Could the 2013 Kia Soul Be Our New Mate?

Could the 2013 Kia Soul Be Our New Mate?

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.


Kickn' it back like a hamster?

Kicken back like a hamster?

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.


A boxy car with a lot of room!

A boxy car with a lot of room!


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.











Purple!  My favorite color!

Purple! My favorite color!








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. 

Cascade Platinum Pacs Saved My Dishwasher

Cascade Platinum Pacs Saved My Dishwasher

Cleaning like a man never got so easy since Cascade Premium Pacs!

Sticking his head in the dishwasher has never been my husband’s idea of fun.  But that is exactly what he did one cold February night this year.  As he reached in to the appliance to clear what can only be described as “gunk,” Adam screamed in pain.  Not only was he waist deep in our dishwasher, he had just sliced open his finger trying to clear whatever was causing the machine to flood at every rinse and dry.  Watching Adam struggle to dismantle, clean each small component and then reassemble our dishwasher that Sunday night lead me to conclude that there had to be better solution than our bi-monthly pow-wows with what can arguably be the third most important appliance in the kitchen; the first being the refrigerator and the second, the stove.

There is a solution.  It’s called Cascade Platinum Pacs.

Here’s the story’s punch line: After all the literal blood, sweat and tears (from cutting his finger), Adam and I still had to call a plumber.  Nothing we could do would stop the machine from flooding each time it ran and I knew that we had reached our limit when we started to blame each other for not pre-washing the plates prior to putting them in the very same dishwasher that supposedly would allow us to put the plates directly in it without NEEDING TO pre-rinse the dishes.

So we called a plumber, who incidentally was quite charming and kind, but who still charged us $125 to clear the gunk and offer some much needed advice: “Get rid of the liquid generic dishwasher liquid you are using.  Stop buying over-priced biodegradable soap that leaves spots on your glasses and doesn’t really clean your dishes.  Go to the store and buy Cascade Platinum pacs.”  And so we did.

As soon as we swapped out the generic liquid stuff and started using Cascade Platinum pacs, our plates looked cleaner and we noticed that the grey film that was once left on our glasses had disappeared.  Even better?  The inside of the dishwasher looked like a new machine, not the 10 year-old Model we’d moved from condo to house to new house. Our dishwasher stopped flooding (and the dog stopped lapping up the puddles and then throwing up the soapy water), the dishes didn’t have unrecognizable caked on food and, as I mentioned before, our glasses were clear: no more spots.


This dish wouldn’t be quite so appealing if the plate was grey.

Every once in awhile, I agree to review a product that I’ve been using for some time.  The last review about dish soap was for Dawn.  Not ironically, the Cascade Premium Pacs have the Dawn grease fighting power.  Because we have seen such a dramatic difference not only in the appearance of our dishes but also the appearance and functionality of our dishwasher, I wanted you to know about our success.  Maybe thinking about your dishwasher detergent isn’t top on your mind today, but when you are foodies like Adam and me or have been embarrassed once or twice when someone has found a lipstick mark on a wine glass (yes, that has happened to me,) then you are familiar with the “icky” feeling when a guest asks for a different glass or utensil.  Since we started using Cascade Premium pacs, our flat wear and utensil concerns have dissipated.  Now we can concentrate on more important matters like whether or not the Chicago Bears starting line-up will be any good this year.


I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.