Our Ride for Ten days in Florida

From April 17 – 27 we were on vacation in Florida. Prior to our trip I coordinated with Kia Motors America, Inc to obtain a Kia Sorento to use while on vacation. We planned on doing a ton of driving while on vacation and neither of my in-laws vehicles was going to work for our purposes. We have two small children and they have two small cars, it just did not add up. Luckily for us Kia came through with a Kia Sorento EX for us to use for the whole trip. From Touchdown to Takeoff the car performed like a champ. I posted a few times about it and even made a few videos of the experience as well as sent out many RoadTrip tagged tweets. Here are my overall impressions of the vehicle based on our time using it.

Our Florida vacation started out strong, especially my blogging about it and making videos. Unfortunately with the change of pace our schedules and bodies got all messed up. More on that later as it has to do with what we ended up doing and not doing while on vacation.

We landed on Tuesday the 17th and were met at the airport by Grandpa Dano. He had taken delivery of the Kia Sorento that morning and put the car seats into the vehicle so that I could install them properly. Installation was a snap because the Sorento has the LATCH system and Andrew’s seat was a LATCH based seat. Eva’s seat was a booster that was attached by the seat belt and that was easily swapped from the second row to the third row and we reconfigured seating multiple times on the trip.

The vehicle had plenty of room for us to take two oversized suitcases, two slightly smaller ones, four backpacks, one stroller, two kids in carseats, three adults and a pack and play back to the house (We didn’t bring the pack and play from home, Grandpa Dano brought it to the airport for some reason but we still fit it in.) Once we got to the house I shot a photo of what the vehicle looked like with the third row seats folded down and loaded with our stuff.

The Kia Sorento packed to the gills
The Kia Sorento packed to the gills


We stayed around my in-laws house till close to seven that night and then got on the road to drive to Celebration, Florida, three hours away. I used the navigation system to enter in our destination and then store it in the address book on the navigation system so that I could recall the address over and over again. I also stored my in-laws address in the system and a few other places that we’d be traveling to while on vacation. That way, with a couple of taps we could be on our way to our destination. The one thing that bugged me about the navigation was that I couldn’t easily figure out how to turn down the volume on the directions. It was so loud and I couldn’t make it lower. I never found info on it in the manual and it wasn’t intuitive on the system itself, I’m not even sure if you can turn it down. That was my one issue with the Navigation system, otherwise it performed very well.

The Kia Sorento Navigation System
The Kia Sorento Navigation System

The ride was very smooth. I hated coming home and getting back into my ten year old Honda Civic after driving the Sorento for a week. I felt even more like I was driving a tin can after spending ten days in a much better ride. It was so smooth a ride that Eva passed out almost immediately. I mean, she was talking one minute and looked like this the next.

The Kia Sorento rode so smoothly that Eva passed right out.
The Kia Sorento rode so smoothly that Eva passed right out.

The navigation system was helpful in that you could see what exits were coming up and what was available at each exit. This was useful because with a kids you want to know how far it is till you can get to a bathroom or to food. We were about three quarters of our way through the trip and Andrew started wailing like crazy. He was hungry and inconsolable. He was also a bit uncomfortable in his car seat and this was a long time for him to be in a new seat.

At this time I would like to point out the wisdom of my wife. I originally wanted to drive to Florida with the kids in a Kia Sorento. She put a stop to that crazy thinking right away. She was right about this because I can’t imagine stopping over and over for Andrew to eat especially when we had 30 miles to go before we could stop.

So we watched the navigation screen and prayed for the miles to pass quickly so we could get to rest area and I could take Eva to the bathroom and Allison could feed Andrew. It was nice to know what was coming and how far away it was so we had something to look forward to. It is maddening driving with a screaming child and you can’t stop to soothe them. This was just the start of the issues around our poor kids.

Taking a quick pit stop along our Road Trip up to Celebration, FL
Taking a quick pit stop along our Road Trip up to Celebration, FL

We made it to Celebration in about 3 hours. The time on the navigation system was very accurate and helpful. We got in late but were still planning on heading to Walt Disney World the next day with the kids and our friend Maureen, or rather, Auntie Mo. She was staying at a hotel near us and would catch up with us int he morning. As I was taking things into the Condo Allison was taking care of the kids. She discovered that Eva had a fever, a temp of 104. So, the entire night we made sure she was okay, we gave her medicine and monitored her closely. Her fever came down a few degrees by the morning but we knew that Disney was definitely out. So, we hung around the town of Celebration and also went to Downtown Disney. The great thing about bringing kids this young to the Disney area is that if something like this happens and they had no idea that they might have been going to Disney then they don’t get upset.

The next morning I got up and found a Target to get more medicine and a few other things. The GPS came in handy there because I just had to do a quick search and get my destination. Then to come back I just had to call up my address book again and get right back to the condo.

Auntie Mo came over for the afternoon and we all went in the Sorento and got lunch and then took a quick drive to Downtown Disney. I was able to quickly reconfigure the Sorento so that we could all fit comfortably. We’d keep this configuration of Andrew in the back seat and Eva in the third row whenever we went out without any luggage except for when we went to the beach, then we put everything right next to Eva in the third row because you can fold down one side of the third row or both sides.

Eva loved having the third row of the Kia Sorento all to herself
Eva loved having the third row of the Kia Sorento all to herself

Our trip up and back to Orlando was a nice one and gave me plenty of time to really drive the Sorento and get used to how it handled (smooth) and learn all the cool features it had (there were many). The one thing that I never quite got used to was the push button start and the key FOB. I am so used to taking keys out of my pocket so I’d take them out when I got to the door of the car even though I didn’t have to. I could press a button on the door handle and ti would open the car door. I could push that button twice quickly and it would unlock the whole car. All I needed to have was the key FOB in my pocket. And push button start is so cool.

The rest of our vacation was full of little trips to places near my in-laws. We went to the Beach for one day.

We Took the Kia Sorento to the Beach
We Took the Kia Sorento to the Beach

I was able to pack in our beach chairs, a beach caddy, beach toys and more into one half of the third row seat.

We also went to the Palm Beach Zoo.

We Took the Kia Sorento to the Palm Beach Zoo
We Took the Kia Sorento to the Palm Beach Zoo

We love visiting the zoos down in Florida and the Palm Beach Zoo is an excellent one. We had so much fun with Eva as she played in the water fountains and visited the White Alligator, Mardi.

We even took the Kia Sorento on Safari.

We Took the Kia Sorento to Lion Country Safari
We Took the Kia Sorento to Lion Country Safari

On the safari we used the CD player to listen to a program that told us all about the animals on the safari. I like how the controls are on the touch screen in the navigation system and I could simply touch pause and then play again when it was time to move on. Controlling our media and entertainment was very easy with the Sorento. We could play podcasts either wired to our iPhones or through the Bluetooth connection. We could listen to CDs, the Radio or Satellite Radio too.

Some final thoughts on the Kia Sorento. This vehicle got good gas mileage. We drove from Fort Lauderdale to Boynton Beach and then to Orlando and drove all over Orlando. We filled up before heading back down to Boynton from Orlando and it only cost a little more than it would had we filled Allison’s Passat. Then we drove all over the place on short trips for the rest of the trip and put in a little more gas. I liked how the vehicle showed us our range with our current fuel level.

Configuring the seats was simple. They quickly folded flat with one pull of a strap. There were many combinations that you could set for the seating as well and the third row was great for Eva.

I enjoyed how it felt to drive the Sorento. It certainly had power and speed but was also smooth and rode like a car and not a boxy minivan. I liked the look of the Sorento too. It had nice lines and was something that I would personally enjoy driving in our everyday life. As the kids get bigger this is certainly a car we would consider for a family vehicle.

Disclosure: As I stated at the beginning of this post. I asked Kia Motors America, Inc for the use of the vehicle so that we could drive it while in Florida and so that I could review it. I received no monetary compensation for this review and even had to purchase my own gas. Opinions about the Kia Sorento are 100% my own and my family.

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