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…]

2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited: Great Adventures

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Subaru is a special automotive brand for special individuals who enjoy the naturalistic side of life. Adventure is in the blood of their veins and the oil of their rides. So it’s no wonder that each influences the other to maintain consistent activity levels, load the family calendar with excitement, and habitually hit trails, lakes, and campgrounds on weekends. So of course when our Venetian Red Pearl 2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Limited rolled into the driveway the only thing on the top of my mind was how many times I would mountain bike that week and what new parks I would visit. It’s instinctual when you have the keys to a Subie! [Read more…]

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD: A Proper Off-Road Wagon

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

I had a great time exploring the superior off-road and grand on-road capabilities of the new 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD in Arizona last week. The luxury wagon is properly designed and thoroughly engineered. Its physicality is defined by rugged hardware, outstanding go-anywhere capabilities and advanced technology systems for both safety adherence and driver assistance obligations. [Read more…]

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: Family Adventure Awaits

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It was a thrilling experience and test drive last month with Volkswagen in Seattle, WA where outdoor activity is more of a major than an elective to the locals. The adventurous 2017 Golf Alltrack sports wagon is made for energetic families and thrill-seekers looking for increased utility, courageous mobility and a bit of elevated technology at value pricing. Offered with 4Motion AWD, the function focused Golf will start at $26,950 for the S model with the DSG automatic.

Like myself, the Alltrack is perfect for active lifestylers who camp, bike, kayak, hike, mountain bike, explore and more. I can already envision my German-built Ghost Kato 7 sitting atop the roof by way of the standard silver anodized roof rails in route to Schaffer Farms for a day on the trails. Or I can lay the second row seats flat and store the bike inside the wagon for quicker access and shielding from the outside elements. Either or, the new VW is suited for your diverse needs and will certainly get you back on track.

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Replacing the Jetta SportWagen in name, the Alltrack will be devoid of a diesel model initially. We’re not sure when or if VW will actually offer a future TDI, but they have stated that their current goal is to regain consumer trust and rebuild the brand. Both models I drove – the S and SEL – featured the 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged 4-cylinder with a respectable 170-horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. The direct-injected engine provides enough juice for daily commuting and necessary acceleration onto highways. The vehicles were paired with the 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and the sporty, flat bottom steering wheel which housed a set of paddle shifters so drivers can take control of shift points. Later on (in 2017) VW will introduce the 6-speed manual model. The Alltrack is also empowered with Driving Mode Selection which includes an off-road mode when you need to slush through muddy trails to get to the camping site. Also assisting this task is Hill Descent Control and the 6.9″ ride height representing a .6″ increase over the Jetta SportWagen.

Offered in three trims (S, SE and SEL) the Alltrack receives a reinvigorated bumper, matte-aluminum lower radiator grille crossbar, tailgate spoiler, underbody guard, honeycomb grilles, Reflex Silver side mirrors (heated, power adjustable and foldable) chrome window trim and aggressive body cladding outlining the lower front fascia, wheel arches, bottom of doors and rear bumper. However, my S model was devoid of the larger power-sliding panoramic sunroof found on the SE and SEL. The Platinum Gray Metallic SEL also came with 18” Canyon rims and all-season rubber. It looks fun, feels fun and is certainly full of positive energy. Often times driving becomes a burden but the Alltrack kept a smile on my face and upbeat tempo during my time in Washington State.

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Owners will also be pleased with the larger 14.5-gallon fuel tank that allows for an estimated 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city. We all know gas stations are far and few between when you’re traversing the outback so stopping less for fill-ups becomes essential during active travel outings. In addition to its rugged demeanor the Alltrack is very intelligent and features a wide array of both standard and optional, advanced tech capabilities including the 6.5” touchscreen with a rearview camera, VW Car-Net Security & Services (yearly subscription), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), front and rear Park Distance Control (ParkPilot), Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist), High Beam Control (Light Assist), Fender premium audio, Bluetooth mobile connectivity and much more. During the drive I was able to pair my iPhone 6 with the vehicle using Apple CarPlay (also has Android Auto) to view text messages, listen to podcasts or use my phone’s navigation.

Inside, black V-Tex leatherette dominated both models I spent time in. The cabin is pretty reminiscence of typical VW Golfs aside from a few custom adjustments to fit the Alltrack theme. The center stack is ergonomically clean with just enough operational tabs (four on each side of screen) to simplify the usage of the touchscreen infotainment system from the precise navigation to the audio settings. More importantly VW uses three circular knobs for the temperature controls and two for both volume and tuning. I am not a fan of swiping to adjust sound or turn a station. The Alltrack also gets down with a cooled glove box, metal pedals, a wide dead pedal for comfort and the sporty, multifunction steering wheel which provides light steering that can be a pro or con depending on the driver. The door pockets are deep for added storage but the second row seating is rather tight. The front seats on the S model are manual and heated but the SEL did give me power driver adjustments. In the rear cargo area you will find a 115V outlet and switches to conveniently release the second row seats.

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As you can see the 2017 VW Golf Alltrack is ready for action whether it’s basketball practice with the kids or a daring bike riding date with your significant other at the National Park. Currently in dealers, the newest VW member is ready to restore consumer confidence while showing off its enterprising assets.

2014 E63 AMG S-Model 4Matic Wagon: Active & Sporty

2014_Mercedes_Benz_E63_AMG_S-Model_4MATIC_Wagon...02Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It seems sacrilegious to pump up a wagon with the power and dynamics of a sports car and then throw it on a racetrack to chase down a super car. Doesn’t it? Well, this happened just as you read it recently during an AMG Performance drive with the 2014 E63 AMG S-Model 4Matic Wagon at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, California. Yes, we followed the tail of a 2014 SLS AMG around the roller coaster styled racetrack without qualms of keeping up matching speed. Wonderment as an expression was purely an understatement. And since the performance characteristics stretch out as long as the title of this dramatic vehicle, best believe it receives our official seal of approval. [Read more…]