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It's no secret that I'm a fan of Kia, and over the past few years I've also made some friendships there (my wife and I went to the Chicago Bulls game the other night with some Kia Execs, disclosure and all), but we don't own a Kia just yet. When it comes to the Chicago Auto Show, they've kicked it off the past few years, and this year they pretty much perfected the art of a kick-off press conference - bringing in the young students of the School of Rock Oak Park (ages 14-18) to truly ROCK the auto show. It's stuff like this that makes me love Kia - outside of their cars, of course. On a press conference note, it's hard for some of the other automakers to follow - especially the ones with really bland presentations (up your game, gentlemen - there's several of you). With a medley of tunes that included some from QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, LED ZEPPELIN, THE ROLLING STONES and more, the School of Rock Show Team provided the perfect soundtrack for Kia's Michael Sprague to throw down some Chicago music history (Chess Records was mentioned) before rolling out a trio of hybrids, one of which was the much-anticipated 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). Sprague said it was designed "in the rock and roll spirit of rebellion." I can dig it.

Until General Motors brings back the Pontiac nameplate - even if only for what I want it for, a new version of the famed Firebird Trans Am, the Chevy Camaro will rank among the top of what I dig when it comes to american muscle. For 2017, the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE performance package returns, aiming to put "attainable track performance" into the hands of the masses, and it made its debut at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.

The 30th Anniversary of 1985's BACK TO THE FUTURE was last year, and while much of the excitement peaked with the October 21st celebration of the actual date (the real one, not the fake ones your friends constantly meme on Facebook) that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) traveled to the future in 1989's BACK TO THE FUTURE II, there's still a lot coming. Take Toyota's reimagined version of Marty's dream truck - a 2016 Toyota Tacoma that's been decked-out with accessories mirroring the truck that Marty finally gets in BACK TO THE FUTURE III. Or how about the Toyota Mirai Concept - a fuel cell electric vehicle (complete with Delorean mirroring gull-wing doors) that was featured in Toyota’s “Fueled by Everything” video starring Fox and Christopher Lloyd? Both are on display in the Windy City for the very first time at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, where families can check out just what the real future may hold. I checked them out and did a little toyography - with my Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment Toyota and Delorean, along with the Funko ReAction Figure of Marty...

#CAS16With the 2016 Chicago Auto Show rolling into McCormick Place this week, I figured it would be a good time to roll out some "Rides Revisited" features on a few vehicles that I'd driven before, but have since taken out to rock the road with my family. In this installment, it's the 2016 Kia Sorento crossover vs. the 2016 Kia Sedonamulti-purpose vehicle minivan. I had the opportunity to drive pre-release versions of both of these vehicles back in 2014, hopping behind the wheel of the Sedona out near Dana Point, California, while I had a chance to drive a pair of Sorentos through multiple climates between Lake Tahoe, California and Reno, Nevada. While I certainly had formed an opinion of both vehicles (I liked the Sedona, but loved the Sorento), sometimes having the vehicle here at Rock Father HQ for some time with the family helps re-shape things. In the case of these, that's just what we did late last year...

I must say, with all the travel that I do, one airline I have not yet had a chance to fly is Turkish Airlines. That might change soon, as they've just announced that in addition to "flying to more countries than any other airline," they're also now offering flights to both Gotham City and Metropolis. As many are aware, both of those cities have endured a series of struggles in recent years, but now due to substantial contributions by Wayne Enterprises in Gotham, and LexCorp in Metropolis, both are hoping to be reinvented as destinations for travelers far and wide. Check out the new television spots starring Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor below, and let me know - would you rather #FlyToGotham or #FlyToMetropolis?

Thursday, February 04 2016 15:47

Rides: Rockin' the Road with Fuel Rewards from Shell...

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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is a #ShellCrowd #FuelRewards Brand Ambassador, taking part in a special content series with SocialStars and Shell.

We drive a lot. And when I say "a lot," I mean it. Our cars log some serious miles each year, with my wife putting at least 80 miles a day on her Chevy, five days-a-week. My adventures are a lot more unexpected and open-ended, but even my daily driver (my little Scion workhorse) has nearly 200,000 miles on it, and even though much of what I do these days involves cruising around town with The Rock Daughters™, we go through a lot of fuel. That's where Shell's Fuel Rewards program comes in - it's a real rewards program that provides real savings on something you actually use... fuel! And you can earn those rewards just by living your life, and doing the things that you're already doing. It's very simple.

Wednesday, February 03 2016 09:20

RIP Scion (2003-2016)

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I had a feeling that this was coming. In fact, a lot of people did - rumblings of which I even heard while attending the press launch of the 2016 iM and iA: Scion is dead. Perhaps that's an overly-dramatic way to deem it, but that's the way the automotive press is reporting it - a slow demise after years of declining sales, and this morning, Toyota finally called it. Officially, at 9am Central Time, Scion was no more. As of August 2016, the 2017 Model Year Scion's will be rebadged as Toyotas, with the FR-S Sports Car (reviewed here) and the iM and iA making the leap. As a first-generation Scion owner (my custom-ordered 2005 xB pictured up-top with my daughters), it's a bummer to see the name disappear, but I totally get why they did it. You can read the official announcement from Toyota below, along with a video message from Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz, talkiing about the Scion brand's transition to Toyota.

It's auto show season, and the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has been unveiled as an all-new minivan from the folks who pioneered the category. The new family ride has been redesigned fresh from the ground-up, available in both gas and hybrid models. Hopefully we'll get to go hands-on and test one of these in the near future for Rock Father Rides (or at least see it at the Chicago Auto Show), but in the meantime, check out a preview video. Is it wrong that I was just as excited to see the Pacifica make repeated passes by what was once THE MUNSTERS Mansion on the Universal Studios Backlot? Pay attention...

It's feels a little weird posting this - the first news out of The Step2 Company to arrive here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine after my gig as a Step2 Brand Ambassador crossed the finish line at the end of a fantastic three-year run. While I'm no longer on the payroll, I'll still be sharing updates like this one - something right up my alley, and a product that I saw first-hand during my last visit to Step2 HQ in Streetsboro, Ohio last year: The Step2® Z06 Chevrolet Corvette Toddler-to-Twin Bed. Kicking off 2016 in style, the realistic looking bed will have children racing to sleep with a sleek design that even parents can enjoy, bringing a world-class American Supercar into kids' bedrooms.

My inbox has been blowing up with news out of Kia Motors America today - one of my favorite automakers, and one that's turning out some interesting things. While they're at CES in Las Vegas right now with the stunning Kia NOVO concept that debuted in Seoul last year, they're also touting autonomous rides (more on that shortly) and looking ahead to the next stop - Detroit. At the 2016 North American Auto Show, Kia will reveal a new concept car that was conceived at the automaker’s California design studio, one that they promise to offer "an abundance of advanced technology – including state-­of­-the­-art health­ and wellness technology," while "suggesting styling of a possible future premium large SUV in the brand’s lineup." I'm intrigued, are you?

As it was once written: "For centuries, the Legend of Santa Claus has evolved. From Saint Nicholas to Kris Kringle, Father Christmas to simply, Santa - this mysterious giver has taken many forms, appearing throughout the world under countless names to delight and inspire families by doing for others each and every holiday season. For many, the spirit of “Claus” is held within, a shining light that burns with the desire to do for others, particularly for those less fortunate."

When I became "The Rock Father" upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, I had no idea where the road of parenthood would lead. Eventually it became clear that my path is branching, and just as becoming a parent led to the birth of this digital magazine - this site led to the opportunity to do more. My job has allowed me to do some good our local community, and last year the opportunity arose to partner with General Motors and OnStar to hit the road to do some "Black Friday Shopping for Good" - the end result of which provided gifts for 37 children across 15 families right here in our township. Regardless of sponsorship, I made a decision that we'd do it again this year - and bigger, if possible. The Rock Daughters and I began amassing gifts in our garage, and as the holiday season began, we started ramping up a bit. Then, I'm happy to say that we partnered with Chevrolet and OnStar once more, and for 2015 #ChevyShopsForGood!

Since becoming parents for the first time 6½ years ago, my wife and I have spent a lot of time indulging our little girls' interest in cars. Actually, vehicles in general are a big thing - and the faster, the better! When it comes to fast vehicles with a ton of flair, Hot Wheels has that market on lock, and it was Addie's playtime that first rekindled my own love for those little 1:64-scale diecast rides a few years back. Now, little sister Finley is in on the action as well, and with the girls now 3 and 6, it's interesting to see two distinct types of play taking place. Finn likes speed, imagination and adventure - while Addie has shifted into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) elements of track construction and building unique structures with the pieces we have available. Over the years, we've discovered that our girls are hardly alone in their love of Hot Wheels - and some gigs of my own have led us to today... when it all comes full circle with something very special we've put together with my friends at The Step2 Company and Mattel. We're giving readers a chance to win The Ultimate Hot Wheels Holiday Giveaway - complete with an assortment of vehicles, tracksets, an Ultimate Garage, and something that you can't buy anywhere: A "Rock Daughter Edition" Hot Wheels Toddler-to-Twin Race Car Bed produced exclusively for this promotion! Only two were made - one of which is here at Rock Father HQ, the other awaiting shipment to one of you!

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