Eight Days, 1800 Miles And Two Big Surprises In The 2015 Kia Sorento SXL

A good trip is made infinitely better by good traveling companions.  I'm blessed with the best one ever in Navigator, and so the thought of eight days on the road, much of it behind the wheel at the end of August, was a most pleasant one.

Folsom-Utah trip map
(source: Google Maps)
The trip: A tour of some of Nevada and Utah's national parks and monuments.  The overall plan:  Folsom (suburban Sacramento, California) to Great Basin  in Nevada on day one.  Two days each at Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bryce Canyon (all in Utah), then home a different way...stopping to see family in the impossibly tiny town of Newcastle, Utah on the seventh day, with a dawn-to-dusk final leg across Nevada and through the Sierra back to Folsom on day eight.

Oh.  And except for the one night with family, we'd be camping. So a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food and firewood to last eight days....it all had to be accomodated. Go big enough (Tahoe/Suburban) and cargo would be no sweat, but there was at least 1600 miles to cover with gas at an average price of $4.00 a gallon.

So what to drive?  8 days required extending the usual one-week press loan to two weeks, and the fine folks at Kia and STI stepped up, offering the new version of an old friend...the 2015 Kia Sorento.


Why The Beetle TDI Is The Most Beetle-Like Of All

2014 Volkswagen Beetle TDI front 3/4 view
Volkswagen Beetle TDI.
For a car that is an exercise in nostalgia, there is very little that really connects the current-generation Beetle with the one that captured America's hearts from 1949 to 1979.  As I illustrated in my review of the Beetle R-Line this summer, the current Beetle is a much larger car, with styling meant to evoke rather than emulate the original.  It is certainly much more complex, much more expensive (even when adjusted for inflation, today's Beetle costs nearly double what the original did at any point in its production) and, as every wag who used to own one will point out---the engine is in the wrong place.