Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip

Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip

When Kia offered us a chance to test drive one of their new cars, the Kia Soul!, we jumped at the chance since we are looking to purchase a car in the next year. You may be wondering why two travelers would want a new car.

The truth is, even though we travel A LOT, we still have our home base in San Diego where public transportation is practically non-existent. In essence, a car is necessary.


Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip


Take a look at the car we are going to replace.
Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip


I know what you are thinking… why on earth would we want to get rid of this fine piece of machinery with such low mileage (226,000 and counting in case you were wondering)!? Well, we are not materialistic people, but the sad fact is that Scott’s Honda is not going to last forever, although he probably wishes it would.


When looking for a new car, we have our list of important features the car must have. These include:

Good gas mileage (for all of those road trips!)

Will it fit at least two surfboards?


How safe is it?

Environmental Performance

So we decided to put this Kia Soul to the ultimate test. We packed it full of surf and beach gear and headed out on the road!

Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip


Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip

Gas Mileage

The Kia Soul gets an average of 34 highway MPG and 26 city MPG. This is much better than my 4-cylinder Toyota 4-Runner, but not quite as good as Scott’s Honda Civic. But let’s be honest, this is expected for a larger car with more power.

I’m not sure we could do too much better unless we look for a hybrid, which would mean a higher sticker price.

Can We Take It On a Surf Trip?

We first tried the Kia Soul with one 9 foot longboard (yes, for those small summer waves) and a 5’11” fish. The boards both fit, but we could only fit one person in the front and the passenger had to sit in the back. This might be okay for short distances, but we would both much rather sit in front during a long road trip.

Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip

We then switched out the longboard for another shortboard and we were able to comfortably fit two of us in front. It took a little finesse to find the right spot, but it’s definitely possible once you get the hang of it.

Me and My Kia Soul Went On a Surf Trip

We really liked the Soul’s under-floor luggage tray feature. This would be the perfect place to store our luggage and still have enough room for our surf boards.


The Kia Soul has a lot to offer in this category. I almost didn’t want to go back to my 4-Runner!

I’m big on comfortable seats considering I’ve been in a few car accidents and sitting for long periods of time (especially in a car) causes discomfort. I love the seat and the position of the steering wheel for this reason.

If you love your music (always a plus to have access to on a long road trip) on your ipod, iphone or other device the Soul has a built in USB port that allows to control your library directly from its radio. Any phone is also easily accessed hands-free via the car’s bluetooth access as well, which can be handy if your phone isn’t as old as Scott’s.

In addition to the fully adjustable seat and steering wheel, our favorite comfort features of the Soul include:

Cruise Control
Bluetooth Wireless Hook-up
Trip Computer
Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Controls


I think one of the things I will miss the most about driving the Soul is using the rear camera display feature. When backing up, the display shows a video of what is behind you and a gauge of how much room you have.

The Kia Soul handles corners nice and smooth because of its advanced traction control system. It is able to turn as sharply as a small car which is great for maneuvering in small areas. I’m used to driving a 4-Runner where I have to be more careful around turns so this was a nice change.

A few more important safety features include:

Dual Front Advanced Airbags
Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags
Electronic Stability Control
Hill-start Assist Control

Environmental Performance:

The Kia Scores fairly well in this category. Their global warming score is an 8 out of 10, with the average new car only being a 5. Their smog score is a 5 out of 10, which is right in line with the average new car.

The Verdict?

The jury is still out on which car we will choose to replace Scott’s precious Honda Civic. The Kia Soul is an option, but we are not ready to make our final decision just yet.


How about you? Have you seen a Kia Soul while driving around? What did you think about the look of the car?

Disclosure: We were loaned a Kia Soul! to test and review, thanks to Kia. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are our own.



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  1. Hey Christy, thanks for this review! I was wondering what car you bought in the end? Or is the Honda still going strong? 😉 My husband and I are looking to buy a used car and space for surfboards is one of the top priorities (together with good gas mileage and reliability). Thanks!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      We ended up buying a Subaru Imprezza and it has tons of room for surfing and camping. My Toyota 4 Runner was also totaled a couple of years ago so I got a Toyota Camry to replace it and I can easily fit surfboard with the seats down. I was super surprised with how much I love that car. So much space and it’s really comfortable!

  2. A great way of carrying a review! Love the Kia Soul, great value for money car service

  3. The car looks cute and it holds a surfboard?! I like it. We just bought a new car but we would definitely have checked this out if we were in the market.

  4. Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate says:

    I like that the car name has an ! in it. Automatically, makes it exciting =)

  5. I’ve never driven a Kia but I’ve heard they’ve greatly improved over the years. I’m very impressed Scott’s current car has over 226k miles on it! You should decide what you want to buy to replace it, but wait until his car drops dead to actually go buy it.

  6. Technosyncratic says:

    Ugh, I definitely remember the lack of public transportation in San Diego! We moved there w/o a car, thinking we’d be fine…. and almost immediately realized that wasn’t going to work. Anyhow, Kali and I recently looked at a Kia Soul, so it was great reading your review. I’m glad to hear that they have good gas mileage and a decent environmental score. And a backup camera? I totally need one of those!