2014 KIA Sorento: Kid Tested & Dad Approved

2014 KIA Sorento: Kid Tested & Dad Approved

Hopping into the 2014 KIA Sorento after spending a week driving the KIA Soul was an adventure.  Let’s remember, I truly LOVED driving the KIA Soul and, if it wasn’t for the dog, the kid (and all of her stuff) and the need to cram as much sporting and camping equipment into one car as possible, I would have begged Adam to buy the KIA Soul immediately.  But we do have these things and are more inclined to favor a car that has a lot of space.  And the Kia Sorento has ample space.

Could it be a mini-van trapped in the body of a gorgeous SUV?

My buddies at Drive STI asked for my opinion about a car and I was up for the challenge.  After my first test drive, I reflected that I felt like I was driving a min-van dressed up as an attractive SUV.  It turns out that the 2014 KIA Sorento is a beauty inside and out.  Once again, I was a HUGE fan of the steering wheel warmer.  (Note: We drove this car over Thanksgiving and it is usually pretty cold in Chicago around this time of year.)  The controls were conveniently placed.  I could keep my eyes on the road when I needed to call home or change the radio station in the car.  (Note to self: Do not let Lulu and her friends take control of the Sirius tuner—Howard Stern is not appropriate for 10 year olds.)

We all loved how adaptable the seats were.  Adam could move the driver’s seat so far back that there was no risk of his knees hitting the steering wheel.  And because the 2014 KIA Sorento has so much space, Lulu never complained that the front seats were crushing her legs in the 2nd row.

Drool-Worthy Features

The Kia 2014 Sorento has a lot of other features that actually led to Adam and I arguing about who got to drive the car.  Usually Adam and I do not disagree when it comes to who is going to drive the car: I do most of the “family” driving.  But with features like power passenger seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, rear seat vents, dual heated and ventilated front seats, extendable visors, 115 V power, ECO mode, V6 engine and more, Adam and I started arguing about who got to take control of our new “toy.”  Lulu settled the argument by telling me that I “ALWAYS got to drive and it’s time to give Dad a chance.” No worries, I played with all the gadgets and buttons while he drove the car.

Like its cousin, the Soul, the Sorento handled well.  To be quite honest, although I felt like I was driving a big car like a Suburban or an Escalade, it didn’t feel like I was driving one.  Although, it was as comfortable as traveling in a “luxury” SUV.  I was even more surprised with the Sorento’s turning radius.  Unlike my Hyundai Santa Fé, I was surprised at how well I could execute a U-Turn despite the car’s size.

Let’s say a few words about flat-folding seats.  They are a must.  I didn’t realize what I was missing until we visited our favorite store, Costco, and decided to do some major grocery and holiday shopping.  Let’s just say that we took advantage of all of the room in the car.  If one is going to buy a car with a 3rd row, being able to fold down the seats and make room for extra cargo is a great feature.


I asked that Adam, Lulu and my mother-in-law share their opinions and reflections on their Kia Sorento experience with me.  I wasn’t too surprised by their answers: Adam wouldn’t mind having one, Lulu liked the fact that we could squeeze in four of her friends, the car did “all sorts of cool stuff” and my mother-in-law felt that the car had ample room and was comfortable.  Overall, they enjoyed the added features and loved the panoramic sunroof.

Even though (thank goodness) we never needed the air bags, it was a comfort to know that the front, sides and the second row had them.  We did wonder, however, why the third row did not come with the same level of protection?

We thought that the car was expensive, but justified the price when considering the optional third row seating, a powerful engine option and tons of latest technology. And, while this shouldn’t be any family’s main concern, the Sorento is a great looking automobile.

Bottom line: Adam and Lulu really loved this car!  Lulu was pretty jazzed to show off the car to her friends.  If you’re in the market to buy any new car, it’s important to consider what’s really important (and no, your child’s friends “oohing” and “ahhing” shouldn’t be the impetus to buy one car over another one.)  So, honestly, is having a seven-passenger cross over really necessary for a family of three, a large dog and a Costco shopping habit?  You bet—especially if you swore after having children that you would NEVER buy a mini-van!  On the flip side, it’s not ideal when we’re road tripping into the city and need to find a parking spot on the street. It turns out that we may just be a really crossover kinda family after all.  And if we are, then we will seriously consider the 2014 Kia Sorento.



Could this be the NEW Betsy?


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. 



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.