Dreaming of the 2014 Kia Soul

Dreaming of the 2014 Kia Soul

What’s your dream car?  If you are a follower of my site you know that I happen to be in love with the Hyundai Santa Fe.  Until…. I test drove the new Kia Soul. Yes, you read correctly: 2014 Kia Soul.  My buddies at Drive STI asked me if I would reconsider my opinion about the 2013 version and try out the 2014 model.  Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared to love this car.  After all, it’s looks the same on the outside: Boxy and small but I was in for a great surprise when I actually got in the car and drive it.  The inside is totally new—funky, has lots of cool features and an overall  huge improvement over the 2013 iteration.

 

2014 Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul

Remember how I said in my last post about the Kia Soul that “I couldn’t help feeling that I was driving a large box”? Well, with the 2014 version, I got over that feeling because as Lulu put it so eloquently: “This car is AWESOME!” The car comes with a standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine but we drove the more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Unlike last year’s model, this Kia really kicked it on the highway. Remember how I felt like I was struggling to get up to speed when I drove the 2013 model?  Well, that was a feeling of the past.  I loved driving the 2014 Kia Soul on the highways (almost as much as I loved driving it on the Chicago streets.) Maybe I was so pleased because I enjoyed the high-quality, comfortable and supportive seats?  Or maybe I just enjoyed the heated steering wheel?

 

Great lighting and fun sunroof

Great lighting and fun sunroof

The cabin is roomy and, to be quite honest, I sort of forgot what car I was driving—I really felt like I was driving a luxury car.  There are quite a number of standard features including a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The available UVO infotainment system keeps drivers connected and has an intuitive touch screen, test drivers say. Other available features include a backup camera, an Infinity sound system, navigation, push-button start, automatic climate control and a panoramic sunroof.

KiaSoul2

Let’s go back to the basic mom question: Is the Kia Soul the next Keats Family Car?

We loved this car. In fact, I practically begged Drive STI to loan it to me for another week.  At one point, Adam and I sort of bickered about who would get to drive the Kia Soul to the gym.  But, the car lacks the one characteristic that we still require: space.  Yes, the back does have ample room for groceries, golf clubs and suitcases but you can’t fit all of them in at the same time even if you fold down the backseats.  We still need a car that can carry all of our “junk” and contain our German Shepherd.  Unfortunately, the 2014 Kia Soul, a car that really was designed with urban dwellers without kids in mind, can’t be magically transformed into the latest iteration of the 1980’s version of the station wagon.  If that’s what you are looking for then this is not the car for your family.

But if you are looking for a reasonably priced, sporty car with tons of cool bonus features and aren’t in need of a lot of cargo room, then I absolutely endorse the 2014 Kia Soul.  Bottom line: We LOVED this car!

 

The Newer, More Slimmed Down,Sophisticated Kia Soul

 

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. 

bellyQ: Perfect Start of the Global Tasting Tour in Chicago

bellyQ: Perfect Start of the Global Tasting Tour in Chicago

GTT_Chicago_lockup

Condé Nast Traveler and MasterCard Priceless Cities kicked off their “Global Tasting Tour” this weekend.  And guess which city they chose to start the celebration? CHICAGO, of course!  The “Tour” is a week of dinners celebrating different types of foods from around the world.  At each dinner, a leading industry chef will introduce the one-time menu. Each dinner is available to only MasterCard holders with advanced purchased ticket.

Chef Bill Kim and Lulu pose for a pre-party photo

Chef Bill Kim and Lulu pose for a pre-party photo

First stop on the tour: bellyQ hosted by Chef Bill Kim.  Adam, Lulu and I were lucky enough to score an invitation to the “Family Dinner Event.” We were intrigued by the idea of a “family dinner” at this primary Asian influenced establishment. The dinner was actually a detour from Chef Kim’s usual Asian-fare: tonight we were eating Bar-B-Q!

Before we sat down for what promised to be an amazing dinner, Chef Kim gathered the children together and taught them how to make spring rolls. Laid out on a long table was every possible ingredient one might need.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Proud parents stood snapping pictures while their talented prodigy identified which ingredient they wanted to use, then designed their spring roll on paper, named it and finally returned to the ingredients table to bring their creations to life. 

 It was no surprise, of course, that the first course was the very same spring rolls that were now fried to perfection.

Designing her spring roll

Designing her spring roll

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Adam and I love Chef Kim’s food and could not wait to try the beef ribs, corn bread with kimchi and bacon, the cole slaw with nuoc cham and mint.  With all of the fantastic choices, it was hard to come up with an agreed upon family favorite until we tasted the coconut spinach dish. Lulu even asked Chef Kim for the recipe!

Dinner ended with a dessert of Vietnamese Donuts with cinnamon and vanilla soft serve ice cream.  To top it off, the donuts came with an amazing caramel sauce rumored to have soy sauce and balsamic vinegar in it.  As we were leaving the restaurant, Lulu told the chef: “even if my parents don’t want to drive me down here, I am going to take a cab.  These donuts are that good!”

So let’s see: Awesome chefs + A one time only themed dinner = A MUST event for the Keats!

There are three more events Condé Nast Traveler and MasterCard Priceless Chicago scheduled this week.  If you are in the Windy City and love food as much as Adam and I do, you do not want to miss any of these events:

  • Monday, October 28th: PUBLICAN QUALITY MEATS
    • American Classics: Oysters, Pork and Beer
    • Price: $125 pp
  • Tuesday, October 29th: YUSHO
    • Just for the Sake of It: A Tasting Exploration
    • Price: $125 pp
  • Wednesday, October 30th: SPIAGGIA
    • A Celebration of Nomadic Bees
    • Price: $125 pp

It’s not too late to get tickets for these amazing culinary adventures?  Check out www.cntglobaltastingtour.com for more information.

I was not monetarily compensated for this post.  But my family and I did enjoy a fantastic, unique and belly-filling meal/experience for which we are grateful to Condé Nast Traveler and Mastercard Priceless Chicago for asking us to participate.