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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Drove a Kia yesterday

I've never in my life thought of driving a Korean car, nor have I ever thought I would have the opportunity. I've gone to both Kia and Hyundai dealerships, but it was really just to scout out my first car back in the old days, and I never test drove them. At the time, I was looking for something low priced, and well built. I went to Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Kia and Hyundai. I really did not know anything about cars, though some would argue that I still don't lol, and I certainly did not know what to look for. The only thing I was looking for was price, and the size of the car. Horsepower, handling, looks, and convenience were never in my list of stuff to look out for. The car I ended up getting was the Nissan Versa hatchback, as most of you know.

Anyway, one of my good friends recently got into a car accident. Thankfully it was nothing serious, and she didn't get hurt. It was a simple fender bender, and her car had to be taken into the shop to get repaired. The shop she went to rented her a Kia Soul, and she has been driving that around for a week. I was actually suprised to hear that they would rent a Kia for a courtesy car. I remember the good old days, courtesy cars were primarily made of Toyota Corollas, and Honda Civics. I guess times have changed, and who can blame the Koreans? Hyundai and Kia seem to be very aggressive at expanding their market.

There are many Kia Souls on the road around here. Frankly, I have never taken a closer look at them. I think my brain just blends them into the sea of other cars. However, after driving one yesterday, I might not be so critical about Korean cars after all.

First thing I'd noticed when I saw the car up close, "Wow, this car is REALLY BIG."

My friend had parked the car in a small enclosed parking lot, and beside the Soul were your everyday sedans. The Soul stood out like a sore thumb. At first, I was hesitant to drive the Soul, since it was not my courtesy car, and I didn't want anything stupid happening to the car while I was driving. However, she insisted that I try it, since she knew I love cars lol. Obviously, I gladly took the keys, and pushed any uncertainty aside.

When I got in, it was like I was in a completely different car, because the interior space felt so much smaller than the exterior had let on. I looked behind at the back seats, and nope... there was not much room back there either. However, because of my small stature, I could fit in the driver's seat just fine. I took a look at the interior design immediate to me as a driver: The gauges, the steering wheel, the shifter, and the center console. Everything felt pretty good, and suprisingly looked pretty good as well, albeit still made out of cheaper materials. However, it wasn't as cheap as you'd might think: The interior illuminated with white and red, very modern, and very classy. The steering wheel was very light, and the shifter was easy to slide. The throttle and braking were very sensitive though, even more so than the Camaro or the STI. A little gas and the car would lounge forward, a little application on the brake and your face would lounge forward. I'm not quite sure why Kia had designed it that way, but obviously the owner of the vehicle would adapt to the sensitivity quite quickly.

When I was driving it, I found myself smiling a lot. I'm not quite sure if it was because the car was exciting to drive, or just the fact that it was ridiculous to ever think I would drive one, probably a mix of both. Eitherway, I really was smiling, and I did enjoy the ride.

I will say this though, if I get another chance to drive a Korean car, I wouldn't deny that opportunity. =)

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