Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Crater Lake National Park is an easy addition to a summer road trip through the Pacific Northwest. On our way from Seattle, we stayed overnight in Eugene, visited Crater Lake and drove back to Portland the next day.

It also gave us an opportunity to test drive Kia Soul and get a sense for how it suited us for long drive with a toddler. Here is what we learned about Kia Soul as a possible car for a family road trip.

1. Comfort

When you plan a trip that requires more than eight hours in the car, comfort is going to be key. Before we saw the Kia Soul, we did have our doubts about whether a compact car would be the right choice over an SUV for a long drive.DisclosureTMOM

But our concerns vanished as we settled in without feeling cramped to sufficient legroom. Our toddler’s car seat was fastened in the middle to give him a clear view from the front as well as the sides.

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

The leather seats felt luxurious and the ability to heat and cool the seats was much appreciated during the long drive. We could cool the seats during the hot summer afternoons but use heating when the temperatures dropped from the 90s to about 70F at night.

As I rode part of the trip in the back with my son, I realize that we could have easily accommodated another adult or child. But the trunk space was limited. If you’re on a long trip with lot of luggage you would want to take that into account. We had no issues with fitting in our luggage for a five day trip for the three of us.

2. Navigation

Having an easy to use navigation system is a must have for any car for a road trip. Though most phones come with their own GPS, I really don’t want to rely on the service of my mobile devices on a long drive.

The screen on Kia Soul was about the size of an iPad mini, much larger than what you would expect on a compact car. The map

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

highlighted the key attractions with icons and the speed limit was displayed on the side. The illustrations with upcoming exits and lane changes were clear and hard to miss. The large touch screen also made it very easy to type in the addresses.

3. Entertainment

We were able to connect both our cell phones to the bluetooth system by pressing a couple of buttons. It was so great having such a user friendly system since we didn’t have to waste any precious travel time muddling through instructions.

We could access contacts on our address book and play songs through iTunes or Pandora. It made it very convenient to keep our toddler entertained with his go to playlists.  The USB and auxiliary charging ports on the dashboard ensured that we could charge multiple devices at once.

4. Safety

Safety is one of our first concerns when driving a new car. So we were happy to know that Kia Soul has a safety rating of 5 (highest on a scale of 1 to 5) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There is a latch system for the car seat and we could have the seat secured in the middle or on either side.

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

The navigation system had an emergency button where we could reach the nearby police, hospital or roadside assistance at a touch of the screen. The current location was also displayed on the same screen to enable us to identify our whereabouts incase of an emergency.

 5. Mileage

The fuel economy was another advantage of using a small car for our 1500 mile road trip. We averaged 28 miles per gallon after our trip which took us through cities as well as a good amount of highway driving.

6. Unexpected Luxury

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

What surprised us about Kia Soul was the panoramic sun roof. We were treated to breathtaking views as we looked up. Big clouds against the backdrop of tall fur

tree lined roadways have etched this drive into my mind.

We had the option of keeping the shade half way or full or opening up the roof completely for fresh air. It was thrilling to drive through the beautiful Oregon landscape with wind through our hair and our son’s excited giggles from the back.

Our road trip on Kia Soul surpassed our expectations for comfort and luxury and gave us a new meaning to traveling in a compact car.