Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Politics: Week 3 - Engines

My dad and I do not agree on a lot of ground when it comes to politics, but I'll give the man props in one department. He insists on driving a car made in the USA. He believes in it, and he puts his money where his mouth is. My mom used to carpool kids to school in a green Chevy Nova that my family owned. We were stylin' in that sedan. A particularly memorable drive was when we hit ice on a downhill and did a neat trick of turning around before coming to a stop. It was the 1970s, folks. We didn't have any stinkin' seat belts, and if we did, the pile of kids in the backseat certainly wasn't aware of them. Fun times, fun times. That Nova - and its leaded gas engine - was retired many, many years ago (early 1980s, perhaps)? It was replaced with another car made in the USA, though I can't recall what.

By the time I owned a car, society had figured out that unleaded gas was preferable - even though leaded gas was a convenient way to keep the engine from knocking. I purchased a Nissan Sentra that used unleaded gas. I loved that car, but it was regularly breaking down by the time I finished college. My dad strongly advised my sister and I against taking it across the country to grad school. He equally strongly advised I exchange it for a Ford Escort. I am unwilling to admit that either of these pieces of advice was good. I can assure you, the Ford Escort is a piece of junk. That car was so uncomfortable, my sister and I still have back pains when we think about that trip - and we took that trip almost 20 years ago. My mother-in-law once got in the backseat of that car on our way to New York City and commented how nice the car was. Clearly, she was trying to be nice herself. Ed and I immediately started apologizing, telling her she wouldn't be saying that for long. And she wasn't.

The Ford Escort was replaced by a Nissan Altima in 2001. That Nissan Altima was my all-out dream car - which is a comment on how bad the cars I normally drive are. Ed and I purchased it, used, right after we got married. Although we were sad about having to buy a car, we were both thrilled to get rid of the Escort.

I have never owned a new car. So when I got an offer through TheDCMoms to drive a Chevy for a week, I couldn't respond "yes" fast enough. I scored a Chevy Cruze - which I've already driven in Dupont and Old Town. The Chevy Cruze has the same engine as the Volt, which I would love to own. PLUG-IN CAR, PEOPLE. How awesome is that? In my lifetime, we've gone from engines that turn lead into a breathable substance to electric engines. The Chevy Cruze reportedly gets 42 miles a gallon on the highway. More importantly, I've noticed already that the Chevy Cruze is roomy. It's roomy enough that I expect I could be in the car for several hours before one of my children complained about being too close to the other one. We tested the trunk tonight to see whether it could handle our usual load of stuff and indeed, it can! There is enough room in the backseat to easily fit projects for Helen and Connor to pass time with - and nobody is sitting with their knees propped on a suitcase. This is huge progress for us.

There's so much room in that trunk, I could fit a kid in there if need be. But hopefully that won't be necessary.

I can also fit several gifts in the backseat, which I'll be giving out as I cruise around as part of GM's Random Acts of Kindness Campaign. I'm looking forward to bringing a little surprise to people I meet over the next week, before I am asked to give up my keys.

The loaner car is sponsored by the GM Northeast Team. This might be the best car I have ever driven.

Thank you, GM Northeast Team!


Disclosure: I have the car for a week and in exchange, I'm giving out random care packages to people I meet. Next up: how much stuff can we fit in the backseat?


  1. Um, that trunk is crazy huge. We will be in the market for a new car in the fall . . . Can't wait to hear about the random acts !