Tag Archives: auto

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

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This has been quite an eventful summer. The last edition of Samurai Rides featured me celebrating the 1-year birthday of my son. This time around I had the honor of celebrating my brother’s wedding as Best Man.  With so many major events taking place across so many states, I need to have faith in the transportation I use for myself and my family. Fortunately, I was riding in 2017 Mazda CX-5 and let me tell you it took care of me, my son, my parent’s, anyone that needed to move around the event space for that wedding weekend. Mazda had us covered.

The last time I was driving a Mazda CX-5 I was in Atlanta preparing the final details for the Nomadness Summer barbecue so I know just what type of work this vehicle can put in. Fortunately, this time around I didn’t have as much stuff to carry and pick up. There was no food or alcohol runs,  just a few guests and some luggage bags for the festivities. More so than anything I needed to make sure that the ride was comfortable for my son. This was his 1st time him going to upstate New York and I wanted to make sure it was a comfy ride for him going up and back. He slept for most of the time so I take that as his stamp of approval. Up front in the driver’s seat Sirius XM and my USB port kept the tunes steady.

Mazda does a great job of combining convenience, control, and power with race car like design that still has this luxurious touch to its interior. Mazda is well-known for its stellar designing, especially its well-stitched leather interiors.

The weather that weekend was a little unsettled including more rain then I personally would have liked to see at a wedding but we worked around it. I will say that as always Mazda handled perfectly on the road despite the conditions of rain and wind. Nothing was able to mess up a ride. There was more than enough space in the ride and in the trunk. I would say that if you’re really looking for maximum space you probably want to look at the CX 9  but if you’re someone who is pretty modest with the loads that you’re going to be carrying then you’ll do great with the 5.

On the detailed side the Mazda’s crossover SUV currently ranks near the top of the SUV pack via U.S News and World Report. All this power and style will run you about $25K which is an amazing price. Mazda has been knocking it out the park with their recent redesigns. They have figured out how to pack so much into an affordable package and it’s a win/win for the people.

Hop over to Mazda.com for more info for this top on the line Crossover and stay tuned, the next edition of Samurai Rides will be a fun one, trust me.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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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!

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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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.

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

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 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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SAMURAI RIDES: WELCOME TO DC WITH THE 2016 HYUNDAI SONATA – BLACK WEBLOG AWARDS

SAMURAI RIDES: WELCOME TO DC WITH THE 2016 HYUNDAI SONATA – BLACK WEBLOG AWARDS

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July marks one of the more active months for me. Besides my usual daddy duties, I have a number of events taking me out of town. After just coming off my time in Ocean City with the new 2017 Elantra I had Hyundai fresh on my mind as I prepared for my next trip to  the DMV area. Fortunately the 2016 Sonata Sport 2.0 with its 18 inch wheels, sleek appearance and extra muscle was waiting for me. The step up in model gave me some more room and power under the hood as I made my way down the 95.

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Space, Style and Power at your fingertips in the 2016 Hyundai Sonata.

My next destination was the Black Weblog Awards that were held during the 2016 Blogging While Brown conference in Washington, DC. That was one of the most smooth rides into the nation’s capital I’ve ever taken. I can see that the new Elantra took a lot of its design influence from the Sonata.

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Blogging While Brown – Black Weblog Awards Acceptance

Essentially the Sonata is the Elantra’s big brother. Ruling the mid-size class with the most interior space of any other vehicle, you know I’m already enjoying myself.

The Sonata includes some of our favorite and at this point expected features like hands free smart trunk access, remote key ignition, rear view cameras, blind spot and lane safety detection alerts and gorgeous leather laced interior with sporty gear shift handle, pedals and chrome accents.

Besides the increase in size and space, it was the Sonata’s power that quickly struck me after a week with the Elantra. Going from  a solid 147 horsepower engine to the twin turbo pushing at up to 245 horses, the feel on the road is night and day.  When you couple that with the Sport mode steering setting and you really do feel like gliding on the open road.

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I’m not even going to lie. There were a number of impressed looks as I pulled up on George Washington University for the Blogging While Brown Conference. Here’s the thing. People see the running around that I do. With so much going on and so many things on my plate, there is only so much time I can put into transportation. How ever I choose to move about needs to be quality so I can think about other things. The Hyundai Sonata allowed me 100% confidence in the fact that I’d be arriving where I needed to be without any issues.

If nothing else, Hyundai is coming through with lots of options for your driving desires. The Sonata Sport that I experienced goes for just under $30K with the Limited Edition running you about $5K more for all the top features and added treats. At either level, I’d say that you will be a happy customer once you hit that road.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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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.

Drive Mazda

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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MR REFINED LAUNCHES NEW PUBLICATION FOR THE TODAY’S URBAN PROFESSIONALS

MR REFINED LAUNCHES NEW PUBLICATION FOR THE TODAY’S URBAN PROFESSIONALS

#MRREFINED

**CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MR REFINED MAGAZINE***

One of the most powerful forces in our society today is media. It is how people get most of their information and for better or worse it’s a huge factor in how people form their views and opinions. With this power comes a responsibility to be truly comprehensive, honest and engaging with the content you deliver. In addition to that, the people now hold more ability to control the stories and narratives that are presented. Enter Mr. Refined Magazine.

I take personal pride and consider it an honor to have my words among the premiere articles within the newly launched Mr. Refined magazine.

Car Guide Refined

The Mr. Refined brand has set itself as an expanding force in delivering mature lifestyle content for the new age young adult. From style to travel to business and more Mr. Refined magazine looks to deliver a quarterly dose of high-caliber reading material that you can truly relate and connect to.

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So, without further ado here is the info to get your own copy of Mr. Refined Magazine. You have your choice of digital or hard copies. You won’t be disappointed so order your copy and please share this among your peers.

**CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MR REFINED MAGAZINE***

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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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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