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Test driving a vehicle can be a lot of fun, but I've long-held the belief that nothing beats the opportunity to really use a new ride to get the full experience. That said, I was able to put the 2017 Toyota RAV4 Platinum AWD to good use during the midst of a long-awaited project here at Rock Father HQ - the tear-down and rebuild of our sizeable 27-year-old deck (more on  that project in a feature down the line). Now, we're not talking heavy hauling here, but for supply runs and tool rentals, the RAV4 was up to the task, in addition to being a really comfortable family ride. Let's take a look...

There have been a lot of strange petitions over the years, and per the guidelines, any petition toward The White House that garners 100,000 signatures or more will require an official response. It wasn't that long ago that the Obama Administration had to formally announce that they would not be building a full-scale functional Death Star based on the iconic battle station seen in Star Wars. Now comes something a little more realistic, but still potentially divisive... if the United States of America had an Official Vehicle, should it be the pickup truck?

It's been nearly 50 years since Mattel launched Hot Wheels back in 1968, and for the past five decades kids have been imagining their toy cars rolling out on exciting adventures that tap into unique heroic personalities. Despite so many years of play for kids of all ages, it's only been within the last few years that a cultural shift has been taking place in the way that toys are marketed, and for the first time ever on a Hot Wheels box, the description reads "For boys and girls…” That new product is Hot Wheels MindRacers, the latest addition to the "New Play Movement" from Osmo, who have worked together with Mattel to create an experience in which physical play with diecast cars seamlessly blends with digital gameplay. Check out a video preview and full details below for the debut of Hot Wheels MindRacers!

As we speed toward the holiday season, Mattel's Hot Wheels division is on fire. With loads of new product offerings hitting stores, the team at Mattel has revved-up their new "Challenge Accepted" initiative to remind parents (and show new ones) that "Hot Wheels are more than just a toy - they're a tool that helps kids develop life skills." Already knowing that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is at play in the world of Hot Wheels, Challenge Accepted breaks down how skills and traits like problem solving, creativity, sportsmanship and confidence can get a boost from those famous 1:64-scale diecast cars. Check out the new commercial below to see what happens when a mother and son take off for some action in a real-life Redline...

Friday, September 08 2017 15:42

Test Drive: Rockin the Road - 2017 Mazda6 GT

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When I really started working with cars on a frequent basis a few years back, Mazda was a nameplate that didn't immediately strike me as interesting. For some reason, the cars of their past were largely stuck in my head - images of the 1980s that I just couldn't shake. But once I had a real chance to experience what Mazda is now, I really became a fan. In fact, I love their CX series - with last year's CX-9 ranking among my favorite vehicles of the year. Now comes a look at the 2017 Mazda6 GT.

I've always been fairly straightforward in admitting my love of the Lexus brand. When it comes to their vehicles, my affection tend to be toward their cars, so when the folks at DriveShop delivered one of their bigger rides to Rock Father HQ on-loan from Lexus USA, I was excited to see what an SUV under the Lexus nameplate had to offer. As the name implies, the 2017 Lexus GX460 Luxury is just that - a luxurious option for some big hauling and power.

Microsoft Education Workshop's STEM Saturdays are part of a Microsoft initiative to host a range of free hands-on educational programs through the Microsoft Store. Today it was revealed that Mattel's iconic Hot Wheels brand will be a part of the program, with Hot Wheels getting "hacked" as participants get to learn about forces in motion. The program begins September 9, 2017, and runs every Saturday through the end of the month.  

Tuesday, September 05 2017 08:38

Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 Races Home this Fall!

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One of our favorite movies of 2017 is finally coming home. Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 races home Digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ on Oct. 24, and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD™ and Blu-ray™ on Nov. 7.  The news came down today in an announcement timed to honor world-champion racer Lightning McQueen - #95 - on his date-sake 9/5. The film surged to the front of the pack opening weekend, with audiences racing to see the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and spirited trainer Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo) team up to beat the new generation of blazing-fast racers. Now, this summer’s high-octane hit cruises home—loaded with bonus features like the all new mini-movie starring the demolition derby legend Miss Fritter.

For the past few years, Mattel has been doing some very creative things with their license to make Hot Wheels vehicles that are inspired or based upon the characters, locations and machinery of a galaxy far, far away. While their Starships line makes diecast scale models of the actual ships of Star Wars, their Carships and Character Cars bend the rules quite a bit. For us, the character cars have been the big hit - so popular that I eventually added a running checklist to this very website, a page that has become increasingly popular. Now, with the Force Friday II debut of merchandise centered around Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Hot Wheels design team has cranked things up and raised the suspension for something new - Hot Wheels Star Wars All-Terrain Character Cars.

This past Spring, a new ride arrived here at Rock Father HQ for review - one that's already become known as "one of Europe's best-selling transit devices." The Space Scooter has been available in the U.S. now for a little while, and after having ours for a few months, and teasing it on my Instagram, it's time to throw down a few thoughts about this new spin on an old classic. Check out the video below for what the Space Scooter rides like, hands-on...

Way back on February 2, I was the first to give you an early look at the Step2 McLaren 570S - the first toy created under a new partnership between McLaren Automotive and The Step2 Company. Now that ride has a street date, and the revolutionary 570S Step2 Push Sports Car will be rolling out to in September as an Amazon Exclusive before arriving at global retailers and Step2.com later this fall. 

The Hot Wheels Car & Track Play Table from The Step2 Company has been a favorite here at Rock Father HQ for awhile now, a staple of daily play that we've recommended to many friends and family members over the past year. So what did they do for a sequel? Created by Step2 under license from Mattel, the new Hot Wheels Road Rally Raceway is a new way to play Hot Wheels in a space-saving design, that features zig-zagging molded track, and the ability to connect additional orange track to the table to extend the racing fun. Check this out...

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