Earlier this year, I had the unique opportunity to become one of the very first #KBBDads - an elite team assembled by Life of Dad to partner with Kelley Blue Book to showcase some of the best cars and trucks for families. I headed for KBB Headquarters in Irvine, California where I went hands-on with a fleet of vehicles, hitting the roads of Southern California after getting the details on how to evaluate like the team at Kelley Blue Book - direct from the KBB Editors. Kelley Blue Book is the trusted resource for new and used car buyers, available 24/7 to help people make the best possible buying decisions. Their yearly Best Buy Awards are a pinnacle of what they do, and as we prepare to flip the calendar for a new model year, I'm excited to share with you the 2017 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award Winners - a field of 12 vehicles that have secured positions ahead of their competitors. Check out the full list along with a few "Rock Father Picks" below!
Unless it's in the shell of a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and offers "self-driving" as an option rather than a standard, I have zero interest in owning (or riding in) an "autonomous" car. One of the most important aspects of car ownership is driving, and for that reason alone - nevermind the fact that I'm seldom comfortable even with another human at the wheel due to perceived lack of my own control - and a vehicle that is devoid of a steering wheel is a prospect that is terrifying. That said, one of my favorite automakers - Kia - is set to unveil the stuff of my nightmares at SEMA 2016 in Las Vegas next month, and now there's a preview. Check it out...
Over the past few years, I've spent a fair amount of time testing new cars and sharing my experiences here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine. The qualities that make a good car great can be a subjective thing, but I have some specific points that I'm always looking at any time I get behind the wheel of a new ride - a mix of style, function, performance and price: four key points. My friends at Kelley Blue Book also have four key points that they look for on new cars (occasionally a fifth, "Special Circumstances" i.e. payload on a pickup), but under each - Driving It, Living in It, Living With It and Owning It - they dig even deeper, with five sub-points to keep things consistent across the board, their team doing detailed reviews on over 300+ vehicles each and every year, the most of any site out there. That experience and detail makes Kelley Blue Book the trusted resource for new (and used) car buyers to make the best possible buying decisions, and this month I went hands-on at the KBB headquarters in Irvine, California for a look behind-the-scenes at how it all comes together. I joined the first-ever crew of #KBBDads to hit the road in the five vehicles that KBB has chosen as their Top Picks for Dads this year - each hand-picked from KBB's list of the 16 Best Family Cars of 2016, putting the KBB picks against The Rock Father method to see how they all stack-up.
Brand unity is something that the folks at Kia Motors USA have really nailed over the past few years. Whether you're driving an entry-level model, or a fully-loaded luxury vehicle, the experience is distinctly Kia, and there's a comfort level in that feeling that's hard to surpass - no matter if you're in a car, crossover or minivan. When I last found myself behind the wheel of their best-selling nameplate, the Kia Optima, it was the 2014 Hybrid model. While we enjoyed that car, the 2016 Optima has been redesigned, and I recently had the opportunity to do a little roadtripping in Florida at the helm of the SX Turbo Edition - the perfect family ride for rockin' the road.
As of this writing, the 2016 NBA All-Star Game is mere hours away, and among the players taking the court on behalf of the Eastern Conference is Cleveland Cavaliers' powerhouse, LeBron James. Kia Motors USA is an NBA partner, with the Kia Optima deemed the "Official Vehicle of the NBA." The NBA goodness doesn't end there, with Kia sponsoring numerous elements from the Tip-Off to the Rookie Ladder and beyond, and of course you have "King James" (also my nickname prior to "The Rock Father," funny enough) as Kia's Luxury Ambassador, rockin' the road in the K900. Last week, as part of the festivities surrounding the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, my wife and I joined our friends from Kia in a suite at the United Center to see our hometown Chicago Bulls get trounced by the Atlanta Hawks. But there, Kia gave us a pair of jerseys - specifically, the NBA Eastern Conference LeBron James adidas White 2016 All-Star Game Swingman Jersey, the same one sold at the NBA Store for $109.99 each. That got me thinking... that some of you would really like to own these.
The 2016 Chicago Auto Show is underway at McCormick Place, and with a million square feet of automotive goodness, there's a lot for enthusiasts and families to enjoy. While I'll be rolling out #CAS16 features here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine throughout the week, today I'm highlighting seven things (with a few add-ons) to look for at the auto show - from debut vehicles, to concepts, music, tech and more.