Category Archives: Entertainment

Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

FaceChat

As social media continues to grow and evolve Facebook still reigns as the dominant site. In addition, its native messenger is the top communication app followed by WhatsApp which FB acquired In 2014. Add Instagram to the Facebook team and you’d think Mark Z would have no issues at all regarding digital dominance. So can someone explain why every week we’re hit with another feature upgrade ripping off Snapchat? They’re not even trying to be subtle with it.

Instagram stories may go down as the one understandable and well executed Snap rip off of them all. On the most visually focused platform, taking the core snap function and making it complementary element of IG was smart. You have the main platform for the best images you take while utilizing the 24 hr cycle of the stories feature to give real-time interaction. Adding the LIVE broadcast feature from Facebook into the Instagram system creates the perfect short form social media platform. From there I would have loved for the Facebook team to focus on new features to make FB/IG/WhatsApp stand out from Snap. No such luck.

WhatsApp & FB Messenger have both been given a useful 24 hr Snap status features. In addition, they’ve also been flooded with childish filters/masks that have taken a life of their own on SnapChat. I’m sure there are those that love this but personally, I don’t get it. Imitation at all costs when you’re already the dominant force in the industry reeks of insecurity. Maybe its a ploy to pull in more Gen Z users who prefer images over classic text content?

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Let’s not forget that Facebook tried to acquire SnapChat back in 2013 but had it’s $3 Billion offer snubbed but the up and coming app. I guess if you can’t buy them out you recreate them on your own terms.

FB SNAP

Here’s a look at the timeline of FB vs Snap activity. What do you think of Facebook ‘s Snap feature integrations?

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SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

 SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

#SamuraiRides #DriveMazda

After a short hiatus for the heart of the winter season, Samurai Rides is getting ready to welcome in warmer days. Before we hit the official start of Spring those good folks at Mazda sent me a little gift. Seeking to make my travel a bit more comfortable, the Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring was dropped off for me to enjoy my birthday week in style. Sitting at the top of the subcompact division you know the quality that Mazda delivers. When I saw the Dynamic Blue of this ride, my favorite color, I was in heaven, but enough chatter let’s dive into another edition of Samurai Rides.

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First off I can imagine what you are thinking? How on earth is he really reviewing a sub compact vehicle? Isn’t he tall? Yes, it’s well documented that I’m rather over sized but that is beauty of the CX -3. Even for someone of my height Mazda’s latest CX Compact car didn’t restrict my movement, comfort or enjoyment what so ever. I’ll admit I had to lean that driver’s seat back so heaven help who ever attempts to sit behind me. Outside of that it was all good. This is the 2nd year for the CX-3 after its’ initial introduction into the Mazda line up last year. It’s essentially a replacement for the Mazda 2 which is no longer available in the U.S.

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Max & Mazda. Matching Blue as we hit the road.

Truthfully, after a solid debut Mazda is just tweaking a few things for 2017. They have made a few features available in lower trims besides the Grand Touring edition. You can enjoy the redesigned 18 inch wheels at the mid level trim now as well as the  i-Activsense package which offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking, and more. Mazda shaved off nearly $800 to bring that add-on option pack just under $1200.

Another thing I will say is that the CX-3 Is not the ride to get if you’re planning on lugging around a lot of stuff. There’s modest trunk space here. You should be ok with your weekly personal groceries but massive shopping trips will have you putting bags in the rear seating space.

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Design wise Mazda remains the master of giving the look of cars costing more than they do. Surprisingly luxurious would be a great way to describe the sleek appearance of the CX-3.

This ride looks like a mini SUV but it handles like a car smoothly navigating the road. You’re getting 146 horses out of the 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. That’s getting you from 0 – 60 in 8 secs. Not bad at all. It definitely did the trick as I celebrated my birthday around New York City. In this case the smaller ride made parking that much easier.

Overall, my streak of good times with Mazda cars continues. From the seamless on road handling, to safety features, to the always simple entertainment media interface, Mazda’s consistent delivery of quality shines through with their 2nd run of the CX-3. In all honesty I really only see competition coming from within their own brand. What I mean is that the price of the Grand Touring starts around $27K at which point you may be tempted to hop up to the CX 5 for a solid increase in power and size. So, aside from some possible in-fighting, Mazda is looking pretty strong to close out the first quarter of the new year. Take a look below at a few images and swing by Mazda USA for even more CX-3 info.

Stay Tuned Samurai Rides has something special on deck to usher in the Spring.

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Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

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Phones, Tablets, Lap Tops and Desk tops are no longer just number crunching devices. They pack all the entertainment value of your cable TV at a much less cost. You can select the same program at your own leisure and often bypass commercials. How the average person consumes their entertainment has changed radically as our world now come with us in our pockets. While streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix may be the biggest brands on the block, Fast Company just released an interesting look back at just how Hulu got the ball rolling for the streaming giants of today. Take a look below. At the end you can link to FC’s ongoing Innovation series that this piece came from.

Remember when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail service? And its chief rival was the brick-and-mortar outlet Blockbuster? Feels like an eternity ago. Now Netflix looks over its shoulder at HBO on one side and Amazon on the other. But it was the breakthroughs generated by the less-praised and underappreciated Hulu that pointed the way to all of their success.

Fast Company put Hulu on the cover of our second World’s Most Innovative Companies issue in 2009. That decision was not a dig at Netflix or a mark of suspicion about its business. (Reed Hastings of Netflix had been a cover subject three years earlier.) Rather, it was a reflection of game-changing steps that Hulu was taking. At that time, Hulu was run by former Amazon executive Jason Kilar, who had to manage an assortment of owners—including both Fox and NBC—that had yet to embrace the idea of streaming their content. While Kilar had access to a rich trove of TV shows, he faced an ownership structure that was internally divided. For several of his many-headed bosses, the prospect of Hulu was at best a test, and at worst a threat to their core operation.

Kilar’s tactic was to play these owners off against each other just enough to keep them at bay, while he and his team furiously worked to create a new kind of viewing experience. Suddenly, streaming TV and even movies was easy, fun—and legal. At that point, the model was ad-supported in a user-friendly way that still hasn’t been replicated: Viewers could choose which ads they wanted to see, increasing the value for advertisers by constructing a qualified audience.

Eventually, Hulu’s corporate structure—not to mention the rise of streaming elsewhere, among its owners and most notably via Netflix—put the company on its heels and Kilar out of a job. But the user experience, design, and mass-market acceptance of streaming were all created or accelerated by Hulu. The most common narrative of innovation success often follows a single disruptor—Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, Mark Zuckerberg—without appreciating how much rests on the shoulders of progenitors and peers who advanced the game.

Today, of course, we expect to be able to stream everything via apps. (Back in 2008, most viewing happened on a desktop computer via the web browser.) Hulu is among a constellation of providers continuing to advance a revolution whose ultimate outcome is still unclear. Hulu hasn’t reaped the lion’s share of the rewards from its early innovations, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a powerful impact. And it continues to play a role in pressing Netflix, HBO, and others to keep advancing.

Via Fast Company

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SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROAD WITH THE NEW 2017 MAZDA 3

SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROAD WITH THE NEW 2017 MAZDA 3

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I was excited to see my first Mazda of the new year. The Mazda 3 rolls in with its 2017 edition in a gorgeous Cherry Red and I’m ready to roll out. I had a number of errands to handle in the tri state area so I was putting in those miles on the I-95. Highly enjoyable miles as Mazda never fails to provide me an excellent driving experience. Another edition of Samurai Rides is on deck!!!

After 2-3 years of auto reviews, I have to say that consistency is the word that comes to mind when I think of Mazda. Inside and out the attention to detail is steady across the brand and all its models. Focusing in on the Mazda 3 this time around and things are still as solid as ever. With this being my third spin in the 3 I can confirm that Mazda is definitely subscribing to an approach of not trying to reinvent the wheel. The short list of updates for the 2017 model echo those of the Mazda 6.

On the outside you get a new grill and headlight design. The rear bump is modified slightly as well. On the higher trims your 18 inch wheels have been tweaked a bit. The 16 inch standards wheel are unchanged from 2016 though. Hop inside and you get a few more revisions.

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The center console gets some additional space as Mazda switches up from a manual to an electric parking brake. Your flip-up screen is full color now as well. For a brand that boasts some of the best interior designs for under $30K you’ll get an upgrade in fabric and trim styles this year.

Just like the Mazda 6 the biggest driving update the G-Vectoring Control system to tighten up the steering a bit. The 3 hugs those curves just as well as the 6 does so this new GVC technology is a great move for a brand that has already locked itself into a very respected spot in the auto industry.

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Even covered in snow Mazda shines brillantly.

The 2017 Mazda 3 got a real good run with me as the weather dished out sun, rain, ice and snow and at no point did the 3 suffer in performance. In addition to that, I put that new heated steering wheel feature to work with the heated seats. Cold was not allowed in this ride.

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I’ve had nothing but glowing sentiments towards Mazda from day 1. The new 2017 Mazda 3 strongly continues that trend delivering a great combination of grace, style, innovation and power. If you’re looking for a great ride in a smaller package this is definitely the car for you. See more of the Mazda 3 here!

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SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY NEW YEAR W/ THE 2017 MITSUBISHI LANCER

SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY NEW YEAR W/ THE 2017 MITSUBISHI LANCER

#SamuraiRides

Another year is in the books and I’m sure it comes as new surprise that I brought in the new year bouncing with another edition of Samurai Rides. Taking me into the year 2017 was the new Mitsubishi Lancer. It’s been 2 model years since I last got behind the wheel of a Lancer. Previously, Mitsubishi helped me navigate the streets of Miami for Art Basel. Their 2015 Lancer was a solid ride that got me all around the beautiful areas of southern Florida with no issue. Their 2017 model doesn’t stray far from its core designs and functionalities.

Letting the sun in and ready to hit the road.
Letting the sun in and ready to hit the road.

You can go to various auto review sites for specs and industry rankings. When I do Samurai Rides I try to give you real life applications for the cars you drive. That means where did I drive it, how did I feel and what type of people I think would benefit from this car.

In the final days of 2016 I made a few round trip runs home to New York and back to Philadelphia. With a little over 2 hours each way, it’s gives me a good space to get a feel for the ride in terms of on road handling and interior features. The exterior appearance was sharp and clean. The Diamond White finish and the 2-tone 16 inch alloy wheels were a good look. Standard LEDs, Halogen headlights and fog lights set things off nicely.

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I liked the Lancer immediately as soon as I pulled out. It has just enough power under the hood to navigate these often aggressive Northeast highways but not so much that I’m tempted to break any speed records.

You have the option of Sirius XM radio and navigation. Even when I’m making trips along routes I know in my sleep, the real time traffic notifications are always welcome. You’ll be thankful when you avoid getting stuck in an oncoming 30 min traffic backup and can continue smoothly on your way listening to your favorite tunes.

Rockford Fosgate has been the consistent audio sound system of all the Mitsubishi cars I’ve dealt with. This one sounded like it had a little more kick in the bass so that is pleasing to the ear. Again you have your full expected audio options of radio, cd, Bluetooth compatible linking, AUX cord and USB.

Brought Harlem to Philly. Sounds nice in the 2017 Lancer. #DriveMitsubishi #SamuraiRides

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Over recent years I’ve seen the rise of vehicles adding various sensors and on road warning indicators for blind spots, lane shifting and approaching objects. These are all great preemptive safety features. You don’t get those with the Lancer but in all honesty that didn’t take away from my driving experience. I didn’t feel less safe without an additional bell or buzzer going off. The Active Stability Control is solid as it works with the braking system to support tire griping on slick surfaces. Basically you just need to drive and keep your eyes on the road just as we all did for years before. Outside of the extended Summer season the winter holidays can be notorious for bad/dangerous/reckless driving. The Lancer got me home and back without issue. You can check some of the other safety features of the Lancer here.

The Lancer is a nice ride for the everyday person not looking for too much flash. This car isn’t made to remind you of another more luxurious brand. It provides you what you would need to effectively travel the roads at reasonable cost. You can select from 4 model trims that range in price from approx. $17K – $22K.

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I definitely would suggest the Lancer to a friend looking for something affordable for their day-to-day needs. Hop over to the Mitsubishi site and have a good look around. I think you’ll find what you’re looking for. See you soon with another editions of Samurai Rides.

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2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

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The new year is underway and as you set out to execute your business plans it’s always nice to look over your presence online and make sure your business is being represented to the best of its abilities. From the proper dimensions on your profile images to the ideal time to post content, there is a science to this digital world. Fresh from the good people at SWM. Here’s a convenient cheap sheet you can cross reference your activity with to get the most out of all the major platforms. Just hit the jump for the full sheet.

You’ll also want to check out this collection of apps and tools that will add tons of value to your social media activity. I use more than half of these tools and can vouch for them. See the link at the end of the jump.

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Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

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In 2006 Hip Hop was a very interesting place. While powerhouse names like Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye West were still dominate, the mainstream is fully in the midst of a revolution led by the new music makers of the south. Lil Jon’s Crunk movement was turning out ultra energized club hit after hit. Atlanta’s Trap had invaded the scene as artists like T.I, Jeezy and Gucci Mane were just as well known in a city like New York as Jadakiss or Camron. And let’s not forget Ludacris and his DTP camp who would occupy multiple chart slots at a time. The Hip Hop landscape was changing and it was not going unnoticed by one of Hip Hop’s greats. In the view of Nasir Jones, he would tell you “Hip Hop is Dead.” I remember my personal excitement awaiting that release of this album. My Hip Hop taste is very NY for all the good, bad ad ugly of it. Nas’ attempt to being things back to the essence was a rallying cry for many even if it was short lived.

10 years since it’s scene shaking release Nas looks back on the Hip Hop Is Dead album that many rallied behind while even more rallied against. Unintended regional tensions resulted from Nas’ claim that the core elements of Hip Hop, music, wordplay, storytelling and lyricism had been given up for childish, hooks and low grade concepts. Linking up with Google Play and Mass Appeal, Nas delivers a 4 part digital documentary on the this controversial album.

“In retrospect, I missed the mark by miles,” he admits. “I didn’t want to pick people apart. I felt like that was for a younger artist to do. I thought the title was enough — to say it’s dead it was to say, ‘I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know where to start.’ But at least I’ll name it this and we’ll see what goes from there.”

Hit the jump to view the other 3 installments of the doc. Watch as Nas speaks on everything from the album title, his long anticipated collaboration with Jay-Z, to his current view of the culture and his present role in it.

Continue reading Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY HOLIDAYS W/ THE 2017 MAZDA 6

SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY HOLIDAYS W/ THE 2017 MAZDA 6

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It’s the most wonderful time of year!! Or it’s the perfect opportunity to get your mind off the crazy happenings in the world. Either way welcome to the holidays. Your Social Media Samurai is riding clean into Thanksgiving and Christmas with new 2017 Mazda 6 Grand touring!!

Mazda has won a very solid spot with me over the past couple years. They’re cranked out a number of great rides offering a little something for everyone. You last caught me driving the gorgeous Mazda CX -9 down in Atlanta for my Nomadness Tribe Reunion weekend. This time we’re turning up the family vibes and cutting down the scale of things. With Thanksgiving dinner seeing about a dozen people followed by some QT with my son Max and my parents, I didn’t need as big a vehicle as the CX-9. My northeast antics were ideal for the new Mazda 6. When a quality 4 door sedan can still drive you that sports car feel you’re in for a good time.

More at MazdaUSA.com
More at MazdaUSA.com

Naturally the first thing you have to ask yourself is whats new about that 2017 Mazda 6 from last years model? If you left it up to a simple eye test you might say not too much. Although with the sleek design of the 6 that’s not a bad thing.  You do get new headlight to front grille trim lighting. It’s a mean look at night but most of the 2017 changes took place inside the ride. You’ll notice the steering well is now the same design as the CX-9 and includes heating functions for those chilly winter nights. The driver info display screen and the flip-up dash design both have been upgraded to color screens from their preciously unimpressive black and white scheme. The real killer in appearance is when you step up to the Grand Tour Premium package. You get the choice of black or almond-colored nappa leather seats with titanium-gray piping and stitching! Not to mention the extra black trimming. Mazda never hands back on luxury interior design options.

As great as that is, now having my son in the ride with me, safety is as high on the priority scale as ever. I raved about the Mazda 6 safety features in my 2016 review. This time around the i-Activsense powered anti-collision sensors are able to identify pedestrians and  smaller moving objects in addition to other vehicles. The auto brake emergency features now is active in a 9mph to 99mph range. That’s up 9mph on the high-end. Mazda has also tightened up steering reactions on corner with their G-Vectoring control system. I definitely felt it and with these other improvements Mazda driver can continue to feel safe on the road.

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Yes, yes all this sounds great but nothing beats that hands on, real road riding. Smooth handling on the 95 north as I head from Philadelphia on Thanksgiving eve set the pace for me. During a very active traffic period the Mazda 6 had me feeling I was in a different place. Heated seats for the backed up Black Friday traffic kept me in comfort. Christmas tunes played on XM radio, setting the holiday mood on BOSE speakers. I had no complaints.

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Max and I had a little photo shoot and the Mazda 6 let Max nap on the way to the studio and back which made things that much easier for me.

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The Holidays get stressful for many people. Crowds, lines and traffic statistically send the road rage incidents up but while some folks lose their minds, I’m moving about with 100% peace of mind in the Mazda 6. Mazda has found a great balance between power, style and luxury. What’s more is that they have done so in pretty affordable fashion. You can hop over to the Mazda website for an even deeper look into the 6. I’m sure you’ll see something you like.

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

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It’s been a while since I last interviewed someone so its with great pleasure that I share this latest edition of Samurai Sitdown. I’ve always been about shining light on good people doing work that you may not be ever of or just good people in general. We need a lot more positive energy in these crazy times and this woman’s constant flow of hope filled, encouraging words in the midst of her steady Hip Hop representation are one of the things I look forward to while navigating these Internets. A jewel that’s been tucked away in the Dirty South, let me introduce you to Texas’s own Ms Sandrine.

A video posted by sandrine ✨ (@drineee) on

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do? 

My name is Sandrine, also known as Drine, or Drineee on all social media platforms for all intents and purposes lol.  I’d like to say I wear many hats, or at least I try to anyway. Since 2011 I’ve transitioned from hip-hop journalist, to record label marketing rep to publicist. Oh, I’m also in finance as well.

It’s a pleasure to finally chop it up with you. Thank you for you time and lets hop right into things. Proper representation of culture and self are a big issue in many spaces right now. What does culture mean to you? In terms of Hip Hop, Nationality and Region?

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Hip Hop culture is one the most powerful forces in our society, period.  It started as a creative outlet and has turned into something way bigger than I think anyone could imagine.  When we saw politicians worrying about what 2Pac had to say, I think that’s when it really resonated that this was way deeper than rap. It’s more than music, it’s a way of life.  There are so many layers to it and I think that’s why we love it so much. 

True. That’s why we love it and why so many before us hate and fear it.

There’s a song for hustling, for your mama, for the come up, for love, for death and for everything else and the best part – it’s all genuine.  It’s easy to make a pop hit but it lasts a year, if that, and if they’re lucky, maybe some years because really, they aren’t talking about shit. When you make music with meaning it’s always going to outlast music for the moment.  

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

Samurai Rides: Conference Weekend in NYC w/ The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Samurai Rides: Conference Weekend in NYC w/ The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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After a little time off for the dog days of Summer Samurai Rides returns for the new Fall season. We jump right into things as it’s a Conference Week edition of Samurai Rides with the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.  For the past 5 years one of, if not my busiest time of the year is late September when my Travel collective Nomadness celebrates its anniversary in New York City. In conjunction with that, we now have a travel conference that precedes the party, so that just doubles the energies and efforts all around. For me personally, I also had an appearance at YMS, which is a youth marketing convention that was taking place 2 days prior in Brooklyn. It was a very full plate for me so I was incredibly thankful that I had a trustworthy ride to get me from Philadelphia back home to New Rochelle and then all about Manhattan for this very busy period.

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Full front to back moon roof!!

Mitsubishi has done well by me in the past. Samurai Rides is no stranger to their Outlander series of crossover SUVs. The last time I rode the streets in the Outlander Sport I was on assignment in the nation’s capital covering 5th annual African American Heritage Tour. The 2015 edition sport served me well in the winter winds and snowy nights. The 2016 Outlander in a beautiful diamond white made my business week in NY very enjoyable while holding it’s own with the errands and pick ups that needed to be handled .

MitsuOutlander from Nightfall 914 on Vimeo.

If this is your first exposure to the Outlander, let me give you an overview. This sporty CX SUV packs size and power while maintaining speed and agile on road handling. Expect all the usual features and accessories with the Sport edition of the Outlander. That includes but not limited to the 18′ Alloy wheels, leather wrapped gear shift and steering wheel. Climate control and 6″ Touchscreen. I will let you know that a larger 7″ screen with full Navigation is available as well. The FUSE® hands free link system with Bluetooth® 2.0 technology and speech recognition comes standard though to easily connect with phones, USB drives and most MP3 players.

Take a look for yourself at what I had the pleasure of riding in.

With the events that I usually find myself covering, the run around in those respective cities generally has me riding solo. It’s rarely a party in the car as I’m shuffling from one business engagement to another. With that being the case I need rides that enable me to be comfortable with myself and by myself. It seems simple but if I was to hop in a car with no satellite radio or no usb accessibility for more then 2 hrs, I’d be in for a loooooong ride. That integration of technology from my desktop to my phone to my car is vital. Think back to the days when nothing was connected. You personal computer did one thing, your radio did one thing and your phone did another.

I’ve been in the last 2 year releases of Mitsubishi’s Outlander. It’s a great ride that continues to stand up very well with the other economy CX SUVs that continue to grow in popularity.

You can dive into more detail at the Mitsu site here. You wont be disappointed.

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