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Last month, while the folks at Mazda USA were in Southern California doing an unveiling of some of their upcoming rides for 2017, I was here in Northern Illinois enjoying one of their most recent releases - the 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD. Now, I think a lot of readers might not be familiar with a mid-model-year update, as it's far less common these days as it used to be. Quite simply, the CX-5 received some updates to carry the '16 into '17, and hence the 2016.5 moniker. Thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures and some suburbs-to-city adventures I had planned (the Nintendo Switch launch, for one), I was able to spend a solid week with the car, giving it a hands-on evaluation in several conditions. More importantly, I got some real family time in this one, using one of its Mazda siblings (and one of my favorite cars of the past year) for some comparison... the CX-9.

It's been a long time coming, but today Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled a seminal new concept in luxury - one hand-crafted for one very special customer, St Richard's Hospital Pediatric Day Surgery Unit in the auto maker's home town of Chichester, West Sussex, England. The Rolls-Royce SRH will allow children awaiting surgery to drive themselves to the operating theatre, through the Pediatric Unit corridors which are lined with 'traffic signs'. The experience of 'self-drive to theatre' aims to reduce child patient stress. See video of the car and the team behind it...

We just got an "extended look" at Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 last month, but with the DAYTONA 500 having been run today, and with a big Cars presence, another look has arrived. This "Next Generation" clip focuses on some of the new talent hitting the track alongside Lightning McQueen this summer - a field that promises "more speed, more horsepower, more everything." The next cars have less drag, more downforce, and offer a few percentage points more in terms of speed. They say that Lightning can't turn back the clock, but he "can wind it up again." Check this out...

Tuesday, February 14 2017 08:05

Hot Wheels 2017 Holiday Racers - Valentine's Day

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If you happen to take a peek at the selection in your local retailer's aisle of toy cars, there just might be a holiday surprise hidden within the mainline Hot Wheels (the ones that are priced around $1). One sub-collection this year is the 2017 Holiday Racers - a series of five cars, four of which have been revealed. There's Halloween (Poppa Wheelie), Christmas (16 Angels), New Year's (Poppa Wheelie) and the one that I'm sharing since it's Valentine's Day: Rodger Dodger. This classic Hot Wheels ride was originally issued back in 1974 and has been done in many variations since, but for 2017 it's presented in candy apple red with gold accents to celebrate Cupid's favorite day.

2017 CAS LogoAs The LEGO Batman Movie soars into theaters this weekend, it's pretty appropriate that The Batmobile is in the Windy City. After all, Chicago doubled for Gotham City back when Christopher Nolan was crafting his Dark Knight Trilogy. Thing is, this Batmobile is a much different beast. The 2017 LEGO Batmobile from Chevrolet made its official debut in Detroit last month, a life-sized replica of "The Speedwagon" driven by LEGO Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) in the new film. Now, that ride, crafted from a total of 344,187 LEGO bricks supported by a square-tube aluminum frame, is sitting in McCormick Place, the result of 222 hours of design time, and 1,833 hours of construction by LEGO Master Builders. For it's appearance at The Chicago Auto Show, the LEGO Batmobile sits in front of a brick wall illuminated by moving Bat (and Chevy) signals, each zeroing in on LEGO Batman himself! As a bonus, kids can take part in their very own LEGO Batmobile mini-build, available for free to take home! We had a chance to check out the full display during the Media Preview - take a look...

2017 CAS LogoIn putting together my annual preview coverage of the Chicago Auto Show this year, I decided it was time to mix things up a bit and get even more of the family involved. After all, the Chicago Auto Show touts itself as a family-friendly event, and as someone who grew up attending the show and now takes his own kids, handing over coverage to a pair of younger eyes seemed like an obvious thing to do. It's no secret that The Rock Daughters™ are well-versed in four-wheeled, fun - a pair of girls with more Hot Wheels than I ever had as a kid, semi-skilled drivers (of Power Wheels and the like) themselves, and a fixture in my coverage of "grownup" rides. In fact, whenever a press fleet vehicle arrives here at Rock Father HQ, if the girls are home, they'll go outside with me to greet the driver. So, for 2017, a plan came together for our oldest daughter, Addie, to attend one of the pre-show "Media Preview" days with me, armed with a camera to capture the show through the eyes of a child. In an age where what and "who" constitutes "media" is evolving, websites and YouTube Channels are helping drive the age of reporters to a much younger level, as a new generation of auto lovers prepares to take the torch and run with it into the future - a concept that might even be threatening for some.* Here's a look at Addie's photos, along with some Rock Father Picks for family activities at this year's Chicago Auto Show!

2017 CAS LogoThe best quote I've seen from an auto exec this year? "A 12-second quarter mile, toy-hauling, three-row muscle car." Tim Kuniskis of Dodge on the 2018 Durango SRT

The 2017 Chicago Auto Show is about to kick into high-gear, and the Dodge and SRT brands are rocking the high-performance automotive world once again, bringing a huge burst of American power, acceleration and best-in-class tow capability to the three-row SUV segment with the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT  (the fastest SUV in its class). Debuting in Chicago this week, the Durango will make its way into dealerships later this year. Now, check out this burnout!

2017 CAS LogoThe crew from Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. have announced the unveiling of a new, Limited Edition trim level for the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport at the Chicago Auto Show. Available in dealerships later this month, and priced at just $21,995, the LE is positioned directly above the ES base model. Check out a preview below...

2017 CAS LogoTwo years ago, straight from the floor of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, I served-up a shot of the 2017 Ford GT supercar that quickly became one of my most-liked Instagram posts at the time. Fast-forward two years, and here we are gearing up for #CAS17, and the folks at Ford have revealed their plans for this year's show. Yes, the GT will be there, but this year looks to have a focus on function, and they're leading things off with the first public debut of their all-new Expedition. Check out some highlights of what's to come...

2017 CAS LogoAt its world debut last month, Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda dubbed the 2018 Toyota Camry a "sexy" ride. Is it? That's for families to find out as it comes to the Chicago Auto Show, where it will be on display alongside more than 50 cars, trucks and SUVs in Toyota’s exhibit at Chicago’s McCormick Place from February 10-22. Going beyond the norm, Toyota is bringing some additional camera-worthy vehicles, including the Chicago Cubs Tundra that drove in the victory parade last fall, and the custom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Camry, which was driven in last year’s NASCAR XFINITY race at Chicagoland Speedway. Check out more details in the announcement below...

2017 CAS LogoFamilies planning to attend the 2017 Chicago Auto Show should prepare themselves for a journey to a galaxy far, far away. In partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd., Nissan is bringing an immersive Rogue One: A Star Wars Story-inspired experience to the Windy City, with the centerpiece being the first-ever full-size production vehicle to include Star Wars-branded elements, the Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition. But that's just the start...

2017 CAS LogoOur girls will turn five and eight this year. I still can't believe how fast they're growing up, and while much is changing, there are certain uncalled-for challenges that my wife and I have continually had to deal with over the years. As a parent - a father - my blood boils when my girls come home telling me that certain things are "girl" or "boy" things, or worse yet - when someone tells them that they cannot do something because "that's for boys." I've politely corrected other children for saying such things in front of me, knowing full well that what they're saying isn't coming from the mind of a child, but is information that has erroneously been fed to them by grownups in their lives. Just because some children are force-fed dated views, does not mean that I will allow it to cause confusion in our home. I've seen how playing the gender card can cause kids to question their self-worth, and I'll be damned if my girls grow into adulthood thinking that they are somehow worth less, simply because of their gender. Take a look at the Super Bowl Game Day commercial from Audi of America, entitled "Daughter," below...

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