2019 Ram 1500 Pickup: Half-Ton Workaholic

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

We had an impeccable experience with the Ram Brand in Phoenix, Arizona recently for their national press launch of the talented 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck. Built from more high-strength steel than Superman himself the latest Ram workhorse has been fortified with a 12,750-pound trailer tow capacity and 2,300-pound payload capability from a newfangled body that is longer, stronger, tougher, lighter, wider, and far more accomplished. [Read more…]

Jeep Lifestyles with the all-new 2018 Wrangler

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

When all hell hits the fan it would be in your best interest to posses the keys to a Jeep, preferably the 2018 Wrangler. The goal is to get away swiftly and discretely in a 4×4 with the versatility to triumph any terrain that leads to salvation. That’s probably what the armed forces thought 75 years ago. As the story goes Willys-Overland’s beat out Bantam and Ford in 1941 as the principle supplier of the U.S. Army’s 1,500 go-anywhere and structurally rigid reconnaissance vehicles. Later the world would come to know this quintessential 4×4 as the Jeep. [Read more…]

12th Annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year Winners Announced

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Winners include a four-peat and some surprises / Photos by Mark Elias

The twelfth annual Carspondent.com Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards program is proud to announce the winners of this year’s event. Among the winners were the Kia Soul winning its fourth consecutive award in the Urban category, as well as new-comers Ford and Mitsubishi. Winning vehicles competed in six different classes among their peers, judged by the very consumers they are designed and built for, those with active lifestyles.

Nearly one hundred journalists and athletes test drove vehicles on a variety of street, freeway and off-road courses to get a feel for how they perform. Participants scrutinized livability features including seating, cargo capability, and overall versatility for activities such as camping, sports, and road trips.

The vehicles which included cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers came from well known and respected brands Audi, Buick, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, KIA, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Scion, Toyota and Volkswagen.

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The program continues to grow in size and scope with each iteration”, said Nina Russin, event co-founder. “But after twelve years we remain committed to our original mission of giving the OEMs direct feedback from the active audience”.

Class Winners:

Best Value Off Road: 2015 Ford F-150

Luxury Off Road: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Luxury On Road: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

Best Value On Road: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Best Value Family: 2015 Ford Edge

Urban: 2015 Kia Soul

During the two-day event, members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association judged vehicles on its own and awarded the first Best of the Southwest award, that went to the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

About the Active Lifestyle Vehicle Awards

A Phoenix based event, the Active Lifestyle Vehicle Awards has grown in size and prestige since its inception in 2004. The event brings the perspectives and opinions of over 100 consumers who live the active lifestyles automakers market their products to, culminating into top awards in multiple categories. The group of athletes and active lifestyle enthusiasts act as a valuable focus group for automakers and industry experts alike. This year’s event moved to a new electronic scoring system, providing more comprehensive consumer feedback to manufacturers.

Historic San Marcos Golf Resort to host 2015 Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year Awards

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An exciting, luxurious and historic Arizona resort venue will be home for the twelfth annual Carspondent.com Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards program. Raising the profile and provenance of the two-day test drive and awards event October 16-17, home base will be the historic San Marcos Golf Resort in Chandler, Arizona.

Built in 1912, the architecturally rich resort was home to the very first grass links in Arizona and now sits in the very heart of historic old-town Chandler. Restored with authentic charm, it has been the playground for many known celebrities and dignitaries during its 103 year history.

Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year has previously been held at Local Motors in Chandler, Arizona. The company has been a key partner for many years and has contributed to the event’s success. “For the past three years Local Motors has been a wonderful host to our program. But as both organizations have grown significantly, we chose a new venue which offers us the space and ancillary services we need to keep ALV moving forward.”, says event Co-Founder Nina Russin.

The new venue adds a vibrant atmosphere to the event and provides a home base for out-of-town quests with event festivities, dining, and room accommodations all in one location. Several restaurants, shops and local attractions are also found within walking distance.

Launching from the San Marcos Golf Resort also brings new and improved drive routes that will provide an enhanced experience for jury panel members. The new routes provide for a genuine mix of city and freeway driving in a warm and colorful home town atmosphere. It all starts on Friday October 16th with a full press-day for local media including members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association to drive and judge the palette of vehicles. Saturday hosts the big event where elite and recreational athletes test dozens of crossovers, SUVs, trucks and other vehicles catering to active lifestyles.

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Judged by the very group of consumers they’re marketed to, vehicles awarded gain a seal of approval that goes above and beyond just that of the automotive journalists and experts who help lead the evaluation process. The jury will award top-picks in eight categories with a new electronic judging system which will be faster scoring and provide more in-depth detail. An awards ceremony will be held at the San Marcos Golf Resort on Saturday afternoon at end of festivities.

Participants planning to stay at the San Marcos Golf Resort during the event must reserve online by September 15th by using the group block link: Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort

About the Active Lifestyle Vehicle Awards

A Phoenix based event, the Active Lifestyle Vehicle Awards has consistently grown in size and prestige since its inception in 2004. The event brings the perspectives and opinions of over 100 consumers who live the active lifestyles automakers market their products to, culminating into top awards in multiple categories.

The group of athletes, celebrities and active lifestyle enthusiasts act as a valuable focus group for automakers and industry experts alike. With this year’s event moving to a new data rich electronic scoring system, the outcome of consumer perspective metrics for manufacturers will be more comprehensive than ever.

Auto Fit: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder: Winter Challenge Series

04 DSC_0337Leon L. Brittain

I come from an era where mainstream Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) first made their entrance on the market.  This new category was comprised of vehicles embodying a manly attitude with a spirit of adventure and coolness in a go-anywhere package. One of my favorites from the early pack with its bold muscular hard-body style was the Nissan Pathfinder, first introduced in 1986.

I liken the first gen Pathfinder to that of an All-American high school jock with a 3.8 grade average “donning a future so bright he’s gotta wear shades.”  Catch the 80’s reference?  But, as with everyone regardless of youthful zest and athletic abilities, we must all grow up.  And such is the case with the fourth generation Nissan Pathfinder. Gone are the days of that record setting performance, the machismo that attracted the cheerleaders and had the fellas emulating your style.  No more massive wheels or unique styling that boldly separated the Pathfinder from the rest of the pack.  Welcome to middle-aged surbubia, your new gym teacher. [Read more…]

2014 Chevy Silverado High Country: Big Business

2014 Chevrolet Silverado High CountryKimatni D. Rawlins

Full-size trucks in America are a big deal and are not to be taken lightly. Big and bad to the bone, these rolling mammoths haul tree trunks and motorcycles effortlessly and tow trailers and construction equipment sizeable enough to live in. Ranchers drive them, contractors drive them, and horse owners drive them to name a few. The question is, which of the top truck models do you dance with at a barn party? Is it the Ford F-150, Ram, Toyota Tundra, or the General’s corporate cousins the GMC Sierra or the Chevy Silverado? They all present themselves with formidable characteristics and typical workhorse capabilities. For the 2014 model year, Chevy welcomes a premium level and truly special edition for Silverado, the High Country. [Read more…]

2014 Toyota Tundra Full-Size Pickup: Domestic Competition?

Word by Kimatni D. Rawlins

2014_Toyota_Tundra_Platinum_008I grew up in Camden, New Jersey where the major transportation mode was either the bus or train. There were cars, but they were buckets. No one had big yards or owned major land so needs for added utility devices was limited. Then I moved to the suburbs and all of a sudden we were surrounded by trees and farms. Trucks were omnipresent but they didn’t affect my opinion of top vehicles on the market — I wanted a Maxima! Fast forward twenty years and my entire perspective has changed. I’ll take a pickup truck any day of the week! [Read more…]

2013 Land Rover Range Rover: Epic Devotion

2013_Range_Rover_27It goes without saying, “you can take a lion out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the lion.” This was my initial judgment when Land Rover elected to showcase the technological and adventurous capabilities of their all-new 2013 Range Rover — which voraciously manhandled the mountainous terrain of Utah’s most innermost environs — to a group of world travelers and automotive nomads. Yes, it’s still as opulent as a penthouse on 5th Avenue, yet none of the stately British SUV’s grizzly characteristics have been lost to the redesign.

It simply performs honorably within both extremes of today’s conveyance modes–pleasurable and authoritative! [Read more…]