2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited AWD: Sporty, Nimble Utility

Blue_2016_Hyundai_Tucson_Fit_Fathers...03Experienced by Leon Brittain

From its engaging facade complimented by a chrome grille and sporty LED wrap-around headlamps with seamlessly integrated turn signals to the curvy, sculpted rear tailgate, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson proves that compact doesn’t necessarily equate to minuscule and boring. In fact, our time with the Caribbean Blue 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder powered Korean SUV was anything but boring.

With a family of five I’m always challenged with deciphering between vehicles that can comfortably accommodate everyone while also handling the extracurricular school gear and cadre of equipment for the four sporting activities the kids participate in. Not a problem with “Baby Blue,” the nickname my household affectionately coined for the Fit Fathers evaluation unit. Although rear legroom leaves room to be desired when all three kids were in transport we found plenty of space for packages, groceries and gear with kids in tote (61.9 cu. ft. of cargo when seats are folded down and 31 cu. ft. when seats are up). With the fold-flat rear seating laid down a whole new world of cargo opens up for additional functionality. Along with the door-mounted cup holders, passengers in the back were treated to the toasty comfort of heated seats, an unexpected luxury typically found in vehicles of higher value. Needless to say this was an instant favorite for the kids on those chilly, O’Dark-30 winter mornings in route to school.

MY16 Hyundai Tucson

Other noteworthy Tucson interior amenities included the standard, user-friendly 8” touchscreen display which houses the navigation, audio, rear camera and Blue Link Telematics. Collectively the system is intuitive and simple to operate, even for my 7-year-old daughter Nia who easily shifted between the Disney Channel and Nav like clockworks. For gadget happy families you can stay connected and charged to your devices by way of two 12V 180W outlets, an auxiliary outlet and the convenience of a USB port found nestled within reach of both the driver and the passenger. To bring the outside within, a larger than life panoramic sunroof hovers overhead to the ambiance of the black leather laced interior in my vehicle. Suffice to say, our journeys to and from games, practices and classes where always comfortable and engaging.

As previously mentioned, powering Baby Blue is a 1.6 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder which cranks out a respectable 175-horsepower and produces 195 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is matted to a 7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) for a smooth ride and optimal fuel savings. Admittedly, there were occasions where I felt supplemental power was needed at lower RPMs for better acceleration, but such performance would of course come at the cost of reduced fuel efficiency. Though the prices for gasoline are finally reasonable, I’d opt for the Tucson Limited’s 30 HWY MPG fuel economy (33 HWY MPG for Eco model) any day over an incremental performance increase which becomes a moot point once rolling and dashing through the concrete jungles and beltways of the nation’s capital where I reside. However, AWD and 19” sport alloy rims were perfect for the cold, snow-filled conditions here on the East Coast.

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Safety wise, Hyundai equips the Tucson with an abundance of tech features including Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning, active front head restraints to help reduce whiplash injuries, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Hillstart Assist Control and Downhill Brake Control which made my heart beam with joy when Noelle, my 12-year-old son, asked about the related icon and proceeded to explain its meaning rather successfully.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

With a MSRP of $22,700 for a 2016 Tucson SE, my Limited model equipped with AWD tipped the scale at $32,510 ($29,900 MSRP for FWD model) which is reasonable considering the bevy of standard features. Consumers can choose between SE, Eco, Sport or Limited variants of the new Tucson. I enjoyed my winter week with the 2016 Tucson Limited AWD since it provided all the essentials necessary for an active Fit Fathers lifestyle and wish it was around going into the spring sport season!

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Los Angeles Auto Show & Fit Fathers Inaugural Auto Fit Run

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Experienced by Leeann Brzozowski

There was no lack of enthusiasm, energy or anticipation as runners joined the Los Angeles Auto Show and Fit Fathers for the inaugural Auto Fit run/walk this past week. Super dads, mothers and fitness friends were ready, willing and able to start their engines and pace through the Los Angeles Convention Center while receiving a sneak peek of the 2016 and 2017 new vehicles and concept cars before they were shown to the public. [Read more…]

Los Angeles Auto Show and Fit Fathers present: Auto Fit

IG-AutoFit

REGISTER NOW

A FREE FUN JOG WITH ADVANCED ACCESS TO THE AUTO SHOW

Public, Professionals Invited to  jog Through LA Auto Show, Before it Opens to Public

WHAT: The Los Angeles Auto Show and Fit Fathers invite runners to start their engines at the Los Angeles Convention Center in advance of the LA Auto Show’s opening to the public. The Inaugural “Auto Fit” event is a two mile morning workout, starting at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday morning. There, up to 150 runners will take their mark and begin a morning jog around and through the convention center, getting an exclusive, advanced look at the show before it opens to public.

“Optimizing health on the road is challenging, especially within the automotive field where we are fed incessantly at events and time for physical activity is minimized,” said Kimatni D. Rawlins, Founder of Fit Fathers. “So I am proud of the LA Auto Show for initiating an energizing activity that will keep my colleagues and I focused on our fitness goals.”

The event is free and open to the first 150 joggers/walkers who sign up to participate at FitFathers.me. Runners will include local car lovers along with journalists and professionals in the automotive, fitness, entertainment spaces – showcasing the true LA culture of the auto show. Attendees will receive water, healthy fuel, grand prizes from  Those who participate may return on public days with their children; these children will then receive free admission.

HOW: Participants are encouraged to guarantee their space via RSVP at FitFathers.me (walk-ins limited)

WHERE: Area Adjacent from Staples Center on Pico Blvd. and Figueroa St.

  • See Start/Finish in pink on Run Map linked under “More Info”
  • Paid parking available at Convention Center

Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015

WHEN: Thursday, November 19, 2015

Check in at 6:15 a.m.; Workout begins at 7 a.m. PST; ends promptly at 7:30 a.m.

VISUALS AND INTERVIEW OPPS:           

  • Kimatni D. Rawlins, Founder of Fit Fathers (interview)
  • Up to 150 fit joggers/walkers consisting of:
    • LA Auto Enthusiasts, Automotive/Fitness/Lifestyle Journalists, Celebrity/VIPs
  • Cars on display Los Angeles Convocation Center

 MORE INFO:

Media Contacts:

Auto Fit RSVP

la fitness run logosLos Angeles Auto Show and Fit Fathers present: Auto Fit

— A Free Fun Jog with Advanced Access to the Auto Show —

Public, Professionals Invited to jog Through LA Auto Show, Before it Opens to Public

WHERE: Area Adjacent from Staples Center on Pico Blvd. and Figueroa St.

Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015

WHEN:  Thursday, November 19, 2015

Check in at 6:15 a.m.; 2-mile workout begins at 7 a.m. PST; ends promptly at 7:30 a.m.

Please use hashtags #LAAutoFit and #FitFathers when posting about Auto Fit before, during and after the fun run for chances to win audio prizes from JBL.

Full Press Release and Details

2016 Kia Sorento: Fitting SUV for Fit Fathers

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Experienced by Mike Tucker, Jr

Kia has given the 2016 Sorento a healthy new start. The new Korean SUV is sleeker, faster and in great shape. The exterior of our Auto Fit long-termer is adorned with tattoos repping the Fit Fathers brand and website, which was perfect for the attention the Sorento’s new chiseled body would receive from spectators.

When I got my hands around the leather-wrapped steering wheel, it was to workout promotionally for the 2nd Annual Fit Fathers Day Celebration in Downtown Silver Spring, MD. It was on point for getting through the city with three kids while making stops at radio and TV stations for interviews. The youngsters were able to plug their electronics into the 110-Volt outlet and USB, so I heard no complaints for the various marketing errands.

IMG_5715During my time with the Sorento, summer had officially arrived making the air-conditioned seats the coolest of all features. The comfortable ride was great on the pothole ladened Washington, DC streets. Parking assist and a 360-degree camera allowed me to ease in and out of parallel parking spaces by simply viewing UVO’s 8” screen. Rear storage was sizeable so I loaded up three large tables, 10 folding chairs and 50 gift bags for Fit Fathers Day. Then, the Sorento put in a massive cardio workout showing great agility and power for a 4-cylinder mid-sized SUV since I was running late as usual. After activating Sport mode I was able to zip up the highway with impeccable timing for the festivities.

Fit Fathers Day was a win and the Kia Sorento helped the life-enhancing movement meet all of its goals. I wish I had more time to exercise with all of the Sorento’s worthy features, but the vehicle will stay in our fleet a while longer and I must share the sweat. I hope to set up another training session with the Sorento pretty soon!

 

2015 Toyota Highlander proves worthy for Fit Fathers

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Experienced by Adrian McQueen

During Super Bowl Toyota launched their #OneBoldChoice campaign emphasizing dads around the world with their families based on the Camry. Toyota then highlighted the phrase, “Being a dad is a choice. One that will make a wonderful human being who will make their own choices someday.” Well, for me being an “expecting dad” I needed something a bit superior than a sedan to assist with all the tasks set upon me to prepare for this bundle of joy. The Automotive Rhythms vehicle of choice for the week was the Toyota Highlander. [Read more…]

2015 Volkswagen Golf R: Jackrabbit of All Trades

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Experienced by Shawn Ciers

Automotive Rhythms arrived to the energetic vibe of San Diego, California for the 2015 Volkswagen (VW) Golf R media drive this past week with great anticipation. Given that the sportier and hipper edition of the recently crowned 2015 Car of the Year was launched on the West Coast, the redefined Golf R challenging the twists and turns of the popular region was an electrifying experience.

Based off the 7th generation Golf, which provided great insight into the upgrades the R would bring — such as its muscular stance — the hatchback is strong, bold and exudes confidence. VW utilized its experience in the World Rally Championship series to enhance the Golf R with the needed components for a successful performance package. Beginning with its profile, the R’s suspension has been lowered by .8 inches, adds quad exhaust tips, has a slightly extended rear and shares the same MQB platform as the Golf and Golf GTI. Impressive Bi-Xenon headlights with dual U-shaped LED DRLs continue to augment style and appeal to the German brand and literally shines light amongst their newfangled generation of sport editions.

2015_VW_Golf_R...10But what would vivid design changes and renovations be without respective alterations under the hood? The increase of 36-horsepower and 37 lb.-ft. of torque over the previous generation offers more roar when the pedal hits the floor. Its power packed and turbocharged 2-liter, 4-cylinder TSI engine with direct-injection never hesitated in the delivery of increased acceleration out of tight turns or approaching highway ramps. I was amazed at its cornering acceleration capabilities and all-out speed on open straightaways. With a total of 292-horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,800 rpms, all-wheel-drive (AWD) and the availability of a DSG transmission (at launch), the 2015 Golf R is the fastest consumer VW in the company’s history. It runs from standstill to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds (DSG equipped). Specifically, the DSG is a dual-clutch automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and features launch control to allow your rabbit to jump out the gate far faster than the hounds in pursuit. A 6-speed manual will be added to the 2016 model year. But not only is the Golf R’s throttle happy, it knows how to conserve fuel with 23 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway.

Handling is improved by way of the hatchback’s 4MOTION AWD with the technologically enhanced 5th generation Haldex coupling and the DCC adaptive damping system, a feature that significantly elevates the Golf R’s handling attributes. DCC adjusts each of the four wheels independently based on their road characteristics allowing optimal traction in almost all conditions and at any speeds. While many in this field establish the Golf R as strictly a rally car, the sporty hatch proves that it is moving in the direction of overall appeal to a broader audience. DCC selections consist of Normal, Race and slightly customizable Individual modes as part of the Driving Mode Selection. Race mode as you can imagine signifies high-speed performance and stiffens the dampers further, shortens shift times and alters engine behavior to respond to performance effectively. In a Golf, it’s always simple maneuvering around town, finding parking and loading items in the cargo area. Now imagine doing the same but you have less time to complete each task. The extra ponies and safety features certainly come in handy as I found out in California.

2015_VW_Golf_R...16The Golf R’s revised 4MOTION AWD as stated uses the latest Haldex system which spearheaded the major improvements in the vehicle’s responsiveness. Haldex as you know is globally recognized for advancements and innovative solutions that progress safety, dynamics and sustainability in consumer vehicles. Their AWD platforms are used in major brands such as Volvo and Volkswagen’s sister company Audi. Handling felt so precise because 4MOTION thinks before you can even blink. It actually monitors road mannerisms and anticipates when traction could be loss, engages itself and thus prevents as much wheel spin as possible. Moreover, it saves fuel by running only the front wheels when 4-wheel traction is not required. Supported on either Cadiz 18” or the upgraded 19’’ Cadiz aluminum-alloys tucked in performance rubber, the R feels perfectly at home on tracks or public roads. It’s the greatest asset of having a dual-themed vehicle. Also added, in conjunction with the included 13.4” front and 12.2” rear brakes, is the new Automatic Post-Collision Braking system which applies the brakes to stop secondary impacts in a collision. Thankfully, this is one feature I personally enjoyed not testing!

2015_VW_Golf_R...18With the power, handling and excitement that the Golf R will bring to eventual owners, internal intelligence simultaneously increases optimism to the owner experience. The cabin is larger, the vehicle is lighter, a sleek blue instrument gauge (unique to this R) energizes the cabin, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, leather throughout the cabin and automatic climate control are just a few interior niceties. The racing oriented, flat bottom, leather wrapped steering wheel provides most of the needed functionally directly while the navigation offers parking assistance by way of front and rear Park Distance Control. Through the infotainment and Fender premium audio sound system, syncing mobile devices will deliver home-like entertainment from your streaming audio. Although some of the responsiveness was a bit slow.

Excluding the $895 destination charge, the Golf R starts at $36,595 and increases to $39,090 for the Golf R with DCC & Navigation, which also adds the 19” aluminum-alloy rims, DCC of course, Fender tunes, a touchscreen navigation system and Park Distance Control. Currently it battles directly with the Subaru WRX STI and bears secondary competition from the BMW M235i and Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. Five distinctive hues are available for your bunny of choice, or should I say jackrabbit. But make sure to put an order in soon before the Golf Rs bounce out of site.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country: Safety by Default, Sporty on Purpose

2015.5-Volvo-V60-Cross-Country...03Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

What’s not to like about a Scandinavian designed ride? Volvos are savvy, unique, multi-talented and of course safe as a bank. Known for its line of family wagons and SUVs, the Chinese owned automaker is also a purveyor of fashionable sedans and convertibles. Instinctually, the sporty characteristics and DNA of those vehicles has been recruited for their utility vehicles. So it is my pleasure to introduce the Swedish brand’s gifted, 2015.5 V60 Cross Country.

Volvo has always been defined by a stellar safety reputation combined with continuously advancing All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) technology. In fact, their aggressive strategy to negate all deaths by vehicular accident (in their vehicles) in the near future corroborates the company’s love and respect for humanity. The car business is not just about corporate profits and ultimate sales. Altruistically, they want owners to enjoy their prized possessions within environs where urban and active lifestyles are the common denominator. Volvo will introduce four new adventurous vehicles in 2015 and seven total in the next seven years. With that, if you’re a fan of the V60 wagon then you will highly appreciate their latest Cross Country rendition that now joins the venerable and authentically capable V70 Cross Country, the likeliest vehicle owners take off road. It’s a family affair and the dynamic, rugged V60 Cross Country sports wagon reflects that enthusiastic regime whether one lives in the mountains, city or suburbs.

“We are delighted to add the third true Cross Country model to our product portfolio. The successful combination of dynamic styling and rugged capability places the V60 Cross Country in a class of its own,” said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars.

2015.5-Volvo-V60-Cross-Country...16To explore this concept of spirited freedom from behind the wheel the Fit Fathers team headed to Lake Tahoe where we resided at the family oriented The Ritz-Carlton for a few days. Recognized as one of the greatest wintry playgrounds in the world, the AAA Five Diamond mountain resort (6,000 foot elevation) was ideal for replicating a day in the life of a Volvo owner. Skiing slopes, lift tickets, gear rentals, a lap pool, an arcade, a massive fitness center, ice skating, art and architecture tours and the Backyard Bar & BBQ are just a few gems for nomads looking for thrills. My chariot for the next few days would be a 2015.5 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country Platinum. It was picture-perfect for day of driving around the idyllic and nature-themed landscapes of Lake Tahoe. And like a Volvo owner, I also enjoy doing things and touring fascinating destinations.

To begin, the smaller Cross Country is aesthetically pleasing noted by a few locals admiring the wagon when I stopped at Vista Point/ Bayview Trailhead for sightseeing and to learn about the Hermit of Emerald Bay, Captain Richard “Dick” Barter, Tahoe’s only island and Mrs. Knight’s Teahouse. The Cross Country improves the vehicle’s sculpture with special NESO alloy rims, side scuff plates, silver front and rear skid plates, raised suspension (by 2.6” providing up to 7.9” of ground clearance), embedded, dual exhaust tips, honeycomb grille and roof rails, all thoughtfully blended together.

The journey over the hills and through the woods to grandma’s house was a piece of (red velvet) cake due partly to the V60 Cross Country’s 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine distributing 250-horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. Paired with a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, AWD and Corner Traction Control using Torque Vectoring I was immediately impressed with our newcomer’s graceful power and undisturbed handling. The gearbox’s Adaptive Shift with Sport Mode was convenient when we hit inclines and needed to shift manually to control the power management and RPMs. Though, if the vehicle was weighted down with four passengers, luggage, equipment and a small trailer (hitch available through dealer) it would need to step up its torque game a bit.——

The scenic drive was delightful and offered an idea of what it feels like to be a Cross Country enthusiast, but we also evaluated the backbone of the wagon which is the latest Haldex electronically controlled AWD system with Instant Traction. The velocity of the wheels, engine torque and speed, the throttle and the brakes are continuously observed. When road conditions are altered the wheels with optimal traction take precedence. The suspension parts were borrowed from XC70 and tuned for dynamic driving. It also features Hill Decent Control. To experience its AWD attributes in the real world Volvo created an ice course at a local airport and instructed us to drive with DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) on and off to compare handling parameters during an early, luminous morning. So I jumped in a vehicle with Nokian 235/50/R18 Hakkapelitta 8 studded tires (Nokian says they are designed with powerful, edged saw-tooth pattern that increases the tire’s contact with the driving surface and effectively increases braking grip, especially on snow surfaces); turned DSTC off; and drifted around the course accelerating and steering with equanimity. Sudden jerks and roughness on the pedal would easily send the vehicle sliding out of control. With DSTC on you can flat foot the accelerator, but, the system kicks in and modulates performance gradually, essentially keeping the V60 in control. The base tire is an all-season Continental 235/50R18.

A few inconveniences I noticed were the small 7” LCD Monitor and cramped second row seating. Yet, Volvo now offers a Wi-Fi hotspot, user-friendly apps (Stitcher, Yelp, Glympse, Pandora, Park & Pay and many more) and a Cloud through its improved Sensus Connect. Moreover, standard leather, a sunroof and ultra-comfortable, contour sport seats render the price point much more attractive.

2015.5-Volvo-V60-Cross-Country...10The V60 Cross Country comes with a host of standard protective features including City Safety (Low Speed Collision Avoidance System) which helps reduce the impact of a crash or avoid a rear end collision entirely and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) for the driver and front passenger. Additionally, passengers are protected with Inflatable Curtain Head Impact Protection and Side Impact Protection systems. This is in addition to advanced security, Rear Park Assist, Child Safety Locks and LED Daytime Running Lights. Also, an integrated Child Booster seat is available as an option. So as you can see, protection from house to auto is still intact when one selects a Volvo as the main mode of transportation. It’s in their nature!

Starting at $41,000 for a standard V60 T5 AWD Cross Country, our V60 T5 AWD Cross Country Platinum tipped the scale around $49,350 (adds a premium Harmon Kardon sound system, Rear Park Assist Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection with Auto Brake and much more). The $44,650 base price was increased by the $1,550 Climate Package; the $925 BLIS Package (Blind Spot Information System); $560 Metallic Paint; $325 Speed Sensitive Steering; $400 Urbane Wood Inlay; and last but not least, the $940 destination charge. Compare against Audi’s All-Road since this is its chief competitor.

The world is your oyster and nomadic adventures lie ahead. So shine those skis, strap up your boots and head out to back country in the latest Volvo Cross Country!

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2015 Kia Sedona: Cool Kids Van of Choice

Kia Sedona

Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Here’s a neat little trick. Have someone blindfold and escort you to your new 2015 Korean people mover. Take a seat, strap in and grip the multi-talented steering wheel. Remove the blinder, open your eyes and reimagine the possibilities of a 20th century utilitarian vehicles that is cavernous and all-inclusive of transcendent style, invigorating mobility and technologically savvy for the task at hand. Yes, it’s still a minivan, but one that redefines convention of the most traditional family vehicle in the marketplace. And if you happened to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day this past weekend then you will get my drift. I’m pretty sure the calamity and misadventures of Steve Carell’s character, Ben Cooper, and his squad of five would have been squandered if they were rolling in a 2015 Kia Sedona. [Read more…]

2014 Jeep Cherokee Latitude: The Concrete Jungle Conqueror

2014-Jeep-Cherokee-Latitude-BlueLeon Brittain

Last year I attended the launch of the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Although automotive press trips are well planned and attended, they only provide a glimpse into the real-world application of the given test vehicle. This being the case, I was happy to pick up that half day drive experience with Fit Fathers 2014 Cherokee Latitude 4×4 at home in Maryland for a couple days of city running and kid shuffling fun.

Around town the True Blue Pearl Latitude easily handled the tough terrain of the city streets thanks to new front and rear independent suspensions. Powering our concrete jungle conqueror is a 3.2-liter V6 engine and fluid 9-speed automatic transmission with an EPA of 27 highway mpg. Unfortunately, my combination of rough city and speedy highway galloping didn’t yield the positive mpg results I had hoped for. This could’ve been directly correlated to the spirited acceleration and handling I became addicted to. [Read more…]