Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Car-Free or Car-Lite? A weekend running errands in the Chevy Trax

When I have to describe my blog (this happens more often that you'd think) in a sentence or two, I often use the term 'car-free' to describe the Spokesfamily. I think most people understand from this that we don't own a car. However, we do drive, booking Modo carshare vehicles on an as-needed basis. This ends up being a couple of times a month on average for errands, trips to visit family in the 'burbs & occasional jaunts to the Okanagan to visit Oma & Opa. Pretty car-free, but maybe a better term would be car-lite? What do you think?

We also spent a little time in a Chevy Trax recently, not one of Modo's fleet, but one of Chevrolet Canada's loaners that I got for a weekend as a Klout perk. If you follow me on Twitter--if you don't, you should! ;-)--you might have noticed a few tweets about it, hashtagged #ChevyTrax. Thought I'd share some of my thoughts about the car here too.

I didn't get a decent photo of our Trax, here's what it looks like (ours was pretty much the same as this, only black).

Unlike the journalists who review cars for a living, I know little & care even less about things like style, performance, how many seconds it takes to get up to 100km/hour or what's under the hood. My interests lie in function & practical considerations like fuel economy. I see cars as simple tools to get from point A to point B, & I don't get any more attached to them than I do to public transit buses, trains or ferries.

Here's what I care about :

  • Is the car comfortable to get in & out of? The Trax is only about as long as a small-to-mid-size car like a focus or a Mazda 3, but it's taller, so installing carseats doesn't involve me whacking my head on the edge of the door as I back out. Being slightly higher crossover-style makes it a bit easier to get in & out of too. 
  • Does it have room for a big stroller, Costco haul, carseats? The back had a decent amount of room for cargo with split rear seats for hauling larger items. A good amount of storage space for the size of the Trax. The forward-facing toddler seat fit in there just fine, but when the infant car seat was in, we had to move the front passenger seat forward a lot--my knees were an inch away from the dash & I'm only 5'7".
  • Can I park it easily & manoeuvre on narrow urban streets? Parking was easy, as it's pretty short for a crossover, but the turning radius was bigger than I expected. We had to do a three-point turn across our street, unlike the cars we usually drive. The backup camera did make reversing easier & kind of fun, however.
  • How's the fuel economy? The Trax has a small engine apparently (remember the part where I don't really care about what's under the hood?) & seems pretty efficient. The dash display told us we were getting just over 10L/100km, which is all right for city driving, which is all we did the weekend that we had it. We only drove 20-30 km on the highway one of the days, when we went out to Coquitlam.
  • Is it comfy for a road trip? Though the leg room in the front is a bit tight with the baby seat in the back, the seats were pretty ergonomic. The Trax that we had came with all the bells & whistles: leather heated seats, fully adjustable including lumbar on the driver's side, with an easily accessible dash to play with the satellite radio. There was a USB hookup in the upper glove box to attach an iPod or iPhone to. Unfortunately for us non-Apple users, Android devices were unsupported.

So, there you have it. I'm not going to tell you I'd buy it, because I don't plan on buying a car anytime soon, if ever. :) However, I think this vehicle would be a decent addition to the Modo fleet, in terms of usability for city errand-running kind of driving, which, I think, is what most of the members do with our cars.

Do you own a car or just rent/carshare like we do? Does your car say something about who you are, or do you see it as just another tool like a screwdriver or chef's knife?

Follow Spokesmama here too:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! (I've had to enable comment moderation on older posts to thwart spammers, so your post may not appear right away.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...