Tundra Takes on Texas and Trailers

2014 Toyota Tundra 4 X 4 1794 CrewMax Truck

I never considered Toyota as a manufacturer that could design a truck to compete with Ford F-150s or a full size Chevy. Toyota is famous for their Camrys , Highlanders and Corollas and were late bloomers in the full-size truck segment of the market.

Tundra 1784Don’t get me wrong, I’ve test driven a Toyota Tundra before, and thought it was great, but for real Texans to show up in a Toyota Truck it would have to be bigger than Southfork, and prettier than a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader on game day.

I wanted a truck that I could tow my vintage l4-ft. travel trailer to a fundraiser in Cave Creek, Arizona. I had access to a Ford F-150 and a big Chevy Silverado but wanted to give the Toyota 1784 Tundra edition a go at it, especially around ‘truck folk’.

Travel Trailer and TundraWhen I got into the truck I sat down on the softest of leather seats, complete with the aroma of new leather that I inhaled for a moment.  It reminded me of the days when a man wore English Leather and I would linger around his neck to get the full experience.  I couldn’t help but feel above it all in the cab, and with the adjustment of the seat and the steering column, I was happy to just sit and look around for five minutes.  Each place I observed and touched I kept saying … this is beautiful, look at the detail here, check out the color of the truck and the color of the upholstery, everywhere I looked I was amazed.

Once I got out of the truck, Cathy Burford and I hitched our “work in progress” trailer to the Tundra, just like a bunch of real ranch hands and cattle herders (OK, that was an exaggeration), but when we take off our high heels we can get pretty rough and tumble.   However, after hitching and driving the tundra we found it so easy we realized we could have kept our heels on.

AZ Fly Girls Inside Trailer Upper shelfOur trailer ( AZFly Girls) isn’t restored yet  on the outside, but the beauty of the 1784 truck towing it made up for that. The minute I started driving, I felt like a real cowgirl and wished I was going to a rodeo.  We met men and women who stopped by the event who owned other brand trucks and wanted a tour of the Tundra as well as the inside of our trailer.

We belong to a group of women called Sister’s on the Fly and there are at least4,000 members across the USA and 75% of them tow and drive a full size truck. Wouldn’t Toyota want to be the truck of choice for these women? After last week, I think the 1784 Tundra will be on many a truck buyer’s shopping list.  My favorite two things about the 1784 Tundra 4X4 are the large center console filing cabinet and the floor mats with a center section to clean your shoe or boot or high heel.

Tundra l784 LogoSo many great things happened that day; we towed the trailer behind the full-size, Tundra CrewMax 4X4, met great people who enjoy restored trailers, vintage décor,  love of the outdoors and driving trucks. We raised money for our charity and introduced and drove a truck that was much like a living room on wheels.  Next we’ll hook the Tundra up to a horse trailer, then a boat, and maybe a ….

Standard and Optional Equipment

5.7 –liter, COHC i-Force V-8 -381 Horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.

Gas mileage 15 City l7 Highway

Six –speed electronically controlled automatic transmission

Blind spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert

20-inch Chrome Clad Wheels and Bedliner

Prices starting at $43,000 Test Vehicle $49,715.00

Fun Facts: The 1794 Edition Heritage

Where did the model name “1794” come from?

The home of the Toyota Tundra is a plant located just south of San Antonio, Texas, a property – once the oldest working ranch in Texas, the JLC Ranch – that provides the 1794 Edition legacy name.

The 1794 Edition name originates from the founding year of the JLC ranch which was 1794, when a young colonist from the Canary Islands, Juan Ignacio de Casanova, received a royal grant for a league of rolling pastureland between Leon Creek and the Medina River.

On this land, he established El Rancho de la Purisima Concepcion, and later expanded his holdings to more than 24,000 acres. Ignacio later defended San Antonio from Mexican revolutionary forces attempting to break away from Spain. He served briefly as the Spanish Provincial Governor of Texas before his death in October 1823. His son, Jose Ignacio Perez continued to ranch the land.

During the Texas Revolution, Perez remained loyal to the Mexican Government, placing his family on property along the Rio Grande. He continued to pay taxes on the ranch, which helped him reclaim the land when he returned in 1846. The Texas Republic only recognized the original land grant of 4,000 acres.

This was passed on to Perez’s descendants as the JLC Ranch until it was acquired by Toyota in 2003 for the first (and only) pickup truck plant in Texas, at San Antonio. Thus a true Texan truck it is!


Why I love vintage James Bond cars

It seems that vintage is starting to come back around along with tights, leggings, high-waist shorts and come over hair-dos. Aston_Martin_V8_Vantage_Volante_-_ProfileAlong with these vintage loves come a love for the classic James Bond car, like that beautiful Aston Martin that we first drooled over, along with the sexy Sean Connery – my 70’s crush.

Seeing these cars makes me really miss the 70’s. Yet, I appreciate that car lovers like me that just can’t say no to the vintage automobiles.

The newer Aston Martins are wonderful cars but nothing beats a classic. Seeing the classic automobiles zoom up and down the Phoenix highway is a cool walk down memory lane. Nothing beats a classic.

Sean Connery as James BondThough some trends will probably never come back – such as the 1980’s mullet, at least I know that my vintage cars are here to stay along with my younger day memories.

You can’t see the Forester for the Trees; 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0 XT Premium

I owned and drove a station wagon from 1979 to 1982.  It was a Chevy wagon and it held three children under the age of four in car seats that were secured with bungee cords and seat belts. Subaru Forester Full ShotI would visit my parents who were 75 miles away equipped with playpen (not pack and play), double stroller and two diaper bags.   I loved my wagon despite my peers who drove Miatas leaving me in their wake of dust, or the occasional smirk from someone looking at me, assuming I was destined to overpopulate humanity.

When did “station wagon” become a bad word?  Well, I know there are crossovers and SUV’s that look like a wagon and function like a wagon, but will not admit they are. OK, Subaru, call the Forester XT Premium a sport utility or crossover activities wagon if you wish, but you should be proud to say you’ve created the station wagon for people and families with an active lifestyle.  I loved driving the 2014 fourth generation Forester and must admit my favorite one at that. It competes with the Chevy Equinox, Toyota Rav 4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V as well as a few others, but for a family who is active in sports and outdoor hobbies, there is no “other”.

Subaru InteriorThe Forester seats five adults comfortably or two adults and three children with car seats, minus the bungee cords, in the second row. There was plenty of head room for my 6-foot tall husband and leg room for 3 Heidi Klums in the back seat (he wished).The 2014 kept the basic look of the Forester but there is a new grille, smooth sculpted side sheet metal that flows into the tail lamps, like a great plastic surgeon tightening the skin, for a more appealing appearance and aerodynamics.  Subaru gave the 2014 more of a SUV look, unless you get the Turbo, where the look is a little bolder and the hood scoop seems to be gone.

The interior has not changed much, but a true Subaru groupie would not want more than a subtle improvement.  The major gains were in gas mileage.  ( see specs)Like all Subaru models the car handles well and is equipped with a new electric-power-assisted steering system and revised rear suspension. The ride was soft but controlled, giving me the best of both worlds. The car (station wagon) comes standard with Subaru’s highly acclaimed symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, which gave me the confidence for any kind of weather conditions.

Subaru Forester CargoEven though I’m past the 70’s and hauling  my own next generation, I can’t help but think the Forester would have been the best form of transportation for my family of five and still allow us to be active and cool when the car seats were removed and the cheerios vacuumed out.Whether you think the Subaru is a crossover, SUV or a station wagon; it really doesn’t matter, as long as it fits your needs.  Whether you are a biker, kayak enthusiasts or share driving with the Nanny, you will not be disappointed.  For a real adventure check out Motor Trends “YouTube” review as the Forester treks through Africa looking for the rare white Rhino.  Safari in Africa or ski the slopes of Snowbowl, your Forester can do it all.  But please no bungee cords.**They were used in conjunction with seatbelts of the l970’s. The safety car seats were not the standards of today and as an overly protective mother I used four bungee cords. I was naive.

Specs on Forester 2.0 XT Premium

Subaru with Bikes in SnowDual Moonroof – Power Tilt/Sliding Sunroof• Driver and Passenger Air Bag/Side and Rear Head Air Bag, Side Air Bag• 4-wheel ABS – Towing – Hitch is an option• All-Wheel Drive – 4-Cylinder Engine• Turbocharged  -Horsepower 250 @ 5,600• Transmission CVT w/OD – Automatic• Gas Mileage:  24 City 32 Hwy.• Pricing:  $21,8l4 to $32,995

Look for this article in the Moon Valley Tattler and the City Sun Times.

50 years and still a winner; 2014 Toyota Corolla


It’s the celebration of the 11th generation Toyota Corolla.  Celebrate I did in San Diego, California at the Broadway Pier overlooking  San Diego Bay, complete with clear skies, cool breezes, sail boats gliding by and lunch with the VP of Toyota.



The venue was stunning as Toyota introduced to the press the new and exciting Corolla for 2014.  Some of the other journalists would never use the adjectives new and exciting in the same sentence to describe a 47 year old brand, but it depends on one’s perspective.



Toyota-Corolla-Event-050When my kids got their licenses and were ready for a new or used car, the choices were rather simple, a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.  The cars were a safe first car, required little maintenance, was reliable and reasonably priced.  True, they didn’t have all the bells and whistles the kids of the 90’s wanted, like the Mustangs or Eclipses. It wasn’t sexy or necessarily fast but it was, and still is a standard for a family to own, drive or rent at some point in their life.

Toyota has spent a significant amount of money on their recent TV commercials (estimated at $175 million), depicting almost 50 years of changes both in cars, clothing and music.  The Toyota may not be your top choice in the $16,800 to $20,000 range, but it should be a consideration especially the 42 mpg LE Eco version.

Rochester-NY-Corolla-002At first glance you can see how the designers changed the Corolla to give it a sleeker and new auto trendy look.   The upper front grille is a skinny black band of Spiderman mesh that appears to be the connection between two fashioned headlamps that pointed inward.  Under that is a wide trapezoidal air intake, giving the Corolla a look that is more assertive than before.  The LED headlights and daytime running lights are standard, which typically in other vehicles in its class are not.  See, there are some things that are new and exciting.

I was most impressed with the interior increase in space.  The wheelbase and total length of the car has grown nearly four inches compared to the other generations, with front and rear overhangs shorter, giving the new Corolla a tighter, more buff look.   The inside has been redesigned, giving the front seats a greater range of adjustability.  Believe it or not, the front seatbacks are also thinner, resulting in more rear legroom. When evaluating cars I’ll look at them from the lifestyle perspective; can safety car seats fit in the rear seats easily, and will I still have room to get my “Rubenesque” body inside between the front seat and a toddler’s kicking feet?  The Corolla has that added space.

It appears they put the Corolla on Weight Watchers (I should have joined with them)  as this generation Corolla lost some pounds. Toyota claims the Corolla’s new curb weight is less than 2,900 pounds.  This is a big deal as it would make the 2014 Corolla the lightest car in the compact sedan class.  As we know, less weight means better fuel economy.  The estimated fuel economy for the 2014 Corolla is 29/37 mpg.

There are four trim levels available; L, LE, S and the new LE Eco.  I test drove them all and really enjoyed the LE Eco as it had all the extras and saved on gas.   I drove all the models around downtown San Diego as well as out to Coronado to drool over homes there, and then hit the freeways for over an hour.  While taking my last drive of the day I was interested in the new technology that was on the Corolla.  I grabbed the product communications person from headquarters and asked her to go with me.  Here is what I learned.

The Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite is user friendly and perfect for a generation of technology driven and social media junkies.  Included in the Entune Premium package is a multimedia bundle with a touch-screen, split-screen display, AM/FM CD player, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth.  It also includes HD predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, and the Sirius XM Radio option for 90 days.  This is more than I need or am capable of utilizing, but when speaking to women under 40 they express the importance of all this technology.  The other factors that were so important to our ladies were the 8 airbags , 60/40 pass through, trunk space for sport’s equipment, child accessories and use of the cup holders for sunglasses, i-phone, sippy cups, latte pick me ups and loose change.

I recommend you take a look at the new and exciting Toyota Corolla, and you decide.  Toyota’s slogan  for Corolla is “Elevate Your Style”  and Toyota knows that down the road you will “elevate your style” and your budget and be driving a Lexus.

KFC releases Go-Cup; promotes safer alternatives for eating & driving

I, along with the rest of the American population, often observe people eating, dancing, singing, changing clothes, doing makeup and even taking selfies while driving. And though it is quite amusing, it is also extremely dangerous. But the sad thing is that we are all guilty of doing it. kfc-go-cup-for-your-face

So, when KFC launched their Go-Cup campaign, I thought I’d push their message along to help people make safer choices behind the wheel. 69 % of Americans eat in their car. 35 % describe themselves as “One Hander” eaters in the car, meaning one hand stays on the wheel while the other rests comfortably on their french fries.

kfc-go-cup-2.pngTo adapt to America’s fast living and fast-food eating culture, KFC invented a cup that holds both chicken and potato wedges, conveniently separated by a divider. The Go-Cup is also sized perfectly to fit in the standard car cup holders.

With their campaign, KFC also launched the #GoCup Instagram photo contest, as fans are encouraged to submit photos of themselves with their Go-Cups. Every week for five weeks, five winners will receive gift checks and unique KFC items. Grand prizes include a Polaroid Z2300 camera and $250 worth of iPhone photography accessories.

Hopefully this campaign will lead to other inventions that will help keep Americans safer while doing various things while driving. Perhaps a campaign that stops us from constantly taking pictures of ourselves on the highway will be even better.

High Heel Shifting

Just when I thought I had driven a cool FIAT, and established the Italians and every other country was coming in the 500L, I discovered another FIAT 500 in my driveway to test for a week. Fiat Turbo Full ViewNot a problem I thought, I am getting used to a smaller car and really liking the FIAT lineup.  I grabbed my purse, camera and a friend and headed to a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Equipped with high heels and fake spray tan on my legs I proceeded to pull out of my driveway in reverse… hum where is reverse? Low and behold this is a stick shift 5-speed car.  Not only 5-speed but turbo (there was no indication on the exterior) so when I did shift in to” R” the FIAT took off like a rocket.  I pulled over and took off my heels replacing them with slippers I keep in my purse.  When you drive a clutch and brake and accelerator pedal it does havoc with your heels and your calf portion spray tan disappears (don’t ask).

FIAT 500 HeelsThe Fiat 500 lineup has been expanding since the day it was born, now offering a convertible, sport Abarth version and the new 2013 500 Turbo which is the best of both the standard car and the sizzling hatchback.  So I say this 500 T is for the person who wants something a little faster than the regular 500 but doesn’t want to spend the $22,000 for the Abarth.  The Fiat 500 Turbo has a MSRP is $19,500.  Let’s just say the guys will change their mind about 500’s are for “girls”.  The 500 T has low front fenders, 16-inch aluminum wheels complete with red brake calipers, blacked out headlight with black bezels and a spoiler that gave the 500 Turbo and edgier look compared to its sisters.

I am not in to the exhaust notes or tunes my male counterparts love to talk about but I have to admit I liked pulling away from a light next to a guy driving an Infiniti who look down his nose at me and not for the distance between him and me but the expectations of my racing ability.  Wow was he shocked because once you get the groove of shifting you can leave em in the dust.

The 500T is equipped with a Beats by Dre 368-watt audio system which made listening to my music a complete experience that kept me driving to make sure I heard the end of each song.  Of course if I didn’t listen to any music I could start to like the exhaust “tunes”.

My fuel economy registered at 27 City and 33 highway which is less than the regular 500 gets but about the same as the Abarth.

I say this Fiat T would make a good commuter car and a fun vehicle to take anywhere.  I was driving so smoothly that I put my high  heels back on and was thrilled to see I didn’t lose a bit of my spray tan. For all these reasons I would say this was a car worth shifting for.


Vehicle Tested:  $24,500


A similar article was posted in smartfem.com. Check it out! http://www.smartfem.com/automotive/fiat-500-turbo-hatchback-worth-shifting-for/



The Italians are here! 2014 FIAT 500L A Car for All Countries

You have to love the FIAT vehicle branding, you know the commercials with beautiful Italian women seducing nerdy guys in front of a Fiat 500 Abarth,  to the recent ads with a scene from the days of Paul Revere yelling “the Italians are coming” featuring the 2014 FIAT 500L in full color.

2014-fiat-500l-trekking-laDoes it make you want to rip off the bottom of your matronly dress, cut your hair and date an Italian star like Peter Facinelli ? Does it actually make you want to buy a FIAT ? Yep!

There are four models under the 500L, and even those names are unique; Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge.  I drove the lounge model and I can see how it got its name.  The seats were comfortable, with leather trimmed interior and heated, which I tried out, but did not use in 112 degree days. The Lounge model has Euro Twin Clutch, 6-speed automatic transmission, dual zone automatic temperature control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear seat armrest with cup holder, Sirius XM Satellite Radio for the first year free and 16” aluminum wheels with all-season tires. What no Panini’s in the glove box?

The front of the FIAT 500L has additional width compared to its FIAT little sisters, a more athletic stance with some very cool color choices and combinations. The rear has very distinct looking tail lamps with chrome exhaust and the liftgate badge with the backup camera right in the middle of the center numeral “0”. I was pleasantly surprised with the width and depth of the front windows that extended to the side view mirrors.  There were no blind spot problems considering the span of the windows and the sunroof (optional). I felt that between the glass and the sunroof; if the British or the Italians were coming, they couldn’t miss me.

Fiat 500L InteriorWhen you are in a small vehicle you worry about safety, so I was very pleased with their seven standard airbags. made me feel safe when transporting people, especially children. The knee airbags are so important, especially for boomer athletes. The other standard feature I like is the ParkSense and ParkView giving you a wide-angle view of the area behind the vehicle when backing up. 

The dynamo 500L has the 60/40 split so you can still make trips to your local lumber store, or take your ski’s with your vertically and safely. There is a turbo-charged powertrain engine that packs 160 horsepower and gives you an outstanding 33 highway and 25 city driving. 

A photo of Naples, Italy - the birthplace of Fiat

A photo of Naples, Italy – the birthplace of Fiat

Since I test drive all makes and models I would say this new 500L is comparable to the Kia Soul, MINI Countryman, Nissan cubeS and the Scion XB Base model.  The L stretches 27.7 inches longer than its own brand siblings and is 5.7 inches wider and stands 5.9 inches taller. I don’t know about you but the FIAT 500L is in an affordable price range starting at about $19,100 to $27,000.

All this talk about features and increase in size, let us not forget this car is fun, easy to drive, gets stares from all age groups and fits in to parking spots I normally pass by.  Weather you are in Naples, Italy or Naples, Florida… The Fiat 500 L is a car for all cities, states and countries.

A similar Fiat article was also posted in smartfem.com, Check it out! http://www.smartfem.com/automotive/fiat-500-turbo-hatchback-worth-shifting-for/

SRP takes Green to a whole new level

As SRP continues, its “green fleet,” it is increasing its line of new-technology vehicles with the addition of five new Ford plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – three Fusion Energi and two C-MAX Energi – which are scheduled to arrive in October. Currently, SRP has five Chevy Volts.  A total of 15 green vehicles will be leased by 2014.

*courtesy of srp.net

*courtesy of srp.net

As the products are still in the demonstration process, employees have the opportunity to test the vehicles first and then vote on the best “green” models. The top five employee-voted designs will be announced Nov. 7.

Accompanied with this new launch is Ford’s MyFord Mobile app, which will collect new data for the company on employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. The MyFord ® Mobile app also provides drivers and fleet managers with real-time battery charge status, a vehicle locator and value charging, which allows a car to automatically recharge during lower-cost, off-peak electricity rates, when there is less strain on the electrical grid.

If your shopping for an eco-friendly car, check these models out at the Salt River Project’s headquarters in Tempe. Tweet me @cargalinphx and let me know what you think. #GoGreen #ElectricalCars

To view SRP’s press release visit: http://www.srpnet.com/newsroom/releases/100813.aspx

Kia’s got some social swag; sponsors Inaugural Youtube Music Awards

Kia makes history by partnering with the world’s most popular online video community, none other then the billion viewing video host Youtube.

YouTube-Music-Awards-608x340Kia will be sponsoring the first annual Youtube Music Awards, which will feature Lady Gaga, Eminem and Arcade Fire.

Though Kia is a 67-year-old brand, it’s proving that it has some swag, living up to its slogan “the power to surprise.” The Youtube Music Awards will begin on Nov. 3 with live streamed concerts all over the world, including Moscow, London, Brazil and concluding with the main awards show at Pier 36 in New York.

UnknownAs I am quite new to this social media revolution, I appreciate the auto industry for keeping up. Kia has more then 250 global and local social media profiles that reach 1.4 billion people. 300,000 people a day have Kia-related conversations.

It’s amazing to see an auto brand join the start of a social movement. And who knows what’s next to come. Instaparties, Twitter Awards, Facebook Feed Giveaways – I see a sparking social ball in the near future. I must say that even though I’m an old-school pen and paper type of gal, I’m enjoying this new social world and as long as it keeps going, I’m down for the ride.

To view the article, click here: http://www.kiamedia.com/us/en/media/pressreleases/7491/kia-to-be-presenting-sponsor-of-inaugural-youtube-music-awards

Don’t Text and Drive A Golf Cart

After a wonderful early morning golf game, with my husband and son, I couldn’t help but reflect on how relaxing and social the first 16 holes were. Golfer Texting Then all of a sudden, I hit a great long drive on 17 and no one said a word. My husband was busy washing his golf ball, and my 37-year old son was TEXTING.

Texting and talking on your cell phone should be prohibited on golf courses the same way texting while driving an automobile is. I understand having your phone on vibrate in case of an emergency or using it for an app you downloaded for the golf course, but it should be quiet or shut off. If you are playing with friends they might understand, but foursomes composed of strangers will take your behavior as rude. I don’t understand why people need to text when playing golf and especially while driving the cart.Taking a phone call or placing one is totally impolite and unless you are waiting for the birth of a child or the arrival time of your in-laws, don’t text and golf. I understand cigars, sun block and styrofoam beverage cups in your hands, but texting just to have something to keep your fingers busy – I say no!

Texting in CarNow I admit, it was my own social media twitch, on the hole 14, that had me taking a photo of ducks in a water hole to send to my daughter in New York. That made me see how it affects your game. I took the photo and started texting my daughter while getting some ice from the cart person. When I was done texting, I saw I was due on the ladies tee and I wasn’t ready. I had to look for the right club and fumble with my phone, not aware of my surroundings, thus using a four iron for a 356 yard hole instead of my Big Bertha.

What I think bothers me the most is that I need more than my set of eyes to see where the ball lands and suggest a stance change. Therefore, when I hit the ball and someone yells good shot, I know they are texting! My shots are never good, believe me, they hadn’t looked up. The other reason is that there is no communication with the folks that are present, in your cart or your foursome. You should be bonding with your golf group, not your iPhone. Trust me, the text can wait.

If you can’t live without Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for more than 18 holes of golf, and you desperately need to know where someone had breakfast or who was delayed on the space mountain line at Disneyland, then you should not be taking four hours out of your day. Golf is for outdoor exercise, breathing some fresh air and socializing with like-minded people. If you are addicted to social media and texting then stay home and make cupcakes. You can even post on Facebook after you’re done. I’ll be sure to like it after my golf game.