Category Archives: Auto

Samurai Rides: Celebrating New Life With The 2016 Kia Sedona

Samurai Rides: Celebrating New Life With The 2016 Kia Sedona

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#DriveKia #SamuraiRides #DaddySamurai

#SamuraiRides has brought you some of the best sports cars, sedans, crossovers and compact vehicles available. Well, this time we really changed things up with the 2016 Kia Sedona, a luxurious minivan. I once again linked up with Kia, this time to help me celebrate a massive moment in my life, the shower for my soon to be born son Max. Let’s just say the cargo space of the Sedona definitely came in handy.

I had a couple days before the festivities to get myself comfortable with the handling of the Sedona. Fortunately, for me this ride handles a lot smoother than you would think for something this large.

***Check out more about the new 2016 Kia Sedona***

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The interior screams road trip comfort. You get 3 separate zones of climate control for the driver, front passenger and rear passenger rows. The seats are laced with soft Nappa leather and the reclining seats, adjustable arm and foot rests take you out of a simple minivan ride and into the mindset of First Class Lounge seating.  Adding to that pleasure factor is the rear entertainment console that is set with DVD, CD and multimedia functionality. Included with that, the Sedona also comes equipped with 2 pairs of headsets so the rear noise doesn’t have to dominate the entire ride.

Now while the Sedona can easily handle up to 8 passengers it is very likely the 3rd row may not be needed and you will need carrying space for other things. Rest assured that space is one thing Kia is offering you a lot of.

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The 3rd row can fold down into the floor and the 2nd row folds up and pulls forward to give you all the cargo space you need.  I personally put that to the test as I headed down to Philadelphia for my son’s baby shower.

Similar to my past Kia experiences you’ll have the standard array of safety features on deck. Considering the size of the Sedona, you’ll greatly appreciate the protective coverage you get from the Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) and Blind-Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). Kia’s Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) is invaluable when driving a vehicle that takes up this much space.

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In addition, you are surrounded by impact initiated airbags on all sides.

Let’s be honest, minivans have always come with jokes about how not cool they are. The soccer mom jabs are legendary but I’m here to tell you that everything about the 2016 Kia Sedona is cool. As the Sedona took me down to Philadelphia for the baby shower had a enjoyable private evening with family, friends and supporters celebrated the upcoming arrival with emotion and generosity.

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As the driver or a passenger you’ll enjoy this ride from a physical comfort and/or entertainment stand point.  If you are someone that rolls with a large group or maybe you are expecting an addition to your family, the Kia Sedona should be at the top of your list. View my video walk through for a more hands on take then hop over to Kia.com.

***Check out more about the new 2016 Kia Sedona***

 

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SAMURAI RIDES: Welcome To Spring With The 2016 Mazda 3

SAMURAI RIDES: Welcome To Spring With The 2016 Mazda 3

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#SamuraiRides x #DriveMazda

Snow, ice and frigid temperatures have moved into the rearview mirror for another year and as the days get longer and those layers of clothing are reduced I’m back on the road with the another round of Samurai Rides w/ Mazda! This time the Mazda 3 Grand Touring and I bounced around the Tri State area and it was a blast.

For the new comers here I initially got my hands on the Mazda 3 with the 2015 edition last winter. The 3 rides smooth and has all the features I’ve come to expect from this brand. Serving up In-ride functionality with an array of safety features, while still providing quality entertainment options you’ll enjoy every moment in this car.

  • Bose® 7-speaker Sound System
  • Mazda Navigation System
  • 18-inch Alloy Wheels
  • Leather-Trimmed Seats
  • LED Headlights and Taillights

In fact, there are only a few design elements that have changed between 2015 and 2016. The biggest change this time around is less in the vehicle itself and more in what Mazda offers you package wise. Drop down tothe  end to get that info.

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This time around I had what I like to call the “Cherry Bomb” edition with a gorgeous  metallic red exterior and deep dark leather interior with red trim. The Mazda designs always leave me in awe.Drive Mazda

In terms of space the 3 is the most compact sedan model behind the bigger Mazda 3 5-door or the Mazda 6, but don’t worry you won’t be lacking for room in this beauty. With my size I won’t be packing the 3 with a basketball starting 5 but taking a ride with 1 -2 other people was perfect.

“The Mazda3 entered the highly competitive compact car segment with a bang, quickly becoming one of the best examples of well-crafted performance you can get for less than 25K.” – Kelley Blue Book

**Click Here For The Mazda 3 Overview**

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Package Options changes in the 2016 Mazda 3

A big difference between the 2016 Mazda3 vs 2015 Mazda3 trim levels is the absence of the base i SV trim that was found on the 2015 model. For the 2016 model year, the i Sport is the new entry-level trim, which means more standard features for the Mazda3 and a new starting MSRP of $17,845 for the four-door model and $18,545 for the hatchback.

This price is actually lower than the 2015 Mazda3 i Sport by $600 while still managing to include more standard features, like a rearview camera. Other standard features include dual-power folding exterior mirrors, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, push button start, Bluetooth phone pairing and the Mazda Connect infotainment system on a 7-inch color touchscreen. Other trims also receive price reductions, helping the Mazda3 to continue providing great value for a new car.

The 2016 Mazda3 adds two new option packages that offer some exciting features. One package is the Preferred Equipment Package for the i Sport trim, with an MSRP of only $1,000. The other is a new package for the Mazda3 i Touring called the Popular Equipment Package, starting at $1,100. – via Mazda of Manchester 

Mazda knows what it does best and continue to excel at it. They create smaller sleek vehicles that look good and ride great. The newest model of the Mazda 3 keeps that trend going and I’m hoping that I’ll see Mazda again as the summer approaches. Check out the click below for more details on the 2016 Mazda 3. and stay tuned for something a little different on the next edition of Samurai Rides.

**Click Here For The Mazda 3 Overview**

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SAMURAI RIDES: EXPERIENCE POWER & STYLE WITH THE 2016 SORENTO

SAMURAI RIDES: EXPERIENCE POWER & STYLE WITH THE 2016 KIA SORENTO

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#SamuraiRides #DriveKia

My time delivering Samurai Rides review has opened me out to many auto types that I previously didn’t drive much. Everything for me had been BIG. Expeditions, Tahoes, Conversation vans and RV’s made up my driving resume but I have to say that the new age of SUV’s and Crossovers had really won me over. The 2016 Kia Sorento ideally provides size and space while not overwhelming you was a massive vehicle. I presented the 2015 Kia Sorento to you in late 2014 so you can look back at the upgrades in design.

Kia really excels at providing excellence and style while giving you the functionality that you need for your day-to-day activities. The cold metallic gray exterior gives the Sorento tough appearance. Conversely the interior is rich and beautifully laced with a white leather finish and black leather trim. That Oreo theme looks great and pops the moment you open the doors.

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As my previous Kia experiences have taught me, expect comfort and the Sorento delivers. You get rear window privacy shades, plentiful power sources to keep you plugged into your network. Front seating provides 12-way seating controls, with heating options. One of my favorites is the panoramic sunroof. Open this up and you truly get as close to that feeling of driving a convertible as you can get.

Navigating these #NyC streets from the comfort of the @kiamotorsusa 2016 Sorento!! #DriveKia #SamuraiRides @driveshopusa

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From the drivers perspective Kia provides 360 degree camera coverage that makes parking that much easier for you. Lane detection and blind spot alerts are all on deck to keep people off you and provide a safer ride. With the safety levels set enjoy your ride with Harman’s Infinity surround sound system for your MP3, radio or Satellite tunes.

Keeping the technology in mind for a moment, the Sorento is Google connected via the Send-to-Car feature so you can plan out that road trip at home then shot the details to the your ride and be ready to roll out. Combine that with interior Pandora controls and yelp features and you’re pretty much set to explore the roads.

After 2 runs with the Sorento in nearly 2 years I can confidently say that it’s a great option for anyone seeking a new SUV. Luxury and affordable in one great looking vehicle.

***Check out more about the new 2016 Kia Sorento***

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SAMURAI RIDES: ROLLING OUT WITH THE 2016 KIA OPTIMA XL TURBO

SAMURAI RIDES: ROLLING OUT WITH THE 2016 KIA OPTIMA XL TURBO

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#SamuraiRide #DriveKia

As Samurai Rides continues to share quality autos with you, one of the biggest things I’ve been introduced to is the series of excellent cars that Kia has released. I had a hard time giving back the flagship vehicle K900 last year and this month I was introduced to the 2016 Kia Optima XL Turbo. Kia has another winner on its hands.

Kia does an amazing job with space and leg room. From the moment I take the first step into a car I see that gorgeous Black on Black leather stitched interior. In addition, that leg room is immediately clear as well. The Optima is incredibly roomy without me having to drop the seat back and cut rear passenger comfort. Factor in the heated seats and steering wheel to a the calm silent interior and it’s an ideal setting to hit the road.

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But who wants silence? Open up that panoramic sunroof and turn up the music.  Powered by Harman/Kardon® QuantumLogic™ Premium Surround Sound with Clari-Fi™ your AUX cord will have those ride ready tunes sounding so clear and powerful.

I got caught in some funny weather while riding with the Optima because when New York winter meets global warming anything is possible. Thankfully my time on the road wasn’t affected by the rain or the snow. The Optima slide through it all with sharp on point precision. The Advanced Smart Cruise Control aided with this as well. At this point, you have to really be oblivious to your surroundings to hit something.

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As I mentioned earlier my only hands-on comparison car to the Optima is the K900. It’s an unfair match as the K900 is the luxury piece of the Kia line but with that said there isn’t some insane drop off in driving quality. On road handling, technology with mobile app compatibility, safety and entertainment all line up for a great experience. 178 horses under the Optima hood gives you a healthy amount of power on the streets to get where you need to be. Combine that with 25 – 30 miles per gallon in gas and you’ve got fuel efficiency that your wallet will appreciate. I could say more but honestly, I just suggest you give the Optima a solid test drive if you’re looking for a new mid-size sedan.

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SAMURAI RIDES: HITTING THE ROAD WITH THE 2016 MAZDA CX-3 GRAND TOURING

SAMURAI RIDES: HITTING THE ROAD WITH THE 2016 MAZDA CX-3 GRAND TOURING #DRIVEMAZDA

#DRIVEMAZDA

Rolling with some more new wheels courtesy of the good people at Mazda. This time around I get to complete the series of Mazda CX  SUV’s with the 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring Edition. During the heart of winter the CX-3 shows why it’s so well suited for the cold or the pleasant climates.

I’ve previously reviewed the larger CX-5 & CX-9 models in both summer and harsh winter settings. As I put the CX-3 through its’ paces I had less snow but more pot holes to navigate as the above normal temps of this season have wrecked havoc on the roads. Never the less Mazda’s most compact of the CX series would hold its own in all categories. The  exterior of the Grand Touring  is the familiar Mazda body type with the large rear swooping down into low sleek hood. The Interior is gorgeous as the pearl and black leather finish has a dark, crimson, wine colored trim around the seats, door and gear shift.

The streets of Harlem. Navigate the Big Apple. #SamuraiRides #DriveMazda @mazdausa

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There’s no let down in how the CX-3 handles on the road. All the safety features you have come to expect from Mazda are at your finger tips here. Lane proximity alerts on all 4 sides, smart cruise control and blind spot monitoring add to the layers of protection Mazda provides.

#DRIVEMAZDA
Here is the gorgeous two-tone leather Interior.

With the interesting winter we have had I got the opportunity to ride the CX-3 over snowy, icy, wet roads and sunny clear pavements in the same week. Regardless of the conditions this rides whips and was fun to drive.

#DRIVEMAZDA
The familiar Mazda CONNECT™ INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM

Completing the full round of reviews for the CX SUVs from Mazda was a refreshing experience. After a decade plus of over sized, gas guzzling truck driving see the new wave of larger vehicles gave me a great new take on potential driving options.

***For more info on the Maxda CX-3 Click Here***

 

SamuraiRidesMAzda

If you are looking for a ride with room but without the bulking tank-like feel of classic SUVs the CX-3 is exactly what you should be looking into. The CX series from Mazda has been officially stamped with the #SamuraiRides seal of approval but don’t just take may word for it. Click here for a few of the industry’s views on the Mazda CX-3.

 

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Samurai Rides: Warm Winter Riding With the 2016 Hyundai Tucson #DriveHyundai

Samurai Rides: Warm Winter Riding With the 2016 Hyundai Tucson #DriveHyundai

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One of the highlights of #Samurai Rides from 2015 was the private  hands on review day Hyundai arranged to launch the 2016 Tucson. I absolutely loved this ride. The only downside was that I was limited to a single business day to put the new SUV through its paces. Fortunately I got my wish to put some extended miles on the Tucson to get 2016 rolling.

My first time with the Tucson put me behind the wheel of their high-end Limited model which included the parking sensors, panoramic sunroof, lane detection and HID headlights among other quality features.

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The 2016 Hyunai Tucson Limited


This time around we scaled it back to give the standard edition a shot. Obviously there are a few less bells and whistles but it handled just a smoothly on the road. From Westchester to Manhattan the streets of NYC weren’t an issue to navigate. Then upon hearing the news of the recently opened AmalgamPhilly Comic & Coffeeshop I decided to take a trip to the City of Brotherly Love. Equipped with a multi speaker surround sound system for my Sirius XM/HD radio/MP3 pleasure it was a sweet 2 hour commute into Pennsylvania.

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You’re looking at  a difference of roughly $5000 from Standard to Limited with the majority of the differences being cosmetic. You do lose Hyundai’s Blue Link service so if that is something you need then an upgrade to Limited edition is need. Besides that you’re in for a great experience across the broad.

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If you enjoyed this auto review feel free to click here and view over editions of #SamuraiRides.

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Samurai Rides: Happy New Year With The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Samurai Rides: Happy New Year With The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid #DriveHyundai

 

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Just like that 2016 is here and with comes new travels and adventures. I found myself on the streets of Harlem as the ball dropping closing 2015. My partner on the road was Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata Hybrid Limited Edition. This was a great ride and I enjoyed the ability to follow up with another version of this model. In late 2014 I reviewed the 2015 Sonata and I quickly noticed some changes in this years Edition.

Off top there are some design changes I noticed like the wider grill front, larger wheels and slight longer sleeker body design. The interior received a literal face lift as the as the touch screen display is now 7 inches and includes the rearview camera absent from late years model. Also available is a beautiful panoramic sunroof. With the recent warm winter weather it was ideal for letting the light in while on the road. On the flip side the rear seat come with pull down window shades in case you want a degree of privacy.

When business runs after hours…… #SAMURAIRIDES

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Powered by Sonata’s Infinity 9 Speaker Audio Sysytem #DriveHyundai

 

In addition to that the Android Auto system that syncs your smartphone to the car to cut distraction is available with updated software available via Hyundai’s home site. Keeping on the topic of technology, the simultaneous functioning of the gas engine and electric battery felt so smooth on the road I actually forgot it was a Hybrid for the first couple days.

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I really like the changes the Hyundai has been with the 2016 Sonata and with a price tag hovering around $21K you get a lot for that dollar. Quality and efficiency are areas that Hyundai has impressed me with at a consistent rate over the last year and this Hybrid is no exception. You won’t be disappointed.

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Social Media Samurai Year In Review: The Best Of Samurai Rides 2015

Social Media Samurai Year In Review: The Best Of Samurai Rides 2015

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It’s been an amazing year for #SamuraiRides. The good people at DriveShop have put me in behind the wheels of some great vehicles. I can honestly say I didn’t have a bad experience with any of the rides I reviewed. As I prepare for the new fleet of cars for year 2016-2017 lets take a look back at some of the stand out experiences I had in the 2015. Having reviewed multiple cars of a few specific automotive brands I’ll share the best of each in this wrap up edition of Samurai Rides.

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SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI ART BASEL 2015 WITH THE MITSUBISHI LANCER

SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI ART BASEL 2015 WITH THE MITSUBISHI LANCER

#DriveMitsubishi #SamuraiRides

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When the Calendar flips to the month of the December the streets of Miami open up for the annual Art Basel Festival. Creatives of all types share their talents with the international crowd that converges on southern Florida and once again I had the pleasure to cover it. In addition to that my time was made even more pleasurable as I hit the streets with the 15′ Mitsubishi Lancer. With a clean Diamond white finish and black leather interior my time on the roads, streets and highways of Miami were more than enjoyable.

In stark contrast to my Art Basel experience last year, roughly 1/2 of my time in Miami was met with rain. Yes it was a wet one for much of the Art Basel experience. Fortunately, this gave me some real first hand experience with the handling and on road efficiency of Mitsubishi’s sporty sedan. Some of the worst rain would hit at the late night hours when I was on the road back to my lodgings. Thankfully the Lancer stayed steady through the torrential down pours with no sliding or slipping.

As luck would have it nature would relax just enough for me to enjoy the incredible artistic displays and festive environment that Art Basel transforms the Wynwood area into.

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My overall travels in Florida took me from Margate  to Fort Lauderdale then down to Wynwood and South Beach. Over the course of 4 days I needed just one stop at the gas station. The mileage I got out of  the Lancer was beyond efficient. Couple that with how comfortable the ride is even for someone as tall as me and you’ve got a winner.

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After the jump you can see more images of the Mitsubishi Lancer and get a run down of some of the specs you can look forward to with this ride.

Continue reading SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI ART BASEL 2015 WITH THE MITSUBISHI LANCER

SAMURAI RIDES: NOMADNESS ANNIVERSARY WEEK WITH THE 2015 HYUNDAI GENESIS

SAMURAI RIDES: NOMADNESS ANNIVERSARY WEEK WITH THE 2015 HYUNDAI GENESIS

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This is a very special edition of Samurai Rides. This marks the official 1 yr anniversary of my coverage of the newest automobiles to hit the street from many of your trusted brands. It’s fitting that this anniversary coincides with the Nomadness Anniversary weekend. Much of my Samurai Ride travel links into my Nomadness duties so it’s only right to celebrate the two! This year leading into the massive weekend I was blessed with the Hyundai Genesis to make my way around the busy street of New York.

With the UN, Beyonce and most notably the Pope in town, I was about to really put the Genesis to the test. Hyundai has again succeeded in delivering style, performance and luxury in a super affordable package. The genesis rides smooth and handles amazingly on the open road or in stop-and-go rush hour traffic.

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Continue reading SAMURAI RIDES: NOMADNESS ANNIVERSARY WEEK WITH THE 2015 HYUNDAI GENESIS