Find a New Love at the DFW Auto Show

DFW Auto Show
Find a new car crush at the DFW Auto Show this year. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Cupid’s arrow pointed me to the DFW Auto Show to find a new love for 2018. Spend Valentine’s Weekend finding a new car crush.

Browse  half-million square feet of new cars, trucks and SUVs. Talk with the manufacturer’s representatives, slide behind the driver’s seat or take one out for a spin at the DFW Auto Show Ride and Drive Event.

DFW Auto Show Details

DFW Auto Show
Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center
650 S. Griffin

Dates

Wednesday through Sunday, February 14  to 18, 2018

Times

Wednesday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Ticket Prices

  • $14 for adults
  • $7 for senior citizens 65 and older
  • $7 for children 6 to 12 years old; children 5 and under admitted free
  • $10 for active and retired Military members (ID is required)

Getting to the Show

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is located at 650 S. Griffin in downtown Dallas. Parking is available in the Convention Center parking garage ($15) and surrounding lots. Please note that C Hall Parking Lot between Griffin and Lamar will be closed for the Ride & Drive event.

Parking Reservations

The DFW Auto Show has partnered with Spot Hero, the nationwide leader in online parking reservations, to allow visitors to purchase guaranteed parking at many convenient locations near the convention center for the DFW Auto Show.

Once purchased, parking passes are emailed instantly and guarantee you access to your selected location. Parking is very limited and locations fill up, so we strongly recommend that you reserve your 100% guaranteed parking space now.

Get Free Tickets to the DFW Auto Show

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DFW Auto Show
Take a spin at the DFW Drive or Ride Event. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

DFW Auto Show Ride and Drive Event

Take a car out for a spin. It’s my favorite part of attending an Auto Show.

This year the DFW Auto Show offers the following manufacturers.

Toyota

Mazda

Kia

Ford

Nissan

FCA–Fiat, Chrysler, Ram

Honda

Acura

Chevy

DFW Auto Show
See the Redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry at the DFW Auto Show. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

DFW Auto Show VIP Experience

Ticket price: $50

Limited to the first 100 guests. VIP Experience tickets may be purchased online only. Tickets only may be used on the day for which they are purchased.  Saturday or Sunday admission only.

  • Enter early to the Show on Saturday, February 17 or Sunday, February 18, at 9 a.m.
  • Guided Tour*
  • Photo behind the wheel of a featured high-end vehicle. Guests must use their own cameras.*
  • DFW Auto Show Swag Bag
  • VIP Experience Badge

*Please note that the guided tour will begin at 9 a.m. sharp. Photos may only be taken behind the wheel of the featured high-end vehicle from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for the day you purchase your ticket(s).

Why attend an Auto Show

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the local Auto Show should be your first stop. And here’s why:

  • Get an overview what’s the new in the industry-from safety to style.
  • Shop brands efficiently and effectively without the pressure of sales people.
  • Have some fun. I test drove a stick shift convertible just because.
  • Sit in all types of vehicles. Try on that convertible, slide into the luxury SUV.
  • Find a new car crush. A totally out-of-your-league dream. That’s until you win the lotto the same day as the kids get full-ride scholarships.

What’s New at Toyota

While I’m exploring the DFW Auto Show Toyota will find its way to the top of my must see list. Since I’ve driven a Toyota for over 20 years, it’s proven its value and reliability to me.

Toyota have roots in Texas. With a new Toyota headquarters in Dallas/Fort Worth, the design team isn’t far from one of its assembly plants. Toyota trucks are manufactured just south of San Antonio.

DFW Auto show
With a redesign for 2018, the best selling Toyota Camry offers aggressive styling. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Redesigned Toyota Camry

Not ever family needs an SUV some desire the efficiency and style of a sedan. Toyota Camry offers a total redesign for 2018, including its hybrid model.

  • Best-Selling Car in America for the last 16 years
  • Standard Toyota Safety Sense-P
  • New Emotionally-Charged Design and Performance Experience
  • Aggressive Exterior Character Lines and Low Center of Gravity
DFW Auto Show
The All New 2018 Toyota CHR offers a new generation of functionality. Courtesy Photo

The All New 2018 C-HR

As a new crossover to the Toyota line-up, the C-HR offers a more compact option to the popular Rav4 and Highlander crossovers.

  • Bold Style Signals New Direction in Toyota Design
  • Sharp Handling
  • Includes Two Toyota-First Features: Driver Distraction Secure Audio and Brake Hold Function
  • Only Vehicle in Its Segment with Standard Pre-Collision System with Active Braking
  • Standard 18-in. Alloy Wheels, Dual-Zone Climate Control, Bucket Seating and 7-in. Audio Display

Disclosure:

This post was sponsored by Toyota and the DFW Auto Show.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

New Year New Toyota at Houston Auto Show

Shop an auto show for convenient vehicle shopping
An auto show is the ideal place for vehicle shopping with all the major manufacturers steps away.

It’s that time of year again, Auto Show Season! So I’m headed to check out the local auto shows. First up, Houston Auto Show and my go to manufacturer Toyota. For 30 years I’ve been a Toyota Driver so I’m interested in what’s new and what’s been redesigned. As a bonus I’ve got a chance for free tickets to Houston Auto Show at the bottom of this post from this post’s sponsor.

Why attend an Auto Show

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the local Auto Show should be your first stop. And here’s why:

  • Get an overview what’s the new in the industry-from safety to style.
  • Shop brands efficiently and effectively without the pressure of salespeople.
  • Have some fun. I test drove a stick shift convertible just because.
  • Sit in all types of vehicles. Try on that convertible, slide into the luxury SUV.
  • Find a new car crush. A totally out-of-your-league dream. That’s until you win the lotto  the same day as the kids get full-ride scholarships.

I’m headed to this year’s Houston Auto Show to see what’s new with my go-to manufacturer, Toyota. I’ve got a newly minted teen driver behind the wheel coupled with an aging (sniff, sniff) family SUV. So Mom needs a new car.

This is how I pack my Toyota RAV4 for a road trip. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

My Toyota History

My relationship with Toyota began in 1990 with a light blue Corolla 4-door with a manual transmission and air-conditioning. It didn’t even have intermittent wipers or a rear window defroster. But hey, I was a kid and who needed that stuff anyway.

Next I moved on to my current Toyota, a 2002 4Runner 4WD. A hard-working member of the family that’s hard to replace.

Then a red 2007 Toyota Matrix nicknamed Britni. My husband (and the primary driver) said it was a girl car. She broke up with him and moved on to another owner.

Then came the first crossover, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 allegedly stolen by the Russians and shipped to West Africa by an international car theft ring in Montreal, Canada. After our insurance check came through, a 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD replaced the stolen one. True Story.

Finding a New Toyota

Finding a new SUV is like shopping for a new pair of jeans, a new swimsuit and a new pair of shoes you will wear everyday rolled into one. I will drive this vehicle everywhere and own it for at least a decade. It’s a big and expensive decision.

I’m an active Mom that’s not afraid to get dirty but loves the city. Since I take road trips in the summer and winter ski trips, I need at least AWD.

I have three kids, 10, 13 and 15 so a third row might be nice. I like having a trailer hitch though I don’t own a boat.

As a Mom and the primarily road trip driver, safety is always important. So I look over the safety features during my research too.

Toyota CHR is a new cross over
The 2018 Toyota C-HR is a compact crossover new to the Toyota line up. Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo

The New 2018 C-HR

As a new crossover to the Toyota line-up, the C-HR offers a more compact option to the popular Rav4 and Highlander crossovers.

  • Bold Style signals New Direction in Toyota Design
  • Sharp Handling
  • Includes Two Toyota-First Features: Driver Distraction Secure Audio and Brake Hold Function
  • Only Vehicle in Its Segment with Standard Pre-Collision System with Active Braking
  • Standard 18-in. Alloy Wheels, Dual-Zone Climate Control, Bucket Seating and 7-in. Audio Display

The estimated MPG is an impressive 27/31. The cargo space is 36.4 cubic feet with folded-down seats and 19.0 cubic feet behind the second row.

With ground clearance coming in at 5.9” along with the lack of AWD, keeps this crossover on the paved roads. A consideration for me and drivers in rugged locales or snow prone areas that need more control and traction. The seating for five accommodates my three kids.

I love the styling but the C-HR doesn’t fit my needs for AWD or cargo space. A sporty option for the younger, less parental driver. I’ve got too many things to haul in my life and my SUV.

The Toyota RAV4 hauls 73.4 cubic feet of gear.
After five years of ownership, I’m still amazed by how much the RAV4 hauls. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The RAV4

The RAV4 offers proven performance and versatility that I’ve come to rely on for the last five years. I drive our RAV4 on road trips throughout the seasons. I’m especially interested in the Toyota RAV4 Adventure.

RAV4 Adventure

  • Dirt-Inspired Styling and Higher Ride Height
  • Active lifestyle inspired

The optional AWD adds stability and security when driving to the ski resort. The seating for five, accommodates my three kids. The ground clearance is a bit easier on the knees than the C-HR.

I need to test drive the RAV4 Adventure to see how it handles compared to my older model. So it adding to my list.

Other Toyota Options for Families

Not a SUV fan, then consider a sedan. The Toyota Camry gets a total redesign for 2018.

The Toyota Camry

  • Best-Selling Car in America for the last 16 years
  • Standard Toyota Safety Sense-P
  • New Emotionally-Charged Design and Performance Experience
  • Aggressive Exterior Character Lines and Low Center of Gravity

The Toyota Pick-Ups

I know some Toyota Pick-Up fans out there, like my Dad. Both the Tacoma and the Tundra are manufactured at Toyota’s San Antonio facility.

Free Tickets to Houston Auto Show

Yep, enter to win free tickets to the Houston Auto Show.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest Rules:

Contest rules: Entries must be completed by midnight January 23, 2018. No purchase necessary; contest open only to US residents and subject to the laws of Texas. Winners will be notified by email by January 24, 2018. Winners MUST pick up tickets in person at the Houston Auto Show, NRG Center, 1 NRG Park, Houston, TX 77054, between January 24, 2018 and January 28, 2018. Winners may be asked to provide identification to receive their prize. Prize value $24 per prize, not exchangeable for cash or other items. Grand prize value is $124. A total of 10 pairs of tickets will be awarded and a total of 1 grand prize will be awarded.

Houston Auto Show Details

NRG Center
One NRG Park
8400 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77054

Dates

Wednesday through Sunday, Jan. 24 to 28, 2018

Times

Wed. thru Fri. Noon – 9:30 p.m.

Sat. 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Sun. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tickets

$12 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and of course we love money saving tips like this coupon!

Ride and Drives

Twenty different car manufacturers will be on site with cars to test drive.

With more than 800 of the newest model imports and domestic, see everything from concept to classic along an amazing after market expo.

Disclosure

This post was sponsored by the Houston Auto Show and Toyota.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Finding the Family an All-New Ford SUV

 

the 2018 All-New Ford SUVs like the Ford Explorer
The new 2018 Ford Explorer offers a new stylish grill and the Safe and Smart Package. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Ford Motor Company knows life happens in cars, especially for families with hectic schedules. Families need vehicles that work with them. I recently got the opportunity to experience the 2018 All-New Ford SUV lineup.

Since I am in the market for a new family SUV to love, I am sampling all the manufacturers. Looking for power, space, safety and lastly style, I need a SUV to seamlessly fit into my busy family life.

Ford and the Female Frontier

At a recent Ford installation, what impressed me most was Ford focus on the female frontier. By acknowledging the power of women’s influence on the purchase of new family vehicles, Ford researches and markets their vehicles to women.

With women influencing 85% of all vehicle purchases, Ford values women as users, purchasers and multi-taskers. As commanders of the household, they want to simplify life and that includes the role of a vehicle in family life.

Families, especially Mom, want convenient vehicles for everyday life and comfortable vehicles for road trips.

2018 All-New Ford Expedition Platinum

The 2018 All-new Ford Expedition.
The 2018 All-New Ford Expedition offers families more style, room and power. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

I recently got a preview of the new 2018 Ford Expedition and I found a SUV that handled the off-road with ease yet still featured sophisticated styling. With its Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging, keeping families connected has never been easier. This vehicle is a road tripping dream.

The all-new Ford Expedition just got leaner. By using advanced materials, like a high-strength aluminum alloy, Ford shaved 300 pounds off their SUV.

Though the stand-out feature is the second row seat that’s slides forward to allow access to the third row. That’s with a car seat in place, a major convenience for families with several children or parents that carpool kids around.

I found four 12-volt power plugs, six USB plugs and one 110-volt household plug. A plug for each kid, and that’s one less argument for a Mom to manage.

Power and plugs in at the 2018 All-New Ford Expedition.
The USBs and the 110-volt household plug in the second row of seats can’t be beat for convenience in the 2018 Ford Expedition. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The dual headrest, rear-seat entertainment system keeps the kids engaged in a program and not each other. Add the wireless charging for compatible mobile devices and a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices within 50 feet of the vehicle and everyone is happy.

The seat back entertainment system in the 2018 All-New Ford Expedition.
The seat back entertainment system for the back seater passengers helps keep driver distractions to a minimum. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The driver experience is important so I loved the panoramic vista roof that spans two rows. Add the 12-speaker premium audio package, and this Mom can find happiness in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But my favorite feature has to be the adjustable shelf behind the third row.

A SUV for Dad too

Not just a Mom SUV, Dad can take the wheel and have confidence in the Ford Expedition’s hauling and towing capabilities.

Experience the 2018 All-New Ford Expedition.
I appreciate a well-designed storage spaces like the door of the Ford Expedition. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Remodeling? Stow the second and third row of seats and fit a 4×8 piece of plywood in the back.

The all-new Ford Expedition is engineered to handle rugged off-roading in addition to towing a family’s toys. With a hands-free lift gate, loading up the cargo hold has never been easier.

Look for this all-new 2018 Ford Expedition to be available in the Fall. The Ford Expedition is built at the Louisville, Kentucky, plant.

2018 Ford Explorer

the 2018 All-New Ford SUVs like the Ford Explorer
The new 2018 Ford Explorer offers a new style and safety. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The 2018 Ford Explorer sees a freshen up to the front and rear styling. Giving this SUV an upgraded style to satisfy a Mom that wants a capable vehicle that’s an extension of her personal style.

The 2018 Ford Explorer adds four new exterior colors, Platinum Dune, Blue Metallic, Cinnamon Glaze and Burgundy Velvet Tinted Clearcoat. Five new wheel choices will be available on the 2018 Ford Explorer too.

The 2018 Ford Explorer features a new grill.
The front grill of the 2018 Ford Explorer got a make-over. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Safe and Smart Package is a stand-out for safety and new for 2018. With high-demand driver assistance, families can feel safer in their SUVs. The Safe and Smart Package uses cutting-edge technology to assist drivers.

With features like adaptive cruise control, where the driver can set the following distance along with the speed, to blind spot monitoring, drivers benefit from additional information. Cross-traffic alert uses radar to monitor for cars when backing out of a parking spot. The lane keeping system uses a camera to monitor the lane markers and alerts the driver with a steering wheel vibration when leaving the lane.

Experience the 2018 Ford Explorer for safety and style.
The safety features of the 2018 Ford Explorer include a Safe and Smart Package. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Parking might be one of the most challenging driving skills and the 2018 Ford Explorer has a Mom covered. With the active park assist, ultrasonic sensors monitor the surroundings to help in parallel and perpendicular parking.

Like the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition, the Ford Explorer provides Wi-Fi and features a 4G embedded modem that can connect up to 10 devices.

The Ford Explorer will be available this Fall. It is manufactured at the Chicago, Illinois, plant.

2018 All-New Ford Eco-Sport

The 2018 All-New Ford Eco-Sport.
The 2018 All-New Ford Eco-Sport packs fun in a capable small SUV. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The all-new compact SUV from the Ford line-up, the Eco-Sport, is the smallest Ford SUV. This SUV packs in the fun while staying capable and connected.

The Eco-Sport offers big sound with the available B&O Play audio system with 10 speakers. Add 10 available exterior colors to share personal style and all models feature the swing-gate style tailgate.

Enjoy the 2018 All-new Ford Eco-Sport, a compact SUV.
The 2018 All-New Ford Eco-Sport offers plenty of cargo space. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Stay connected with the Eco-Sport’s 8-inch touch screen for communication and entertainment. Looking for a plug? In the Eco-Sport, it’s easy. It features two USBs and one 12-volt plug and another 12-volt and 110-volt household plug are available.

The all-new Eco Sport arrives at dealerships in early 2018.

Ford and the Future of Cars

Ford acknowledges that more isn’t always better. The use of innovation needs to be deliberate and purposeful. Using technology to create vehicles that are seamless and intuitive.

Ford utilizes passive and active safety features in their line-up. With passive features like improved vehicle structure, crumble zones and airbags, Ford improves safety in accidents.

In the market for a new family SUV? Me too. I got a sneak peek of the 2018 All-New line-up of Ford SUVs. I found several packed with power, style and safety.

The active safety features include mapping the environment outside the vehicle to improve driver safety and convenience. Along with monitoring the driver’s performance while operating the vehicle to ensure undistracted operation.

My Experience with Self Parking

I am a driver.

As a driver, I enjoy the process. I learned to drive on a 1964 Ford tractor with a straight transmission. My dad balanced on the axle as he walked me through finessing a clutch. I moved on to the 1981 Ford F-150 with an equally cranky clutch.

As a smaller driver, I couldn’t reach to shift it into overdrive (old-school term for fifth). I had to throw the gear shift half way across the cabin and hope it engaged.

I will admit I was timid handling over the pleasure of driving to the vehicle. Though I understand for another generation, autonomous driving equals continued freedom of the road. For younger, less skilled drivers or non-drivers, freedom is equally important.

I slid behind the driver’s seat with an open mind. ShebuysCars.com founder, Scotty Reiss, patiently instructed me through the process.

The Ford Fusion maps the environment before I double tapped the park assist button. The vehicle selected the spot and I followed the instructions on the display panel.

The bumper sensors monitored the proximity to the other cars. I monitored the rear backup camera and manned the brake.

When the Ford Fusion failed to move, I pressed the accelerator. I utilized the brake more during the process.

The Self Parking Result

After several attempts, I conquered a self park. I need to practice setting up the vehicle in the proper position.

During the process, I used the side mirrors and looked behind me to insure the Ford Fusion didn’t inadvertently hit another car. I didn’t feel out of control of the vehicle since I maintained control over the gas and brake petals.

Disclosure: 

This post is sponsored.

 

Mazda Crossovers for Moms

 

Mazda crossovers for Mom at the Houston Auto Show
After 15 years in the same SUV, it might be time to move on to a Mazda crossover for Mom.

After a 15 year love affair with my Mom SUV, it’s time to think about another. I attended the Houston Auto Show to try on cars like I would try on a pair of shoes. Looking for a vehicle that feels right requires that I try on a lot of SUVs and crossovers.

Why attend an Auto Show

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the local Auto Show should be your first stop. And here’s why:

  • Get an overview what’s new in the industry–from safety to style.
  • Shop brands efficiently and effectively without the pressure of salespeople.
  • Sit in different types of vehicles. Try on that convertible, sit in the luxury SUV.
  • Find a new car crush. A totally out-of-your-league dream.
  • Have some fun. I test drove a stick shift convertible and took a spin on a truck obstacle track.

Mazda

I haven’t owned a Mazda though I’m researching it for my next Mom crossover. And here’s why.

Mazda prioritizes the driver experience by meshing technology and performance from styling to safety. As a Mom, I appreciate that.

I’ve driven across a continent so I enjoy driving. Mazda understands that the technology used for safety gives drivers the confidence in their vehicle. Fuel economy is important though I shouldn’t sacrifice power when merging on the interstate.

Finding a new Mazda crossover for Mom.
At Mazda, the drivers experience is paramount from the displays to the seat.

The details Mazda incorporates into their designs helps transform a Mom from the school pick-up line to the s-curves of the Pacific Coast Highway. The interior reflects their craftsmanship and design aesthetic.

Consumer Reports recommends the entire 2017 Mazda line-up.

My Mom SUV

She feels like a trusted friend, always reliably waiting for me and my three kids. Never left me stranded or failed to start, and always ready for an family adventure.

Through the years, I installed my first car seat in her. I strapped my last baby in her. We struggled together as I mushed three kids into a combination of boosters and carseats in her.

Showing for a new crossover or SUV? I'm comparing the features of the Mazda crossovers for Moms.

She still looks good on the outside with timeless styling and a paint job that’s held up but she’s been demoted to short-haul trips. I don’t take her on the long road trips I’ve made into a career.

So the time has come to thing about replacing my first Mom SUV and passing her down to my kids. Though the thought makes me sad, I’m looking forward to new technology and especially the new-car smell.

Mazda Crossovers for Moms

In a line-up that concentrates on sedans and a sporty convertible, Mazda offers three crossovers for Moms. All feature the low ground clearance that makes getting in-and-out easy. Pack with safety, technology and power outlets, Mazda offers a stylish family-friendly vehicle.

Try on the Mazda MX-5 to have some top down fun.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF offers a Mom a vacation in the drivers seat along with a stick shift.

Mazda CX-3

Big on style, the CX-3 is Mazda’s smallest family-friendly vehicle. The sporty sub-compact crossover, or CUV, starts at $19,900, magic to Mom’s ears. With seating for five, I can accommodate my kids in the CX-3.

The Mazda Crossover CX-3 offers lots of cargo space.
The Mazda CX-3 offers lots of space for hauling gear.

The CX-3 features 146 horsepower with a MPG of 29/35, a factor for most family budgets. The cargo area hauls an impressive 44.5 cubic feet of gear with a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat. A feature I look for and a must for hauling stuff (like a small piece of furniture) and kids. The CX-3 features AWD as an additional option, important for my annual ski trip.

With push button start and steering wheel mounted audio, phone and cruise controls, the Mazda CX-3 offers lots of tech. The 7-inch full-color display, one USB and a 12-volt power outlet keep everything powered and the trip on track.

The interior of the Mazda CX-3.
The interior of the Mazda CX-3 offers sporty styling with lots of travel tech.

Though I love the sporty styling, the CX-3 is a tight fit for my full-sized kids.

The All-New Mazda CX-5

The all-new CX-5 offers a driver-centric design that impresses the passengers too. With a starting price just over $24,000, the CX-5 gives families lots of value-driven performance and seating for five.

The Mazda CX-5 crossover for families.
The all-new Mazda CX-5 offers sleek styling with power under the hood and outlets in cargo area.

The Mazda CX-5 features 187 horsepower with a MPG of 24/31. The cargo area hauls over 65.4 cubic feet with a 40/20/40 split one-touch, fold-down rear seat. And the CX-5 features AWD as an additional option.

The 7-inch full-color display, two USBs and two 12-volt power outlets (one in front and one in the cargo area) keeps everything powered.

All the features along with the stylish interior keeps the Mazda CX-5 on my list. I need to get behind the wheel and feel the performance and handling.

Mazda CX-9

Mazda crossovers for Mom at the Houston Auto Show
The Mazda CX-9 offers power and refined style for families on the go.

A favorite among Moms for its refined interior and budget-friendly starting price of $31,500. Mazda’s CX-9 is the only SUV in its line-up that concentrates on sedans.

The CX-9 features 250 horsepower with a MPG of 22/28. With three rows, I found a seating capacity for seven people. The second row features 60/40 split, fold-down and reclining seats with tilt and slide access to the third row. The third row offers 50/50 split, fold-down seats. I found underfloor storage as well.

The interior of the Mazda CX-9 offers classic styling.
The Mazda CX-9 exudes luxury with a two-tone interior and wood grain accents along with the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

The Mazda CX-9 features steering wheel mounted audio, phone and cruise controls. In addition, I found a 7-inch full-color display, two USBs and two 12-volt power outlets (one in front and one in the cargo area)to keep everything powered and the driver on course.

The interior styling and the driver-centered design of the Mazda CX-5 and the CX-9 beg for a test drive. Stay Tuned.

Disclosure:

This post is sponsored.

 

Finding Mom a New Toyota SUV to Love

 

Shop an auto show for convenient vehicle shopping
An auto show is the ideal place for vehicle shopping with all the major manufacturers steps away.

I just wrapped up a day at the DFW Auto Show and after I propped up my feet, I started to think. With tears in my eyes, I was actually thinking about finding a new SUV to love. It seemed so wrong but I had to admit I was in the market to replace the trusty, reliable, super fun-to-drive Toyota 4Runner.

Why attend an Auto Show

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the local Auto Show should be your first stop. And here’s why:

  • Get an overview what’s new in the industry–from safety to style.
  • Shop brands efficiently and effectively without the pressure of salespeople.
  • Sit in different types of vehicles. Try on that convertible, sit in the luxury SUV.
  • Have some fun. I test drove a stick shift convertible and took a spin on a truck obstacle track.
  • Find a new car crush. A totally out-of-your-league dream.

I attended the DFW Auto Show to see what’s new with my go-to manufacturer, Toyota. I’ve got a teen itching to get behind the wheel coupled with an aging (sniff, sniff) family SUV.

My Toyota History

My relationship with Toyota began in 1990 with a light blue Corolla 4-door with a manual transmission and air-conditioning. It didn’t even have intermittent wipers or a rear window defogger. But hey, I was a kid and who needed that stuff anyway.

Vehicles are like family members.
Our Toyota 4Runner is a member of the family and the kids love her too.

Next I moved on to my current Toyota, a 2002 4Runner 4WD. A hard-working member of the family that’s hard to replace.

Then a red 2007 Toyota Matrix, nicknamed Britni, came and went. My husband (and the primary driver) said she was a girl car.

Then came the first crossover, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 that was allegedly stolen by a Russian international car theft ring in Montreal, Canada, and shipped to West Africa. Then a 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD that replaced the stolen RAV4 after our insurance check came through.

My Girl

She’s a trusted friend, always reliably waiting for me and my three kids. Never left me stranded or failed to start, and always ready for an adventure.

I installed my first car seat in her. I strapped my last baby in her. I struggled with mushing three kids into a combination of boosters and carseats in her.

I can’t spill water on the back seat, or I’ll rehydrate a childhood of chocolate milk. I don’t know if she dreamed of being a Mom SUV, but she adapted and became a Mom SUV extraordinaire.

Finding a new SUV to love? I need to replace my beloved 2002 Toyota 4Runner in a few months so the research and the test drives start here.

Moms that drive 4Runners are fun, the guy’s girl that grew up and had a family. As a Mom driving an older 4Runner, I get a tiny thrill when a 20-something guy asks me about my 4Runner. Makes me feel younger, (I know he just wants to buy her but still…).

She’s still looks good on the outside with timeless styling and a paint job that’s held up but I demoted her to short-haul trips. I don’t take her on the long road trips I’ve made into a career.

So the time has come to think about replacing her and passing her down to my kids climbing into the driver’s seat. Though the thought makes me so sad, like putting down a pet. I guess that’s when you know you’ve owned a great vehicle.

The New 2018 C-HR

Toyota CHR, a Toyota Crossover, is a new this year.
The 2018 Toyota C-HR is a compact crossover new to the Toyota line up. Courtesy Photo

As the newest to crossover Toyota line-up, the C-HR offers a compact option to the popular RAV4 and Highlander crossovers.

The new 2018 C-HR offers a distinctive athletic build at an affordable price point, starting at $22K with a premium option at $24K. The rear spoiler and the sport alloy wheels, standard on the XLE, add to its sporty personality.

The estimated MPG is an impressive 27/31. The cargo space offered by the 2018 C-HR is 36.4 cubic feet with folded-down seats and 19.0 cubic feet behind the second row.

With ground clearance coming in at 5.9” along with the lack of AWD, keeps this crossover on the paved roads. A consideration for me, and drivers in rugged locales or snow-prone areas, since I need more control and traction. The seating for five accommodates my three kids.

Though I love the styling, the C-HR doesn’t fit my needs for AWD or cargo space. A sporty option for the younger, less entangled drivers. I’ve got too many things to haul in my life and my SUV.

The RAV4

The Toyota RAV4, Toyota Crossover, hauls 73.4 cubic feet of gear.
After five years of ownership, I’m still amazed by how much the RAV4 hauls and the stability of the AWD.

The RAV4 offers proven performance and versatility that I’ve come to rely on for the last five years. As my husband’s primary car, I drive it on extended trips throughout the seasons. The starting price point of $24K entices many families into the mid-point Toyota crossover.

The estimated MPG is an expected 23/30. The cargo space offered by the RAV4 is impressive 73.4 cubic feet with folded-down seats and 38.4 behind the second row. I am amazed by how much luggage I can haul in the RAV4 during our trips. Coupled with a soft-sided roof carrier, I spent nine weeks on the road in our RAV4.

The Toyota RAV4, a Toyota Crossover, is loaded for a trip.
My RAV4 packed and ready to go on a multi-week long road trip.

The ground clearance is a comfortable 6.1” and easy on the knees for climbing in. The optional AWD has me driving with stability and security to the ski resort. With seating for five, it accommodates my three kids.

Though I love our RAV4, I don’t think we need another.

The Highlander

The Toyota Highlander, a Toyota Crossover, offers 3 rows of seating.
The Toyota Highlander is the largest of the crossovers and offers three rows of seating. Courtesy Photo

As the largest crossover in the Toyota lineup, the Highlander offers Moms lots of versatility. With refined styling and more space, the Highlander finds its way into many garages at a starting price point of $30K.

The estimated MPG at 20/23 is a little lower than I expected. The Highlander offers 83.7 cubic feet of space with the second and third row of seats stowed. With the second row down, it offers 42.3 cubic feet. And 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row, so no road trips will all the seats up.

The ground clearance is a generous 8.0” so a primitive camping spot with the best view isn’t a problem. The optional AWD has me driving with stability and security on the annual ski trip. With seating for eight, it accommodates my three kids and a couple of friends.

The Highlander intrigues me with its style and performance. Sounds like I need an extended test drive to help me make a decision.

The 4Runner

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner offers rugged style.
The Toyota 4Runner offers off road abilities with city sensibilities. Courtesy Photo

This SUV is an icon. It offers rugged performance that’s a breeze in the city with its tight turning radius. Its starting price point of $34K is manageable too.

With a 4×4 option and the TRD Pro option, the 4Runner wants to get dirty, in my case in a national park. I’ve used the 4WD option lots over the years and realistically never pushed my 4Runner to its limits.

The estimated MPG is a 17/21 that hasn’t changed much over the years. The 4Runner offers 89.7 cubic feet of space with all the seats down. With the second row down, it offers 47.2 cubic feet. And if you opt for the third row of seats, it offers 9.0 cubic feet of storage. Ouch.

The ground clearance in the 2×4 is 9” and the 4×4 option is a generous 9.6”. Though climbing behind the driver’s seat requires grabbing the bar to yank myself up. With seating for five, it accommodates my family.

A newer 4Runner is a contender. Though I love the rugged styling now, will I love it in a few years?

As in most major decisions, more research needs to happen. Stay tuned.

Disclosure:

This post is sponsored.

SaveSave