2019 MAZDA CX-9 Signature AWD: Soccer Season Official

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Fall weather is upon us, which means the start of a new sports season for my high school soccer striker and her charismatic teammates. So, of course, when I pulled up to practice in a Machine Gray Metallic 2019 MAZDA CX-9 Signature AWD, the largest vehicle on the MAZDA roster, coach Smith immediately ran over to inquire if the Japanese SUV had a 3rd row. Yes, I replied and asked if the team needed any help for the season opener. “Funny you ask,” she replied and assigned me to escort six members to the game since the school doesn’t provide the female teams with buses. Nevertheless, the bonding was priceless, and the girls were fascinated with the comfort and amenities of the CX-9. [Read more…]

2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC: German Artistry

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

In this golden age of tech dominance and automotive self-awareness, Mercedes-Benz continues to revolutionize its squadron of sedans, SUVs, and performance machines with a plethora of advancements while steering consumers towards the path of least resistance. For instance, my notable testing of the A220 4MATIC sedan became elevated by a pulsating drive experience, mesmerizing multi-media functionality, and excellent fuel efficiency.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC is a smaller touchstone of the company’s luxury fleet which resembles its siblings in styling and substance. It’s gorgeous, quick, and equally prolific for its stature. Expect a base price of $34,500, but like all German autos, you have to pay to play, so our loaded model came in at $49,758. However, there were no complaints since the A220 features the $2,310 AMG Body Styling package; the $1,550 Premium package with a 10.25” center display and 10.25” digital instrument cluster that resembles a Smart 4K UHD TV; $500 black multi-spoke AMG rims wrapped in 225/40R19 Pirelli high-performance tires; and the $2,250 Driver Assistance package which includes Active Brake Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Steering Assist, and much more!

In terms of design, the Mercedes ecosystem is pretty exquisite. Our Polar White exterior and Black Dinamica interior with red contrast stitching made date night with my wife prominent. The vehicle’s chrome-tipped diamond-block grille commands attention while the cabin allows passengers to enjoy the cleverness of German thoughtfulness. A panorama sunroof is a pleasant surprise on a car of this size as are the dual, meshed oval tailpipes to accentuate the rear properly. I was also mystified at the sizeable amount of trunk space during a shopping spree at Home Goods over the holiday weekend. Brushed aluminum trim is strategically placed in conspicuous places to flow with the leather and suede seats that are designed with manual thigh extenders while metal pedals give a hint to the sporty DNA of the A220.

As charismatic as the cabin is, the A220 is fun and exciting ripping around town in its efficient manner. The 2-liter, inline-4 turbo engine and 7G-DCT 7-speed automatic transmission with paddles shifters provide 25 city and 33 highway mpg en route to producing 188-horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque. Along with 4MATIC AWD, the optional $850 sports suspension — inclusive of the Adaptive Damping System — allowed me to treat the little luxury car like a weekend performer. No, the A220 is not super explosive off the line, but it accelerates rapidly from every gear and cuts corners like startled housecats being chased by aggressive kids, especially when you choose Sport mode from the customizable DYNAMIC SELECT. However, you must be aware that Active Lane Keeping Assist is intensely bold and will brake suddenly and steer the Benz forcefully back into the lane if the turn indicators are not used. For the record, I am not a fan of this technique.

Driving after sunset was also pleasurable. My wooded neighborhood is devoid of streetlights, but deer are omnipresent so the Active LED Headlights that bend around corners and Adaptive Highbeam Assist were very helpful when returning home at night. Though, the 64-Color Interior Ambient Lighting package provided all the illumination needed to set the mood of choice.

Back inside the ride abounding technology will either satisfy your needs or lead to confusion. I’m a bit partial to too much AI taking over when I’m at the wheel. Conversely, many people I know are infatuated with the industry phenomenon. A few things I love about the A220’s brains include Head-up Display ($850), ATTENTION ASSIST, proper Bluetooth connectivity, five USB-c ports, an abundance of cameras and corresponding graphics, jet turbine reminiscent vents that cool and heat spectacularly, and the detailed intel provided by the COMAND apps. A few things that let me down was the weak charging capabilities of the wireless charge pad, the feeble tonality of the $850 Burmester sound system (the company’s premium systems are far superior), the hand precision needed to adjust the COMAND Touchpad Controller for simple tasks since there are no physical knobs except for a volume scroller, and lastly, in any Mercedes-Benz I’m always confused between the gear shift stalk to the right of the steering wheel column and the wiper stalk on the left. Nevertheless, I’m sure actual owners are accustomed to this setup.

The 2019  A220 4MATIC sedan is entertaining, attractive, and competent. This particular Mercedes-Benz is perfect for those with big expectations from small packages.

2020 Cadillac XT6: Family of Seven

It feels like an extended hiatus since I last had the gratification of experiencing the sensation of a newfangled Cadillac and the usual pleasantries offered to customers. Thankfully, the luxury auto brand has restructured corporately, guided attention towards product launches, and set higher goals for owner loyalty and retention. A direct result of the refreshing game plan is the premium 2020 Cadillac XT6 which was highlighted recently from The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown during the national press drive.

Cadillac is in launch mode and will release a new ride to the marketplace every six months through 2021. With the expansion plan, the XT6 joins a family portfolio that includes the segment-leading XT4, a revitalized XT5, and the indomitable Escalade. The pinnacle of Cadillac mobility also includes an EV future and the extension of Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving which the XT6 will receive eventually. Although, I am very apprehensive with my vehicle taking over the cognition required for safe and harmonious driving. Hopefully, this will be an option. [Read more…]

Olympic Sprinter Carmelita Jeter joins Lexus 0 to 60 Celebrity Racing Series

Fit Fathers sat down with Olympic Sprinter Carmelita Jeter to discuss the excitement around Season 3 of “Lexus 0 to 60” at the world famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The driving action matched two teams of three drivers to witness adrenaline pumping motorsports action behind the wheel of the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition super coupes!

2020 Hyundai Palisade: Family Focused Premium SUV

Experienced by Kimatni D Rawlins

Dubbed after “a line of high straight cliffs, especially near water,” it made perfect sense for Hyundai to invite us to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the launch of their family focused 2020 Palisade premium SUV. Cascading mountainous terrain, idyllic landscapes and the inviting Lake Coeur d’Alene instantly turned on my adventurer mode. In addition, the town was buzzing with moms, fit fathers and their active kids which is the target market for this newfangled Korean SUV. [Read more…]

Lexus 0 to 60 Celebrity Racing Series with Super Vegan John Salley

Fit Fathers’ Kimatni Rawlins sat down with NBA legend and super vegan John Salley to discuss the excitement around Season 3 of “Lexus 0 to 60” at the world famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The driving action matched two teams of three drivers to experience adrenaline pumping motorsports action behind the wheel of the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition super coupes!

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition: Perfect for Fit Fathers

It’s the week of “Fit Fathers Day” so we enjoyed rocking with the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition for promotions, utility needs and 7-passenger transport. Of course, for the boys only drive I found the path to Peirce Mill in Washington, DC’s glorious Rock Creek Park where we engaged in sports activities and enjoyed a hike on the trails.

This testosterone driven Pathfinder incorporates a hearty mix of brawn and functionality. From the black door handles and black mesh grill to the smoky dark alloy rims balanced within 18” all-season tires, the Japanese SUV will hit the mark for dads in need of space and functionality.

Ignite 4WD when it’s time to ride over and through, while the zippy 284-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 will transport your squad with efficiency. Since I travel with three teens, a toddler and my wife, EZ FLEX featuring LATCH AND GLIDE technology was a plus as the seats fold simply and literally slide forward for stress free entry into the third row.
The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4WD Rock Creek Edition will add only $995 to the base price of $35,960. It’s certainly worth it to be able to stand out just enough in a field of SUV clutter in today’s driving society.

Visit www.FitFathersDay.com for details on our fitness focused celebration for dads in the Maryland, Virginia and DC area on June 16.

2019 BMW X7 xDrive50i: Technology Driven

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It’s very obvious that Americans love their SUVs no matter the size or mileage. From smaller crossovers with amazing fuel efficiency to full-size, pompous road warriors that can escort seven in comfort, consumer demand for the latest utility continues to increase year after year. BMW is no stranger to the category as they literally offer an X-model for every personality trait and all capabilities starting with the introductory X1. So it wasn’t an afterthought that the technology driven 2019 X7 xDrive50i would be arriving soon to satisfy expectations for a bigger, smarter and more luxurious SUV in the marketplace.

Traditionally, individuals looking for a sizeable, sophisticated, and performance oriented SUV turned their attention towards the attractive Range Rover, Escalade or QX80. Income is typically not an issue as desire takes precedence over financial strategy. Room for friends and family, endless amenities and a powerful V8 are key ingredients to a recipe that showcases the owner’s societal status and core fundamentals. [Read more…]

Lexus 0 to 60 Celebrity Racing Series with actor Curtis Hamilton

Fit Fathers’ Kimatni Rawlins sat down with actor Curtis Hamilton to discuss the excitement around Season 3 of “Lexus 0 to 60” at the world famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The driving action matched two teams of three drivers to experience adrenaline pumping motorsports action behind the wheel of the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition super coupes!

Lexus 0 to 60 Celebrity Racing Series with actor Jaleel White

Fit Fathers sat down with actor Jaleel White to discuss the excitement around Season 3 of “Lexus 0 to 60” at the world famous WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The driving action matched two teams of three drivers to experience adrenaline pumping motorsports action behind the wheel of the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition super coupes!