Guest Blogger; Trading in the Mini for a Baby Cooper

As my more dedicated readers will remember, my family has been searching for a new family car for quite some time. We have looked at sporty models and more practical models. Well today we have a guest blogger here, Leeanne Ekland of to discuss the process her and her partner (and their little one) went through to find a new family car. Read on…

Trading in the Mini for a Baby Cooper

2010 Kia Soul 4U
2010 Kia Soul 4U

My partner Eric and I found out I was pregnant when I was 42.  Aside from the obvious concerns one of the more practical questions that came up was, ‘We have to trade in the Mini for a baby!’ Well not exactly, but if we are going to have a car, it needs to hold all the crap we’ll need to pack with us.  And, although Eric absolutely adored his 2008 Mini Cooper Clubman, we needed to shed the past and deal with our quickly expanding situation.

Neither of us was ready to give in to minivan syndrome but we definitely needed a practical solution.  We hoped to find a middle ground, with affordability, a fun and sporty ride, and our buying experience topping the list.

Our Considerations

As I was newly unemployed and pregnant the first thing we needed to consider was price. We wanted to make a straight trade or as close to it, as we now had a college fund to consider.

The second thing we wanted, or rather I wanted was for Eric to have something he loved to drive.  I didn’t want him to feel he was giving up his baby.

The third consideration was the buying experience we wanted to have. Any company worth their salt will tell you they work hard at providing amazing customer service experiences.  Word of mouth is after all the best form of advertising and they know that.

The Decision

We spent many a day visiting auto malls and dealerships getting a feel for what was out there in the ‘mini’ SUV category. After many test drives and conversations with sales people, Kia came out on top over Honda, Mazda, and Nissan.  The 2010 Kia Soul 4U is a new addition and seemed to fit most of our criteria.  We didn’t consider domestic products at this point as there was not a lot of faith in them at the time.

The Details

Both of us are quite tall so we liked that the 2010 Kia Soul 4U had a ton of head room in front and back.  The model we looked at had leather interior, a must for baby vomit cleanups.  Automatic transmission means that I can plug a binkie in with one hand if I have to when I am driving.  The heated seats are a godsend on cold mornings and the onboard Bluetooth means I don’t have to pull over or fiddle with a headset.  We can plug in the iPod and play baby’s playlist when he’s fussy.

If you look at it, it might remind you of the Cooper, albeit a grown up version.  It comes fully loaded with a spoiler, racing stripe, a cool wheel kit and all the bells and whistles of a top model.  The Kia Soul 4U handles very well in the snow and completely outperforms its predecessor in that regard: The Mini Cooper Clubman looks so sad stuck in snow, wheels spinning helplessly.

Our Buying Experience

Overall our experience with Kia has just been ok.  It was great at first, but the follow-up is a bit lacking.  I think it’s tough to find great customer service experiences in the auto buying industry unless you’re spending big bucks. Eric always had amazing customer experiences with Mini but that relationship sadly had to end.

If we were to do it over again we would probably pick the same car if it had more cargo space. Its hatchback makes it easy to put the stroller in but we can’t fit much else in at this point.  Our stroller is a monster but that’s another story.  Overall the Kia Soul 4U is a great city car.

The 2012 edition sounds like it has more of what we would look for in a new car.  Check it out here and let me know what you think!

By the way, Cooper is our son’s middle name.  We thought it would be fun to remember our experience when he asks us where the name came from.

Thanks for reading.


Bio: Leeanne Ekland is a urban-dwelling mom of one, on a mission to rediscover love, wellness, and what’s new and cool about parenthood. She’s blogging about her experiences at Having started the parenting experience much later than most, she offers a unique perspective on the challenges and all that is amazing about being a new mom over 40. At least – she does when she’s not napping, which is something she does often.


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