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…]

2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE: Intelligent Performance

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

This past weekend was dreary and besieged by rainfall in the Maryland metro area but it didn’t matter because my window of opportunity with the luxuriant Land Rover came to fruition and rightfully heated up the scenario. Active as usual, my daughter had two sports tournaments that were an hour away — basketball and competitive jump rope — so instead of chilling while watching Jack Taylor on Netflix I was ripping runways escorting her about and exploring the impressive features of Terrain Response 2 and its Configurable Dynamics and six adaptive suspension modes in our Firenze Red 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE. [Read more…]

2019 INFINITI QX50: Progressive, Luxury Focused Techniques

During a recent visit to the Design District of West Hollywood I was inspired by INFINITI and their set of progressive, technological values as they continue to create excellence in the form of some of our favorite vehicles. The Japanese automotive purveyor is one of the latest, steadfastly growing luxury brands with a focus on modish styling, adaptive engineering and efficient powertrains. Now, with the release of the all-new 2019 QX50 luxuriant crossover, which is built 100% from the ground up, expect continuous elevation in a market segment that witnessed 600,000 units roll off dealer lots in 2017. [Read more…]

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso: Itiliano Sports Performance

Experienced by Kimatni Rawlins

The media team at Automotive Rhythms had a great week test-driving the sports performing 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Lusso Italian SUV. Rightfully named after the 12-mile, 48-bend Stelvio Pass in the northern Italian Alps the vehicle excited in every fashion including agility, and acceleration from its 280-horsepower direct-injected 2-liter GME T4 Turbo 4-cylinder engine. With invigorating performance traits, a pompous front fascia, an Integrated Brake System, Q4 AWD, and 19” Dark 5-hole aluminum rims, our Vulcano Black Metallic Stelvio is a refreshing take on the premium midsize utility market. [Read more…]

2018 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD Inscription: Safety, Technology & Electrification

Experienced by Kimatni D Rawlins

Volvo is steadfastly focused on a path of recreation with their lineup of newfangled SUVs, wagons and sedans as the future is represented in the form of the present. With a chance to drive and experience the 2018 XC60, 2018 S90 and 2018 V90, including plug-in hybrid versions of the XC60 and S90, it is evident that the Swedish auto brand’s road to transformation is on par with the expectations of today’s tech savvy auto buyer looking for advanced safety assurances, autonomous solutions and digital conveniences during daily commutes. [Read more…]

Off the Field with Baltimore Ravens’ Kyle Arrington

 

ARtv poignantly captured the family essence of Baltimore Ravens’ Kyle Arrington “Off the Field” alongside the Kia Sorento with Fit Fathers and Automotive Rhythms. Enjoy this “Day in the Life” feature with one of the proudest dads in the NFL.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS: Fit Family Approved

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

There are not many large, luxury SUVs that are absolutely, positively incredible. Most offer pure opulence but no bravado while others focus only on the macho elements of utilities in a world where only a small percentage of customers take their pride and joys off road. Well, the refreshed and re-dubbed prodigy from Mercedes-Benz proposes the best of three worlds — lavishness, technology and stoutness — in one complete package.

Like a visit to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the contributions of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS including the reinvigorated interior are pretty magical. My experience test-driving the GLS range — including the AMG GLS63 — in Gateway, Colorado was impeccable to say the least. Tagged as the S-Class of the M-B SUV line due to an altered naming convention, the luxurious touring utility is fit for influential families looking for advanced technology, three rows of seating (standard), 4-MATIC AWD (standard) and diverse engines (four in total) to choose from including an economical diesel and the potent, hand-built 5.5-liter V8 Biturbo with 577 runaway horses. With this authoritative AMG variant I doubt parents have to worry about arriving late to the kids’ practices.

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Shortly after landing into Grand Junction Regional Airport an assortment of GLS models were awaiting for evaluative drives in route to the enchanting Gateway Canyons Resort nestled within the enthralling Red Rock Canyons. Life is so pure, simple and beautiful in Western Colorado that it was almost difficult to focus in on the task at hand. Well, until I was handed the key to my German chariot. This is what you call double the pleasure. Obtainable in four models — GLS350d 4MATIC, GLS450 4MATIC, GLS550 4MATIC and the aforementioned AMG GLS63 — Mercedes has positioned itself smartly for the diverse group of core, large-sized SUV buyers. Especially in correlation to pricing which can range from $67,050 for the 255-horsepower (457 lb.-ft. of torque) 3-liter V6 Turbo Diesel to $124,100 for the AMG.

Some of the noticeable differences with the GLS in comparison to the old GL (launched in September 2012) are a bolder front and rear fascia (especially the menacing chin spoiler), the new dash and interior including the 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, a newfangled grille, new bumpers, new LED taillamps, the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with wheel-mounted paddle shifters and DYNAMIC SELECT with its assortment of transmission driving modes. The AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System has also been enriched to respond more adeptly to various road conditions. Working in concert with the transmission, DYNAMIC SELECT allows the operator to pre-select the setting most appropriate (up to six settings) for the task at hand whether for sporty driving or tackling snow-covered roads. You can also raise the suspension up to 12.5″ with the Off-Road Engineering package. A bevvy of new light-alloy wheels is also at your disposal. I became fond of the unique 21” spins standard on the GLS550 as well as the stationary and illuminated running boards. Another favorite is the 7,500 towing capacity from the factory available Trailer Hitch ($575). It’s a must for dads such as myself that bike often with the family and occasionally tow small trailers.

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Some may say I was hustling backwards since I began the tour from the airport in the AMG then subsequently dumbed-down my options to the GLS550 and lastly the GLS450. Well, I didn’t mind starting off in greatness. Inclusive in the full price of $131,470, my Lunar Blue Metallic AMG GLS63 was endowed with a Carbon Fiber trim ($1,590), Porcelain/Black Exclusive Nappa Leather, 22” AMG Matte Black rims ($1,750), AMG Sport Suspension, quad pipes, the Power EASY ENTRY ($400) one-button, flip folding seat technology for entering the third row area conveniently and the Rear Entertainment System ($1,950) with 8.3″ screens located on the seat backs of the powered, heated, ventilated, multicontour and massaging front row chairs. With the force of hurricanes powering the 5,754 lb. AMG the vehicle blows from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Honestly, it was challenging keeping it under 60 mph, even when applying light pedal pressure. Imagine that!

Day two would see us cruising to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah then on to Sorrel River Ranch for a healthy lunch. A $99,105 ($93,850 MSRP) Iridium Silver Metallic GLS550 4MATIC would be my ride over and a $78,550 ($68,700 MSRP) GLS450 4MATIC would escort me back to Colorado. Power in the 550’s 4.7-liter V8 Biturbo engine was impressive as the 449-horsepower felt more like 500, even in the higher altitudes. In this vehicle I paid more attention to COMAND’s infotainment and navigation features, the harman/kardon LOGIC7 surround system and Apple CarPlay. Of course I love how the interface of your smartphone is replicated on the 8” color COMAND screen such as music and audiobooks, but keep in mind Apple CarPlay also overrides the vehicle’s own apps and functions so you won’t be able to use any of them except the radio. Lane Keeping Assist is pretty aggressive and feels like a jolt when you drift outside the lane without signaling so stay focused. Although the 9-speed transmission is pretty efficient the mileage on the 4.7-liter is not. Expect only 13 city and 18 highway estimated mpg in the GLS550. This is why I would personally opt for the 362-horsepower 3-liter V6 Biturbo in the GLS450. In this case the GLS achieves approximately 17 city and 22 highway mpg.

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Available now (diesel coming at a later date) the GLS will help fortify Mercedes-Benz’s position in a growing utility market that is eager for grander products which present car-like agility, artificial intelligence and sport utility adventure.

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.

2016 Kia Sorento: Fitting SUV for Fit Fathers

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Experienced by Mike Tucker, Jr

Kia has given the 2016 Sorento a healthy new start. The new Korean SUV is sleeker, faster and in great shape. The exterior of our Auto Fit long-termer is adorned with tattoos repping the Fit Fathers brand and website, which was perfect for the attention the Sorento’s new chiseled body would receive from spectators.

When I got my hands around the leather-wrapped steering wheel, it was to workout promotionally for the 2nd Annual Fit Fathers Day Celebration in Downtown Silver Spring, MD. It was on point for getting through the city with three kids while making stops at radio and TV stations for interviews. The youngsters were able to plug their electronics into the 110-Volt outlet and USB, so I heard no complaints for the various marketing errands.

IMG_5715During my time with the Sorento, summer had officially arrived making the air-conditioned seats the coolest of all features. The comfortable ride was great on the pothole ladened Washington, DC streets. Parking assist and a 360-degree camera allowed me to ease in and out of parallel parking spaces by simply viewing UVO’s 8” screen. Rear storage was sizeable so I loaded up three large tables, 10 folding chairs and 50 gift bags for Fit Fathers Day. Then, the Sorento put in a massive cardio workout showing great agility and power for a 4-cylinder mid-sized SUV since I was running late as usual. After activating Sport mode I was able to zip up the highway with impeccable timing for the festivities.

Fit Fathers Day was a win and the Kia Sorento helped the life-enhancing movement meet all of its goals. I wish I had more time to exercise with all of the Sorento’s worthy features, but the vehicle will stay in our fleet a while longer and I must share the sweat. I hope to set up another training session with the Sorento pretty soon!

 

2016 Fiat 500X: Modern Family

 2016 Fiat 500X Trekking PlusExperienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Family unity, sustainability and evolution are paramount attributes of any group or tribe whether the subject is people, cultures or cars. If “x marks the spot” is an indication of the continuous expansion and growth model of the Fiat brand in North America then please give a warm welcome to the all-new 2016 500X. In this case the X-factor equates to all-wheel-drive which should increase Fiat’s sales outside of the Sun Belt States like California where the brand shines overwhelmingly bright. [Read more…]