Sad news on the car front. My beloved Hyundai Santa Fe is falling apart. First it was the rust on the undercarriage. Now it’s the seats: they’re shredding. Has the time come to trade in Betsy and get a new family car? Well, I hoped that driving 2013 Kia Soul, aka “The Hamster Car,” would help me make up my mind.
My buddies at Drive STI loaned me the 2013 KIA Soul to try out. First impressions? It was a “hard” ride and felt “boxy.” It has a mini SUV feel that definitely differed from the Mazda a3 and the Mitsubishi Outlander I tried out earlier this spring. It has what is referred to as a “Tiger Nose” front grill, projection headlights (which are pretty cool when you are driving down a dark street late at night) and oversized rear tail lamps. But I couldn’t help feeling that I was driving a large box.
While the seats do adjust for height, I just didn’t feel the same level of support that I have with the Santa Fe. According to a few of my passengers, the car felt “stiff” and Lulu claimed that there must be “something wrong with the roads.” What I think she was actually feeling was the difference in shock absorbers; she’s not used to the true feel of the road. The layout is fairly simple for the latest iteration of SUVs: the Kia Soul has average steering wheel controls, power windows and door locks, a straight-forward center console, remote keyless entry and UVO Powered by Microsoft with Rear Camera Display.
I really enjoyed the heated front seats (it was a chilly spring in Chicago) and the speakers that, should the driver choose to activate, change colors either randomly or to the beat of the music.
The best feature? The ability to dart in and out of traffic. City driving was so much easier with the Kia Soul! Because we spend a lot of time in the city, particularly in the summer, I was impressed with the safety features that include air bags galore. Once one recovered from the hardiness of the ride, it was comforting to know that KIA has taken the extra step to ensure consumer safety. For the compact size of the car, we were impressed with the storage space. Seats fold down and we were able to accommodate the significant summer of basil, petunia, tomato and cucumber plants I purchased in preparation for our summer garden, despite having to also haul Lulu and her three best buds to the farmer’s market with me. Somehow, everything fit in the car!
Is the Kia Soul the next Keats Family Car?
We will not be buying a Kia Soul but it’s not due to its lack of coolness. If this car is one thing, it’s cool. From the running lights, the colored coordinated speaker lights and the trippin’ sound system, my four tween testers LOVED this car. I recommend this car if (a) you live in a city and parking is at a premium and (b) you don’t need to drive long distances. While the fuel economy is above average for a small sized SUV (27 MPG/Combined), my family just didn’t find the car offered a comfortable ride for driving long distances. And although the price of a fully loaded Kia Soul is less than $25,000, the reasonable price still isn’t enough to sway my family into considering the youthful car.
I guess Adam and I are beginning to show our age after all.
Disclosure: I am not a car person; I don’t review cars for a living. But I am a mom who is concerned about the safety of her family, is budget conscience and also takes pride in have a cool “mom-mobile. ” All opinions and views with regard to this car review, the company that loaned it to me or the vehicle manufacturer are entirely mine and were not influenced, edited or even reviewed by the companies prior to posting.