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kia soul: the happy car
I confess. I always kind of made fun of the Kia Soul.
I mean, it was so different and so out there. And using hamsters to sell cars? Come on.
Then I spent a week driving one.
And I would be hanging my head in shame at this moment if I wasn’t so full of that hamster swagger.
I totally get it now. This is not a car in which you feel shame. And that’s awesome.
My friend, Ruth, and I drove the Soul from San Diego to Long Beach for a press weekend, causing heads to turn as we zipped up the 5 in our green machine. By the time we pulled up to the hotel and sauntered out of the car, proudly wearing our shades and newfound cockiness, we were totally prepared for the paparazzi.
So it was a little disappointing when the nice young man explained that valet service wasn’t covered, and pointed us to self-parking.
But that didn’t matter because we were feeling so good about ourselves. Intrigued by this burst of self-confidence, I researched the Soul’s history and discovered that Kia had chosen to feature hamsters in their award-winning commercials because they represent the routine and mundane. These little creatures literally spend their lives running in circles and conforming to the standards others set for them. When they’re given the chance to break out, they feel liberated and empowered.
As middle-aged women, that’s pretty much what the Soul did for us, too. We were no longer invisible. We were worth paying attention to. We were stylin’. (Okay, I may have gone too far. I can see my children pursing their lips and shaking their heads.)
Anyway, here are some of the features I really liked about the Soul:
. It felt roomy and comfortable inside but was small enough to easily maneuver into some very tight parking spots.
. The high-tech speakers made my iPod sound rich and layered, which is important to me because I can’t drive without music.
. It drove smoothly and got great mileage. One tank of gas lasted all week, including our round trip to Long Beach.
. The seemingly tiny trunk fit a ton of luggage.
. We never had to search for the car because it clearly stood out in every parking lot. Trust me, as someone who spends half her life forgetting where she’s parked, this is huge.
The one thing I didn’t like:
. We couldn’t get the voice of the GPS to speak up loud enough for us, even at its highest volume, especially when the music was on. We missed an exit or two because we just didn’t hear it. Granted, this could be the fault of our, uh, mature ears or that we somehow missed a setting but we had to turn off the music and lean in to understand what it was saying.
Overall, though, cue Pharrell because the car just made us happy.
It’s easy to see why pro golfer Michelle Wie is such a huge fan of the Soul and why it’s been such a success. I couldn’t help smiling every time I caught a glimpse of Kia’s Soul – and that, in itself, was so good for my own.