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…]

2018 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Limited: An Autoganic Delight

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

My perspective on alternative energy sources is quite simple. I absolutely love electric vehicles (EV) and the potential they have for impacting and reducing human reliance on crude oil. Global Warming is not a myth folks so we have to absolutely do all we can to sustain Mother Earth’s future by righting many of the wrongs committed through pollution. Therefore, I become enamored when automotive brands like Hyundai commit to resolutions that help rectify the quandary by way vehicles running off our electrical grid such as the 2018 IONIQ Electric Limited we recently tested.

Our midsize sedan came in a Symphony Air Silver exterior hue and black on black interior which was rather roomy and designed with recycled and ecologically-sensitive materials. In the backrow the kids had all the legroom needed for their daily antics without complaints and the headroom for my 6’ frame was more than adequate. Moreover, to reduce battery usage, Hyundai’s climate control system can be switched to ‘Driver only’ mode. [Read more…]

2017 Toyota Prius Prime: Green Mobility Defined


If you don’t believe in Global Warning and the erratic climate changes it produces then you must be living on Mars. I took note yet again when my leaves began falling in early August which was quite frightening. Who would have thought I’d be raking in the summer? Yes, the auto industry and every other major production sector that utilizes Earth’s great resources also contribute to this degrading phenomenon in some fashion or form. So the goal is to become a minimalist and engineer products that are healthier for the planet such as green vehicles whether they are hybrid, electric or hydrogen.

With an official EPA estimate of 133 MPGe the new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime set the bar high for competitors to step up their e-mobility game. During a media event in Ojai, CA I was able to experience the front-wheel drive Prius family which includes the Prime Plus, Prime Premium and Prime Advanced. Its powerful name alone — Prime — is enough to attract attention. Maybe it’s my love for the Transformers and their fearless leader Optimus Prime who could probably use an EV upgrade. Prime represents the best of what Toyota has to offer green and is their most efficient hybrid powertrain. With 55 city mpg, 53 highway mpg and an estimated 640-mile range the latest Prius will far exceed your expectations. Also, the plug-in hybrid’s 25-mile electric range (up to 84 mph) is up from 22. This means you can make your daily, local runs without burning any fuel at all. Of course I would like to see this stretched out to at least 50 miles of electric range in the near future.

With a stable totaling 13 hybrid models between Toyota and Lexus, the Japanese auto manufacturer has a whopping 70% chunk of the industry segment. For almost two decades Toyota has been leading the charge and revolutionizing the hybrid market with the Prius brand. That’s pretty major and convincing for potential consumers looking to make the switch.


The poplar Prius looks and feels like something different and eco-conscious. For the 2017 model Toyota has lowered it by 1”, widened it by .6” and lengthened it by 4.2” over the Prius Plug-in while increasing torsional rigidity by 60% over the 2016 Prius Liftback. However, the Prime is heavier and drives less dynamic even though weight savings were achieved by reducing the size of the power control unit and optimizing the battery which can now be charged faster through regular home 120v outlets (less than 5.5 hours). With public level 2 charging or other 240v sources your Prime will be fully energized in about 2 hours. In addition, the Charge MGT System lets owners set specific charging times.

Engineered with Hybrid Synergy Drive the Prius is now empowered with Dual Motor Drive for increased EV range. Furthermore, the battery charges from regenerative braking. The 121-horsepower hybrid system consists of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, larger Lithium-Ion battery (moved up front), an electric motor and the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. Three drive modes consist of the EV default mode, the HV hybrid mode and EV Auto which switches between the two to optimize efficiency.


With some of the styling emulating the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle, the LED headlamps specifically, the Prime is more aggressive than ever. Of course this Trekky design theme has alienated many but if I’m going “auto 2.0” I definitely want my ride to play and look the part. You get 15” wheels, patterned acrylic grille overlay, carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer rear hatch, heated and folding mirrors, LED taillights and dual-wave rear glass to help reduce drag. Though, the rear window still obstructs the full view which forces you to utilize the integrated backup camera.

Inside, the Prius receives major updates starting with the sporty, redesigned and heated seats that are now lower to the floor. My Magnetic Gray Metallic Prime Advanced model had the 8-way power adjustable driver seat and Moonstone SofTex trim which also outlined the multifunction steering wheel. The base model features the Entune Premium audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite with the 7” touch-screen, but both the Premium and Advanced follow the Testla route with the massive 11.6” iPad-like HD multimedia screen. It’s the largest display for Toyota and can be swiped and pinched and will always show the map on the top half of the screen no matter what menu you select. The Advanced receives the Entune Premium JBL Audio system with 10 GreenEdge speakers. I’m also fond of Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging but unfortunately the iPhone 6 doesn’t support that technology.


Safety is a top priority with Toyota Safety Sense available in 18 Toyota models. It includes an array of safety systems from Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist to Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Then you receive the Star Safety System with Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction control and Smart Stop Technology to name a few.

With a variety of hues to decide from such as Blizzard Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Hypersonic Red, Titanium Glow or Blue Magnetism, Prius Prime pricing is $27,100 for the Prime Plus, $28,800 for the Prime Premium and $33,100 for Prime Advanced. Your carbon impact on society will always be measured by the foods you consume to the clothes you wear to the cars you drive. It’s the reason why I’m a vegan and choose any assortment of EVs over tradition. Expect the plug-in hybrid to go on sale late 2016.




215-Mile Range “Tesla Model 3” Electrifies the World

Tesla_Model_3_Electric_Car_ 03

Experienced by Marvin Bowser

Tesla design models have influenced our intellects with clean power, high safety ratings and a wide array of 21st century technologies. Tesla, the purveyor of premium electric vehicles, utilizes supercar acceleration and cat-like reflexes to also appeal to our lust for power and the primal urge to control and direct it. Moreover, sleek exteriors and lofty price tags have made Teslas even more desirable, but out of reach for most of us. Well, until now! The Tesla Model 3 will begin pricing at $35,000 which is roughly half the cost of a base Model S. [Read more…]

BMW i8: A Star is Born

BMW_i8_Automotive_Rhythms_Doors-UpWords by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Imagination moves us, but reality accelerates us…

It is fact, not conjecture that the latest invention from the BMW i brand is the most polarizing vehicle moving around town right now. Take your pick: Bugatti? BTDT. Tesla? Old news. Lamborghini? Typical. In fact, no one wanted to believe the inconvenient truth that the i8’s fanciful design made it to production almost entirely unscathed from its concept debut in Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible “Ghost Protocol.” How could they have the temerity to produce a sports car so sumptuous that the most nefarious adversary of Bavarian Motor Works could be seen wagging his/her tail? This in fact happened! No, it’s not available for purchase just yet, but test models have been seen in droves on the Hollywood streets of Los Angeles and each and every model caused quite a stir including the Silver/Black/Blue machine Automotive Rhythms was loaned for a day in L.A. [Read more…]

BMW i3 All-Electric Vehicle: A Beautiful Truth

2014 BMW All-Electric i3 Press Drive.Kimatni D. Rawlins

It’s simple to contend with the notion that the world needs to move towards sustainable energy sources and away from petroleum if this planet is going to survive and reduce the impact of Global Warming. This theorem is especially impacted by the auto industry which has relied on internal combustion propulsion from the beginning. Yes, electric vehicles were conceived over 100 years ago but never became mainstream. Today is a new day as the term “sustainability” has risen to the forefront. BMW has joined the ranks with the release of their first all-electric plug-in dubbed the i3. [Read more…]