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kia soul: the happy car

Kia Soul married

How cute! The car next to me pretended it had just married my Kia Soul!

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.

Kia Soul

I guess my camera couldn’t handle the electric green Kia Soul. This is way muted.

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.

Kia Soul interior

Nice and cushy.

. The high-tech speakers made my iPod sound rich and layered, which is important to me because I can’t drive without music.

Kia Soul speakers

Love these sleek speakers.

. 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.

Kia Soul trunk

Two big suitcases, two backpacks and a lot of swag.

. 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.

Kia Soul GPS

The GPS is easy to read, if not hear.

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.

Kia Soul laughing

Laughter is good for the soul, and the Soul is good for laughter.


  1. I have heard such good things about Kia cars. I would like to test drive one sometime!

  2. It’s so cute!

  3. My friend bought one. The car salesman who sold it to her was Iraqi, and he had a heavy accent, and when he told her about how the speakers light up, he said, “Eet ees like ddriving een deesco”.
    She bought it, anyway.
    It’s a fun little car!

  4. Jessica @EatSleepBe says:

    It’s so funny to me that you titled this post with being happy. Just the other day I told my husband that you can’t be a downer of a person to buy that car!

  5. Always loved the Hamster commercials. I LOVE my decade-old Camry but I’m intrigued.

  6. Love the look of that car. Fantastic amount of room. The commercials are funny, but they do grow on ya.

  7. Wow the inside of that car is so awesome and modern looking! Cute little car for sure!

  8. Audrey van petegem says:

    My mother’s last car was a Kia. When she passed away my niece inherited it. When she bought a new Kia she gave it to her youngest sister. Off she went to college and bought herself a new Kia. Now my son is driving it. 200,000 km and 10 years old but it is still going strong! I myself am now looking to trade in my honda minivan and buying a Kia!

  9. Lois, you are a great reviewer and sales person!

  10. lisa jones says:

    Looks Like A Great Vehicle Roomy, Great Stereo System Sharp Looking I’m Sold!

  11. What a fun car! It looks like you and your friend had a terrific time together. Love it!!

  12. Fun car – I love the commercials about the Soul.

  13. This post is very soulful!

  14. We never once lost the car! The keys, on the other hand :)! Love your oh so perfect review of this experience!

  15. I have always heard great things about Kias. That color green is great! Love how much stuff you could fit in the trunk!

  16. What a cute looking car. And you look like you’re having a blast!

  17. That is a really cute car with lots of room! I would love to have one of these.

  18. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    The car looks great but the two of you make it pale in comparison. Awesome review!

  19. Wow – those speakers look heavy duty and the GPS would be cool.

  20. Maria Oller says:

    Oh my I looks amazing I really want a kia, we are on the market for a new car and I like how kia looks and my husband loves the price

  21. I’ve always kinda looked at the Soul with a bit of a sneer too. I must say you brought it back up several notches through your post!

  22. I’ve always driven Hondas, but I’m so intrigued by all the good things I hear about Kia. I think I might be open to one next time!

  23. I don’t thnk I have ever been in a Kia. There has been a lot of press so I may have to look at them next time I am car shopping

  24. wow it has a lot of space in the trunk, I didn’t realize that!

  25. We got to try out the Soul last year and really liked it. Probably wasn’t our first choice for a car purchase, but LOOOOVED the trunk space and how everything folded down. Plus it was a fun little car to drive.

  26. I have to be honest. I never thought I’d be interested in a Kia. But after reading your review, and talking to you about its advantages, I”m definitely going to take a look at it the next time I’m in the market for a car!

  27. Wow! Looks like a great car. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I get a new one.

  28. I just drove around NC in one. They are so cute.

  29. Wow, looks like it holds a lot in the back. I have had three Kia’s not this one though. The speakers are awesome. Nice looking car.

  30. Ha! Love the photo of you and Ruth. I’d REALLY love to see the two of you in the hamster swagger mode!

    Looks like a great car. I, too, made fun of the Soul but no longer. You’ve sold me!

  31. I like the interior for sure, but the outside is a little too funky for me.

  32. Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger says:

    That is a lot more cargo room than I thought it would have! Thanks for a great review!

  33. I do think the marketing on this car has sort of excluded it from a lot of potential buyers.

  34. Great caption on that picture lol. I have heard that the Kia soul is a good car though

  35. Oh my gosh! You’re so funny! I couldn’t stop laughing through this! Glad you had fun with it!

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