Tag Archives: Cars

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: 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 SUMMER WITH THE 2016 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

SAMURAI RIDES: WELCOME TO SUMMER WITH THE 2016 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

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With Summer now in full swing Samurai Rides rolls along with another look at a great vehicle. I’m developing a thing for these Crossover SUV’s. I think my youthful days of driving up and down the East Coast in a massive SUV is still a part of my driver make up but with age comes appreciation for the streamlined smaller designs. One of my favorites has been the Mitsubishi Outlander. I’ve been fortunate enough to review the 2015 Outlander and the smaller Sport edition of the same year. This time around I went back to see what’s new with this years 2016 Outlander. Let’s check it out.

First thing I noticed in this years model was the new grill. The new metallic design over the fresh new blacked out center bumper really makes it stands out giving the Outlander a little more aggressive look in my opinion.

Next up were the new larger wheels. Mitsubishi has thrown 18 inch alloy wheels on the new Outlander that goes great with the new grille. The Outlander really steps up the initial impression you get visually without doing anything overly drastic.

Stepping inside the Outlander the full leather finish and spacious seating that I’m accustomed to is back and this year the leather has been extended to the steering wheel as well. That just adds one more layer of comfort to the driving experience.

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The Outlander was my very first CX SUV and one of my first Samurai Rides reviews. It introduced me to a lot of the motion sensor safety features that are now staples across most cars. Below is the detailed info for the Lane Departure, Cruise Control and Collision systems.

The available Lane Departure Warning (LDW)4 system uses an onboard camera to monitor lane position in front of the vehicle, alerting the driver if it detects the vehicle leaving it’s lane unintentionally. Additionally, the available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)5system uses 77GHz radar technology to accurately judge distances between you and the vehicle ahead, helping you maintain a safe driving distance. By alerting the driver, the available Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM)6system can help you avoid accidents – and even automatically apply the brakes, if necessary.

Along with those top notch safety aids I appreciate features that speak to real life activities that we often overlook. With the sizable amount of entertainment features available to you, Mitsubishi has kicked in a safety restriction on the touch screen while the car is in motion. If you are listening to music you can scan up  or down, you can switch between USB and radio but you cant manually search through music while you drive. It’s a common sense move that many don’t even think about. Business points for that one.

While I was running around with the Outlander, I was preparing for the arrival of my parents to meet their new Grandson Max. That resulted in a lot of back and forth runs to the store for supplies. Smooth handling and great mileage were really on display with the Outlander. At the end of an active week I put 4/5 of a tank of gas in for under $20.

Mitsubishi really earned my respect back in late 2014 and everything I’ve driven since has performed well and exceeded expectations. The Outlander came into 2016 with roughly 100 new improvements and features which you can see here in there entirety. Get behind the wheel of this CX and I promise you it’ll be a positive experience.

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#SamuraiRides #DriveMitsubishi

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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: 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

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

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: FAST TIMES IN MAZDA’s 2016 MIATA GRAND TOURING

SAMURAI RIDES: FAST TIMES IN MAZDA’s 2016 MIATA GRAND TOURING

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I’ve had the pleasure of getting very comfortable with the line of vehicles coming out of the Mazda camp this year. With the fall season not that far off I was curious if there were any other surprises on deck for 2016. My question was answered in the form of the 2016 Mazda Miata Grand Touring edition. This would put me in a brand new space dealing with a 2 person roadster vs the sedans and SUVs from previous reviews. I was beyond surprised at the results. Let me share the fun I had with Mazda’s newest sports car.

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way. This is a small sports car. I make it a point to state my size in these reviews so you can get a true sense of the spacing within these cars. I’m 6 ft 5 inches tall and yes I do fit in this ride. It’s a snug fit but it wasn’t uncomfortable or painful. With the top up or down I fit fine. So for average sized individuals you’ll be good to go with space to spare.

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Because of the compact make of the Miata understand this isn’t a car for going to do your weekly grocery shopping. The truck space is enough for a few small bags or one luggage piece. As I told a friend its ideal to pack if you’re going to the beach. On the inside there is no standard glove compartment. That space is relocated to a vertical stash space set between the 2 seats.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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The Mazda faithful will be happy to see the familiar MAZDA CONNECT system with commander control knob. With my space limited this was very useful in my operating the various multimedia functions without have to reach around much. With the incredible sound system the Miata packs controlling the tunes smoothly is a must.

The charcoal gray leather with red stitching really gives the interior a mean race car appearance. The Miata is the personification of sleek and once you drop the top with is an easy 1 step function, you are ready to hit the road.

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I can’t express enough how fun it was to drive this car. The Miata is fast and light. It hugs the road while giving you in and out maneuverability to handle any on road conditions. Yes you wont be packing it full of people but sometimes its cool to know its just you and the road or one special passenger to enjoy the ride with.

Being in New York there aren’t always ideal times to whip a sports car. City pot holes or bad weather often put a damper on things, but if you’re in the market for a fun summer car I wouldn’t hesitate to try out Mazda’s newly redesigned 2016 Miata Grand Touring.

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SAMURAI RIDES: CHANGING THE DEFINITION OF “COMPACT” WITH THE 2016 HYUNDAI ELANTRA #DRIVEHYUNDAI

SAMURAI RIDES: CHANGING THE DEFINITION OF “COMPACT” WITH THE 2016 HYUNDAI ELANTRA #DRIVEHYUNDAI

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The dog days of Summer are upon us and as we creep towards the end of August we keep things rolling here with the latest edition of #SamuraiRides. This time around we continue taking a look at what Hyundai’s 2016 line up offers us with the new Elantra GT. Combining a unique physical design, power and an array of digital “Blue Link” features, the Elantra presented a lot more than I was expecting.

Continue reading SAMURAI RIDES: CHANGING THE DEFINITION OF “COMPACT” WITH THE 2016 HYUNDAI ELANTRA #DRIVEHYUNDAI

Samurai Rides: Birthday Celebration with the Kia K900

Samurai Rides: Birthday Celebration with the Kia K900

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When March arrives it ushers in a personal tradition of mine I affectionately refer to as the #MonthofMe. My birthday is March 5th and I celebrate this through out the entire month of March. This year saw an added treat as I was given the opportunity to spend some time driving the new Kia K900. Truth be told I had no idea Kia had a luxury model vehicle. Then I caught a glimpse of a #K900 commercial featuring Lebron James and realized just what was in store for me.

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My birthday week included a number of celebratory events around New York City.  From the lavish Andaz on Wall Street to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and back to the streets of Dyckman I was on my tour of the boroughs as various loved ones reached out to wish me a happy birthday.

The #K900 effortlessly combines power and grace in a way that literally has you feeling like you’re gliding on the road. It makes me upset that the roads were still suffering from severe pot holes a midst the hellish winter season but that gave me more then enough opportunity to test out the responsiveness of this incredible car.

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As much fun as was had during this week I’m always one to incorporate business into the mix. I was not going to pass up the opportunity to showcase Kia’s crown jewel so on a cool Harlem afternoon I called in Mr Refined to lead a photo shoot featuring the K900. Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing that completed project soon.

***New K900 Feature Via Mr Refined***

 

You see Lebron James comfortably in the K900 and you say to yourself, “That can’t be real.” Well let’s put it this way. LBJ is about 6 ft 8. I’m 6 ft 5 and I had room so that gives you an idea of how spacious this ride is. In the image below it looks like my head is to the roof but it’s just the angle. lol

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Overall this car lives up to any and everything that you have heard about it. Handling, maneuverability, sound, multimedia, tech, it’s all here.  This is my first time reviewing a car injunction with it running such a high profile commercial spot and it’s no hype. If you’re looking to experience excellence without dipping into your life savings the K900 is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

***New K900 Feature Via Mr Refined***

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Photo Credits Marc Kelly & Sheena Young of Mr Refined

 

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