Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A farewell to Z (O my Soul)

I have left the brotherhood of the Z. After 10+ years of zipping (when traffic permitted) around the Puget Sound area in my nifty 2007 Nissan 350z, I am back to being an everyday driver in a practical car.

Late yesterday afternoon, I took possession of a new Kia Soul turbo. It's a bittersweet experience because I traded in my Z. I've gone from 3.5L V-6 306hp to 1.6L inline-4 201hp (turbocharged).

It's a paradigm shift. Let me tell you.

The Soul turbo (a.k.a. the Soul Exclaim, a.k.a. Soul ! ) is a nice car. The turbocharger gives it some zip. It also has a dual clutch, so I can pop it into a 7-speed manual, which is much more responsive--though not on par with the Z. I can also put it into Sport mode with a touch of a button. I'm still getting used to it. After 10 years, the Z felt like an extension of myself when I drove. For now, the Soul is like being in a different body.

The bells 'n' whistles are nice. The sound system with SiriusXM satellite radio and Apple CarPlay, which integrates my iPhone (+ music, + apps) into the system, is pretty cool. The steering wheel has more buttons than the Mach-5:

But there's no jump jacks or protruding power saws, so I'm stymied if I encounter a chasm or forest  in my path. I can, however, control my music, send/receive phone calls hands-free, change driving modes, etc.

It's an odd feeling to be sitting up higher in traffic. I can actually look down and see the top of some cars. The commute to work this morning was less stressful without the constant clutching.

Of course, the big advantage is that it has good cargo capacity. Trying to schlep enough boxes of minis 'n' terrain to a game venue was a challenge in the Z. For the past several years, I've opted to drive the 80+ miles round trip every day to/from the venue of our annual convention, Enfilade!, because I could never carry with me everything I needed for the games I was hosting for the weekend. I'm looking forward to staying the whole weekend this year without worrying that I can't bring all my stuff with me. (Of course, the whole Bogart vs. the girls situation concerns me when it comes to bringing in a cat-sitter.)

It's also front-wheel drive, which means it will handle better on our rare snow days here in the Pacific Northwest. No more slipping 'n' sliding. Generally, I've been housebound on snow days (including Christmas this year); I can dare to be adventurous now--even though, unlike the Mach-5, it has no super-gripping belt tires that can be produced by pressing Button B.

I'm happy with the exchange. I've gone from sports car to sensible car and I can call my midlife crisis over (for now). Sensible, but I've still got a bit of pep in my drive.


  1. Congratulations on your seemingly slide into domestication, David :) Granted it is a turbo. Good to hear you may be staying at the convention site overnight(s) this year.