2021 Lexus ES 350 F SPORT Black Line Special Edition: Sensory Stimulation

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Launched in the US in 1989, Lexus continues to attract a diverse and extremely loyal consumer base while staying ahead of the curve in the fields of technology and innovation. With its newfangled Black Line Special Edition, Japanese opulence presents itself in every aspect, from the design evolution to distinctive interior materials aimed towards sensory stimulation. My 2021 Lexus ES 350 F SPORT Black Line Special Edition test car arrived in an Obsidian outer hue with an exquisite two-tone white and black offset interior with gray stitching. The Lexus experience was perfect for seven days.

My wife and I were owners of a 6th generation ES (also in black) and loved that sporty sedan. Hence, it is gratifying witnessing the brand’s evolution right before our very eyes. For the ES, Lexus product planners utilized lessons from their flagship LS. They applied some of those techniques, such as utilizing premium materials and attention to detail with the distinctive one-piece spindle grille design. A few critical elements of change between the old and the new include a lowered roofline, a longer wheelbase, an overall longer, lower, wider body, and triple-beam LED headlamps. [Read more…]

2020 Trail Trek Tour: Tundra TRD Pro Off-Road Family Fun

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Let’s get ready to rumble was an understatement this past weekend in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest. I drove down with the family from Silver Spring, MD, in the 2020 Tundra “Nomadic Mission” TRD Pro warrior truck by Fit Fathers for a day of mud sliding, light rock climbing, and slope running. The socially distanced 2020 Trail Trek Tour featured the group’s first Off-Road Family Fun Run and included nine vehicles, 29 participants, and one happy-to-be-in-the-woods dog.

My Tundra TRD Pro was joined by the Army Green Team, consisting of the new Tacoma TRD Pro and 4Runner TRD Pro, which both held their own through deep waters and uphill battles. But of course, big brother Tundra is the family’s king of the mountain and calls the shots. We tackled two trail rides in the National Forest, including Taskers Gap and Peters Mill Run that comprise 36 miles of motorized OHV trails. Though, I was a bit jealous of the dirt bikes and ATVs ripping the trails like the surefooted mountain goat. Experienced host Philip Van der Vossen led our procession of trucks. We took a surgical approach for some good dirty fun with my Fit Fathers crew, daughters, and father Randi Payton who started African American On Wheels magazine over thirty years ago. The collaboration also included buccaneer Leon Brittain of Throttle Life and Auto Sense’s Brian Armstead.

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Sunday Funday Group Bike Ride: Tundra Fit

Welcome, this is Fit Fathers first Sunday Funday bike ride with our new “Toyota Tundra Fit” mobile. We met up for 24 miles along Sligo Creek Trail into Hyattsville, MD. It’s always energizing starting the morning off with a life enhancing activity. The Army Green 2020 Tundra TRD Pro will be with Automotive Rhythms and Fit Fathers for six -months as we utilize the Japanese pickup truck for health events and fitness motivation throughout the Maryland area. Keep moving people!

2021 Kia K5 EX and GT-Line: The Choice is Yours

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It was an interesting 24-hour period as Kia dropped off both a meditative Sapphire Blue 2021 K5 EX and a mystic 2021 Passion Red K5 GT-Line for me to evaluate side by side. Of course, classic rap group Black Sheep and their timeless hit, The Choice is Yours, came to mind as I kept going back and forth on the color scheme. “You can get with this, or you can get with that. I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at.” So, I jumped into the “Matrix” with both the red and blue pill to put equal time behind the wheel of each.

With a starting price of $27,990 for the EX and $25,390 for the GT-Line ($965 destination fee), think of the mid-sized sedan as the little dude in the crew. It’s like a Kia Stinger before the agility and strength training program kicked off. I even see a mix of Hyundai’s new Sonata in the front. But the Shark skin-inspired mesh grille needs more pompousness to pair with the rest of the athletic body and chin spoiler. I think it’s too thin and narrow and the pattern is strange. Kia says the K5’s roster position is above the Forte and below the Cadenza. [Read more…]

2020 Nissan Versa SR CVT: Rainbow Delight

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Small cars get the job done efficiently, economically, and conveniently. If you need to park in a micro space in the downtown area of your city, then done. If you require 35 to 40 highway mpg for long journeys, then done. And if your overall budget is less than $22,000, then done. You won’t be winning road races in this category, and your girlfriend will not be highly impressed on date night, but you will have a greater peace of mind knowing that essentialism can be achieved in a respected manner. Thus, the little 2020 Nissan Versa SR 4-door sedan provides the essentials for day-today human operations. [Read more…]

2020 Chevy Blazer 3LT Leather AWD

Experienced by Kimatni D Rawlins

An icon has returned with a fashionable, refreshing outlook utilizing its mighty moniker and compelling reputation. I was especially devoted to the robust and resolute Blazers of the 1990s since the nostalgic hallmark left my young crew with many fond memories. Today, the latest generation of Chevy’s eminent SUV comes in the form of a crossover utility with grace and updated technologies to meet consumer’s trendy expectations.

The 2020 Chevy Blazer 3LT Leather AWD I was testing for the week rolled in the Automotive Rhythms driveway in a lively Red Hot hue outfitted with standard 18” Bright Silver Aluminum wheels and dual split exhaust tips. For more character and performance, larger 20″ Gloss Black rims are available on the AWD model, and the two-tone black body cladding, roof rails, bumper pieces, A, B, and C pillars, and the chiseled Blazer signature grille add the perfect balance of contrast and flair. The body-colored tailgate spoiler with a streak of black is an excellent design touch as well. Though, I would prefer Chevy’s tamed tones for this SUV such as grey, black, or white because a red of this illumination is characteristic of sports cars and smaller, playful vehicles like Kia Souls and MINIs. [Read more…]

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali 4WD Crew Cab

GMC is on the ground floor making headways with the Sierra pickup, including the recent news of a collaboration with Harley-Davidson and Tuscany Motor to unleash a 250-model limited-edition Harley-Davidson branded GMC Sierra which is bad to the bone. Inspired by Harley’s famed Fat Boy model, expect over 65 edition-specific enhancements that make this unique, custom truck one of the toughest on the block.

Ironically, when the broadcast passed by my desk regarding H-D and GMC, I was currently testing the 2020 Sierra 2500 Denali 4WD Crew Cab with the all-powerful Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbo diesel engine and Allison 10-speed automatic transmission. Quite naturally, I focused on heavy lifting, incorporating multiple roundtrip excursions to my local landscaping supply center for firewood and gravel loads. I also had to remove a few dead trees in the yard, which was easy work for the truck in comparison to its top-end capabilities. Additionally, my collegiate football mentees were home on winter break and needed work, so the four jumped inside the crew cab to join me and were amazed by the head and legroom in the rear. The new Sierra Heavy Duty features a longer wheelbase and a more domineering hood line in comparison to the model it replaces. [Read more…]

Justin Dugan Reviews the 2020 GT500

   

2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 Official Review – Hot Lap

In this episode of AmericanMuscle’s (AM) Hot Lap YouTube Series, host Justin Dugan visits Shelby’s Heritage Center in Las Vegas, Nevada to review and drag race the all-new 2020 GT500. After months of speculation and salivating over specifications, Justin jumps behind the wheel of Ford’s new halo pony car on the street, road course and drag strip to provide his expert take on the next generation of Ford Performance. [Read more…]

MINI’s Future, Featuring E-Power and the 301-HP JCW Clubman ALL4

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

MINI, owned by the BMW Group, continues to celebrate its 60th Anniversary year with fresh new products, innovation, and substance for loyal owners and minimalist of the classic brand. In South Carolina at BMW Group Test Fest, held at the BMW Performance Center, I was able to test drive the 301-horsepower 2020 MINI John Cooper Works ALL4 with its peppy new engine as well as experience the “60 Years Edition” Cooper S; Cooper S variants of the revised Clubman and Countryman; throwback MINIs from the past; and the new battery-electric MINI Cooper SE. As you see, MINI has the goods, so let’s motor baby! [Read more…]

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 760 Reasons Why!

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Let’s rock! It was a fantastic day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the launch of the breathtaking 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 760 galloping horses it packs under the hood. The muscle car is smarter, faster, and nastier. With 55 years of Mustang heritage under its belt, Ford set out to build a street-legal “weapon of mass seduction” to represent as the most powerful member of the family. The pony car hits 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, ¼ mile in 10.7 seconds, and 0-100-0 in 10.6 seconds. Mission accomplished.

The muscle car from Detroit ignites from a hand-built, supercharged 5.2-liter V8 producing 760-horsepower as mentioned above and 625 incredible ft-lbs of torque. An intelligent engine requires intelligent shifting, so Ford Performance paired the 5.2 with a Tremec TR-9070 DCT 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with normal, weather, sport, drag, and track modes. The symphony of the inverted 2.65-liter Eaton supercharger (with an air-to-water intercooler on top) sounds so glorious when the Shelby GT500 blows by like mammals giving chase. You can clearly distinguish the difference in the technical reverberations of the new Shelby GT500 as opposed to that of aggressive muscle roars. [Read more…]