The Big Three: How to Buy Your Next Car, Truck or SUV

What's the big three? It is the three big question all car buyers should be asking themselves each time they begin their search for their next vehicle. Question 1: Be honest with yourself and your partner (if you have one).  Will you be leasing or buying this vehicle? Do you like to haggle and strike a deal?  Before you even begin to do your research you have to know how much money you can spend each month on a car payment.  Do you have money for a down payment or will you be trading in a vehicle?  These answers can all affect the price of your next car, truck or SUV. For us, we will be buying our next SUV and plan to own it for the about ten plus years.  That's a long time to many people in the car world today.  While I know our budget has to be under a certain amount I do try to … [Read more...]

How the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata Re-Energized Me

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?  Last week the Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring RF answered that age old question for me. Source: Victoria Mason What's Old is New At this point in my life, I have been driving for 25 years.  Yikes! That's three years less than the age of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. But, I had a secret and it was really starting to get to me. I couldn't drive stick.  Nope, only automatics for me.  I had tried to learn years ago when I first got married but deployments got in the way and we never owned another manual car again after that desert stint.  I write about cars and I couldn't drive stick.  How sad is that? How embarrassing! When the 2017 Mazda MX-5 also known to most as the Miata drove up to my driveway I knew things had to change.  I was going to use this … [Read more...]

2 Ways the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Help Us Create a Summer to Remember

Sunrise on the beach with the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser. Source: Victoria Mason Toyota loves to say, "Let's go places!" And that's exactly what we did with the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser with its V8 engine and 4WD this summer. We did a lot of traveling and spent a great deal of time together as one big family unit, especially during the month of August.  It was as if we were really feeling the waning days of summer and wanted to chase after them, even if it meant we had to get in the car and drive for hours on end to do so. I'm talking to you eclipse traffic. The Land Cruiser is part of those memories because it gave us the ability to do exactly what we wanted without sacrificing comfort or safety at any point during our two trips.  First, when we were northbound to Bethany Beach, DE … [Read more...]

Cruising in a Five Passenger Crossover with the 2017 Mazda CX-5

It is not often that I get to review a car that I like multiple times over the years. It is fun to see the changes that occur in technology and design. It is, even more, fun to see a good car get better over time. That's what I see with the 2017 Mazda CX-5. 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD in Soul Red. Source: Victoria Mason First Impressions I wasn't initially supposed to have the CX-5 but a small issue with my intended car brought this five-passenger crossover SUV back into my life and driveway.  I have always loved this car in years past and this time was no different. The 2017 model is redesigned.  That shows in the more upscale interior styling and with the Grand Touring (tested model) a few standard extras like, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane keeping … [Read more...]

Seeing the Possibilities in a Sedan Again with the 2017 Genesis G80

It's not often that I drive a sedan like the 2017 Genesis G80 and think, "I might own this. I can see this car in my future." It's even less often that my husband says the same thing even after I tell him the sticker price. That was totally the case with the 2017 Genesis G80 with AWD. Source: Victoria Mason Seeing Sedans Fresh off a road trip with 'Chloe' my crammed full SUV, I was ready to climb inside a brand new spacious sedan with leather interior.  The Genesis G80, formerly the Hyundai Genesis, doesn't scream "take me on a road trip with kids!". Instead, it indulges you with its soft leather interior and ticking dashboard clock that takes you back to another time.  The time before kids or maybe back to the future. A time when I'm not shuttling those cherubs around anymore and … [Read more...]

Brains On Podcast is Fun for the Whole Family

Do you listen to podcasts?  Have you heard of Brains On? Piling the whole family into the car and setting out on a road trip is an American tradition, especially in the warm summer months.  I know we have at least three planned before school is back in session. Podcast-loving parents, such as myself, have a new family-friendly resource called Brains On! Think Radio Lab for the younger set. And this summer, the science podcast for kids from American Public Media is dedicating all five of its June episodes to cars! YAY!!!  You know I love it! Brains On! episodes offer variety: each program mixes science facts, expert interviews, experts interviewed by kids, funny skits, guessing games, and original songs. On June 9, 16, 20, 23 and 30, the car and road trip series will enthrall the … [Read more...]

2017 Toyota Highlander SE AWD Turns My Head

Back in 2015, I did a 'Trunk Show' about the 2015 Toyota Highlander and I wasn't too impressed. I didn't do a full review and I found the Highlander sluggish with an interior that didn't inspire and drove more like a minivan. I know that the Highlander is incredibly popular among car buyers and I get why. It drives like a car because it is on that type of platform, it gets excellent gas mileage and is a safe ride.  Does that ring true for the refreshed 2017 Toyota Highlander SE with AWD that I tested out last month?  Let's find out. The light plays tricks on the 2017 Toyota Highlander SE 'Salsa Red' paint. Source: Victoria Mason On the Outside with the Toyota Highlander The 2017 model, a third-generation Highlander,  features a slightly sportier look than the previous model I … [Read more...]

Commuter Happiness with the 2017 Toyota RAV4 XLE

Looking for a compact crossover? Find out what the 2017 Toyota RAV4 was like during the week that I drove it around town. Source: Toyota First Impressions on the 2017 Toyota RAV4 I cannot say it was easy going from the Lexus crossover to the Toyota RAV4.  You cannot compare the two vehicles.  However, I kept an open mind the week I drove the RAV4.  The 2017 Toyota RAV4 may not be a head turner but it will serve you well on the road and offers good gas mileage and storage capabilities. What's New New this year to the RAV4 is the Toyota Star Safety System package that now comes standard.  It includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, smart stop technology, and electronic brake force distribution, steering assist, pedestrian … [Read more...]

2017 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport

We have had our share of rainy days this May. I'm not going to lie and say it was fine with me. I needed a little inspiration. Something sleek with dynamic styling and a bit of sportiness thrown in to combat the rainy day blues. The Lexus RX 350 F-Sport was just the thing to cure the doldrums of spring. 2017 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport. Source: Victoria Mason Lexus RX 350 F-Sport First Impressions It's rare that I get excited over a crossover SUV.  It is even harder for me to wish the car in review could stay just a little bit longer, but that is exactly how I felt with the Lexus RX 350 F-Sport.  I cannot deny that the 'Atomic Silver' color with red leather interior and bolstered seats didn't sway me.  They totally did each time I climbed into the driver's seat.  For me and my … [Read more...]

2017 Hyundai Ioniq-One Car, Three Choices

Last week I headed down to Durham, NC to check out the latest that Hyundai has to offer, the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq. I love getting the chance to head out on the road with a new vehicle.  To study it, hear its story from the manufacturer and really get to know it in an environment that isn't my own backyard. The Ioniq while focused on attracting eco-focused buyers (it comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models) is a real deal five passenger sedan.  I may need to say that again to get my point across.  There is no bulky battery to get in the way of anyone's leg room or hog the trunk space with the Ioniq.  Why? It's because the battery pack is located under the passenger seats. Simply put it is the first dedicated green vehicle that comes with a lifetime warranty for … [Read more...]