monterey california

 Last weekend, I had the opportunity to drive the new 2013 Kia Soul.  I decided to make a fun day of it and make a quick drive down to Cannery Row in Monterey for a little lunch, shopping and the aquarium.  When test driving cars, I always like to make sure I give them a of a test in different conditions and let me tell you, the Kia Soul did not disappoint –  neither did Monterey – what fun I had! ( No! I didn’t REALLY dine & dash!)

monterey california

*Disclosure: I received the Kia Soul to drive, lunch at Cannery Row Brewing Company and admission to Monterey Bay Aquarium at no charge in exchange for a honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and truthful. 


So lets start with the car, then we will talk about the fun I had in Monterey.  

The 2013 Kia Soul is definitely rightly named.  It might appear small but it has a lot of Soul!  I actually was a bit skeptical but my hubby kept telling me he has heard good things about the car/SUV so I kept an open mind.  Surprisingly, for a 5’10” tall gal, I had more than enough head and leg room, did not feel cramped at all.  The back seat also had plenty of room for the kiddos and the cargo space in back was plenty big enough for baggage and/or groceries, sports equipment, whatever you may be hauling!  

kia soul

The interior like I said is roomy and comfortable, GPS/Navigation and satellite Radio very easy to access and use, nice size sunroof and most importantly – plenty of room for my coffee cup! 

The exterior is actually pretty darn cute.  I really liked this red color as it made it feel really flashy and sporty, lol! 

It handled really well, with enough pep to zip right into traffic on the highway and super easy to maneuver in busy downtown traffic.  Best of all, when it came to parking, I was able to snag a premium parking space because of the compact size – this thing will fit just about anywhere!  I did get to drive in a little rain and a little wind too, and again, the car handled very well.

For the techy stuff – It’s a 2.o L 4-Cylinder Engine, 6 speed automatic and gets a whopping 28 mpg highway and 25 mpg city driving!  Super safe with   airbags galore, ABS, traction control, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill Start Assist.  

Backed by a 10 year/100,000 mile Limited Powertrain warranty, 5 year/60,000 Mile Limited Basic warranty and Roadside Assistance – starting at just $19,900 – Wow!! I’m sold!


Now where exactly did I take this cute little crossover?  Monterey is a fun little town about 45 minutes South of San Jose that sits on a peninsula near the famous Pebble Beach and historic Carmel, California.  Cannery Row is an old fishing town made famous by John Steinbeck, revived with shopping, restaurants and antiques.  

I spent my afternoon walking around the shops, stopped by the aquarium and ate at the Cannery Row Brewery Company.  I wish I had more time to really explore and visit all the places but I just had a few hours of time.  The walk along the water between Cannery Row and fisherman’s warf is just a lovely 10 minute stroll with lots of nature to be seen.  

After you are done shopping in all the small shops, it’s time for lunch.  There are lots of options but I chose Cannery Row Brewing Company.  They are located in one of the original cannery buildings and house over 70 rotating beers on draft!  The inside of the brick building is decorated with custom steel works, and vintage beer deco. If you choose to sit outside on the patio, you can cozy up to a warm firepit! 

Chef Daniel Furey has a large assortment of dishes to choose from on the menu with something for everyone – yes – even Vegetarians and Vegans!  At the recommendation of my server, I tried the blackened Ahi burger with slaw and lime aoili – YUM!  I did try a nice Amber Ale along with it and it was awesome too.  

cannery row brewing company

The day I visited, it was very busy but still managed to get seated very quickly despite showing up 1/2 hour early for my reserved time (reservations are recommended – you can make them online!).  My food came rather quickly as well, with an open kitchen, I could see them hustling about!  I do wish I would’ve seen my server more often during my visit, but I could see he was rather busy – I would definitely give it another try, maybe on a less busy afternoon to really talk about the menu and beers with the server.  The prices were very reasonable and the atmosphere was still kid friendly as well. 

After lunch, I decided to finish my trip with a quick stroll through the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It’s a bit smaller in size compared to some I have been to, but still fun all the same.  Very kid friendly with touching pools.  It might only take a half hour to hour to stroll through, but still worth while stopping in.  

cannery row


At the end of my day, I was exhausted but had a blast.  Definitely a great day trip for some great food and fun.  I love I had a chance to drive the Kia Soul for the day and would consider buying one myself for a day-to-day family vehicle.  For more info about Kia and the Soul, visit the Kia Website



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