You know when someone or something takes you by surprise? Take that feeling, multiply it by 100, and that was my experience while driving around San Diego in the Kia Stinger. I drove a Kia on vacation many years ago and have been a fan ever since, but that was the old Kia. This is #TheNewKia.
I was given the opportunity to experience #TheNewKia during an influencer event sponsored by Kia Motors in San Diego. I was provided with airfare, accommodations, meals, Krispy Kreme donuts, and the opportunity to sing with a live band. All these shenanigans were courtesy of Kia. My opinions are 100% honest and my own.
Let me preface this by saying that I love to drive and travel. As a mom of two young kids, it’s very important for me to have a great car. In order of importance, I want a vehicle that is safe and reliable, with a killer sound system. Clearly, my priorities are in order here.
What I learned is that Kia not only has my priorities covered, this car brand is driven by people who want to exceed expectations through innovation. Kia reinvented itself by concentrating on quality, getting passionate about car design, but it’s more than just great cars. Kia captures a vibe that is organic, fun, and real. Like the cars they produce, Kia celebrates personality and encourages people to explore together and connect.
By understanding cars AND people, Kia has managed to become one of the most reliable car brands in the process. Fun fact: A few years ago, Kia got rated numero uno in J.D. Power’s annual survey of new model reliability, making it the first non-luxury brand to claim that top spot since 1989.
What happens when you hand over the keys to a Kia Stinger, put people together, and set them free on the streets of San Diego? F-U-N while driving. This car company has confidence in themselves and what they build…and they should. Now, in full disclosure, I don’t know technical stuff about cars, but I do enjoy testing vehicles for performance, handling, responsiveness, and style. AnnMarie, Bianca, Mike and I jumped in a red Kia Stinger and took off! Another fun fact: Kia Stinger is 0-60 MPH in 4.7 seconds, so I meant it when I said we really took off. It gets a top speed of 167 MPH (we thought about trying out that feature and then decided, better not).
This is the point where everything shifted from a focus on cars to an actual experience. Kia’s first all-wheel-drive sedan has a sweet Harmon Kardon sound system, and this was a magical mystery tour with a music theme (Kia has a long history and love for the many benefits of music). As influencers, we were encouraged to get creative and we took full advantage of that opportunity. See our group video contest submission below. Third place isn’t so bad for the New Kia Kids On The Block. Yes, we had fun making this video. Yes, we were given creative freedom and Mike ran with that…
Set them out on the streets of San Diego with donuts…
— Linda Scruggs, RN (@UnboxedMom) April 10, 2018
Bottom line, the Kia Stinger is pure fun to drive. It’s sleek, sophisticated, and has best-in-class features. I got in the passenger seat and said, “Man, this baby must corner like it’s on rails!” C’mon now, name that movie.
But in all seriousness, when a car brand has a strong vision – whether it’s cutting-edge vehicle design, investments in green car technologies, or fostering relationships with people who are passionate about sharing stories, it’s a reflection of folks that are looking ahead. Kia invests in people, and those people are creative thinkers and innovators who make award-winning vehicles.
I also hopped into a Kia Sportage to give it a spin. I’ve had my eye on the Soul or the Niro, but the Sportage won my heart. My lease is up this summer on my current compact SUV and the Sportage is the widest vehicle in its class. Lots of room for these two hooligans…and our dog, Willy Wonka.Let’s just say the Kia Sportage is at the top of my list. It has a kick to it while being fully functional as a family vehicle.
As a parent, registered nurse, content creator, writer, influencer, and travel lover, I have to make sure I share my biggest takeaways. What made the most impact for me on this trip? The emphasis wasn’t on the cars. It was all about the people involved and the desire to connect and create experiences. I like to #drivetoadifferentbeat and I live, work, and travel outside the box. As I was sitting in the Kia Stinger, I realized…
It comes down to who you are driving with.
Who you choose to sit next to in the passenger seat.
Who you can see in the rearview mirror playing in the backseat.
Who helps you navigate when the road gets bumpy.
Who helps you get back on track when you’re lost.
Obviously, this Kia event got to me – in a good way. They have come a long way and are a vibrant and energetic car brand. More than that, Kia is as real as the people that are behind it. It was refreshing to discover a new place (first time in San Diego), with a new group of people I had just met while eating Krispy Kreme donuts.
We laughed, sang, and enjoyed a day that I can only describe as a mash-up between The Hangover and Pitch Perfect. By the last night, we were singing live-band karaoke together. It was like going to camp for a few days and walking away with new friends. I’ll get to more fun stuff like live-band karaoke at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp District and my first trip to San Diego in another post.
Surrounded by a caring crew of characters, it seems that Kia offered us much more than just a trip to test out their great cars. I felt support and encouragement throughout our group of about 50 people, and you know what? I needed it. I live far away from family and most of my support system, I work from home, I work all the time, and it felt good to be around positive energy. I was so inspired by these people I had met just 36 hours earlier.
Driving home from the airport after the event, I was tired, excited, and felt a ping of sadness. I was alone on the road again. I wished we had more time together to drive and explore. But then I realized, I have more friends all over the country, and as I pulled up to my front door, I felt full of appreciation that I’ve joined this #KiaFamily.
I’m incredibly grateful that this journey has just begun. Kia is not just manufacturing cars; it’s encouraging people to share an experience together. I can’t wait to see where the road ahead leads me. Stay tuned…
To see this entire experience, check out my Kia Stories in my IG highlights.
Thank you to Kia for inviting me to this event. As mentioned earlier, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and meals were provided. The turbo-level fun? An added bonus from driving the Kia Stinger, combined with an innovative car brand and creative and supportive people. #KiaPartner
Happy to be here at the @hardrocksd! Room tour 👆on my IG Stories. . The @kiamotorsusa fun has just begun. Just added to my #instaplaylist right now: . “See this needle Oh see my hand Drop, drop, dropping it down oh so gently here it comes touch the flame Turn me up won't turn you away.” – Pearl Jam . instagram @unboxedmom . . #kiapartner #thenewkia #drivetoadifferentbeat #hardrocksandiego #rideanddrive #kiafamily #kiamotors #familytravel #travelbug #roadtrippin #igtravelstories #kiaunboxed #unboxedmom #unboxyourlife #visitsandiego #travelblogger #girlswhotravel #kiastinger #sheisnotlost #travelingram #momswhotravel #momswhoblog #carstagram #travelbloggerlife #getoutandexplore