2019 Toyota RAV4: The Adventuring Family Ride

I had an amazing time in Carmel Valley, CA with Fit Fathers and Automotive Rhythms exploring the attributes of the 5th generation 2019 Toyota RAV4 while enjoying wilderness activities such as trail running and meditating with Mother Nature from the exquisite grounds of Carmel Valley Ranch. Representing as Toyota’s best seller, the CUV’s edgier exterior styling is pretty prolific while featuring a new grille, higher clearance, wider body, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, panoramic moonroof and much more. Inside you’ll find added legroom, unique trim highlights, soft touch materials, Verizon WiFi connectivity and an upgraded JBL premium 11-speaker, 800-watt audio system with Clari-Fi sound restoration technology and A-pillar horn tweeters. [Read more…]

2019 Volvo S60 Sedan and V60 Wagon: Pure Swedish Performance

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

The current stage of Volvo’s product assault has come to fruition with the introduction of the all-new 2019 S60 sedan and V60 wagon which are designed and engineered with a focus on powertrain electrification. I know it sounds cliché but the mid-sized premium Volvos truly drive like dreams as I discovered on the energetic roads of Southern California. Offered in four trims – Momentum, Inscription, R-Design and Polestar Engineered – the “60” series is another shining example from the ubiquitous Swedish lineup that includes award winning SUVs, stately sedans, multi-talented wagons and inimitable performance variants.

Yes, the Volvo product range is young and refreshing, yet innovative and captivating. The automaker is far more than just a safety pioneer. Volvo has become an industry tech leader by spearheading “sustainable resource” movements, simplifying the vehicle purchase process and diversifying manufacturing by way of cultural explosion at its newly built U.S. factory outside of Charleston, South Carolina where the S60 is built. [Read more…]

2019 BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle: Balanced Sovereignty

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Pay close attention when BMW decides to upgrade a product line to contend with the needs and demands of today’s innovative society. Whether it’s a letter M car or X vehicle there seems to be no limit of capabilities to ascertain the grandest technologies and stately driving pleasures are instilled in the vehicle at hand. This continues to be the case with the evolution of the reimagined 2019 BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) now in its fourth generation. From the enhanced iDrive 7 to the Off-Road Package — a BMW first – the latest X5 will amaze newcomers to the X-line and invigorate brand loyalists when it arrives to dealers in November.

Originally launched in Atlanta, GA 20 years ago BMW invited us back to the South for a weekend of off-roading and performance in the all-new X5. In the U.S. the SAV will be marketed as the X5 xDrive40i and the X5 xDrive 50i with a PHEV model following in a few years. However, do not expect a diesel engine anytime soon as BMW is not close to a decision. Currently signs point to a no.

My drive partner and I chose a Phytonic Blue Metallic xDrive40i with the amazingly efficient and powerful TwinPower Turbo 3-liter 6-cylinder engine with 335-horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 rpm which allows 0 to 60 mph sprints in 5.3 seconds. On the quiet, Georgian backroads we were moving with ease of grace. Power seemed to be available at all speeds for ultimate acceleration when required. If you’re looking for more firepower try the vigorously enhanced 4.4-liter V8 kicking out 456-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Both units are paired with BMW’s venerable 8-speed Steptronic transmission with paddle shifters and xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. Updated tuning of the gearbox’s hydraulic control creates sportier shifts. If you really want to feel grand then go with the optional Austrian crystal gear lever which is absolutely stunning! Various drive modes allow your X5 to transform into habit such as Sport which incorporates three levels depending on your aggression that day. Drivers can also select Eco Pro, Comfort and Adaptive modes (screen color changes when you switch modes). [Read more…]

2019 Nissan Altima: Athletically Intelligent

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It’s the volume maker and brand diplomat of the Japanese automaker. It’s the most recognized moniker in the company lineup with 5.7 million aggregate units sold thus far. Its dramatic transformation is the most significant to date since inception in 1992. Slotted between the Sentra and Maxima, the 6th generation 2019 Nissan Altima is blessed with the highest amount of resources ever from Nissan and hits the scene with two new powertrains, ProPilot Assist, Nissan Intelligent Mobility and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive for the first time on a U.S. based Nissan sedan.

The mid-size sedan is slated for mass market production and will be available for purchase in dealerships this month. The goal was to create a modish, spacious and tech savvy vehicle which appeals to various types of consumers with a package that is now an inch lower, wider and longer and a wheelbase that has been stretched by two inches. Styling is offered from nine divergent hues with highlights on the Sunset Drift Orange and Scarlet Ember Red. The Altima’s design characteristics are strong, sharp, robust and sporty as if it advanced from high school athletics to a D1 collegiate program. [Read more…]

2019 Cadillac XT4 Crossover: Detroit’s New Edition

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It’s been a while since we’ve witnessed a new vehicle launch from the historic 116-year old Cadillac brand. But rest assured that the next gen product to represent the American luxury automotive sector is designed for ultimate satisfaction. To experience the global media event Automotive Rhythms headed out West for the Seattle inauguration of the all-new 2019 XT4 luxury crossover. Offered in Sport, Premium Luxury and Luxury renditions, designers referred to the newfangled Caddy as the puppy stage of the full-size Escalade SUV.

After the evening reveal Steve Carlisle, President of Cadillac, explained to a full house of journalists the company’s 10-year market plan which is now in year 4. The premise is to continue communicating with interested consumers, embolden leadership and expand beneficial offerings which will lead to new Cadillac edition every 6 months for the next few years. This timeline also incorporates the replacement of current sedan models. Since the demand for innovative SUVs and crossovers is heightened I would expect more of the same in the area of the XT series. [Read more…]

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe: Fit Family Focused

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

As I traversed the steep, rocky trail — which seemed to continue perpetually — while gazing upward into the sky I realized that this Korean SUV was manhandling the obligatory task of reaching the top of the hill like it were a Wrangler or Rover. Has Hyundai’s best-selling SUV, now its 4th generation, truly inherited that much bravado from the prior generation? Is the automaker’s HTRAC AWD system with an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch and torque vectoring for front to rear and left to right traction really that substantive in various driving scenarios such as high-speed cornering? Well, it surely felt so as the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe anticipated wheel slippage and reacted immediately for an engaging experience which is a necessity for fit families heading toward the heart of the wilderness.

With that in mind Hyundai chose an ideal city to host the national media event for the newfangled utility. So welcome to Park City, Utah, home of the renowned Sundance Film Festival, impeccable ski resorts, active lifestyles and lovers of everything serene and beautiful. The fresh air, mountain views and scores of adventure sports such as mountain biking created the perfect env [Read more…]

2019 BMW X4 Sports Activity Coupe: Elevated Athleticism

Where does an auto brand go once the zenith stage has seemingly been reached? Well, for BMW that means the continuation of creating additional numbered vehicles and enhancing current numbered variants such as the X-factors which represent its family of Sports Activity Vehicles (SAVs) and Sports Activity Coupes (SACs). Whether it is X5, X6, the upcoming X7 or the reinvigorated 2019 X4, each provides individual talents for owners looking for just as much performance as utility, storage and off-road capabilities.
[Read more…]

2018 Nissan Kicks: Smart is Cool

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Nissan has a way of blessing their vehicles with an array of powerful and heroic names to define each’s individual character traits. From the Titan pickup and Armada full-size SUV to the Altima or Maxima sports sedans the labeling is perfect for consumers who are both proud of the auto brand they’ve chosen and the specific models that fit their lifestyles. Knowing that “smart” is now “cool” I’m sure Nissan’s latest compact crossover will venture into collaborations with A Tribe Called Quest and their cult hip hop classic, “Can I Kick It?”

Within this small car utility segment owners are searching for style, technology and moral value in a vehicle that impresses from aesthetics to comfort and tech features. Nissan will battle with the likes of the Hyundai Kona, Ford EcoSport and Kia Soul as it enters into steep competition within this popular and rapidly growing market segment. Ranging from $17,990 to $22,990 the Kicks comes as either the S, SV or SR and includes a variety of safety, intelligent and infotainment features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or NissanConnect which operate from a 7” touchscreen color display. A small touch, but there are also three USB ports to share. [Read more…]

2019 Hyundai Veloster: Compact, Sporty Anomaly

Welcome to Austin for the press launch and test drive of the all-new Hyundai Veloster compact sports car and hot hatch. It was a beautiful and heat filled day in the Texas Capitol as we zipped around town in 2019 models enhanced with sticky Michelin tires to mirror the unexpected small car excitement behind the wheel. Now in the 2nd generation, the three-door, Korean performance vehicle is an industry anomaly and will certainly continue attracting young, urban dwellers towards its ingenuity. [Read more…]

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

To say the least I was extremely impressed with the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback during testing around the coast of San Diego to epic California weather last week. For such a diminutive vehicle it sure does pack a punch in the form of advanced driver technologies typically relegated for Toyota’s more advanced vehicles such as the Camry or Avalon. For example, the hot hatch is blessed with both Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist function and Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The Corolla Hatchback is quick, agile, stylish, fully functional and convenient when meandering through city obstacles. [Read more…]