Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GM/BlogHer Ride and Drive Recap

I’m not a huge car person, although I admit my “Mother Ship” (AKA minivan) is a dream come true. Still, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed an evening out sans the kiddos even if it involved test driving cars.

On Tuesday night I attended the General Motors/BlogHer Ride and Drive. I had the opportunity to meet up with other Atlanta area bloggers and talk blogging, cooking, writing fiction versus nonfiction, homeschooling, and share breastfeeding and pregnancy stories. (I found the whole “momraderie” thing to be going on when I was nibbling on delish chocolate cake nodding sympathetically as a fellow mom/blogger talked about her latch-on problems with baby number two and her painful, cracked nipples. Only moms can safely bring up the word "nipples" during cocktail hour.)

But before I could gab with the girls, I hit the road in two Saturn models*.

First, I slipped into a gray 2009 Saturn AURA XR Sedan with a friendly GM worker as my co-pilot. She told me she had a 2-year-old daughter, so we spent most of the test drive talking about pregnancy nausea, strong-willed toddlers, and pining for sleep.

The sedan provided a smooth ride, which I would honestly expect from any new car, but there was nothing extremely memorable about it. To a lady who’d much rather shop for shoes than cars, show me one sedan and I’ve seen them all.

However, the VUE hybrid was another a story. This car, which apparently was a test model that hasn’t hit the market yet, felt different – in a good way. When I turned the key in the ignition, I thought the engine was dead for a split second because the car was absolutely silent.

“Believe it or not, that’s it. You’re ready to go,” my fellow passenger, another friendly GM worker, from Michigan explained.

The radio was off during my test drive and the dearth of noise from tinkering gears and the rumbling vibrations of a running engine that you usually hear while driving impressed me. As I navigated the streets surrounding a hip part of the ATL called Atlantic Station, my passenger explained how the hybrid works. It uses a unique hybrid powertrain system and alternates between different energy forms (gas and electric) depending on whether you’re accelerating, going up or down a hill, reaching a certain speed, etc. This smart technology helps to ensure the car is running at optimal efficiency, which results in excellent gas mileage so you’ll end up spending a lot less time at the pump. Very cool. No matter how green you consider yourself, who wouldn’t like to save on gas?

In addition, the car utilizes the latest safety features from Europe since this is where it was engineered. For example, the headrest moves forward in the event of an impact to reduce whiplash, and the brakes break off to prevent foot and leg injuries that people often endure in serious crashes (the airbags prevent upper body injuries, but apparently doctors were seeing a lot of leg injuries after car accidents). Technology never ceases to amaze me.

I also liked the fact that I was sitting up higher like I do in my minivan. I drove a sedan for a long time, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to one. It makes me feel safer to have raised vantage point.

As for aesthetics, I liked the look of the hybrid both inside and out.

Geez, am I starting to sound like a car junkie or what?

The sedan and hybrid were the only two models I test drove before networking with fellow bloggers and noshing on hors d'oeuvres (the crunchy spring rolls hit the spot).

I'd been suffering from preggo lethargy and wasn't feeling like making the effort to go out that night, but I’m so glad gave my eyelashes a quick swipe of mascara and headed out to the GM/BlogHer Ride and Drive. It was definitely worth the effort.

Read more about the cars and the event at the BlogHer Round-Up page.

*Can’t let this post go by without some official mumbo jumbo: Yes, I was enumerated for writing up a review of this BlogHer event. But I really did have fun and liked the hybrid. Cross my fingers.


Chris said...

Great Review! :)

Gerry said...

Morning sickness is basically the result of hormones kicking in the body. What pregnant moms need is lots of patience and some treatment for morning sickness to manage the symptoms during the morning sickness weeks.