With travel plans to visit my parents in the Florida Keys we were thankful to have the opportunity to test drive a new Kia Soul. We stepped out of the airport and the heat hit us as we ripped off the sweatshirts and took in the sunshine.
Transferring my daughter’s car seat was a breeze. She noticed that the new ride wasn’t quite as big as daddy’s truck but for our family of three we had plenty of room to stretch our legs.
We were impressed with the massive navigation display. Pulling up our destination on the map was quick and easy. We were thankful as it helped us get through some intense construction in the midst of Miami traffic.
With my husband at the wheel, we set out on our adventure south to the Keys. He liked all of the control options on the steering wheel.
It took us a while to get used to the “engine start/stop” button. My husband still isn’t convinced on this feature. “Just give me a key!”
After three hours of travel from Miami south to the Keys we finally arrived at our destination. Grandma and Papa were anxiously waiting as we pulled in.
My husband was used to driving his big suburban but he adjusted quickly to the Kia Soul. He liked the six-speed transmission and loved the great gas mileage even in the stop and go traffic on Hwy 1.
In reality this beautiful rental home is located in a pretty typical neighborhood but for us it felt like paradise sitting along the canal with palm trees and outdoor hot tub.
Our first full family adventure was a trip to the beach. All five of us fit in the Kia Soul with Nora enjoying the company in the back seat. My parents thought the back seat was comfortable but noted they wouldn’t want to take a long trip with the car seat in the middle. I’m sure three kids would have plenty of room however.
On our drive in the hot winter sun (that just doesn’t sound right still) we were on our way to the beach. We noticed the heated seat button and saw that it had blue and red lights. To our surprise it also cooled the seat! We sort of joked about this feature as it’s something we’d rarely use in Minnesota but it sure came in handy on most of our drives. They were having an unusually warm February while we were there, unlike the rest of the US at the time (Texas had snow when we were arriving).
We packed up all of our beach gear, including a picnic lunch. We were able to fit several bags and even a cooler. The base of the trunk area pulls up and includes some additional storage areas. Since we’re used to a suburban and minivan at home we had a hard time picturing all of our families’ needs fitting in the back if we went on a road trip. It suited our needs with carry-on luggage however a large suitcase might have been tight especially if we had more kids in the back seat.
As we arrived at the beach I took in the memories as Nora first saw the grand ocean. Living near Lake Superior we’re very used a large body of water (it actually looks much like this in Duluth, MN along Park Point sans palm trees) it was surprising to have warm water (yes it’s much warmer even though the locals likely thought we were nuts swimming in the winter there). The salt water was also something to get used to. We sure enjoyed our time here.
We tried out the music functions on the Kia Soul on our drive home. I plugged in my iPhone and it automatically pulled up my playlist. I was surprised at how easy it was to use. The car display with touchscreen response had easily navigated controls. My friends Beau & Regan provided some pretty sweet cruising tunes.
We were impressed with the variety of map options and controls on the Kia Soul navigation system. We could zoom out to see where we were at in the Keys. The navigation path was clear to see on multi-lane traffic in Miami and adjusted to split screen to show exactly what our exit and signage looked like as we got close to our turn. In small neighborhoods the split screen showed a zoomed in view of our turns and when backing up the rear camera automatically initiated. After a few days driving in the area we were glad to see that we could turn the voice option off or adjust the volume.
One of our nights we decided to test the navigation system on our drive to dinner. My parents told us about the No Name Pub which is tricky to find unless you know where it is – or that it exists.
We entered the name into the navigation system and sure enough it found it easily. As you can see by the sign, this is celebrated here! “You Found It.”
We knew this was a unique local pub but we weren’t expecting this. Every inch was covered with dollar bills. These walls and ceilings were covered several layers thick. Although the paper plates and plastic forks leave a bit to be desired it’s well worth the experience and the amazing pizza.
After a nice night out with my parents we prepared a night away just the two of us. We were so grateful that my parents were willing to spend some time with Nora and she was overjoyed to be the center of attention as usual.
My husband and I hit the road for a couple’s getaway in Key West at the beautiful Cypress House. Stay tuned for the rest of my Florida Keys adventure.
Disclosure: This review was sponsored by Kia Soul and STI Drive Experience however all thoughts and opinions remain my own.