After our recent Escape I started to think about cars, specifically whether my husband and I had the right mix of vehicles as he planned to sell our Toyota Prius for his personal dream car (a station wagon – need I say more?).
While I’d like to say I’m exchanging my ride for an orange Camaro (some day), what I started seriously considering was whether I could “right-size” my ride and exchange the Equinox for something smaller.
Specifically, I wondered if the Chevrolet Volt would work for our lives.
It was this in mind that I borrowed a new Volt for one week so we could put it through it’s paces, and can easily say that I got the full Volt experience.
During the week I drove my customary 20 mile round trip commute, using the gas engine intermittently to keep the car warm. (My husband explained this to me a couple of times, I’m going to admit that it went in one ear and out the other). I also dropped the kids off at school, drove in the snow and rain, went shopping for Christmas gifts and groceries, went to see clients and, reluctantly, visited the gym.
We pushed the buttons, plugged her in, and came up with a name for what we’d call “our” Volt (Aya). I planned routes, made calls, tried the voice commands, and accidentally introduced my son to the concept of “out” when the car misinterpreted my request to change the channel to FM 108 and instead turned to XM 108 – OutQ Gay & Lesbian Radio.
I became obsessed with the mileage screen and reveled in the freedom of key-less entry & starting.
I received several compliments – someone called it “artistic” looking – as well as more than a few questions about how the car works. In particular there seemed to be some confusion about what an “extended range electric vehicle” is, or why I wasn’t going to just stop in the middle of the street when the battery was depleted. (I’m not going to try to explain it, you can see details here).
And today, on my way to a meeting with a prospective client, I got to try the included repair kit and tire inflator after watching the tire pressure rapidly drop from 34 PSI to a panic inducing 15, then 9. My husband will tell you that working the inflator was more than I’ve ever done in the name of car repair.
Unfortunately, the repair didn’t work – it was a really big hole from what I assume was a nail – so I got to meet Cliff from Automotion Drivers (the company charged with delivering the vehicle) who kindly met me, called OnStar and drove me back to the office.
I was also able to witness Volt’s Road Side Assistance at work. After assuring the voice on the other side of the line that we were safe, and didn’t need a ride or a loaner vehicle, we were visited 30 minutes later by a flat bed and a guy ready to bring the car to the closest Chevrolet dealership. 10 minutes after that someone from the Volt Roadside Assistance team called to check in on us.
Much to my children’s disappointment, the jury is out on whether we will make the switch to a Chevrolet Volt. I loved how she drove (the Sport mode was, well, sporty), and the promise of going weeks without filling the tank is very appealing. On the other hand, the car is very small (one of the things I like about it) and my children are tall and getting taller, making leg room in the back of particular importance.
So I’m going to keep the Volt on my list, and maybe take a look at the Cruze.