an app for controlling, among other things, climate control and keeping track of the battery status. That works, but the application is not very fast.
Just like with Kia, the infotainment screen has many options and offers a good insight into EV-related matters, but is less user-friendly due to a less logical layout and a somewhat messy appearance. What is nice is the range of instruments, on which the remaining battery percentage and the operating radius are always visible and with which a lot of other information can be called up.
A more in-depth investigation into the consumption history can be initiated via the Nissan Connect app. With regard to ease of use and speed, this is comparable to that of Kia, but impresses with handy monthly and even annual consumption overviews.
The Tesla app must lack that function, but it works much faster than that of its opponents. With the app, the user's phone immediately serves as a 'hands-free' key. As a result, even boarding is an experience at Tesla. Driving away is also so different than usual: no start button here, but simply put the car in 'D' and drive away.
The interior of the Nissan is not very sparkling. (Photo: Nissan)
Great value for money
The price list for all three cars is pretty clear. The versions of Tesla are only available in one version. Standard Range Plus has electrically adjustable and heated seats with synthetic leather upholstery, climate control, autopilot, 18-inch alloy wheels and the extensive infotainment and navigation system. The option list is limited to colors and wheels, a towbar and a more extensive version of Autopilot.
The Nissan Leaf with the 62 kWh battery is available as N-Connecta and as the Tekna presented here. It plays its role as a top model and offers standard leather, LED headlights, the ProPilot system and an extensive multimedia and audio package as standard. We do miss the electrically adjustable seats, though the Nissan offers unlike the Tesla steering wheel heater.
The e-Soul is also available in two versions, the simplest of which is already quite well equipped. The Executiveline tested here costs 2,000 euros more and leaves nothing to be desired - or it must be a sliding roof. However, there is one major factor that ruined the party for the Kia: if you order one now, the car will no longer be delivered in 2019. For the business driver, the choice is therefore between the Nissan and the Tesla.
The screen in the Kia is smaller than that of the Tesla, but nevertheless large. (Photo: Kia)
The Kia e-Soul is an excellent electric car. The car offers a large range, a practical bodywork and a very comprehensive standard equipment for a reasonable price according to EV standards. With that he wins over the Nissan Leaf, whose interior and driving behavior are disappointing.
The Tesla wins with flying colors. Thanks to short charging times, its own fast-charging network and an efficient powertrain, it is the best electric car in this group, while the car also drives the best and can be operated in a pleasant, innovative way. In addition, the Model 3, unlike the Kia, is coming this year, so that business buyers can fully enjoy the benefits.
Kia e-Soul details
- Price: 44,995 euros
- Claimed driving range: 452 kilometers
- Achieved operating radius during test: 367 kilometers
Data Nissan Leaf E +
- Price: 47,950 euros
- Claimed driving range: 385 kilometers
- Achieved operating radius during test: 358 kilometers
Data Tesla Model 3 Standard Range plus
- Price: 48,980 euros
- Claimed driving range: 409 kilometers
- Achieved operating radius during test: approximately 350 kilometers
You can read the entire test in AutoWeek 36, which is in stores this week