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Nissan Rogue Review – 5 Cool Things About The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

I went on a road trip last weekend. Well actually, it was a #RogueTrip to Woodbury Connecticut to test drive the all new 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport.  After three days of hitting the road, exploring the sights and chatting with Robin Moreo, the brand’s senior manager of product planning, I’ve gotten a good feel for the ins and outs of this CUV. So, here are 5 cool things to know about the new 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport.
Nissan Rogue Review - The New 2017 Nissan Sport

Nissan Rogue Review – The New 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

It Takes Being Sporty Seriously
Nissan Rogue Review - The New 2017 Nissan Sport

Nissan Rogue Review – The New 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

This car is fun to drive, seriously. You may feel a smile creep across your face as you zip from zero to 60 (in about 9.4 seconds) and glide over bumpy roads with ease. It’s got a roomy interior despite being 12-inches shorter than the standard Nissan Rogue. Plus, the exterior is anything but boring. Chiseled with sharp lines, its outside is designed with an upscale and smart appearance. The car is available in many standard colors like Magnetic Black and palatial Ruby. However, statement makers may prefer its bolder color options like Nitro Lime and Monarch Orange.  

Parking Is A Cinch

Nissan Rogue Review – The New 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

If you’re worried about parking in the city – like I always am – the Rogue Sport can probably help ease your worries. It has a rear camera to assist with pulling into a spot from behind. Plus, it has side cameras so you can monitor the parallel lines on the ground as you pull into spots at the supermarket or mall. Not to mention, it also has a front camera so you can make sure you don’t tap anything as you inch forward. At the press of a dashboard button, the camera stitches all the footage together giving you a real-time 360-degree view. So you can evaluate your parking job without stepping foot outside of the car. Not that you’d ever need to do that, right?    

Safety Isn’t An Afterthought

Nissan Rogue Review – The New 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport Safety

The Rogue Sport comes with all the standard safety features you’d expect – dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, and brake assist. It also has a couple of newer safety features that might make you wonder how you ever lived without them. One is the high-tech, blind-spot monitoring. I’ve written about the brand’s version of blind-spot monitoring as a “well-designed” system before and that statement holds true in the  Rogue Sport as well. It keeps you aware of actual hazards around you without being set off by every car that passes you.

The other safety feature I really dug was the Latch system for kids. The system lets you secure LATCH-compatible child restraints in the second row without having to use seat belts or a locking clip. I’m not a mom yet, so this wouldn’t have been a safety feature that was top of mind. But I’m a god-mom and auntie to some of my friend’s kids, so it’s a feature that I’d be happy to have when I scooped up the little ones.  

It’s Pretty…and Smart 

The 2017 Rogue Sport is filled with many more high-tech features. In addition to the blind spot and rear view monitoring previously mentioned,  the car also comes standard with a Bluetooth phone and audio system inside. I had my cellphone synced and playing music in under a minute, so it is very easy to set up. It also has high-intensity daytime lights on the exterior and an Advanced Drive-Assist Display. The 5-inch colored monitor located in the gauge cluster shows the external temperature, upcoming turns, and tire pressure. It also displays song titles and other key information you may want to access to as you drive. 

It’s Designed For Real, Real Life
Nissan Rogue Review - 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

Nissan Rogue Review – 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport makes it hard to pigeonhole it as the ideal car for one consumer market. And, that’s an impressive feat. Urbanites, suburbanites, parents, and singles will be impressed with its compact size, smart design, and smooth handling. They’ll all be equally impressed with its safety features, roomy interior, and built-in technology.

If I had to pick the “perfect” driver market for the car then I would say, the outgoing and social yet responsible crowd would probably fall hardest for it. Those who don’t want to have to trade up cars if they have kids would also really appreciate this ride.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport seats five and gets 32 miles to the gallon on the highway and 25 miles to the gallon in the city. It comes in three models, the S, SV and SL and starts at $21,420. I test drove the SL model which starts at $26,070. 
 -XOXO Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress 

Lifestyle Unboxed: Reviewing the 2017 Mazda6

It’s hard to believe that a just a few weeks ago, Mother Nature was trying to cut my review time with the 2017 Mazda6 short. I mean, I did have to break out the shovel, ice pick, and snow boots, but I made sure to get in some quality drive – and shopping – time.    

2017 Mazda6

Let me get the obvious out of the way first:  one never appreciates a car more than when the weather is brutal. This was especially true of the Mazda6. Everything about the car felt luxurious – the warm interior, heated seats, and rear-window defogger. Seriously,  I was so happy not to have to walk in the cold that every included feature felt like a rare gift.    

2017 Mazda6 GPS

Once I’d thawed out a bit, I was able to evaluate the car more fairly.

The 2017 Mazda6 is slightly larger than the 2017 Mazda3, offering more leg and headroom. It also has more horsepower. Besides that, the 4-door sedans are nearly identical and come with Bluetooth connectivity for navigation and hands-free dialing, a  digital center console, an infotainment system, and Sirius XM Satellite radio. 

2017 Mazda6 Rear Camera

The built-in touch screen display provides GPS directions and switches to rear view when you’re reversing to backup or park. It also shows incoming calls on screen, if you have your cell phone synced to the car – which only took a few seconds to do. 

2017 Mazda6 Trunk

The Mazda6 also has a tad more space in the trunk (14.8 cubic feet) than the Mazda3 (12.4 cubic feet), which depending on your shopping habits can be a deal closer ;). I fit around $200 worth of groceries in the trunk and had plenty of space to spare. (And, before you comment on my food spending – know I hadn’t been grocery shopping in a while).    

2017 Mazda6 Rear

The car handled the snow covered roads smoothly, and I felt safe driving it on the still wet streets.  

The 2017 Mazda6 seats five, and includes front airbags, front side-impact airbags, and side-impact air curtains. It also has advanced safety features like blindside monitoring and city break support – to help you avoid collisions. 

The 2017 Mazda6  gets up to 26 miles to the gallon in the city and 35 miles to the gallon on the highway. It starts at $25,245 – around $3,000 more than the 2017 Mazda3. If you need the extra space, I’d say spring for the Madza6. 

You can also check out more info on the Mazda6 here


Lifestyle Unboxed: Reviewing The 2017 Mazda3

Compact, comfy and oh so cute, the 2017 Mazda3 packs a lot to like in a small package. I test drove an automatic 4-door sedan for a week (it also comes in a hatchback) and the ride was pretty awesome.   

Kicking it with my (loaner) Mazda3

First off, the car handles really, really well, like surprising well considering the price. Yes, $21,495 is nothing to sneeze at, but cars around this price point can be hit or miss. I drove this bad boy all around New York City and northern New Jersey to run errands. It was totally smooth sailing on the bumpy streets and long stretches of highway.  

Mazda3 Dashboard

The Mazda3 gets 28 miles to the gallon in the city and 37 miles to the gallon on the highway.  I drove a 2-30 mile radius around my home each day and didn’t have to refill the tank once. Plus, I still had more than a quarter tank at the end of the week. 

2017 Mazda3 Center Console

Not having to stop to grab gas was great and so was all the handy tech features built into the car. The Mazda3 includes a digital center console, an infotainment system, Sirius XM Satellite radio, hands-free dialing and Bluetooth connectivity for navigation. Of course, the first thing I did was sync my cell phone with the car. My Spotify playlist sounded great playing through the 6-speaker system and I might have got wrapped up in some carpool karaoke whiles sitting at a stoplight or two;).   

2017 Mazda3 Infotainment System and Dual Temperature Controls

I totally dug the built-in touch screen display which is the control panel for all the car’s tech features. It shows incoming calls, GPS directions, and the rear view when you’re reversing to backup or park. Below are dual temperature controls and buttons to activate the amazing heated seats.  

2017 Mazda3 Exterior

Overall, the inside of the Mazda3 was very roomy, despite its compact size. It seats five, includes a good-size trunk, advanced safety features like blindside monitoring and city break support in addition to front air bags, front side-impact air bags, and side-impact air curtains. 

2017 Mazda3 Rear

The Mazda3 is a strong car that feels firm as you drive. The added tech features make it a great value for the price and one to add to the consideration list.

You can also check out more info on the Mazda3 here


Lifestyle Unboxed: Reviewing The 2017 Nissan Rogue

The 2017 Nissan Rogue is one of those cars you instantly love when you hop in it. Not to be all hyperbolic about it, but it is just a really smooth riding car wrapped in a solid sleek body. 

2017 Nissan Rogue – Not Just A Girl In A Dress Review

I got my first experience with the 2017 Rogue when I rode in the backseat of one to a film premiere a few weeks ago. I was impressed by how the car handled the New York City roads and how spacious the car felt, so I sent a request to the brand to borrow one to test drive and review. 

2017 Nissan Rogue – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

The compact SUV is available in three trim levels or models: the basic “S,” mid-range “SV” and the top-of-the-line “SL.” I test drove an “SV” model with all-wheel-drive for seven days.  

2017 Nissan Rogue – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

The SV model gets 32 miles-per-gallon on the highway and 25 in the city. It also comes loaded with automatic headlights, keyless entry and ignition and heated mirrors that keep visibility clear during inclement weather. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather.    

2017 Nissan Rogue Interior – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

The Rogue also features a six-way power driver seat – which is awesome for short people like me who need the seat to be at maximum height at all times but want to get in and out of the car without bumping our heads on the roof.  It also seats five.  

2017 Nissan Rogue Interior – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

I have come to dread blind-spot monitoring in most cars that I test drive, but the 2017 Rogue’s turned out to be pretty well designed. It comes standard along with rear- cross-traffic alert and notifies drivers of hazards in their blind-spot or when objects or other cars are too close. Normally, I feel the systems can be too sensitive, beeping way too often (like whenever another car is around).

The Rogue’s safety system felt balanced and would only beep or flash when there were true hazards to alert me about. The result was I didn’t find myself tuning out its warning system the way I have others.  

2017 Nissan Rogue Interior – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

I totally dug having dual-zone automatic climate control and seat warmers. The touch-screen monitor was also a big bonus. Besides it functioning as a rear-view monitor when I parked, it included in-car navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and voice activation dialing. It took less than a minute to sync my iPhone with the system. Phone calls were crystal clear through the six-speaker audio system and my music played seamlessly every time I turned the car on.      

2017 Nissan Rogue Interior – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

The cargo hold was pretty roomy and included hidden floor compartments for when you needed to transport tall items. 

2017 Nissan Rogue Interior – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

The back row of seats also folds flat to increase the storage capacity.  

2017 Nissan Rogue – Photo Credit: Not Just A Girl In A Dress

How it Drives

Actually driving the 2017 Nissan Rogue was really fun. The car handles really well on the road, around curves and on the construction-laden/pot-hole filled streets of my neighborhood. I felt safe and in control of the car at all times, even on windy stretches of road. The car was comfortable and it was easy to feel like I was driving a more expensive model at times. 

Also, it was great not having to worry about fitting the car in tight parking spaces due to its compact design – which is great for city-dwellers.

With a mid-range starting price of $25,240, the 2017 Nissan Rogue SV is a compact SUV to consider if you value comfort, power, and price.   


Lifestyle Unboxed | Reviewing The 2016 Mazda CX-5

So, I got to spend some time in my first compact crossover and it was pretty awesome. Riding around in the 2016 Mazda CX-5 opened my eyes to why people gravitate to bigger cars in the first place – the extra internal room is a game changer.

I quickly found myself taking on tasks that I’d been putting off for months because I could knock them out in one trip.  One large chore was to haul some stuff to my storage unit to declutter my tiny apartment.

retouchedThe hubby and I live in a walkup so carting the bulky items down was anything but fun. Luckily, everything fit in the Mazda CX-5 with plenty of room to spare, so we didn’t have to get creative with our packing skills.


The back seats fold flat so we just tossed everything in the car.


After we dropped everything at the storage unit we drove to a cute French lunch spot in Cranford, NJ – Cafe Paris and got some savory crepes as a reward. 2016-11-06-10-49-12

I spent the rest of the week exploring all the features of the Mazda CX-5.  The car includes a touchscreen navigation system that is Bluetooth enabled.


Of course, I quickly paired my phone with the car which was pretty simple. There was a small bug in the pairing as it wasn’t able to find my device the first few times I exited and re-entered the car, but this fixed itself by the third time I re-entered the car. From there I was always connected.

Also, the Bluetooth system allowed me to make voice activated calls and would tell me who was on the line when my phone would ring – which was a handy feature.

The navigation system also features GPS, a rearview camera, satellite radio as well as AM and FM stations. You can also play music from your cell phone once paired.

The built-in GPS wasn’t as challenging as previous Mazda models, but that could be because I am more accustomed to the system after reviewing several of their cars this year. It’s still not as smart as I’d like it to be – since it makes you enter the country, state, and city for your destination – but it’s hardly a dealbreaker in a car that offers so many other positives.

2016-11-05-15-38-34-hdrThe rearview camera is just BAE. I don’t think I’d even buy a car without one after using it to park in tight spaces.

The car also comes with iActivSense which is basically radar technology that warns you of hazards that get too close to you or you get too close to them;). The car beeps to let you know to pay attention. The system wasn’t nearly as sensitive as when I reviewed the Mazda CX-3 which was great. Plus, the Mazda CX-5 was larger than the compact cars I normally drive, so having the extra feature made me feel more comfortable as I adjusted to the extra space.


The Mazda CX-5 seats five and also includes a keyless remote, touch start, sunroof, dual heating and AC as well as front and side air-bags.

Riding in the car felt smooth as silk and I didn’t feel the bumps when I traveled some of the under-construction streets and roadways in New Jersey. Also, the car felt roomy without being overpowering, which is something I was worried about since I’m such a small person (5’3).

I’m not a mommy yet but did find myself thinking this car would be a good choice for parents who don’t want to sacrifice being cool.

The 2016 Mazda CX-5 starts at $23,195 and you can see more in my Lifestyle Unboxed video above.


Heels and Wheels: Closing Out Summer In My (Loaner) 2017 Mazda CX-3

I’ve been on the go non-stop this summer and Ihave no reason to complain. From vacationing in Greece to shooting my tech pilot (air date TBD) and landing trend segments on Fox 5 Good Day New York and NBC 4 – New York Live, this has been an absolutely amazing freaking summer.


Me Having Some Fun At The Acropolis


Shooting the Outro for On The Scene Tech – Whoo Hoo

In my haze of happy I totally neglected a few items on my summer to-do list and decided I needed to check them off before summer came to a close.  So, when Mazda asked me to review the new 2017 CX-3 I lept at the chance to knock off some of my last minute items in style.


I’ve reviewed the Mazda 3 series before and this newer model did not disappoint. It drove smooth and included all the bells and whistles that a busy person would need to make a car their sanctuary – Bluetooth connectivity, active driving display, voice navigation, all-wheel drive, seating for five, wireless calling and my favorite for parking in tight city spaces – a rear view camera.


I started my journey by hitting up my local grocery store and restocking my empty cabinets (like I said, it was a busy summer). The trunk space on the CX-3 was more than adequate to hold a month’s worth of groceries and I didn’t have to load anything into the back seat.


Later in the week, I headed to the New York Renaissance Faire which has been on my list of places to visit for years. In the course of my 90-minute drive, I discovered two pain points with the CX-3.  The first is the navigation system (which I’ve written about previously). It’s not as user-friendly as it should be and it took my husband and I about 15 minutes to load the address in the system. We almost gave up to use our cell-phone GPS instead, but I refused to be defeated by a machine.

2016-09-03-15-18-52-hdrThe actual drive to the Ren Faire was great with the exception of the car’s blind spot monitoring. This safety feature was way too sensitive for NYC highway driving and went off constantly. It would give me a warning beep whenever a car was in my blind spot or when I’d turn off an exit ramp. I found myself tuning it out after a while, which defeats the purpose of the system. I’m not sure how to tweak the sensitivity level of the safety system, but would totally recommend it to keep from being distracted while driving. (FYI… Blind Spot Safety Mointoring is feature poping up in many newer model cars. I’ll need to review compatable systems to see where Mazda’s stands).


Enjoying the Ren Faire with a Costumed Lady.

My last stop in my Mazda CX-3 was the tester of all great relationships – Ikea. The hubby and I needed a new TV stand, so we made the trip to Elizabeth, NJ. Honestly, the ride there and back was easy-breezy and everything we purchased fit in the trunk easily. Plus, we made it in and out of the store without out seeing a single couple argue (which never happens). So, there might actually be unicorn magic in this car ????.

The Mazda CX-3 starts at $24,990 and totally makes my list of boss-babe car contenders.


Heels and Wheels: Pulling Off A Mommy Escape In My (Loaner) 2016 Mazda3 S Grand Touring

Most of my girlfriends are badass, superhuman, 9-5 working and I’ll knock out bathtime mommies these days and they are all taking bets on when I’ll join the club. It will be a little bit before I add a mini-me to the clan – the ink is barely dry on my marriage license after all – but I’m totally digging the amazing auntie and god-mom role I get to play right now. I’m also loving the fact that I get to be the getaway girlfriend and treat them to adults-only, treat yo-self days.

So, when Mazda asked me to review the 2016 Mazda3 S Grand Touring 4-door, I knew the best way to test it out would be with a mommy escape day in New York City.

(FYI…my friends are in witness protection, so I’ve omitted their names and images from the post. Just kidding. They are just really private people and I respect that, so I don’t include images of them online).

2016-02-24 14.27.17 HDR

This Soul Red Metallic color is everything!

I scooped my friends up in Brooklyn and they totally praised the amount of backseat room and smoothness of the ride. We were all craving seafood, so we headed to City Island in NYC to get our grub on.


This dashboard had me feeling like James Bond…only cooler.

The Mazda3 S Grand Touring came with Bluetooth, Sirius XM radio and autopilot navigation. I nicknamed the voice of our navigation system Sally.

2016-02-24 14.19.10

It took me a sec to figure out the navigation, but once I did, we were rolling.

At first, Sally didn’t seem ready to handle big-city living. Entering an address was a little complicated in her system and she was a little slow on telling us what was coming next on the drive, so we missed a few turns at the beginning of our journey. But she came through in the end. We just needed time to adjust to each other and get in a rythem.

2016-02-19 13.47.21 edit

This secondary navigation screen would let me know what turns were coming up.

After I discovered that Sally had a secondary navigation screen that displayed upcoming turns, we were on the same wave-length.

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Not the best shot, but the food was great.

We arrived at The Original Crab Shanty in good time and proceeded to devour plates of crab legs and lobster tails. We’re not dainty eaters;).

2016-02-21 14.02.58

From there Sally navigated us to Dashing Diva nail salon in Downtown Brooklyn. While on the ride the ladies updated me on the eye-popping prices of baby-strollers and the ecosystem of stroller accessories. I had no idea that these things cost more than rent in some places. I bet Mazda would see a spike in sales from pregnant women and new moms if they offered free strollers with every car purchase. Our Mommy Escape got real-life, real fast.

2016-02-21 16.39.08

Luckily, it didn’t take us too long to get to the nail salon and get back to pampering ourselves. Sally’s rear-view camera came in handy as we squeezed into a free on-the-street parking spot in the busy neighborhood. It was Sunday, so I didn’t have to feed the meter (winner, me). We then treated ourselves to manis and pedis.

2016-02-21 16.08.27

Me getting my nails touched up:).

From there, we headed to the movies to see How To Be Single. I love me some Rebel Wilson but wasn’t loving this particular film. I’m not saying, don’t see it. I would just wait for it to be on cable. We still had a great time though and the drugstore candy we smuggled into the theater might have given us a sugar high:).

I dropped the ladies off at home after the movie and we gave the Mazda3 the Mommy Escape Seal of Approval. We had a great time driving it around NYC and it was one of the nicest cars I have driven in a while.

2016 Mazda3 S Grand Touring 4-door starts at $25,795 with standard features.

-XOXO Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress