Kia Soul: Seeing The American West Through A New Lens

Kia Soul Outsidethemissonhotelresortincalifornia
Kia Soul Outside the Misson Hotel Resort, San Diego California

A Summer Road Trip With The Freedom of Space And Comfort

My boyfriend and I planned a road trip beginning in Las Vegas and ending in Los Angeles. Originally, we had a vision of a convertible sports car, as do most people who start to plan a road trip in a picturesque place! Say hello to the transformed Kia Soul.


The Soul outside the Mission Hotel, San Diego

But as the trip plans evolved, we realized how impractical that would be given that we wanted to leave a lot of things open to the last minute, such as where we might stay and how much time we’d drive every day. We thought we might even sleep in the car one night. A vehicle with more room definitely became a priority.

When we found out that we had access to a Kia Soul, I knew that would be a better fit. And it was. Literally.

A Compact Surprise: It’s Roomy and Comfortable

Selfie In The Kia'S Side View Mirror With The Samsung Csc

Selfie in the Kia’s side view mirror with the Samsung CSC


The Kia Soul drives and handles more like a compact car but inside it is roomy and spacious in all the ways we required.

There was always enough room for all of our luggage; wet beach towels; enough cup holders to fit all the coffee cups we acquired during longer driving days; and even enough room to change clothes inside the vehicle when the weather suddenly turned colder or warmer.

Kia Soul Sunroof

The Kia Soul’s panoramic sunroof wraps the scenery around you.

A panoramic sunroof really came in handy when we were driving through the deep canyons of Utah and Arizona and on long stretches of open road in Nevada. I found myself comforted by the way the scenery wrapped all around me, instead of being only visible in the windows on my sides. That sunroof gave me the feeling that I was somehow more present in the beautiful places we drove through, rather than being insulated from them.


The Kia Soul’s built in navigation system keeps the road trip smooth.

The built-in navigation system ensured that we never got lost, unless we wanted to, and the Bluetooth connectivity for our phones made it easy to obey strict laws in California regarding hands-free operation.

We also loved the Sirius XM satellite radio; the rear camera assist that automatically turned on in the dashboard console when we were trying to backup or parallel park; and the Active Eco System that could be turned on to conserve gas mileage. The latter was a huge help in keeping our fuel costs down with the extensive distance we covered.

Kia Soul

The Kia Soul’s special trim package lights up the speakers in varying colors.

We even got a kick out of the way the car lit up inside at night, a special trim package that lights up the speakers in varying colors.

What we loved – and surprised us — is that the front seats were so comfortable that my boyfriend and I never felt weary driving.

It’s a common problem for both of us as we each have back problems. Yet even on our longest day of driving, the seats were never painful. They’re seemingly perfectly engineered for comfort over long periods of time. Perhaps a true first in our experience as drivers!

 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul in Utah.

What you need to know: The starting price for a Kia Soul is $14,900; fully loaded, about $21,000.

Our Western Trek

We flew into Las Vegas and picked up our Kia Soul at McCarran airport where we proceeded to drive to Zion National Park in Utah. We spent two days exploring the area and the park itself. That included a visit to a classic car show.

Kia Soul Zion Park

In the Kia Soul, we spent two days exploring the Zion National Park in Utah.


Zion National Park in the rear view mirror of the Kia Soul

Kia Soul Zion National Park

The Kia Soul and Zion National Park.

We then drove to Page, Arizona where we explored Antelope Canyon.

Kia Soul Airzona

Exploring Arizona in our Kia Soul.

Antelope Canyon

We parked our Kia Soul to explore Antelope Canyon.

Following one night in Arizona, we drove to Los Angeles where we explored the east and west side extensively and the coast between Malibu and Manhattan Beach before our flight home to New York City.


Cruising Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills


Disclosure: Kia loaned us the Soul for our road trip; opinions expressed here are all my own.

Kirsten is a photographer and travel blogger. A former nomad, she now lives in Los Angeles where she enjoys... More about Kirsten Alana