Atlanta is one of my favorite cities. I like its mix of Southern charm and East Coast sophistication.
After college, my wife moved there to work at the Atlanta Journal Constitution and I visited her as often as I could (I was living in Cincinnati at the time). During the early-to-mid 90s, Atlanta was a hotbed for the music industry – artists such as OutKast, Babyface, TLC, and Jermaine Dupri set up shop in town to the delight of young R&B and hip-hop fans. These musicians ushered in a wave of creativity and energy. It was a great time to be a young, professional in the city.
Fast forward 20 years. My wife and I are Houstonians now. We’ve been married for 0ver 16 years and have three children. But Atlanta continues to hold a special place in our hearts. Many of our friends still live there and our fellow Howard alumnus, Kasim Reed, is the mayor.
Before we had kids, my wife and I drove sporty two-door sedans. At the time, I couldn’t even fathom driving an SUV. Now features such as cargo space, seating arrangements for three kids, and cup holders are top concerns. The 2014 Kia Sorento covers all of these bases.
A few weeks ago, I returned to Atlanta to attend a conference and I drove a Kia Sorento while I was in town. When I picked up the vehicle, I was impressed by it’s styling. The exterior looked sleek and I liked the deep red color. The interior was also nice and roomy. The leather seats were comfortable and the control panel was easy to read. I immediately noticed that the Sorento had a third row. With three kids, it’s definitely a must-have feature. Not having to hear the kids say, “Stop touching me” is worth the investment.
I used the navigation system to find the conference hotel, located an Old School Hip-Hop station on the satellite radio, and I was on my way. I like to play my music loud and the Infinity® Surround Sound Audio System didn’t disappoint. It withstood the pounding of the deep bass without losing clarity in the vocals.
While driving through the streets of downtown Atlanta I noticed Farmer’s Market. I located a rooftop parking spot (the backup camera came in handy as I squeezed into a tight spot) and walked back to the market. I bought a some fresh fruit for lunch and sat down in the plaza to listen to a band play a few songs (their repertoire ranged from Bob Marley to Pearl Jam).
Later that night, I picked up my friend Lamar Tyler and went to dinner at the historic Paschal’s Restaurant. We joined a group of friends and colleagues for a wonderful evening of conversation and fellowship.
Over the next couple of days, I logged many miles in the Kia Sorento. I decided to forgo the navigation system and rely on my memory to get around. I managed to find my without too much trouble. I went shopping at Lenox Square Mall, visited The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and drove past Centennial Park.
On my last night in town, I met my friend “Easy-E” (that’s his nickname from college) at Tropical Cuisine, a nice Jamaican restaurant near the airport. When he saw the Sorento, he was surprised.
“That’s a Kia?” he said. “They sure have come a long way.” He asked if I wanted to trade for his car. I declined. Although his car was nice, it wasn’t as cool as my Kia.
We agreed to forget about the vehicles for the next hour and focus on some delicious food and reminiscing instead. We enjoyed Oxtails, Jerk chicken, rice and peas, plantains, and ginger beer.
Those three days in Atlanta reminded my why I loved the city. They also gave me a greater appreciation for the Kia Sorento which also has a nice mix of charm and sophistication.
Disclosure: Kia loaned me the Sorento. All opinions are my own.