If you are familiar with our site, you will know we do a lot of coverage on automotive, especially with brands like KIA Motors. They have quickly become one of my favorite brands and it is for good reason. Not only do they make vehicles like the Sedona, Sorento and Sportage that are completely family oriented, but the vehicles are top safety rated and very attractive on the eyes.

This last week I was given the opportunity to work with KIA on a different level. They put together a program just for digital influencers and I was honored to be invited among some very influential YouTubers, Snapchatters, Instagramers, and more.

The scene may seem familiar as it was the same layout as the KIA Sportage launch that happened a couple months ago, but I will tell you… the only thing similar was the hotel and the food.

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There is a reason KIA hosts the events they do for influencers like me, and there’s a voice they are trying to get out, so you, as our readers/social followers/parents/ car buyers can hear.

You guys…. I can’t recommend KIA enough times. There is SO much compassion and love they have for everyone who buys their vehicles. So much thought and drive to push the safety and value of each vehicle they produce. I stand behind them and that’s something no amount of money could ever make me promote (this is completely not sponsored by the way). I just sincerely love their vehicles and their vision for the future.

KiaSanDiego-50The evening started in true San Diego fashion, a Pedicab through the Gaslamp district, where our final destination was Rustic Roots, an awesome dining venue with an open rooftop. We had a chance to mingle among colleagues, eat some incredible local foods, and take in music from the live band. It couldn’t have been a more perfect way to kick-off the event.

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There was even a low-rider that drove by as we were enjoying our night. Stay classy, San Diego!

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The next day we got up early for breakfast and a presentation. There we learned all about the KIA brand and how they have literally gone from the lowest brand to becoming #1 in the entire industry in initial quality according to J.D. Power. This is the first time a non-luxury brand has held that position. We also learned that over the next 5 years, KIA will be launching 20 all-new or redesigned vehicles. Can you tell why I am excited to work with them? They are a true industry leader.

During the presentation we learned a little more about each vehicle, but it was the KIA Soul that won my heart. Did you know the Soul encapsulates a lot of what Kia brings to the market? It can be summed up in 5 short words : “The word needs more SOUL.”

After the presentation it was time to hit the road and drive the line-up that was available to us. In that line up was the 2016: Sorento, Sedona, Optima and Soul; and the 2017: Sportage and Forte.

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We decided to choose the Optima Turbo first. This wasn’t my first experience with the 2016 Optima, as I had driven it previously in Aspen for their launch. However, it is definitely one of my favorite sedan’s KIA has and I was excited to get back behind the wheel. You can read about the 2016 KIA Optima HERE.

2016 Optima

We had some time with the vehicle to drive it around the San Diego area and even had a chance to create this video for the contest challenge KIA gave us (you may have seen it on our Facebook fan page). We got second place, but had the best time creating it. It was fun watching the other videos as they were all so great!

After lunch we switched cars and hopped into the 2017 Kia Forte.

2017 Kia Forte

This was my first time in the 2017 and I will tell you this…. if you are looking for an affordable, reliable vehicle that looks good and is great on gas, the Forte is an excellent choice. We drove it all around Downtown San Diego and had an amazing time in it. It’s even more spacious than I thought it would be.

2017 Forte

After driving the vehicles around it was time to get ready for what I consider an EPIC night!

KIA set up the conference room to look like a concert where we all had the chance to sing live band karaoke! There’s a little rockstar in all of us and after feeling like we were driving on the red carpet in those vehicles, it was time to hit the stage!

live band karaoke

This ride-and-drive event was more than just another automotive event. Sure we learned about the vehicles and were able to get behind the wheel, but it was an incredible opportunity to connect with the KIA brand and really hear what they have focused on for the future, and boy I’ll tell you… I am buckling in for this ride!

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View more event photos below:

Huge thanks to KIA Motors for inviting me to this event. All thoughts are my own.