Tag Archives: #SamuraiRides

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

A video posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

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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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 RIDES: DADDY TIME W/ MAX & THE 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE LIMITED

SAMURAI RIDES: DADDY TIME W/ MAX & THE 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE LIMITED

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I’m always excited to get a look into the newest wheels that are coming to the people. Along with that, being able to share various aspects of my world is great. Now as I navigate the roads of Fatherhood, it makes my #SamurauRide features that much more special when I can share my son in the story. #DigitalDaddy duties got some help this time around from the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited. Keeping in the realm of crossover SUVs check out this latest from Hyundai!

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

The 2015 Santa Fe Sport was my Christmas shopping companion 2 years ago and made a great impression on me. Now getting behind the wheel of the 2017 Limited Edition it felt very familiar and keeps all the features I’ve come to expect from Hyundai’s SUV/Crossover series of vehicles. The Santa Fe is the largest ride within the series. Yet, to be honest with you, in terms of space the Tuscon is equally spacious. The Sante Fe Limited does add a few upgraded elements that really set it apart that I’ll get into shortly.

After a busy week catching up with family and handling major business in New York I returned to Philadelphia to see my son. October is here and while it is officially the Fall season, nature still appears to have a few good weather days left in her. What this means is a great opportunity to hit the city and enjoy some Daddy/Son time.

The level of trust needed in a vehicle and the attention to detail skyrockets once you’re joined by your child. Hyundai’s 2017 Santa Fe is incredibly roomy  for myself as the driver and Max with his car seat. The seat belts and fasteners held him in very firm as we hit the road. Also, the Limited edition Sante Fe gives you 2nd row captain chairs vs your standard passenger bench. With this upgrade Max’s car seat locks that much more firmly into his individual seat with more fear of sliding or shifting.

No shortage of space in the 2016 Santa Fe! #SamuraiRides
No shortage of space in the 2016 Santa Fe! Now let me get Max and his car seat in here. #SamuraiRides

Once Max is good I can take in the rest of the Santa Fe. The large touch screen, audio system, Bluetooth integration, safety alerts, panoramic sun roof and more are all there. Small but vital additions that really impressed me were the number of charging posts in this ride. Seeing a rear 3rd row usb charger was heaven in my eyes. As a social media manager there is time I need to just plug something(s) in and let it charge for the duration of a ride. The front ports are usually engaged with my phone so and 2nd and 3rd row options are clutch.

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Hyundai continues to stand out with its progressive SUV Crossovers.

I’ve always been impressed with how a ride that seats 7 handles as well as this does. I always remember the feel of my old Ford Expedition. It wasn’t a bad feeling, but you knew you were driving a legit truck so you had to handle it a little different. The Santa Fe could have you forgetting the type of car it actually is with how smooth it rides. Smooth enough that it put Max right to sleep in his seat.

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This is the Maximus stamp of approval for automotive comfort.

While Max catches up on some shut-eye, let me share a some images with you from my most recent time with Hyundai.

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For me,, the appeal of crossovers comes from the vehicle ability to be everything you need in any season. Speed and agility for the Summer gives way to size, power and durability for the winter. It can be packed full of riders for a night out, empty so you can enjoy a mind clearing cruise alone or get you around town w/ your child as you run errands. No matter the mission the Santa Fe serves you well.

Hop over to the Hyundai site for more details on the Santa Fe and all it has to offer.

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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: BACK ON THE ROADS OF GEORGIA w/ the MAZDA CX-9 FOR NOMADNESS REUNION WEEKEND

SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROADS OF GEORGIA w/ the MAZDA CX-9 FOR NOMADNESS REUNION WEEKEND

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#SamuraiRides #DriveMazda

To say that time flies is a grand understatement but in this case you’ll get no complaints from me. One of my favorite times of the year just finished. The 5th Annual Nomadness Summer BBQ, now known as Reunion Weekend went down amazingly in the Atlanta area. While it’s always a hectic time for me, I enjoy the fact that I move about town in style thanks to Mazda, For the 2nd year in a row It’s me and the Mazda CX taking care of the business at hand. Last year it was the CX-5. This summer it’s the 2016 CX-9 Signature AWD edition.

Summer time travel is the season of all carry-on bags. Without the need to wait on checked luggage, I hopped off my flight and made my way through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport to my vehicle pick up location. I rarely know the color of the ride I’m getting so when this gorgeous Metallic Gray  SUV rolled up I was delighted.

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Hit the jump for the full review.

Continue reading SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROADS OF GEORGIA w/ the MAZDA CX-9 FOR NOMADNESS REUNION WEEKEND

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.

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SAMURAI RIDES: RIDING THE 2017 HYUNDAI ELANTRA TO AN OCEAN CITY GETAWAY

SAMURAI RIDES: RIDING THE 2017 HYUNDAI ELANTRA TO AN OCEAN CITY GETAWAY

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The dog days of summer have arrived and what better way to beat the heat then to get down to the shore and enjoy the ocean breeze. That was the game plan and the destination was Ocean City, MD. For this mini vacation I got to take an early peek into 2017 with Hyundai’s Elantra Eco. Packed full of food, clothes and a ton of baby items, it was another digital daddy experience as baby Max went on his first vacation.

I’m really a fan of the Elantra’s appearance. The wide, aggressive grill design gives this car such an eye-catching look on top of the sleek Black paint job. Fitted with 17 inch wheels Hyundai excels at creating a simple yet striking style. Hop in the car and you get comfy seating that includes heating options for the cooler months. A/C operates with dual zone control so both the driver and up front passenger can control their respective climate. I have to say that for a compact car the seating felt wider which really improved my riding.

In riding down to Ocean City every inch of trunk space and them some was put to use. My lifestyle is constant motion so being able to hold the things I need for business and personal really matters. In addition to that, the amount of material that was in the car over all didn’t affect the ride at all. The Elantra rode nice and smooth all the way down to O.C. Even when a bad thunder-storm hit wet road control was top-notch.

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For 2017, you get a ton of mobile integration with many of your most used apps via Apple CarPlay™ & Android Auto™

To keep myself  entertained there are the expected assortment of feature. SiriusXM, Bluetooth, Aux and USB ports give you all the means to enjoy your tunes of choice. In addition to that there are some cool mobile connectivity options for your respective phones. Check out the features for AppleCarPlay & Android Auto.

Safety has always been the top matter to me regarding any #SamuraiRide.  Those vehicle elements matter that much more to me now that I have the most precious cargo, my son riding along now. Hyundai’s Elantra offers you Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-traffic alerts and Lane Departure Alerts. This offers a trustworthy field of added safety for things you can’t always see around you while on the road. And while there are a lot of features included to prevent it, accidents unfortunately still happen. The Elantra comes equipped with 6 front airbags, included a newly added bag for the drivers knee area, in addition to full side airbags. With everything that goes on around you on the road do I feel safe in the Elantra? The answer is yes. More importantly do I feel safe when I place my son in this car? Yes I do.

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Within the economy class of cars Hyundai has made a lot of strides and continues to deliver in performance, style and safety. The roads are full of excited, sometimes speeding, vacationers and you really want to enjoy yourself without worrying about your ride.

OCMAXI’d definitely suggest the Elantra as  a solid option for anyone looking for a new ride that gives you a good bang for your buck. As the new year steadily approaches  2017 Elantra is a nice sign of what Hyundai has in store. It passed Max’s test of approval too.

 

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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: Spring Forward to Summer with the 2016 Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid

Samurai Rides: Spring Forward to Summer with the 2016 Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid

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This is a pleasant surprise indeed. Samurai Rides gets it’s first time behind the wheel of a new Toyota vehicle to finish out the final days of spring. This is a pleasure for me mainly because Toyota is the go to car brand of my parents. The Avalon and the Camry have held my parents down for years now. Even beyond that, the streets of my home town New Rochelle are full of Toyota rides. With all that being said I’ve had no experience with the Rav 4 so it’s still a fresh experience and I’m ready to share it with you.

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**Learn more about the Toyota Rav 4 Here**

So as I’ve mentioned I’m no stranger to Toyota. In regards to the Rav 4, my initial thought when I learned I was getting one was a college flashback. I remembered the compact 2 door vehicle that my friend drove on campus that I knew I couldn’t fit in. Fast forward to 2016 and space is one of the last things I had to worry about with the Rav 4. First things first, the Magnetic Grey finish on the car was killer and the blue trimmed logo adds a nice touch.

Off top you’re getting the standard goodies like remote access aka smart key, power everything from mirrors to seats to the moon roof. There is plenty of leg room so immediately I’m in a comfortable zone. Now one thing that many others may not noticed that made me happy was the cup holder. I have large cups that usually don’t fit but this Toyota design is perfect. It’s the little things that matter so bonus points for that.

Summer time often calls for heavier packing be it for road trips or store runs for BBQ supplies. Not to mention now with a baby on board that’s just more cargo to carry around. Either way the trunk space had me fully covered and that was without the seats folded down so you’d be in great shape for any serious luggage packing if need be.

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RAV4 offers two available audio systems that incorporate navigation, 16 so you can have the perfect soundtrack for all of your adventures. Choose from Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite 32 and Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite, featuring JBL® GreenEdge™ speakers. Both offer the convenience and clarity of SiriusXM® Satellite Radio.

The Rav 4’s safety features were all on point. Sensitive enough to alert me to possible issues, especially in the rain but not so sensitive that they were constantly going off. The collection of Toyota safety indicators range form pedestrian alerts to lane departure. Take a moment to look more into the Safety aspect of the Rav 4 here.

My trips range from the short to the long these days and one of the tech tools I look forward to is the entertainment system. The satellite radio is already a must have but that USB plug in brings the real joy to the road as you can get your summer time playlists lined up to make for a memorable ride. With the sound powered by the good people at JBL Audio the tunes are crisp and clean, with no static.

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Alright I know all the bells and wistles are nice but handling the road is what it all comes down to and I have to say that I was not disappointed with how the Rav 4 hugged the highway. In perfect weather and heavy rain up and down the Jersey Turnpike Toyota’s Hybrid SUV came thru with flying colors. The  RAV4 Hybrid’s performance is a product of it’s gas engine, electric motor and hybrid battery which you can monitor very easily on your dash. All that tech is combining for nearly 200 horsepower and the acceleration is swift.

In all honestly Toyota is a brand that speaks for itself. There’s not much I could say that isn’t known, but I think hearing this from a source you know and trust does help if you’re on the fence about your next ride. Plus for me personally it was good to see how the Rav 4 fared in the compact SUV field where I’ve reviewed so many other stand out rides. Hopefully I’ll get to bring you more of what Toyota has lined up.

**Learn more about the Toyota Rav 4 Here**

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