Monday, March 16, 2009

An update on my new ride

So, it just got back from its detail at the dealer (the detail guy wasn't there the day I bought it) and here you go. The ride is fantastic, and overall I am quite impressed with the vehicle. I would not have picked a Kia as my next vehicle, but in comes this little badboy to save the day.

Annoyances: Thin, thin, thin doors. I am convinced that I left the windows down each time I start it and can easily hear the engine exhaust. However, it's pretty quiet on the road (haven't been on the highway yet) and you don't know how loud the horn is until you honk it with the remote; noise forward of the bulkhead is very quiet.

Cheap inner moon roof cover. When you close the doors, you can hear it kind of "bounce" within its track. But, if you keep that slid back you don't hear anything.

Bright white gauges. The numbers are very, very white. This is the first vehicle where I have to dim the gauges. That stated, I love the red everywhere else and it's all very easy to see.

Tire bounce. I love the look of the 18" wheels, but since this is the "+" it came with these 16" alloys that I kind of dig. Also, after driving a WRX that I used to autocross with 17" wheels, I wasn't looking forward to the harshness of such a low profile tire when going on occasional dirt roads. That stated, I hate the undamped oscillation I get when pulling in over the curb in the background. The suspension is fantastic, and I recognize this "slop" as being soft sidewalls. Once I change out the tires (or maybe go to 17" wheels and tires) I plan on selecting something to control this a bit better.

Hitch? I have no idea where a receiver would mount up under the vehicle, but I hope someone has this handled.

That's all stuff you can get over, especially with my favorite items:

Solid feel. Yes, even with thin doors the vehicle still has a nice, tight feel to it. I like it.

Tight handling. While I wouldn't take this out on my next autocross, I definitely appreciate the design and thought that went into road feel on this thing. It's the first car in a long, long time that I wanted to just go for a drive in.

Stereo. I used to work for Kenwood a long time ago, and was really big into aftermarket car stereos. Now, I just don't want to bother with it but at the same time I want it to have a lot of features and sound good. I highly recommend the audio upgrade package, as you get a ton of bang for the buck. I am still tuning it in, but the USB functionality alone is better than many headunits I've seen and used. It supports large drives (I'm using 8GB right now) and will resume from the same spot in the track when you change sources or start the vehicle. Also, the voice control for dialing out is phenomenal, and the stereo will sync with the phone at each start to make sure its contact list is up to date. I do wish there was an option to defeat the "synchronize completed" that she says a couple minutes after starting the vehicle. The interface is fantastic, as are the steering wheel controls.

Drivetrain. The engine is a touch harsh, but I am waiting to see if it smooths out over time. Compared to the 2008 Fit I have, this thing is fairly quick and doesn't need to shift all the time (I have the automatic; bad knees). In fact, the Fit has a 5 speed automatic which should be desirable, but with the low horsepower and rev-happy motor, it needs to drop to 4th or 3rd a lot on our highways around here. This feels like it might just unlock the torque converter occasionally and be done with it.Seats. They're pretty good, but I haven't driven more than half an hour continuously yet. I might go to Tucson this weekend and see what's up. :-)

Fun. Yep, I like to show this off. I didn't really care about showing off other cars I've had (even my WRX), but this one is a lot of fun. I'd get another one.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New car to replace the Subaru Impreza 2.5RS

Say hello to my little friend! More to come on this 2010 Kia Soul I picked up last Saturday.
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