My Birthday Weekend with the 2017 Mazda 6 Grand touring

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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.

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

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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?).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Disney World trip with the 2016 Mazda CX-5

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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”!

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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 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD Review

2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD

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I had the opportunity this first week of April to check out the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL in Platinum Graphite thanks for DriveShop. I always love doing car reviews because seeing all of the different options available as they come out makes it really easy for me to choose a car that is right for my family. Sometimes you see a vehicle that looks really beautiful, but then you test drive it, and end up disappointed. Luckily, for anyone looking to get a Kia Sorento for their family, this is not one of the disappointments in my opinion.

Check out my initial reaction when I got the keys for the first time.

If you’ve seen any of my other vehicle reviews, you probably already know that my favorite part is the panoramic moon roof. It just adds so much life to the interior. I usually leave it open everyday to keep the inside feeling bright and big. There is nothing saying you need to keep your moon roof closed and have the car looking dark inside! I do the same with my personal car although there isn’t an awesome panoramic style moon roof in it.

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Do you see how bright it is in the car? Look at all of that natural lighting! You can do your own photo shoot in the car.

The interior in this model is black nappa leather trim and ivory. Immediately after getting into this car, I was in love with how luxurious it looks and feels inside. The seats were so soft and cozy and the front AND middle seats all offer the controlled heated seat option with the front also offering air conditioned seats which is lux-urious! The steering wheel has a heated option as well which is great.

 

You can tell the difference in lighting when the moon roof is closed. Do yourself a favor, keep it open!

The way this car drove was amazing. The 6 cylinders gave great pick up and the car drove smoothly and very comfortably. The new age systems inside were a little difficult to navigate as far as all of the options available, but I am sure if I had longer then 1 week with the vehicle an actually read the manual I’d have it all down to a science.

The back up camera in this model is very efficient. It took a little getting used to, but it has an ACTUAL camera view on the top of the car that allows you to not only see the back of your vehicle like most, but also the front and sides. It gives you multiple camera options too depending on where you want to look. The car monitors and beeps at you to let you know if anything is in your path.

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My one complaint with this car, and again, I did not read the manual, but I couldn’t figure it out if it is an actual option, is that I cannot control the rear heat/AC. The 3rd row has the option for the passenger to control the heat/AC back there which is great… but who usually sits in the 3rd row? Kids rights? I don’t want them controlling their own heating and cooling without me having the option to “fix” it while I am driving on the highway. I can foresee numerous fights ensuing over it which a parent is stuck listening to it without the option to fix it without stopping or pulling over. That is something that would bug me if I was the owner of this 3rd row SUV.

The trunk space is really, really tiny and it is expected with the compactness of this vehicle. But when I say small.. I mean really small. It barely fit an umbrella stroller in it when I took some friends for a play date to the local mall an utilized the 3rd row. But hey, take the good with the bad right? The inside was cozy and spacious even with the 3rd row up. Also, the trunk has a good amount of space when the 3rd row is down.

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For the price of this specific model with all of the options, I think it’s a little high for a KIA in particular with a price tag of $46k, but this is fully loaded. I say for a KIA because before these models recently, KIA was seen as a cheaply made vehicle at an affordable price. It isn’t the case anymore as they’ve stepped it up a lot, but the resale value is currently not great on a KIA at the moment. As far as the interior that I was so excited about, the nappa leather seats leave a little to be desired because although they look beautiful and I’d probably pay extra to have them, they seem like they’d rip or tear easily for like “pleather” instead of real leather which is thicker. Here is the window sticker of this exact model with all of the options I spoke about;

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19MPG avg is a little lower then I’d expect for a smaller SUV such as the Kia Sorento.

Here’s some more look into the details. Look at the gas and break, they look like straight out of a race car!

Overall, we had a great time with this car for the week. It proved to be able to take on a ny task we had for it, including BOYS! My son was trying to participate in the vlogging review of the car and he was able to stand straight up in the back which was cool for him.

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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.

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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.

 

Review of the 2016 Mazda 6

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This past week I had the privilege of testing out the Mazda 6 Grand Touring from DriveShop. That gave me something else to be thankful for during the Thanksgiving week!

This beautiful deep red color I had is called “Soul Red”. I was never a big red car person. I mean, they’re nice, but I usually go for the black or beige colors. Wow. Wow is all I can say. I felt so luxurious and stylish driving around in this beautiful red car. I had so many compliments on it everywhere I went. It is for sure a show stopper.

Surprisingly affordable, the Starting MSRP for this model is $21,495. The navigation system and sirius satallite radio come standard in this vehicle at no extra charge which is a bonus!

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The inside of this one is not far behind the luxury of the outside. In fact its right on par. Having a family of 4, and both kids being in car & booster seats, space is always a number one concern. That is the reason I went to a “mom mobile” aka an SUV sometime back. The Mazda 6 was shockingly roomy an fir us all with room to spare. The boys loved it an called it “The red car”. I thought my 3 year old was literally going to cry when I had to give it back! There was a small sunroof that made it feel that much more open and let some extra light in. It was cold an the heated seat feature got a lot of use! The interior color in this model is Black/Espresso. The black makes it easy to hide dirt generated from little boys! LOL!

Did I mention that the driver seat has a memory button that remembers just how you like your seat? Two of them to be exact. How convenient because I hate getting in the car after my husband has the seat pushed all the way back and I can’t reach the pedals! Pushing 1 or 2 lets the seat do all of the work to get it back to exactly how I like it, and quickly.

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The trunk space is another thing that shocked me. It fits almost as much as my Mazda CX-7 does and that’s an SUV. It isn’t too high, but the depth of it makes you actually have to step back and figure out how it goes back so far!

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The active driving display, or as I like to call it, the futuristic dashboard is one of the features that makes the Mazda 6 one of the top rated safety vehicles of 2015. It has something I haven’t seen before, which is the ability to tell you when you’re riding far enough away from the car in front of you. It’s funny because that is one of the things my husband always criticized about my driving. He says I tailgate the cars in front of me often… I don’t agree, but this feature sure helps me be mindful of how far back I should be to be at a safe distance. The other safety features are the back up camera, the blind spot alert on the side view mirrors, and the drifting lane alert. It’s a little hard to see in a photo because it’s through a glass, but here is the active driving display showing some of what I covered above.

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After having this vehicle for a week during the holidays, it really made me think about how I’d love to have this vehicle even though it is a sedan. I do miss it, as do my kids. It is certainly a contender in any of our choices for a sedan in the future if we decide to go that route. Mazda has outdone itself again!

The warranty it comes with is 36 month/36,000 miles bumper to bumper. 60 month/60,000 mile powertrain warrantly.

#ZoomZoom!

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

2015 Hyundai Sante Fe Limited Edition AWD

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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.

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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!

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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.

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