My Birthday Weekend with the 2017 Mazda 6 Grand touring

img_20170121_124040_882

This past week was my 31st birthday and we did our annual tradition casino trip. This time we decided to go to the Sands Casino in Bethelhem, PA instead of our usual trip to Atlantic City. We had an amazing meal at Emrils’s Chophouse Burger and gambled a little bit (and lost).

We didn’t wind up staying at the casino hotels because they were extremely over priced with their rates and has no promotions. If you’re looking for an alternative, cheaper place to stay, we stayed at the Comfort Suites which is only 5 minutes away and they offer a free shuttle to the casino up until midnight.

20170120_203059

Lucky for me I was able to drive in style with the all knew 2017 Mazda 6 Grand Touring.

20170121_125117

The interior made the vehicle feel so luxurious, ivory leather with black trim. Having two boys, I don’t think I could ever have this choice as my day-to-day car since it would be dirty in a matter of days, but we managed to keep it nice and clean for the week, even in the rain and mud.

I mean, look at this. Who wouldn’t want to jump in this car and go for a ride? At only $21k starting MSRP, anyone can afford to drive in style (and Safety!).

img_20170121_132114_787

The exterior reminds me alot of a BMW, just the curviness and sleek front end. The headlights are just like any new 2017 vehicle, hologen, very bright and have feature to be automatic so that you don’t ever need to remember to turn them on and off.

That’s something I used to whole time as I currently use it in my Ford.

20170121_124846.jpg

One thing that stands out to me is the number of safety features it has right off the bat. Similar to the 2016 model, which was a top rated safety vehicle of 2016, the 2017 model has the windshield display that is projected and only the driver can see it.

20170121_141817.jpg

It’s customizable and shows stop signs, vehicle distance and speed limit. It alerts you if you are tailgating too close, or trying to get over when another vehicle is in your blind spot. The navigation also links to this display so that you do not have to take your eyes off of forward view and look at the console. I really liked how the display looks and the subtle alerts are a big help, especially when driving with kids can be distracting (did I mention 2 boys yelling at their tablet games in the back?).

20170122_144924.jpg

As a compact vehicle, you really do not give up much space with this one. The trunk is huge and can be folded down to the back seat to allow for deeper cargo to be transported. I was able to fit a weeks worth of groceries in the trunk with no  problem.

Gas mileage is WONDERFUL, avg is 32hmpg. I had it for an entire week, with a filled tank i drove out of state to the casino, to and from work daily, which is 25 minutes away, and misc other errands and did not need to put gas on it once.

20170121_125704.jpg

One of the things we did this week is go to Benihana with the kids. It was my 4 year olds first time there and he enjoyed the flames coming from the hibatchi grill maybe as much as he enjoyed the chopsticks. This is one of my favorite places to eat, the chicken fried rice is to die for! Luckily I’m part of the birthday club so every year I get a $30 certificate to use to cover my meal. If you haven’t been, I suggest you go.

20170126_18395920170126_18364620170126_19105820170126_194506

We had a great weekend overall thanks to Mazda for giving us this ride for the week to make it happen!

Last but not least, I want to touch on Mazda’s amazing donation program “drive for good”.  Mazda established the Mazda Drive for Good charitable program as a way to give back to the communities in which it does business. Since it’s launch in 2013, the Mazda program has donated more than $12.9 million, has pledged not than 192,000 charitable service hours, and continues to provide monetary donations and community service throughout the year

I used my card to donate to St. Jude’s Cancer hospital for children as it is something that is very important to me.

20170122_100128

Enter a caption

Drive Mazda, Drive for Good.

Here are some additional images of the Mazda6;

2017 Mitsubishi Lancer

The all new 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer was provided to me by DriveShop to test out and give my opinion.

20161012_121633.jpg

We took the Lancer for a nice hour and a half long ride to Fright Fest to test it out. Any excuse to go to a theme park is good with me! My initial thoughts were a bit skewed because I drive a fairly large 2016 truck, so any car is inferior in my opinion. This being a 2017, the first thing I noticed was it definitely couldn’t be the fully loaded version. It was not equipped with navigation which I thought came standard in almost every vehicle these days. But maybe I’m wrong. Either way, with this model, you’d need to get an upgraded package that includes navigation.

This is my first time driving any Mitsubishi, so I am not sure if this is a standard for them, but the keyless entry in this specific car is a little odd in my opinion. I am so used to push start, that I guess I don’t understand why there would be an almost keyed like ignition start. It isn’t a key, but rather shaped like one, and you push it in and turn it. I just don’t see the point of it. Again, maybe it isn’t just this model, and its a Mitsubishi brand thing. My dream car when I was a teen was a Mitsubishi eclipse, and I never did actually get it, darn!

There is a back up camera, like any other vehicle made after 2013, and it’s quite accurate. I felt comfortable relying on it as I packed in and out of parking spots and my driveway. Some vehicles cameras are not as clear, or do not include the entire view, but this one did.

20161007_073454.jpg

I loved the exterior. It was so pretty, especially when the sunlight hits it. This color is not just white, but it’s called Pearl for a reason. In the sunlight, it is such a beautiful, sparkling pearl color. The black leather interior really compliments it well, and the rims are stunning!

20161012_073659.jpg

Since I had this car for a week, I took it to and from work more then anywhere. I work up in the mountains, so the daily drive includes a vigorous incline on the way to work, and a long and slow decline on the way home. Let me tell you, this Lancer took it like a champ! I felt comfortable driving up and down the hilly slopes and felt like I had total control over the car. That definitely has to do with the face that it was 4 wheel drive option. There is a button in the center that you can switch easily between 2 wheel and 4 wheel drive which was a plus.

20161010_080506

The halogen lights were beautiful and helped with driving home from our long drive to six flags. They were super bright and I felt like it was a smooth ride home. Did I mention gas in this car is great!?! It’s everything I love about a sedan as opposed to my gas guzzling truck.

What a nice vehicle inside an out. There sunroof was an added bonus, especially since it’s the fall and the beautiful sunshine is still poking through the clouds often. I didn’t get a photo of the trunk, but it’s a decent size for a 4 door sedan. I was able to fit food for the week for our family of 4 in the truck with no issues. It also has the option to fold down the back row seats one at a time for added trunk space.

I have to say, the only con is the lack of navigation being standard. The driver and passenger seats were manual control, which is also a bit outdated in a 2017 model, but it’s less of an issue as it a critique.

Overall, The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer is a nice, reliable vehicle, and it starts at $24,000 which is very well priced for this car. It’s an affordable option for families that may not be able to make the jump to an SUV. You can ride in style while still having the room in the back to fit 2 kids in car seats and another passenger back there with them.

20161008_141755.jpg

Disney World trip with the 2016 Mazda CX-5

1471190093192

This year, we were fortunate enough to be able to take the kids to their first Disney World trip in Florida. I worked with Drive Shop to test out the 2016 Mazda CX-5 for the week while there because we needed something reliable. It definitely did not disappoint!

20160810_090933

The color was excellent for the extreme heat. Glacier White with light beige interior. Perfect to keep the car cool when the sun is beaming down.

 

This crossover SUV fits 5 comfortably and had such a smooth ride. The stylish exterior and interior made driving it around south Florida so much fun. We stayed in Palm Bay which is more on the east coast and had to travel an hour and a half to Disney World in Orlando. The SkyActive technology by Mazda made the gas last the entire week even with the long trips.

20160810_220351

The cruise control came in handy during the long trip on the same road and it had a feature I’ve never seen before. It was a car length sensor that you can set the cruise control to keep the car one, two, or three car lengths behind the car in front of you.

20160810_220628

The center console is where the radio controls are as well as the volume and mute. This system has no power off button, only mute. The large center button is a toggle button. It controls the LCD panel for everything. You can also use the touch screen feature, but when driving the center button is easier to navigate everything.

There is a “sport” button that allows you to easily flip the car into sport mode if you’re on the highway and want to feel some extra “umf”!

20160810_220708

The number one thing is it got us to and from Disney safely! There was a little rain storm on the way there and it drove great in it. One of the best features is when I had to use the brights, it has an “auto” sensor when on the auto feature. This allowed the car to automatically turn the high beams off when there was a vehicle coming, and back on when it passed. I haven’t seen that function on any other vehicle yet.

We had a blast at Disney World and a big thank you to Mazda and DriveShop for providing this vehicle for our travels around south Florida!

 

2016 Hyundai Tucson, Blizzard of 2016, & The Melting Pot

2016 Hyundai Tucson ECO – Cute, Affordable, & Efficient

There was so much going on this week. This is one day that will go down in history, and not just because it was my 30th Birthday (!!!!!) January 23rd 2016, but it was the biggest recorded blizzard on the East Coast in years. The last I remember was actually 20 years ago – the Blizzard of 96′ we all refer to it as.

My plans to go to Atlantic City with my husband for a long weekend were not ruined because I had just gotten the 2016 Hyundai Tucson to review. This made it easier to get out of town (literally!) and make the 1 hour and 30 minute hike to Atlantic City NJ. We wound up having to wait until Sunday to go, but the Tucson made it a smooth ride.

12647732_10208448767757273_1252145621_n

It definitely has a slick exterior an some flashy 17″ Alloy wheels. I thought the fact that it is a keyed entry was a little outdated, but then again, this is the standard model. For this model, it’ll run you only $25K which is amazing for a CUV of this sort. The inside seats 5, but the trunk space is huge! You can fold down the back seats to make it even larger, and the front seat down you can fit something straight from front to back easily.

I also thought about the fact that this CUV is ECO model and gets 29 MPG on avg which again, is a win when you’re talking about a family vehicle that you’ll be driving a lot. The interior felt a little basic to me to, but it works. It’s especially good for those who may not be ready to take the leap into all of the modernized technology around these days. Hyundai is known for their outstaning warranties and this behicle will not disappoint. It comes with a 50,000 Mile New Vehicle Warranty, and 100,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty.

The standard features it does come with is;

  • The touch screen – 3.5″ LCD Display
  • Sirius Radio compatible (with 6 mo free trial subscription)
  • Blue Tooth
  • ECO Option
  • Teether bars for child car seats (3 of them)
  • 17″ Alloy Wheels

This one was FWD, so although it did not do well navigating the unplowed roads, it did handle the slushy, icy, salted roads well. This color is Ruby Wine and there is something about the deep red color that is so attractive, especially with the beige interior.

Check out the video review for footage of the vehicle and how we used it for our weekend getaway even in the 2 feet of snow!

We stayed at Bally’s in Atlantic City and unfortunately we didn’t get to go out to the boardwalk because of the snow. I didn’t get an ocean view room this time but the room was huge and so nice.

Luckily, Bally’s Casino was just 2 blocks from the Melting Pot fondue restaurant that we made reservations at so we were able to walk there. What a nice place for a date night! It took about 2 hours for us to cook and eat all 4 courses (Cheese, Salad, Entree, & Dessert) but that was the best part. We weren’t in a rush, and the atmosphere was just perfect. I got the chicken/shrimp/& Beef terryaki. I have to say, I would never go there just for the entree. It is what it is, you boil the meat to cook it. I prefer it cooked other ways to preserve flavor and have a better texture, but overall we enjoyed the experience and would go back.

I got free chocolate covered strawberries for free for my birthday to take home too!

*Disclosure: I received this vehicle to drive for a week in exchange for my honest opinion and review. All of the opinions and photos are my own.

 

The Beautiful 2015 Hyundai Sante Fe Limited Edition, Chuggington, Tball, & NY Baby Show

2015 Hyundai Sante Fe Limited Edition AWD

1431550182552

I was so excited when I heard I would be testing out the all new 2015 Hyundai Sante Fe in the Limited Edition with All Wheel Drive. It was fully loaded and had so much to offer a family of 4 like mine.

Thanks to the 411 Mommas and Drive Shop for making this review possible.

I LOVE being able to be a guest on the 411 Mommas!

Check out my Video Review on The411Mommas.com or below;

How nice is this vehicle? I mean, seriously, the color is so luxurious, as is the inside. I felt so proud driving this around town and it made me want to seriously consider buying one for my next family SUV. It is a little bigger then what I am used to, but it handled so well that wasn’t an issue at all.

Some of the features that I really loved were the safety features. Like the blind spot monitor which alerts you by beeping or lighting up whenever someone is in your blind spot. How it works, is the car senses when another vehicle is on the side of your car. If you’re driving on the highway, the light will just illuminate as the cars drive by. Right when you put your blinker on to get over (depending on the direction your going) it will beep if there is a vehicle in you blind spot on the side where you’re trying to go.

20150515_15320920150515_15321920150515_153204

Talk about luxury, this baby has heated AND air conditioned seats as well as a heated steering wheel option. The steering wheel sensitivity can also be changed based on what you’re most comfortable with. The frosted mocha color is the one I had, and I have to say it was beautiful! The interior felt so clean with the light wood grain and beige and black seats.

The 3rd row seats have their own controls for heating and air conditioning which is excellent. Any time you have a large SUV, it’s always an issue controlling the temperature throughout the entire vehicle. The back usually has a vent, but not it’s own temperature controls, so that was great. There is also a 12V socket that you can plug into in the trunk as well which is neat. You can blow dry your hair in the trunk of your car in desperate situations! Haha!

20150520_161714_00120150513_175221

The over-sized moon roof extends all the way to the 3rd row seating and would make a great “camp out” for kids in the summer to watch the stars with the AC on and maybe a pillow and blanket. There isn’t only a moon roof. The front portion of the glass is actually a sun roof. You can choose to have that open fully, just a tad, or not at all.

I didn’t have to use the 3rd row seating this time, because it was only the 4 of us in the vehicle this week, so I kept the 3rd row seats down the whole week. When I tell you there is a ton of room, that is almost an understatement. I fit my sons stroller back there, and 2 giant bags of laundry and I still had room for about 3 times that back there. The back seats were split apart, which I loved because you don’t have to lower a rear seat to get to the 3rd row. That was always a turn off for me in other 3rd row seating vehicles because I have 2 kids in car seats. So it was a hassle to pull down the seat for someone to climb back there and again when they get out. It also just made the vehicle feel so open and fresh.

This option had tinted windows, which helped keep it cooler inside. Even though the tinted windows kept most of the sun out of my kids eyes, it was nice to have the visors built in to give that extra sun block. My 2 year old seems to always have the sun-facing seat and complains during most family trips in our current vehicle but he did not complain at all in this one!

I am so in love with this SUV, that even though the gas mileage is 19 MPG and about 10 MPG less the my current vehicle, I don’t even mind. It is so worth the extra gas money to have the added safety and convenience to me. Plus, I started with a full tank, and drove it to and from work each day, and I didn’t even need to put gas in it the entire week. So for my personal use, it was fine and not a gas guzzler.

20150515_192109 20150515_19210320150515_192123_002

I hope you get a chance to check out this car, you will not be let down!

Spring Break Vlog & DriveShop 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE – The 411 Mommas

Check out the Video of our visit to Michigan for Spring Break via the 411 Mommas;

My family and I took a vacation to Michigan to visit family this past week. I was lucky enough to hook up with DriveSTI via the 411 Mommas while there and get to test out the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander for the week. Last time I reviewed the 2015 Outlander Sport, so I was excited to try the standard edition because it had 3rd row seating.11133812_10206294538422886_6840765496378079147_n

The 3rd row seating was probably my favorite feature of this vehicle for this trip. It enabled all of us to travel together in one car rather then taking multiple and following each other. And we sure traveled & shopped a lot!

While I had the vehicle, we visited the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum which was really cool! I have a giveaway going on for 4 passes to this museum if you’re local to Michigan or plan to visit before the year is up (they expire Dec 2015).. Just check out the post below this one.

We also went shopping at the 12 Oaks Mall and made some pit stops along the way. I don’t know what it is, but I love going to malls in other states. There’s something just a little bit different seeing the state pride attire at each.

We took a family 6-person trip to Target and boy did we shop. We left with over 6 bags of stuff filled with toys, clothes, and groceries and guess what? Yep, we were able to fit it ALL in the trunk with one of the 3rd row seats pushed down as well as a stroller AND my sister in-law in the far back seat. It made it easy that she was able to hop out of the back of the trunk being that I had a car seat and booster seat and myself in the middle row. I didn’t have to worry about folding the seat down to let her out.

The push to start was another plus, but you already know I fell in love with that feature from my last review for DriveSTI. When you’re a big shopped like me, it’s easy to open the car or trunk with a quick tap instead of fiddling with your keys or in my case, trying to find them in your purse while holding bags and a 2 year old.

This standard model (I had the Cosmic Blue color if you’re wondering) didn’t come with a GPS built it. I thought that was odd being that it is 2015 and all vehicles should come equipped standard with GPS, but I guess it’s still an “upgrade”. It did still feature a 6.1″ touch screen panel to maneuver the audio features and also had the controls built into the steering wheel which I loved.

The temperature in Michigan was still in the upper 50’s, so we needed to use the heated seats quite a bit. I have to say, I miss these the most! It was rainy majority of the time – April showers, so we didn’t get to enjoy the sunroof, which was a bit small in my opinion anyway,

The gas mileage on this was amazing for how big it was, 26 MPG combined, but it’s a 4 cylinder, so the pick up when you press the gas shows it.To me though, gas mileage is a big deal and I rather have the car move just a bit slower then fill it up everyday.

All in all, we enjoyed having this addition to our vacation and it allowed us more time with our family instead of driving to our destinations in different vehicles.

IMG_2632 IMG_2633 IMG_2634

  • I received this vehicle for review purposes but all views and opinions are 100% my own.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be a guest on the 411 Mommas (www.the411mommas.com) and get to review this amazing vehicle!

Check out my in depth review of the car I had for a week, 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport on the411mommas.com! I absolutely loved being a #guest411momma. Head over check out their youtube channel as well for some amazing tips and fun videos!

Overall, we really loved having this SUV as part of our family for the week!

IMG_2516IMG_2543

This 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport gets 27 MPG Combined – 24 MPG city/30 MPG highway. I had it for a week and drove about 300 miles city/highway and still had a half tank of gas! I was very pleased with how it balanced out when you drive on highway vs city and there is an”ECO” indicator that I am not sure what it meant, but it did flash from time to time. I assume it’s saying I am driving ECO friendly? LOL!

There is a large panoramic moon roof that my kids adored. My 2 year old especially loved looking at airplanes in the sky IMG_2523while I was driving. It was a useful built in tool to keep him occupied. This would be great in the Summer at night to turn on the heated seats, lay the front seats down, and star gaze out of the moon roof!

It has the best heated seats I have ever seen. They don’t only heat on the seat, but also the lower back area which made the ride home from work that much better!

I didn’t get a chance to use it because I’m not a big blue tooth guru, but it does come with a FUSE hands-free link system built into the 7″ HD touch screen. Also, within the same screen, you can touch a button to turn on the map or to turn on GPS.

The navigation system includes 3D Mapping and free map upgrades yearly.

A funny story about the touch screen/audio, I was a bit confused at first that there wasn’t a slot or section to put a CD. I figured maybe I’m getting old and since it is 2015, people don’t use CD’s anymore… Well, I found a little button and had to push it. To my satisfaction, the screen flipped open, and there it was, the CD slot! They sure thought of it all! There were slots there for updating MAPs and another that looked like a memory card slot – I am not too sure what it is for though.

Something cool I definitely noticed while driving home late at night from work on the highway was the auto-dimming rear view mirror.At first I actually thought I was just seeing things when I noticed bright lights behind me turning this darker greenish hue. For me, this was amazing. I would’ve never even thought something like this existed. I have contacts and my vision at night is very poor. I get halo’s around headlights that shine brightly through the mirror, and this completely fixed that issue for me. I felt very safe driving at night. The amazingly bright LED headlights helped with that too!!!

The keyless entry feature has officially spoiled me. I know it’s 2015, and I am sure a lot of cars are going this route, but wow. It made my shopping trips with my 2 year old much easier. I was able to leave my keys in my purse, and as long as the keys were near the car, I could unlock the car with a button on the door. I’d have to imagine… I say imagine because I only had 1 key for testing purposes and didn’t want to test my luck.. but I’d have to imagine that this would make it nearly impossible to lock your keys in your car. I would think that since they’re in the car, the outside button would allow you to press to unlock. If anyone can confirm this for keyless entry -please comment below!

Either way, it’s still awesome and a luxury you would never know you’re missing out on until you try it for a week! The same for starting and stopping the ignition, completely keyless!IMG_2575

It drove fantastic in the snow in the 4WD option and I am sure the all season tires had much to do with that. The fact that there is an option that is as simple as the push of a button to change from 4WD lock, to 2WD, to 4WD auto is great. On a nice summer day with no need to have 4WD, you can save even more on gas mileage by switching to 2WD but just pushing a button! How about that March snow, huh?!

IMG_2544The only thing I can say I’d improve overall on this vehicle is the trunk space. I know it is a SUV Sport model, so it is smaller and more compact, but all the luxuries of an SUV, but with having car seats always in the vehicle, the fold down trunk space would hardly be used, leaving only a small trunk. It made it hard to fit my stroller with my weekly groceries in the trunk alone.