Car Reviews

Car Q&A: 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mitsubishi, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMitsubishi.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $17,830
MPG Estimate: 35 city – 42 highway
Engine:  1.2L MIVEC DOHC 12-valve 3-cylinder
Power:  78 hp @ 6,000 rpm  | 74 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission:   Continuous Variable Transmission
Color:  Infrared (exterior) / Black (interior)

For more info, click here to view the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 brochure.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

As much as I enjoy test driving SUVs, it’s always fun to have a smaller car to zip around town in. They’re more fuel efficient, easy to park, and if you get stuck underneath it, you can probably find a few strong folks to lift it off of you.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

Enter, the Mitsubishi Mirage. It’s kind of an adorable car. You’re tempted to both pinch its cheek and also try and lift it off the ground.  Despite the cheek-pinching, the Mirage was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:

Get in my Mouf (GIMM):  You are not a figment of my imagination, correct?

Mirage:  A Mirage joke. Very Clever. Yes, I am a real.

GIMM:  What’s with the name, then?

Mirage:  I like to think of myself as a thirst quenching pool of water in a dessert of cars.

GIMM:  Dessert or desert?

Mirage:  Dessert.

GIMM:  Dessert?

Mirage:  Yes, the world as a sweet place, filled with candy, ice cream, and pastries.

GIMM:  Like the game, Candyland.

Mirage:  Never heard of it. Look, in this world we live in, I find it’s best to be an optimist. Some might say that my trunk is half full, but I would argue that it’s half-empty.

GIMM:  I think you have that backwards…

Mirage:  No, if it’s half empty, that’s a good thing.  It means, there’s room for more suitcases, more beach towels, more picnic foods.

GIMM:  You seem to subscribe to the ol’ adage of “big things come in small packages” philosophy.

Mirage:  Quite the contrary, that adage is cliché, dated, and it really is offensive to small packages. I’m a small car and I embrace that. For example, I bet you could parallel park two of me in one space.

I’ve seen the way you park; you need all the help you can get.

GIMM:  Fair enough.

Mirage:  But should it be fair enough? Life is naturally not fair. If it were fair for everybody, then would that not actually be unfair to those who would otherwise have an advantage?

GIMM:  You’re quite the philosopher.

Mirage:  Am I, or is it just a figment of your imagination?

GIMM:  …anyway, your gas milage is very efficient.

Mirage:  Miles and gallons are simply man-made constructs in which we subjectively measure what is efficient. I believe efficiency is a measure of pleasure, divided by time.

GIMM: And now we’re doing math…

Mirage:  But either way, by your human definition and my more accurate definition… I am indeed efficient.

GIMM: Last question–or rather, I’ll just make a statement and you can turn it into something deeper and more philosophical. Your warranty coverage is one of the best in the industry: 10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable New Vehicle Limited Warranty, a 7-year/100,000-mile Anti-Corrosion/Perforation Limited Warranty and 5-year/ Unlimited Miles Roadside Assistance.

Mirage: Yes, I’m pretty well covered.

GIMM:  That’s it?!

Mirage. Yes. Sometimes saying nothing is more powerful than saying something.

GIMM: There it is.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 | getinmymouf.com

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Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mitsubishi. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions and fake interviews with inanimate objects remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

Car Q&A: 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a few days. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $34,350
MPG Estimate: 21 city – 27 highway
Engine:  Skyactiv-G 2.5L 4-Cyl Engine
Power:  184 hp | 185 lb-ft of torque
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Machine Grey Metallic (exterior) / Parchment Nappa Leather (interior)
Options:  GT Premium Package (regenerative braking system, active grille shutters, shifter LED accent lighting, bright finish interior trim, Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, steering wheel w/ unique stitch, black headliner)

For more info, click here to view the 2017 Mazda6 Brochure.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

We spent a mostly rainy week with the 2017 Mazda6.  Sure, we wished the weather was better, but the Mazda6 still made the most of running errands, commuting to work, and chauffeuring a labradoodle around town. Although we didn’t have an opportunity to take any fun road trips or long weekend drives, the Mazda6 did make for a solid daily driver.

With features galore, for example excellent handling and surprisingly good gas mileage, we were excited to sit down with this beautiful automotive creation for a quick Q&A:

Get in my Mouf (GIMM):  Should we discuss the elephant in the room first?

Mazda6:  Not sure I follow you…

GIMM:  I test drove a previous version of you–2015, I think–and came very close to making a purchase.

Mazda6:  Way to make this awkward interview right out of the gate. Why didn’t you?

GIMMIt just wasn’t a fit at that time–Look, I wanted to address it, but let’s not dwell in the past.

Mazda6:  For the record, you brought it up. Why don’t you go ahead and ask what my favorite food is. This is a food blog. That’s your schtick, right?

GIMM: We’ll get to that, but I wanted to first ask you about the Lane-Keep Assist. It’s a pretty slick safety feature that autocorrects the steering wheel if you start to drift out of a lane.

Mazda6:  Apples.  That would be my favorite food.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

GIMM:  Okay. That’s jumping ahead a bit–

Mazda6:  Crisp and juicy. They can be sweet, tart, or both. It’s a breakfast food, it’s a dessert, it’s a snack. What can’t an apple do? As a vehicle that’s what I aspire to be. I want people to think of me as being as versatile as an apple.

GIMM:  Judging by your reviews on Edmunds, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend, I think it’s safe to say people are viewing you a versatile option. Speaking of safe, the Lane-Keep assist is a nice feature that–

Mazda6:  Sure I get solid reviews from all the pros, but you know what really gets me psyched? The people. That’s who I do this for. Read these reviews.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

GIMM:  Yes, I have read those. We prepare pretty thoroughly for our interviews.

Mazda6:  Of course you do. Anyway, when I read things like “Best car out of 12 that I have owned” it makes me feel like I’m truly making a difference out there. When people go car shopping, too often they have to sacrifice something–budget, performance, options. But, I feel like I do a pretty good job of minimizing those sacrifices. I help people realize that they can have it all in one vehicle:  Race-car like handling, high-tech safety features, luxury-car comfort, impressive fuel economy–all combined in a family sedan that looks “sexy as hell”. That last description is an actual quote from a reviewer.

GIMM:  Of course it is. Anyway, speaking of high-tech safety features–

Mazda6:  *Sighs* Yes, the Lane-Keep assist is cool. If the driver is distracted, it allows me to temporarily take control of the steering wheel to ensure the car doesn’t drift out of the lane.

GIMM:  You like to be in control, don’t you?

Mazda6:  This interview is over.

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring | getinmymouf.com

***

Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions and fake interviews with inanimate objects remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

Car Q&A: 2016 Mazda CX-9 AWD Signature

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a few days. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $44,915
MPG Estimate: 21 city – 27 highway
Engine:  Skyactiv-G 2.5 Turbo Engine
Power:  250 hp @ 5,000 rpm  | 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Sonic Silver Metallic (exterior) / Auburn (interior)
Options:  Navigation System and Sirius XM Satellite Radio

For more info, click here to view the 2016 CX-9 Brochure.

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

Look, you don’t need me to convince you to check out the 2016 Mazda CX-9 AWD Signature. Plenty of experts have already written enough praise about this vehicle to make you want to trade in that ’98 Explorer for something far more fun. Oh, you want me to list the experts? Fine. Car and Driver gave it a perfect five star review. Consumer Reports called it the “Driver’s Choice”. Maybe an “A” grade from Edmunds is what you’re looking for

Rather than listen to one more person rave about this piece of four-wheeled vehicular art, we thought it would be better to go straight to the CX-9 itself on what the spotlight is like. While spending some time eating tacos and pie in LA, we sat down in the CX-9 for a quick interview:

Get in my Mouf (GIMM): You’ve received quite a bit of accolades over the last year. From your design, to interior craftsmanship, to performance. What are you most proud of?

CX-9:  Definitely the performance. Looking good is nice, having all the bells and whistles is great and all, but first and foremost, I’m a vehicle. My fleet’s motto is “Driving Matters” for a reason. It ain’t “Comfortable Seats Matters.” But, without sounding too boisterous, my seats are very comfortable.

photo-nov-12-10-12-10-am

GIMM:  Yes, they are–And beautiful in that Auburn color. Seeing as how you pride yourself in performance, what are some of your favorite roads to travel on?

CX-9:  Easy one. I’ve spent most of my time in California, so definitely the PCH.

GIMM:  You and I actually spent a bit of time on the PCH in Malibu together.

CX-9:  And that was nothing! Next time you’re out here, I’ll take you up further north into Santa Barbara and up to the holy grail of driving at Big Sur.

GIMM:  You mention Big Sur–We’ve previously driven on that road with a Mazda CX-3 and I think most people think of sports cars or smaller vehicles to get the full experience of the road. Being an SUV, how would you like to change people’s minds about the “big and bulky” SUV stereotype?

CX-9:  It’s more difficult than simply telling them. To break the stereotype, they really need to meet me. Sit behind the wheel and let the performance do all the talking. Look, I enjoying doing interviews like this, but what really brings me joy is getting out there to meet people and change minds. I encourage any of your readers who may be undecided about SUVs to just take an hour or so to visit their local dealer and give the CX-9 a shot.

GIMM:  You mentioned the fact that you’re based in California, home to some of the most amazing food in the country. I know you don’t eat human food, but is there any genre or dish that you wish you could eat?

CX-9:  Tacos.

GIMM:  Nice choice – Any particular type?

CX-9:  No. I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, so I see a lot of taco stands and my drivers are always tossing bags of tacos in the back seat. They smell so amazing. One time someone spilled carnitas juice on my floorboard. That was as close as I’ve gotten to tasting a taco, but it made me wish I was a human for a second.

GIMM: Getting back to bells and whistles, you do have quite a few. The Bose stereo system is pretty sweet – What’s your favorite type of music to rock out to?

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

CX-9:  I’m partial to television and movie soundtracks – Stranger Things is a recent favorite and of course Drive. It makes me feel like I’m one of those famous cars in the film industry. And with my performance, the driver can easily pretend they’re in an action movie.

GIMM:  While obeying all traffic laws.

CX-9:  Absolutely.

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

GIMM:  I want to wrap things up by talking about dogs. What are you thoughts on having a dog in the car?

CX-9:  I can tell you’re trying to push me into saying something bad about dogs and how I get frustrated with their loose hair clogging up my vents and getting stuck to my carpet.

GIMM:  I wouldn’t dare.

CX-9:  The truth is that when I see their heads hanging out the window, tongue flapping in the wind, and wagging tails, it’s all worth it. Dogs get it…the performance, the thrill of driving (or riding in this case). The fun and exhilaration of exploring the world, one road at a time. That’s why driving matters.

GIMM:  Now that’s how you end an interview!

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature | getinmymouf.com

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Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions and fake interviews with inanimate objects remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Kia, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveKia.

This marks the second Kia Optima that we’ve been able to try out. The last one was a model year older and was not a turbo. So, there will be a lot of comparisons to our experience with the older, non-turbo, Optima. Was this Kia worth waiting an extra year and spending more money for the turbo and additional features? Sure! And I’m really wondering why they make cars without turbos…

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Oh and don’t forget to check out our companion video post, in which we take full advantage of the Optima’s turbo on one of our favorite local roads.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $35,315
MPG Estimate: 22 city – 32 highway
Engine:  2.0L Turbo Gas Direct Injection, 4 cylnders
Power:  245 hp @ 6000 rpm | 260 ft-lbs @ 1350 rpm
Transmission:  6-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ Active Eco System
Color:  Remington Red
Options:  SXT Premium Technology Package (HID headlights w/ high-beam assist, panoramic sunroof, Harmon Kardon QLS premium surround sound, power front passenger’s seat w/ lumbar, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seat cushions,  front collision warning, blind spot detection system, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist system, lane departure warning system, autonomous emergency braking system, advanced smart cruise control, surround view monitor, and LED overhead interior lighting)

Click here for the 2016 Kia Optima brochure.

Comfort

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

I remember the 2015 Optima’s driver’s seat being a tad bit comfier, with a softer couch-like feeling. These seats aren’t uncomfortable, but they felt stiffer. The SXT Premium Technology Package does include a front power passenger’s seat, which was a vast improvement over the stationary passenger seat in the 2015 model we tried. As a passenger it was waaaaaaaay too low and felt like you were sitting on the floor. So, if you have shorter passengers, they’ll be happy you splurged for the package with the better seat.

Amenities

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

The entertainment system remains above average and is easy to use, but the show-sealers (much like in the 2016 Kia Sorento) included the 360-view camera and panoramic sunroof. The car isn’t huge, but it’s still nice to have that 360 view…just in case. And that sunroof is ice cold (cooler than being cool). You don’t even need to really use the sunroof, just the fact that it creates a two-toned look, adds some real street cred. And by using the term “street cred” I probably just lost all of mine.

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Performance

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Is it worth it to spend a bit more and lose some MPG’s for the turbo? Yes. Of course. Always, yes. When someone offers you turbo, you accept it. Sure the non-turbo is fine. But do you really want to live life with just “fine”? Seriously, is this even a conversation? Just get the turbo.

As far as handling goes, the road feel is improved–Still not to a place where I’m excited to drive solely based on handling, but it’s getting closer than last year’s car.

Who Should Buy This Car

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

If you’re looking for an affordable TURBO-CHARGED sedan with all the bells and whistles, give a hard look to the 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo. Look, I realize that for some people, buying a Kia isn’t even on their radar. Before we were given the opportunity to test drive a few, I honestly didn’t think they could compete with some of the other brands. So, if you are in the market for a sedan, just take it for a test drive. You might be surprised!

Gratuitous Dog Picture

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Since this wasn’t an SUV, Cooper had no problem getting into and out of the Optima. I’m not sure he even noticed that it wasn’t my daily driver. The only thing he’s not quite sure about is that sunroof–Anything that moves by itself is clearly powered by evil wizards sent to destroy all dogs from earth.

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Disclaimer:  As noted above, we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Kia. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.

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Car Reviews

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mitsubishi Motors, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMitsubishi.

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We needed a small, sporty car for a California trip starting in Los Angeles and ending in San Diego, so we were matched up with a 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC. Having minimal experience with Mitsubishi, I was intrigued since the Lancer is one of the least expensive all-wheel-drive sedans money can buy.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $22,805
MPG Estimate: 23 city – 31 highway
Engine:  2.4L MIVEC SOHC 16-valve, 4 cylnders
Power:  168 hp @ 6000 rpm  | 167 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm
Transmission:   CVT
Color:  Diamond White Pearl

For more info, click here to view the 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer brochure.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

An evening in University Heights – San Diego, CA

Comfort

I’m seat-spoiled in my daily driver, so I wasn’t expecting a compact sedan to have comfortable seats. Fortunately, the driver’s seat didn’t cause any back pains on the trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. The seats were firm and not necessarily something that I’d fall asleep in like a recliner, but they do the job surprisingly well.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Was disappointed that there was no telescoping steering wheel, but despite this, the wheel position wasn’t a distraction. Overall driving comfort was good – nothing ends up standing out as uber-comfortable, but after driving the car a lot you realize that everything does it’s job to a point where you don’t even think about it. Like the car isn’t trying to distract you in any way. It simply wants to do its job.

Oh, Lancer…you’re so humble.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Performance

Power was sufficient enough that I don’t recall ever feeling like we needed more umph to get around or to merge on to the highway. I’m also a big fan of car having good handling over a soft ride, so I enjoyed the car’s nimbleness around turns. I can safely say that if you need to make a quick U-turn in the middle of a neighborhood street, the Lancer can easily handle it.

We didn’t really need to use the all wheel drive for anything, but it was nice to have…just in case. Would love to take this car for a spin in some light snow to check out its capabilities.

Gas mileage for our trip was closer to the low end of the range at about 24 MPG, which might have been affected by the L.A. traffic for part of the trip.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Living like a local in Silver Lake – Los Angeles, CA

Who Should Buy This Car?

You should buy this car if you want a humble car with all wheel drive at a reasonable price. You might like this car if you enjoy spirited acceleration and fun handling, but don’t need something filled with a bunch of technological bells and whistles. It also doesn’t hurt that Mitsubishi offers a solid warranty with a 5 yr/60,000 mile basic coverage and 10 yr/100,000 mile powertrain coverage.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Wine time at Miramonte Winery – Temecula, CA

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

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Disclaimer:  As noted above (you did read the whole post, right?!) we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mitsubishi. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.

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Car Reviews

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD Review

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Kia, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveKia.

Between this Sorento and the 2015 Optima SX we were able to test drive last fall, Tina and I have been surprisingly impressed. Full disclosure, there was a lot of overlap in what we enjoyed with this SUV and the sedan. So, for fear of this sounding repetitive to the last review, let’s start out with something a little different: Out of the two vehicles, I would definitely choose this Sorento over the Optima in a Zombie Apocalypse situation.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $46,495
MPG Estimate:  17 – 23 MPG
Engine:  3.3 L V6 GDI Engine
Power:   290 hp @  6,400 rpm | 252 ft-lbs @ 5,300 rpm
Transmission:  6-speed Sportmatic Transmission
Color:  Titanium Gray
Options:  SXL Technology Package (Xenon HID headlights, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system, electronic parking brake, surround view monitor, smart advanced cruise control)

Click here for the 2016 Kia Sorento Brochure

Comfort

No complaints from the comfort department. Of course, if you’re being chased by zombies you probably wouldn’t have time to realize how nice the seats feel for long stretches of driving. And you’re hands will also be too sweaty from the adrenaline that you wouldn’t need to use the heated steering wheel. However, the ventilated seats are nice for cooling your tuckus during tense situations.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Also, the third row of seating could easily fit children, but you’d probably want to save that room for food rations, weaponry, and ammunition.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Amenities

In terms of bells and whistles, there were two major perks that I will miss most. The first is, well, the first thing you notice when you enter the car:  The Panoramic Sunroof. It’s a cool feature that really makes the car feel open–the extra glass almost feels like a mid-century modern home (minus the pool). The roof is also big enough that a few people could–hypothetically–stand up simultaneously and wave to a passerby like a boss. Or, alternatively, one could shoot down zombies with a machine gun…like a boss.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Not a boss.

The second feature that stole my heart away was the surround view monitor, which provides a 360 degree aerial view of the SUV. For someone who predominantly drives smaller sedans, it definitely made me feel better about squeezing the Sorento into tight spaces. When I drive SUVs I always feel like I’m about two cementers away from hitting every car in the parking lot. Not so in this SUV. It’s also great for ensuring that no zombies are lurking in search of brains in your blind spots.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

No zombies…this time.

Performance

For a big guy, the Sorento SXL had enough umph that I really wanted to floor it around a corner and try and flip the car.

I did not try this (nor should YOU), but the spirit lives on.

Photo Jun 08, 1 06 29 PM

For every day purposes, changing lanes and merging was no problem. Gas mileage was acceptable at about 21 MPG for our test week, which included mostly stop-and-go commuting and some short weekend road trips.

And yes, you can also use that umph and good gas milage to efficiently run over zombies.

Dog Friendliness

The biggest surprise was not the SUV itself, but rather the fact that we were able to coax Cooper into the back. He hates SUVs and doesn’t trust automatic lift gates. But, with enough treats, we got him to sit in the back for a short ride.

The pictures don’t show it, but he is terrified.

Anyway, if your dog is not a coward, he or she would love all the room in the back. Coop’s a big guy and he was able stand up without any issues (aside from mental issues). It’s also good practice, we’d hate to leave him behind during the Zombie Apocalypse…although it might be cool to have a zombie dog for a pet.

Food Friendliness

Not worried about the Zombie Apocalypse? Fine, let’s say you want to escape from becoming an office zombie at work. Go grab some Popeyes and take the Sorento out to tailgate at a park for lunch.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Who Should Buy This Car

Although a very versatile vehicle in a Zombie Apocalypse, the Kia Sorento is a fine choice for a normal suburban life as well. It all comes down to the fact that it’s an affordable SUV with luxury car amenities and a solid warranty. We now understand why there are so many Kia Sorentos in our neighborhood.

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Disclaimer:  As noted above, we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Kia. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.

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Car Reviews

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD Review

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

You know all those car commercials, where the car speeds up and down winding roads on the edges of cliffs? I got to do that in Northern California with this car and it was awesome…

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

Bixby Bridge – Big Sur

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $32,340
MPG Estimate: 27 city – 32 highway
Engine:  2.0L Skyactiv-G, 4 cylinder
Power:  146 hp | 146 lb-ft torque
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Soul Red Metallic
Options:  Navigation, Sirius Satellite Radio, Grand Touring I-Activesense Package (Radar Cruise Control, Smart City Brake Support, Smart Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, Auto-On/Off Headlights, High Beam Control, Variable Rain-Sensing Wipers)

For more info, click here to view the 2016 CX-3 Brochure.

Amenities

Like my last post on the CX-5, the amenities in this mini “SUV” are essentially the same. We exclusively used the navigation system to get us around Northern California, from  SFO down as far as Big Sur, and we didn’t get lost. The voice command function works fine, although I wish I could navigate to an address all in one sentence, rather than having to say “Navigate to Address” and then wait for the prompt to ask me for the address. A small complaint that maybe only saves 30 seconds, but worth noting ’cause that’s 30 less seconds I have to wait to start driving (which is REALLY fun).

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

Your ears are taken care of by a Bose sound system. You can never go wrong with Bose, so in my opinion, jumping up to the Grand Touring trim is absolutely worth it.

Comfort

Given the size of the CX-3 and our experience with its older brother, we expected the ride to be a little rough. Fortunately, cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway was smoother than fresh churned butter from a grass fed cow. I could have easily taken a nap if I didn’t have so much adrenaline pumping through my veins from tearing up the twists and turns of Highway 1 (but, we’ll get to performance in a second). We also found the seats comfortable, hugging us better than my old Mazda 3, with the suede sections helpful for keeping us from sliding around–an issue that is all too common with leather seating.

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

Since we were on vacation, we got to test the hauling capacity and it was a perfect fit for what we had: 1 large suitcase and 1 carry-on fit snugly in the hatchback. The back seat was definitely tight and not something a full-size adult or large dog would enjoy for extended periods of time. But, seriously, if you’re getting one of these, it ain’t for the size.

Performance

Honestly, all that other stuff (amenities, comfort, sound) matters about zero percent once you get behind the wheel. Three words: Handling. Handling. Handling. If I could get a job driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway along Big Sur, I would gladly take it if it included this Mazda CX-3. If you don’t know or quite understand the term “road feel” then go test drive one of these immediately.

For Mazda, driving really does matter. What’s remarkable about the CX-3 (er, most Mazdas, really) is that they achieve a fun driving experience without cheating with a turbocharger or a gas-guzzling V6. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t complain about a turbocharged Mazda CX-3 with a stick shift…(seriously, just MazdaSpeed the whole line up). When you drive almost every other competing car in the segment, none of them entice you to drive as much as this little guy.

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

17-Mile Drive – Pebble Beach

Gas mileage was also great and near the top of its class–we averaged 30.1 MPG during our nearly 500-mile trip up and down the coast. It was mostly highway, but there were some smaller trips around Carmel Valley and Carmel-By-The-Sea.

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Who Should Buy This Car

This car might be a good match for you if your top priorities include i) being fun to drive, ii) getting decent gas milage, and iii) being comfortable. You probably don’t care too much about space, but covet a hatchback. The addition of AWD and slightly taller stance also benefits those who might need to deal with snow and/or some light dirt road duty.

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions remain our own. 

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Car Reviews

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review

2016 Mazda CX-5 Review

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Also, one of the cool things about testing out this Mazda, was that upon receiving the vehicle, we were provided with a $25 charitable gift card redeemable at OneOC.org/givingcards to donate to the charity of our choice. The Mazda Drive for Good charitable program has helped raise more than $7.6 million and has resulted in over 120,000 charitable service hours pledged since 2013.

Mazda Drive for Good

Given that Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this is a food blog, we chose Food & Friends. The organization is dedicated to helping men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses by preparing and delivering specialized meals and groceries in conjunction with nutrition counseling. What does that entail exactly? They deliver meals year-round, six days a week (including holidays) and since inception have delivered 18 million meals to over 26,000 individuals. Thus, the impact is huge, but they can’t do it without volunteers and generous donations! To learn how you can help, visit their website for more info.

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2016 Mazda CX-5

Full disclosure: I owned a Mazda for almost a decade. Does that create bias? Maybe. Does that also create some higher-than-normal expectations. Maybe. So, everything should balance out…

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $32,340
MPG Estimate: 24 city – 30 highway
Engine:  2.5L Skyactiv, DOHC 4 cylinder
Power:  184 hp @ 5,700 rpm  | 185 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Titanium Flash Mica
Options:  Grand Touring Technology Package (Navigation System, Smart City Brake Support, LED headlights with auto leveling, Adaptive Front-lighting System, LED fog lights, LED daytime running lights, LED combination tail lights and auto-dimming mirror)

For more info, click here to view the 2016 CX-5 Brochure.

Amenities

The entertainment system works really well, keeping in mind it does take some time to get familiar with navigating through everything. So, it’s not quite as initially intuitive as others, but I easily learned what I needed within a few days of driving. No biggie for a car you’ll keep for a decade.

2016 Mazda CX-5

Voice commands also worked easily for making calls and entering addresses for the navigation system.

In my opinion, a huge plus is the fact that the Grand Touring comes standard with a Bose sound system (it’s also optional in the Touring trim). I love me some Bose. I’ve got a pair of Bose computer speakers that can shake our house. So, needless to say the system in the CX-5 is plenty good enough to rock out, hip hop, or blast whatever your preference is.

Comfort

Although the seats were comfortable, the ride is a bit harsh, but that’s the trade off you get for some of the zoom zoom that’s discussed later.

2016 Mazda CX-5

The A/C was decently cold and I only bring that up, because my old Mazda’s only fault was its air conditioning. Quite the testament to how much I enjoyed that car, as I spent nearly a decade enduring long, sweat-filled summer commutes. This car was a sweat-free zone. Except when I took that one hairpin turn at 80 MPH. Kidding. Or am I?

Oh and not sure if you’re into safety, but the 2016 CX-5 was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which means this car could save your life. Especially during those 80 MPH hairpin turns. KIDDING. Drive safely.

Performance

This is quite a deceiving little SUV. First impressions would likely lead one to believe that this little go-getter is a suburbanite’s dream, ready for trips to big box warehouse stores, home improvement shops for weekend warriors, and carting the little ones (two and four legged) around town. But honestly, all that stuff seems to bore the CX-5. Not that it won’t do all that stuff well, but it seems to do the chores almost begrudgingly.

2016 Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 yearns to stretch its legs and search for winding roads, rural scenary, and areas where there might not be a road at all. During our time with the CX-5, the most fun we had was exploring the curvy roads on our way to visit Potomac Point Winery, and soaring across a grassy field, escaping the hellacious parking situation of a just ended Renaissance Festival.

I really wish we had some snowfall to play with like in this video.

Oh, and the gas mileage. Was it good? Well, for an AWD compact utility vehicle, I was pretty happy with our average of 26.8 MPG. That included five days of commuting to and from work (32 miles round trip) along with two longer trips with mostly highway.

Because of the nature of this car, my only complaint on the performance is the lack of a little more umph. And sure it might be gratuitous, especially for those who want to retain the solid gas mileage, but oh the fun you could have with a turbo-charged MazdaSpeed CX-5…

Smashing Good Looks

Co-workers and neighbors were happy to compliment the looks of the CX-5. The light Parchment color interior was noted on more than one occasion to be sexy. Also, the Titanium Flash Mica exterior made the car look almost like a mini-tank, which was cool. B-Y-O-Rocket Launcher.

cx5 (10)

And personally, upgrading to the Grand Touring model is worth it for the wheels alone.

Who Should Buy This Car

This might be the car for you if you need a little more suburban hauling capacity, but you’re not ready to sacrifice the handling of a smaller vehicle. You might want to check this car out if you enjoy taking weekend trips off the beaten paths and you’d rather take the long way versus a highway. And in all honesty, I was very close to purchasing this vehicle a couple months ago. Had it not been for our dog’s extreme fear of change and anything remotely resembling an SUV, I might own one right now.

cx5 (6)

Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions remain our own and I seriously almost bought this vehicle. 

More care reviews…

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Car Reviews

2015 Kia Optima SX Review

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Kia, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveKia.

I didn’t really know much about Kia before driving this Optima. I did notice that a ton of people in our neighborhood have Kia Optimas. Like, a ton. And after getting to know this car for a week, I completely understand why.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $31,310
MPG Estimate: 23 city – 34 highway
Engine:  2.4L Gas Direct Injection, 4 cylnders
Power:  192 hp @ 6300 rpm | 181 ft-lbs @ 4250 rpm
Transmission:  6-speed Sportmatic Transmission
Color:  Remington Red
Options:  SX Premium Technology Package (power folding mirrors, Infinity audio system, UVO Service w/ Telematics, HD radio technology, Navigation with SiriusXM, rear camera, blind spot detection system, driver’s seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, power front passenger’s seat, heated outboard rear seats, and back-up warning system)

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Comfort

The seats are really comfortable. REALLY comfortable. Surprisingly comfortable, even. Here’s a challenge: Put on a blind fold and go sit in this car along with three other luxury brands. I bet it’ll be tough to tell which one’s the Kia.

And on top of seats that are luxury-quality comfortable, they’re also cooled. Yes, cooled seats. On a hot day, they’re basically like an ice cold lemonade for your back and butt. Weird metaphor, but accurate.

Ventilated Seats Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Amenities

The UVO entertainment system is a really well-designed and user-friendly system that looks good, is intuitive, and WORKS. I’ve come to expect most voice-comand functions in cars have a 50% success rate. I was able to easily add a new destination to the navigation on the first try. You’ve been warned, Siri.

And the mirrors fold in and out automatically. Which I suppose is functional for tight parking spots, but it just also looks cool and made me feel like I was driving a spaceship.

Performance

190 horsepower and 181 ft-lbs of torque provide plenty of get-up-and-go to get you around, but aren’t so much that you’ll be living at the gas station. Our average gas mileage over the course of the week was 25.5 MPG, which isn’t that bad (if you want better mileage, then check out the hybrid version). Personally, I’d take the extra juice if it meant spending a bit more at the tank.

Steering feel and handling are a tad looser and not quite as responsive as I prefer, but others may take that sacrifice for the softer ride. I missed some of the nimbleness that my 2006 compact car has, but the Optima is quite a bit larger.

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Food Friendliness

Often an overlooked aspect of vehicles, a lot can be said for a car that is really comfortable to eat in. Sometimes you need a quick, quiet, and comfortable place to escape from the insanity of work/school/your own children. Enter the Kia Optima.

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

With the seat reclined and moved back, the center console made for a nice counter to hold a sandwich. In fact, I recommend using one of the memory seat positions for “lunch mode”. Did I mention the seats were comfortable?

(BTW – You can see more interior car/eating pics in our review of McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich.)

The cabin is also spacious, so I’m sure that somehow prevents you from accidentally bumping your elbow on something and spilling ketchup on your white button-up shirt.

Who Should Buy This Car

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

This is definitely going to sound like standard commercial copywriting, but if you want luxury amenities at an affordable price, then you should give a hard look at this car. Although the MSRP tops out at about $31k, nobody actually pays MSRP. In fact, internet prices for the same version of this car, WITH THE TURBO ENGINE (274 hp and 269 ft-lbs of torque) is about $27,000. That’s almost ridiculous, especially when comparable luxury vehicles would easily double the price tag. Overall, this was a fine car. A fine car, indeed.

And for what it’s worth, Kia ranked #2 in the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study. Yup, Kia was right behind Porsche and just ahead of Jaguar.

Gratuitous Dog Pictures

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Disclaimer:  As noted above, we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Kia. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.

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Car Reviews

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC Review

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mitsubishi Motors, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMitsubishi.

This is a companion post to our trip to Red Truck Bakery in Marshall,VA. For delicious baked goods in a small town, check out that post. If you’re interested in the wheels that got us there, you’re in the right place.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Thanks in part to The Fast and the Furious franchise, my teenage memories of Mitsubishi cars are comprised mainly of street racing Eclipses and Lancer Evolutions. Not being a street racer and also not being in the market for a new car over the last decade, I haven’t really paid much attention to what Mitsubishi has been up to, so I was interested in the opportunity to try out the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $29,645
MPG Estimate: 24 city – 29 highway
Engine:  2.4L MIVEC SOHC 16-valve, 4 cylnders
Power:  166 hp @ 6000 rpm  | 162 ft-lbs. @ 4200 rpm
Transmission:   CVT
Color:  Rally Red
Options:  SE Premium Package (sunroof, leather seats, roof rails, 710w Rockford Fosgate sound system, power remote tailgate, power driver’s seat, woodgrain interior trim panels)

Comfort

The comfort and driving position of the front seats were good, which made commuting a little easier than my 2006 manual transmission compact car. Although we didn’t travel too far, I wouldn’t anticipate any issues with taking the Outlander on a long road trip. Since I did all the driving, I didn’t have to sit in the back, but my co-workers commented that the rear seats were a little stiff for their liking.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Overall, the interior is quite spacious, which gives the feeling you’re in a much larger SUV. In fact, with all of the second and third row seats folded down, I could easily lie down and take a nap on my lunch break. Not that I did that.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Amenities

The entertainment system is probably due for an upgrade, but it was easy to use (which is sometimes lacking in the newer, more complex systems in other brands). The Rockford Fosgate speaker system sounds incredible thanks to the nine speaker system, including 10 inch subwoofer in the back.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

It was also easy to fall in love with the optional remote power lift gate. Emphasis on the remote part. Sometimes I opened the lift gate for fun, just because I could. It made trips to the grocery store and Costco slightly more exciting.

Although we did not take advantage of the third row of seats, it was actually beneficial on those aforementioned trips, as the seat backs helped keep our groceries from flying all over the place, while I tested out the vehicle’s cornering ability (well-within all applicable traffic laws, of course).

And as is becoming the norm with most mid and upper trim levels, a backup camera and heated seats are standard on this trim level. A week later left me wondering how on earth I was ever able to own a car without a backup camera and heated seats.

Performance

First of all, you won’t see this car in Fast & Furious 8 (or 9 or whatever they’re up to now). But that’s okay, because you’ll buy this car for the gas mileage. My daily commute, which is a 33-mile round trip mixture of highway, stop-and-go traffic, and dance parties (thanks, Rockford Fosgate!), consistently returned gas mileage around 25 MPG. Our mostly-highway trip to Red Truck Bakery resulted in a respectable 28.8 MPG, which easily rivals my my 2006 compact car. Although acceleration from a stop leaves something to be desired, throwing the shifter into sport mode provides ample juice for a lane change at highway speeds.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

I was also impressed with the steering feel and handling, as this vehicle drives more like a car than a compact SUV. I’m not a fan of loose steering (reminds me of driving a boat), so I was pleasantly surprised to still feel the road in a vehicle of this size.

Dog Friendliness

Given that this is an SUV, this is likely a great vehicle for anyone with a decent-sized dog. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of opening the power lift gate in front of Cooper. And since any inanimate object that moves on its own completely BLOWS HIS MIND, he was convinced that the car was possessed and wanted nothing to do with it. Again, it was through no fault of the Outlander and completely Coop’s own neuroscis (he also growls at bags floating in the wind). Sad, because he would’ve fit perfectly in the back, but a good reminder for dog owners to always have new vehicle purchases approved by their pups.

Who Should Buy This Car?

This vehicle would be perfect for a price-conscious consumer with kids and a need for a third row of seats. The MSRP is $29,645, but online prices at some local dealerships are closer to $25,000 for Outlanders with similar MSRPs–which seems almost insane when you think about how much vehicle you’re getting. Plus, the 10-year / 100,000-mile power train warranty and solid gas mileage will help keep future costs down. I should also mention that the 2016 Outlander has hit dealers this month, so any remaining 2015 vehicles are likely to garner some significant savings. Haven’t had a chance to try 2016’s model yet, but from what I keep hearing, there are quite a few improvements over the 2015 model.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Disclaimer:  As noted above (you did read the whole post, right?!) we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mitsubishi. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.

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