The Comeback 

 

I feel at one point Mitsubishi was once a rising star in the vast ocean of automotive excellence. With cars like the Eclipse, 3000 GT, all Lancer iterations , Lancer Evo and a few trucks sprinkled in there. Mitsubishi had the right cars at the right time for the enthusiast and the family goer alike. However somewhere along the line Mitsubishi lost their way and started creating economy cars with no life, no soul, and almost seemingly no purpose. Fast forward a few years later still no sign of another EVO insight, but we have a new generation of CUVs. Insert the 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse cross. The name was at first deceiving and expectations were set low; for $32k as tested and spending the week in one. I think Mitsubishi is on to something and I see a glimmer of hope. For starters $32k probably sounds like a lot for a Mitsubishi, quite a few cars can be had at that price - that is until you see the specs that this Mitsu offers. Xenon headlights, Rockford Fosgate sound system, leather seating, Satellite and HD Radio, heated butt warmers and steering, a host of standard safety features, head up display, smart key fob, panorama sunroof. There really isn't much more you would need and or want. My only real quibble about the car is the motor. Now I know some of my car readers will say but that's everything. I feel the engine is a tad underpowered but after getting use to it and know where to keep the revs, it became much more tolerable once I learned where the car was most capable. 

The ride quality was much better than expected doing a proper job of soaking up a grand portion of pot holes, road noise, and uneven surfaces. This car must have come installed with the newest version of Apple Car play as this by far has been the best experience with CarPlay I have ever experienced. As well as being integrated into the car well where it appears that it was thought out and made for the car as opposed to CarPlay being a tacky add on that you find in other cars. 

Now most of you know when I do a car review I have a few bits of criteria to shove every car into this shoe box. 

1. How does it feel to drive

2. How does it operate as a car for Realtors

3. How does it work being a Dad

4. Would I actually drive it daily or is it a weekend warrior?

 

I am very impressed with the overall agility and functionality of the Eclipse Cross and once again for the money it is a pretty solid car when you factor all of the acoutrements you get. Now let's take it to work- I did hold a few open houses when I had this car and it held my signs just fine with a portion of the rear seat folded down and if I broke the signs down from the holders everything fit in the trunk just fine. Being a dad the car also served it's purpose very well and my kiddo enjoyed the car and was sad we had to return it to Mitsubishi. if you're packing for a long road trip the car might be a tad small as we maxed out the trunk space but with a little creativity and Tetris music playing you can definitely make it work. People who know me kinda know me for being a brand snob. However this is a car I would daily with no problem its plenty comfortable, plenty quiet, plenty functional. Just what is needed for a daily car.  

 

 

                                                                        

Walmart does it again! 

Walmart sponsored this blog post by challenging me yet again to come up with a stylish outfit on a budget. Naturally I accepted the challenge and I would like to say I came out victorious. So we kept it casual this time around with a cool but warm light winter look for these cooler winter days and evenings. A thermal, with a down vest, some joggers, check sneaks, and a beanie to tie it all together. The best way to keep the body temperature in check while keeping it light. Shout out to Walmart yet again for making a seemingly impossible task easy as pie.  CLICK HERE FOR THE GOODNESS

 

 

 

 

From Top to bottom we started with an oversized beanie, light vest, thermal, joggers and some comfy sneaks to round it out. Keeping it cool and chic yet warm. Check out the photos after the jump and tell me what you think . 

 

https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/3RpO9yca8hiwbodKPdhLqi

 

 

 

The Gift box of all Gifts 

This blog is in fact sponsored by Babblebox.com and I am so glad it is. I had no idea who Babblebox was a few weeks ago but as of writing this letter I do now. Babblebox curates gift boxes to showcase various themes of products to get it out to the masses. The theme for this box was Trendy bits for men. This box was loaded with most of the items I have never heard of but am a believer in their great products. From Watches to wine, to some comfy new shoes What I am about to show you below is some of the best products for your friend, loved one, relative in your life that needs a great gift that they can use for years to come. 

 

 

First up GiftTree: Gifttree curates gift baskets for every occasion and a plethora of styles. From Wine, to beer, to candy, to fruit, to champagne you name it they probably have it. My favorite part of what they sent is the ability to customize the products with in your gift basket. So I obtained a customized bamboo wine set with my initials on it as well as a customized bold red bottle of wine. This alone leaves a statement and have already started incorporating this gift into my parting gifts with my clientele. 

 

 

ZENNI Optical: Might be best known for their eyeglasses and their ability to take a picture of your face and try on a multitude of styles do see how they fit your face. Quite clever and genius if you ask me. What I unboxed was an absolute premium product for a ridiculously great price. My glasses were sent in a nice leather glasses case, with polarized lenses and nice springer hinges. Extremely impressed with how well these glasses are made and even more impressed with the price!

 

 

 

CASIO: G-SHOCK: The Casio G-Shock has been around since before my time. First hitting the streets in 1983, this watch has become an icon with an almost cult like following. An extremely tough and versatile watch there is a G-shock for you in a vast amount of styles and colors, for any trend or occasion your little heart desires. Ranging from about $100 and going way north of there no matter what your style or budget there is a G-Shock for you. The one I am wearing is a GA700AR-1A in a new red color way to mix things of for the holiday season .

 

Solemates: There are few things that are worse than blisters and smelly feet. Lucky for your that is now a thing of the past. With Solemates they have the best products for your feet shoes and other high use extremities. With their blister blocker it helps relieve the tension, rubbing and chafing from running shoes, work boots, heels etcetera. Leaving you in more comfort then you were the last time you wore the nice but pesky shoes. Also if you have sweaty feet or do not like wearing socks Solemates has the solution for you. Not only to keep your shoes in tip top shape but more importantly smelling great. 

 

 

Samuel Hubbard: Being a sneaker head, I like all these sneakers. Price, style, materials it does not matter to me. If they look great and fit great ; I have to have them. Needless to say Old Sam Hubbard, was a pleasant surprise. Utilizing some of the best leather and craftsman ship in the industry they have created a comfortable versatile shoe by pairing it with a Vibram sole. So much so that I have worn these everyday since I have gotten the box. they look much more expensive then they are and they function great what more can you ask for? 

 

 

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers New York:  There is absolutely nothing worse than going to someones house that has uninteresting coffee table books. maybe something is wrong with me for actually picking up the books and thumbing through them. However I feel that a book should contain some good information if it is going to be left on the coffee table for all to observe. Well Black Dog has fixed that problem. One of my favorite type of books: The " How Things Work" by Theodore Gray takes you on a visual journey on how things work. From automatic watches, to gears, to electronic door handles. This is a fascinating take on trends, and pure function. My kid and I have geeked out the past week over the goodness of this book. This will satisfy even the slightest nerd in you. 

 

 


 

NOW HERE IS THE GOOD STUFF: 

 

‘Tis the season of giving and we’re giving back to all of our readers, friends and fans. Babbleboxx is sponsoring an AMAZING giveaway on our Trends Box. 

Make Sure to check out the Raffle Copter below . The first entry is a “freebie” and all you have to do is comment on this blog post by answering the provided question in the link below on the blog. Once you have completed that task you have the opportunity for extra actions for more chances to win. These extra actions are not mandatory but will provide additional methods of entry. Details 

PRIZES: 

One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive - Zenni Eyewear, GiftTree Wine Bottle & Tool Set, Casio Watch, Solemates Blister Blocker Sport & Deodorizer 

CLICK HERE --->a Rafflecopter giveaway 

 

“BabbleBoxx will randomly select winners from all program entries and will be responsible for fulfillment of prizes to the winner.”

Walmart - The fashion destination you never knew you needed! 

Before we hop into things we have some house cleaning to address. This blog is in fact sponsored by Walmart - But good news is Walmart is Killin the game. Now let's get back to business. Walmart approached me and challenged me to find stylish clothing to show off all the amazing fashionable they have to offer for for various popular styles. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. They then asked me to do it again for a holiday look... Once again Walmart did not disappoint. They have something for every one, no matter the style or size or budget. If you need an outfit just because, or for a special occasion Walmart will definitely come through. 

 

So for this Holiday look, I went for a Winter Chic wonderland theme. Christmasy reds with flannel boots, beanie overcoat and voila, a winter ready look that's warm and all under $100. 

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO YOUR NEW FAVORITE FASHION SITE - WALMART

 

 

 

 

First we started with the hipster look with the oversized beanie. 

 

 

Then we took it to a red turtle neck to really keep warm from the elements. 

Some plaid pants with the side zip so that you can wear it with an array of shoe styles: Boots, sneakers, casual shoes etcetera. 

 

Boots to brave the elements 

 

Tied it off with an overcoat. 

 

Giving you a very casual yet sharp aesthetic to wear to a party, night out, or even the Christmas party. 

Sh*t with a purpose  

 When it comes to Toilet Paper, there are a plethora of options. Soft, multi-ply, no ply, hard, cushion, super absorbent, the options are endless. While the soft ones with the cute bear feel nice and soft  it more or less leaves you feeling incomplete. Ingenuity is always best when solving a problem. Insert Reel , a sustainable toilet paper made from bamboo, that gets you clean, and feels just right. 

Why reel? Well first and foremost it's sustainable, meaning it is good for the environment where we live especially when we need to think about conserving and utilizing our precious resources in a more responsible way. The problem is with traditional toilet paper roughly 27k trees are cut down every day to produce toilet paper. The problem is there is no way to recycle this paper and of course companies that are producing it are not planting more trees which opens a whole new can of worms for our ecosystem. 

Bamboo on the other hand grows rapidly fast like a weed, does not need to be regrown, has a plethora of uses and you do not need to worry about replanting it because it just a few days and hours it will start to grow all over again. Bamboo uses 30% less water than hardwood trees and even gives out 35% more oxygen than trees, meaning an acre of bamboo can fix approximately 25 metric tons of atmospheric CO2 per year. Do you see where we're going here? Bamboo fibers make a much softer paper product than many made from recycled paper and wood fiber.  Also, because of its very unique composition, bamboo is naturally designed for strength. In fact, it has a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel! So you're doing the environment some good as well as making sure you do not have any surprises like when using other brands. 

 

Nothing more than I like than a product with a mission. Reel is really solving a multitude of problems and doing good at the same time. No longer do I need to go to the grocery store to buy toilet paper, no longer do I need to contribute to the toxic waste of cutting down trees and having un-recyclable waste and material rot in a landfill and destroy our earth. Further more remote locations that do not have access to running water, proper sewage can benefit from all of the pluses that using bamboo toilet paper can offer. 

 

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Next time you sit on the crapper, know that you are doing some good while taking care of your bum, wallet and the environment. 

 

SH*T with a Purpose

 

 

 

Fashionably Walmart?!? 

This Blog was #Sponsored by Walmart! - They Challenged me to show you how fashionable they now are and so I accepted the challenge. Walmart you did not disappoint.... Now lets get back to business...You read that correctly... Walmart is your new fashion destination- WHO KNEW?! Apparently not I. Walmart has become synonymous with a lot of various things. From groceries, to Pharma, to automotive servicing and now fashion- Walmart fashion is now fashionable. You can get all of the latest styles at a fraction of the cost. Now I am not saying latest styles and it is cheesy stuff. The offerings Walmart possesses is vast; from suiting to street wear. Pajamas to special holiday wear for that Christmas party coming up. They also have all the shoes and accessories your little heart desires. This time around I went with the urban street look, that is layered to brave the elements but cool and comfortable enough to trek it through the urban jungle. 

For more for the amazing offerings Walmart currently offers click the link below. 

WE DRESS AMERICA

 

 

 

 

 

We started with some leggings as a thin base layer in my opinion is a must. plus gives you the proper layering you desire. 

 

RUSSELL MENS L2 ACTIVE PERFORMANCE BASE LAYER THERMAL PANT

 

 

We layered the Leggings with slightly baggier cotton shorts 

 

RUSSELL ATHLETIC MENS COTTON POCKET SHORTS

 

Up top we utilized the No Boundaries Short Sleeve Elongated Hoodie coupled with Weatherproof Men's 32 Degrees Packable Down Vest. 

NO BOUNDARIES MEN'S SHORT SLEEVE ELONGATED HOODIE

WEATHERPROOF MEN'S 32 DEGREES PACKABLE DOWN VEST, Style 16700

 

Pair it with a classic sneaker and you are ready to take on the Urban jungle

FILA ORIGINAL FITNESS 11F16LT Sneaker

 

Polish off your fit with some accessories. I included links to a watch, bracelet, and necklace to tie it all together. 

MOVADO BOLD GOLD

Men's Genuine Tiger's Eye Stainless Steel Bead Bracelet with Black CZ

Bali Style Asian Dragon Heads Eye Hook Clasp Bracelet For Women For Men Antiqued 925 Sterling Silver

Men's Stainless Steel Dog Tag Pendant with Cubic Zirconia and Rose, Gold and Black Oxide, 22"

 

 

 

 

WHAT'S WORTH SAVING FOR?! 

“If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” —Edmund Burke

 


One of the things I’ve been taught and keep close to my heart is it’s not how much you make rather how much can you save? Being in real estate, I have come across the: "How do I go about buying a house?" question more often than I can count. Most people I talk to about real estate have one thing in common: the struggle to save money. Unfortunately, in school we don't learn about money, investments, savings, or finance management, which are some of the most important aspects of life - especially when it comes to the purchasing of real property. If I could get more people to understand the importance of setting money aside, I could help more people buy houses and invest and grow their money fairly quick. So my challenge for the rest of this year and 2020 is SAVE SAVE SAVE. I have found that when you have a goal or purpose for your savings your ability to save becomes easier. To help me on this quest is my Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account by @greendotbank. Not only do they use their own money to give me 3% cash back on the online purchases I already make – I also earn 3% annual interest when I put my own money into their High Yield Savings Account (which is FDIC insured and free with the Green Dot app). Proactively and passively saving money is going to help me reach goals faster than I ever thought possible.

Saving is so essential to building wealth and financial freedom. As mentioned earlier our schools don't teach about finance. Which leaves us stuck in a society riddled with credit card debt, school debt, and broke because of frivolous spending. What is so amazing about Green dot bank is the cash back percentage they provide. Even my credit union does not provide such a high yield. Providing me the opportunity to passively and actively save for a rainy day, vacation, clothing, whatever my heart desires- most importantly saving for a future. Click the link below and shoot me a PM let me know what you  are saving for and how well your savings journey is going. 

 

Bonobos: Cool Calm and Collected 

It has been said there is not such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. After taking to the range I can attest that is in fact a true adage. I took to the range to see if I still had some range, in my golf swing as it has been quite a while. Well yes and no, My slice is back but I still have a little distance to feel good about. A nice warm spring day khakis or denim would have rendered a dreadful day. But shout out to Bonobos for making golf gear that is quite stylish and extremely comfortable. Light enough to be cool during the day but warm enough to keep you comfortable when the sun goes down, and in funky colors that works with my style. I call that a win. I wish I had these in my high school and college days. Whether you 're an avid golfer or a wannabe PGA'er. Golf, business, business casual,  casual wear at Bonobos is the diverse brand every man needs in their arsenal. 

One of the bigger problems with golfing in my opinion is being in the sun All day in conjunction with the heat. The sun burn issue isn't as much a problem for me as for some of my fairer skin colleagues, but it is still of concern none the less. The pants (Highland Tour Golf Pants) along with the M-Flex Golf polos pictured below, offer up to 50 UPF sun protection ratings, water resistant and quite breathable moisture wicking material. Providing a dry and comfortable round of golf day in and day out. Keeping you both cool in high heat yet comfortable on colder days. But of course the best is you're going to be looking grand. Whether conservative or more flashy, Bonobos has something from every person. Worst case scenario you will look like a pro even if you cannot hit like one.

 

 

The Underdog 

Volvo seems to have always been a conundrum of a brand. Not that popular with the general public nor enthusiast, but have always been a benchmark for safety, clean styling, and believe it or not pretty good performance. So when I got my hands on the new XC90 I was pretty excited. Volvo sure did not disappoint. 

 

 

OVERVIEW

The Good: It's amazing design and in my opinion draws more eyes than its German counterparts. Not to mention its something different. Great power and great accouterments for the price point. 

The Bad: From what I have read across the inter web and from some experiences from colleagues the car has been plagued with mechanical issues which. believe have been sorted out for 2k19 and 2020 model years. Also while the power is quite good I think the hybrid version is a must. 

Verdict: With crisp lines, smooth styling, and going against the status quo you have a great appointed car that rivals some of the best out there. Don't forget it's all quite safe. 

 

Mechanical 

Life is breathed through the XC90 through a surprisingly slick Dual charged (turbo and supercharged) 2 liter four cylinder engine. Which in theory is quite a feat however I personally feel the motor is just too small for such a big heavy car. However with the forced breath of life from the turbo and supercharger that little 4-cylinder motor has enough get up to get you to soccer practice back in a few blinks. I personally feel the T8 hybrid [while pricey] is the one to get as you can use as much extra power as you can get to push all that heftiness. At the end of the day no matter which motor you get its surprisingly good bang for the buck. 

Exterior 

 I think this car is quite the looker- and much different in the sea of Mercedes, BMW, Audi etcetera. The enthusiast in me wants to see it lowered on 21s with blacked out windows light smoke on rear tail lights and chrome delete to show the various aspects of this family hauler. But if you leave it stock in the right color looks just delectable. Granted some people may not enjoy the looks of this car, but I feel the design language of current Volvos is done just right and makes me want one because it is so unique and conceptual. The car I currently have came with LED headlights which is a must in any car -with the super cool and iconic Thor's hammer DRLs. Providing the car with the necessary aggressiveness to show it means business with the sweet lines to give it that luxury feel. The eyes of this car are aggressive, beautiful and bold. and the whole fit and finish of the exterior is quite chic. 

 

Interior  

The seats are comfortable and supportive. With that said I am a fan of the Design seating and appointment much more. The interior leaves a lot desired. While it designed well its quite minimalistic. It is probably somewhere in between BMWs over designed interiors and Tesla's overly minimalistic interiors. It is good just seems as if a little more is necessary. Everything is placed in a good spot making everything easy to get to and not out of reach. The only real problem I have with the interior is the size of the screen I wish it was a little wider and the engine start knob. While the piece itself is beautiful in my opinion it is just a tad silly.  The navigation worked well and the sounds system had enough bump and clarity to handle every genre of music and immerse you in the sauce as if you were there when they recorded it.  The interior is plenty roomy for kids and adults a like, however with that third row seat if you are anything over 4ft tall and or older than maybe 8 you are not going to be comfortable back there at all. Do not believe the hype adults do not fit in the 3rd row. 

Music equipment, stroller, mom and all her bags, real estate signs, beach gear you name it. When the third row is down there is more than enough space for all of life's adventures. Whether it is for work or play or family time to go adventure The XC90 can handle it all. I feel the interior is well thought out and conducive for an active lifestyle.

 

Safety 

It's a Volvo. What else needs to be said here. Notorious to other manufactures but Volvo has consistently almost since it's inception been one of the safest cars on the road hands down. Consistently having some of the best ratings of any car in and out of it's class. One of the things to note though is the adaptive cruise control. Almost like auto pilot in a sense that the car is very involved, however you the pilot are still very much in control. The only negative about the safety protocols is that the brakes get too involved way to early however with a few days of getting used to that initial though subsided. Making the whole system seem to be very good as opposed to cars made by its counterparts. 

 

Farewell 

Do not get my wrong I actually love the XC90 and its few quirks. The styling is great, the power is decent, the car as a whole is well thought out. But would I buy one? The one we tested was a few ticks under $74k ,Going to their site to spec one rendered with the R-Design accoutrements, and the hybrid engine we are beat over the head at just under $90k. A lot of autos can be had for $90k and for $90k while I absolutely love how unique, and well designed the XC90 is I still might opt for a Tesla Model X or a Trackhawk. Two Extremely different cars per se but also two I would rather drop $100k on. Special Thank you To Santa Monica Volvo. Go give them a visit and test drive your very own Volvo that suits your lifestyle. 

 

https://www.volvocarsofsantamonica.com

 

My Ode to Ava[lon] 

I could be way off base here but I remember a day when Toyota was a brand for everyone; from exciting, practical, and  fun. They had a family car, big body sedan, sports car, mid-size, small-size and of course they were mostly affordable for everyone. Somehow the rear wheel drive powertrains were axed for boring mundane economy cars. Long gone are the days of the Celicas, AE86s, Supras, and VIP Previas. Until now, with the likes of the FR-S and coming Supra replacement it seems that Toyota is ready to get back to its roots; and they did not just stop it seems they have revamped their full line-up to great styling, great features and accoutrements. Even technology now seems presetine; Toyota truly has a car for everyone. Let's take a look at the latest offering that Toyota was kind enough to loan us for the week. The all new 2019 Toyota Avalon - Now let's be honest when I was told they were handing me the keys to an Avalon, I  cringed on the inside. However, I quickly ate crow. When they dropped the car off in it's beautiful Ruby Flare Pearl exterior paint I at first had no idea what I was looking at. I pulled over and thought it was a new Lexus GS then I realized it was the car that was supposed to be mine for the next seven days. We took a walk around checked out the interior and the whole time my jaw was dragging along behind me. I could not believe my eyes. The first thing that threw me off was the large and massive grill. It seems to be very polarizing you either like it or you do not. Shout out to my purist family who the majority disliked the grill but the whole aggressive design grew on me and I love it. I feel as if Toyota is back with a vengeance. If you want to know if the car is good, read no further as the bottom line  is simple. This car is amazing, the only negative is that it does not come in rear or all wheel drive. 

 

I have for the most of my automotive "career" almost always had European cars with the exception of two of my first cars. Which happened to be under the Toyota umbrella and I loved those cars no real reason why I left the brand; other than I was always a fan of the euro. However, the price point at a fully ticked $43k there is not much that can touch what this car offers for this price. Let me break it down this way so I can make sure we do not miss anything. 

Mechanical

The heartbeat of the Avalon is a 3.5-Liter V6 that has a respectable 301 HP and 267 lb-ft of torque and while its not lightning quick off the line; in a roll on the freeway and around 3500rpm this car catches speed quick. All bolted up to an 8 Speed automatic trans. Allowing you to have some naughty fun and/or get you out of trouble when needed. While the motor and transmission work extremely well together I am curious to know how good this motor gets with a tune, exhaust, and better breathing but we will see if we can test that theory at a later time. But if you want to know how good the motor gets you can ask the few Maserati Ghiblis, Levantes, Chargers, Challengers and few BMWs that lay slain in the wake of this surprising little beast. Rolling on 19" alloy wheels painted with black windows it ties the whole car in a very sporty, aggressive and classy way. The suspension is firm enough so you know whats going on but properly soft for a big body sedan. It soaks up LA's horrible roads with ease. I hit a pothole by accident and in my other car alignment probably would have been left a mile behind and popped a tire. The Avalon literally took it with NO problem and we barely felt it. What I like most which reminds me of the good old days when my parents gifted me their Lexus ES300, you can go 90mph and not notice it because the car is smooth, planted, quiet and comfortable. I can give you the full specs of the independent MacPherson struts and sport tuned shocks but in my opinion who cares the suspension is great. Seeing as this is a Toyota and their claimed summer anthem of wanting my MPGs they have this car at an estimated 25 mpg Combined (22 city/31 highway). With that said I averaged 27-30 with a lead foot and 2 tanks to prove it.

 

Exterior

Once again I think this car is quite the looker. The enthusiast in me wants to see it lowered on 20s with blacked out windows light smoke on rear tail lights and bigger exhaust tips to really showcase the beautiful lines of this car. But if you leave it stock in the right color looks just delectable. Granted some people may not enjoy the looks of this car, but this is one of the many places this car gives it's euro counterparts a run for the money. The car I currently have came with LED headlights which was an option. Most other manufacturers that charge close double for a similar vehicle are still using boring old Xenons - which starts easily building the case why this car is a steal for the money. LED headlights not only look great but function well and I will never purchase a car again that does not have them. The eyes of this car are aggressive, beautiful and bold. Full LED headlights with Automatic High beams and sequential running blinkers (Dynamic Auxiliary Turn signal) for both front and rear. Huge aggressive front grill with front camera to help with 360 Parking, and curb assist so you do not plow your bumper into the parking block ahead. Nice aggressive front vents that are functional which I presume for aerodynamics and brake cooling. We finish off the front half of the car with acoustic noise-reducing front windshield keeping the occupants happy inside. Bringing around back we have quad tipped exhaust a nice lip spoiler which looks like an aftermarket piece and I like it quite a bit. Also, including a nice aggressive rear diffuser to button up the whole package. 

Interior 

The seats are very nice. Orange stitching keeps together a semi-perforated ultra suede and leather seat that is both heated and ventilated (cooling and amazing on these hot days) giving the car that posh sporty look that you typically see in more expensive cars. Hop into the front you are greeted with a plethora of enjoyments. Starting off with an 8-way adjustable seat with 4 way lumbar for both passenger and driver. Heated tile and telescoping steering wheel all with memory function. Also included on the steering is bluetooth hands free and voice command buttons along with cruise control volume and other niceties. Behind the steering wheel you have your speedo with a nice 7" screen with pertinent information and they one upped themselves with a 10" color HUD right in the windshield where you can see the speed limit of the street your on, mph, radar info and a few other things that help keep your eyes on the road and not where they should not be. In the dash you have a 9" touch screen which is very responsive and has all the fun stuff. Satellite radio, 360 rear and front cameras all come on at the right time to help you park and stay out of the insurance companies pockets. The only negative about this system is the navigation is a little annoying and not as good as the old Toyota and Lexus' I remember. However, if it gets on your nerves there's always Apple CarPlay. One thing I really liked about the navigation though is Dynamic Navigation. Here's how it works, I need to get to a destination and I am driving and/or in my case too lazy to look it up or type it in. Hit the prompt for navigation assist and on the line comes an operator asking where I would like to go. I tell them to map me to said location. If they do not have an address they will look it up. Hit GO on my screen and off we are to the next adventure. 

 

Just below that we have wireless charging which is an amazing feature. The only problem I had with wireless charging is that my phone kept sliding around and  flying off the charger which left my phone upset. However, I am sure when the car comes to production that will be fixed with some type of rubber footing or holder. Additionally, under the armrest which is insanely deep holds three pots to charge your devices. Finishing off the interior with the rear seat there is plenty of space back there for passengers big and small. The biggest problem I have as a dad with any car these days is my kid and her carseat. She says at 42 inches tall she does not have enough legroom. With the Avalon that is a problem of the past. Also, to keep your rear seat guests comfortable and happy, two large vents that offer them copious amounts of air and an additional two plugs for their phones or tablets so you are always charged and ready for life's adventures.  Oh and the trunk is big as "F" so strollers, bass guitars, keyboards, a ton of of stuff will fit with ease and if you need more you can fold down the rear 60/40 split seats. 

 

My only real qualm about the interior is the center stack. In my opinion the clean interior design does not match the stack and the stack lessens the slightly more premium feeling you get in the Avalon. 

 

 

Safety

They have all the top safety stuff that you want, need and systems you never knew you wanted or needed. The list is pretty long I will more or less talk about my favorites here. A few of my favorite safety features that I put to use was the brake alert; coming too close to the radar system in the nose of the car will alert you that it is time to brake if it feels you are moving at a rate of speed where it will be difficult to brake safely without a collision. Which could be helpful if you get distracted or the traffic suddenly changes before you have time to react. Blind spot detection which is always an added bonus, along with pedestrian detection. One cool thing to note is when we tested the feature, the car came to a complete halt if someone walks behind your car while you are backing up. My favorite though is what I am calling semi Auto-pilot. It is a far cry from Tesla's autopilot, which in actuality you cannot really call or compare it to Auto-pilot because it's not. It is a very smart cruise control system having some very similar features which was quite welcomed during traffic. So the car has a radar in the nose which helps with a lot of the driving and safety features. Most noticed when cruise control is activated. You can in fact activate cruise control at pretty much any speed and it will hold at whatever speed you set unless you come up on a car. Once you come up to a certain distance about 3 car lengths the car will adjust it's speed to keep a safe distance from the car ahead. It will slow down up unto the point where it needs to come to a complete stop if necessary. It will not go again until you tap the gas to re-activate the cruise. With lane keeping assist that will push you back into the middle of the lane. It is a good and intuitive way to keep you safe even when you're not as alert because you have been sitting in LA traffic for 2 hours. The only drawback of this system is the brakes let you know that they work as they for the most part apply full force; they do not ease into the brake to reach programmed limits. No matter what speed whether theres traffic or not if it senses it needs to slow down to keep with the parameters set it will slam on the brakes making your stomach hit the front windshield. After playing with it every day I finally figured out a happy medium for the most part and the system worked quite well. 

 

Farewell

In my ripe young age I have become quit the car snob. After spending time with the Avalon for a full week I shed a small tear to see it go as I have been turned into a believer that Toyota still can produce a functional, fun enjoyable daily driver that can handle a multitude of requirements and daily tasks. For the enthusiasts this is a great tuning platform for the stance and VIP crowd. A solid platform to use as a show car, cruiser, family hauler, business car, and overall huge bang for the buck. It's actually mind blowing what Toyota has provided in their new Avalon for $40k. For all other car makers, in particular the European counterparts. You have been put on notice: Koreans and Japanese are coming and they are here to stay and they are here to wow customers with strong, solid, designs, technology, reliability and overall great cars. If you want something your age get the Camry as it's geared toward the younger demo. If you want a nice big body cruiser that has some potential and comes with pretty much everything you need standard. The Avalon is the way to go. 

Thank you to Toyota for forcing me to buy another car because I like this car that much.  

Check out the IGs of the photogs that collaborated with me on this shoot. 

@Russ.Photography