January 20th, 2015
For years I’ve wanted to head to the Detroit Auto Show which happens annually in January. I’m generally invited every year by gracious car manufacturers, but unfortunately the timing never seems to work out on my end. Someday I’ll hopefully get there to check out the latest and greatest in the auto industry.
This year I had the best of both worlds. I discovered that I didn’t have to travel far to get to a fabulous auto show. Who knew the New England International Auto Show was happening just a few minutes from my home?!
When I was invited to attend the New England International Auto Show by SheBuysCars as a guest of Chevrolet I was beyond excited. I love how they refer to this show on the website as “Sneak Peeks for Auto Geeks”. I’m not sure I qualify as an auto geek, but I do love checking out the newest imported and domestic vehicles. I’ve been reviewing various cars on my site for a few years- so maybe that does place me in the “auto geek” category?
The day did not disappoint. It kicked off with a Design and Urban Mobility panel discussion. Of course I couldn’t help myself and had to ask the panel to name a few of their favorite sustainability initiatives. Wade Bryant, Manager, GM Advanced Design Studio & Design Senior Consultant on the Urban Active Solutions was all over my question. He spoke about how Chevy is in the forefront when it comes to sustainability. Check out some of their initiatives here. He also spoke about how there’s always room for improvement and it remains a work in progress.
After the panel came the reveal of the Chevrolet Trax. This is Chevy’s cross between an SUV and a compact car. This smaller car can seat up to five. One of my favorite features is the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat. This would allow for storage of long items such as skis or a surfboard, up to eight feet long. Not bad for a small vehicle.
We were then taken on an exclusive tour of the auto show led by James Bell, the Head of Consumer Affairs for General Motors. Mr. Bell knew his stuff and gave us the low down on many of the vehicles at the auto show.
Women and Cars
My favorite panel happened after lunch. A few dynamic women spoke about Women in Automotive: How We’re Changing the World. They spoke about how on the consumer side more and more women are making the car deals. On the business side they are seeing more women rising to the top within the car industry. Pretty impressive.
For those of you who haven’t heard of SheBuysCars, it’s a pretty amazing organization. SheBuysCars is a web community for women who buy, care for, and live their lives in and around their cars. The brainchild of TravelingMom.com founder Kim Orlando and editor and journalist Scotty Reiss, SheBuysCars is created for the 80 percent of women who influence car purchase decisions. Their mission is to empower women as owners and buyers of cars.
3 Tips for Buying a New Car
When it’s time to invest in a new car here are three quick tips to help you through the process:
- Test drive the car. I can’t emphasize this enough. Have your entire family pile in the car and make sure everyone fits. Especially if your car has a third row. Many of those third rows are a tight squeeze. Make sure the car is comfortable. Think about how much time we spend in a car!
- Do your homework. There is very little that remains a secret when it comes to car purchases. Once you find a car you’re interested in spend some time researching the available features and the value of the car. Look at reviews and be sure to check out safety records, Head over to She Buys Cars for great advice.
- Check out the repair costs BEFORE purchasing the car. Head to the dealer or a local repair shop and ask for comparisons on what repairs will cost on a few vehicles you’re interested in.
The day ended with a group photo of the fabulous Boston Parent Bloggers . I also had a chance to catch up with my friend and fellow YoGetter, Alison from Green With Renvy.
Overall the day was a complete success.
Just curious- did you walk into the dealership and make the deal on your car?
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Disclosure: Chevrolet and SheBuysCars provided me with complimentary access to the New England International Auto Show and compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are my very own.
January 8th, 2015
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am receiving compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.
It’s official. Winter has arrived in Boston. Today I’m in my office with a fire blazing, a hot cup of tea and multiple layers of clothing. You would think having grown up in Wisconsin the cold would be no big deal, but I can’t shake the chill.
This morning the cold almost got the best of my car. When I tried to start it the ignition didn’t turn over immediately. After a few “coughs” it finally started.
Thankfully there are a few simple tips to make sure your car is ready for the winter months ahead.
- A clean car is your first line of defense against winter. While the winter season typically takes a toll on your car, proper maintenance can go a long way to preserving your investment. Getting a new wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature starts to fluctuate can be your first line of defense against winter elements like ice, salt, sand and slush. Vehicular corrosion also occurs most quickly when temperatures rise and then fall below freezing. Try to find a WaterSavers® Car Wash in your area. These car washes typically use only 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car wash.
- Rotate your tires. Most people know they should get their oil changed every 3,000 miles, but many forget their tires need maintenance as well. Tires should be rotated before winter and then again every 6,000 miles.
- Add some winter weight to your oil. Changing your oil and filter is especially important during the winter. Drivers who live in a colder climate should consider changing to heavier, winter-weight oil during the winter months.
- Take care of your wiper blades. Your windshield wiper blades are your first line of defense when the snow starts to fly. Make sure your wiper blades are in good, working order and replace them if you have doubts. It’s better to make this change now instead of finding out your blades aren’t working when you really need them.
- Take your car in for a tune-up. Any noises, pings or sluggish starts you currently notice will only intensify as the temperature drops. It’s best to get your vehicle in for a tune-up as soon as possible to get any issues addressed.
- Give your steering some power. Check your powering steering fluid each month, and make sure the car is warmed up before you do so. If you find the level is low, look for leaks in the hoses or pump. Low power steering fluid will make your car more difficult to steer, which is something you’ll want to avoid as the roads get slick.
- Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous at any time, but they are especially deadly during the winter when you will be driving your vehicle with the windows closed. Have your exhaust system checked to make sure no leak exists.
- Apply the brakes. Besides the seatbelt, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. This is especially true in the winter when slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. Before the first snow fall, bring your car to an experienced mechanic to verify that your brakes are ready for the season.
How do prepare your car for the winter?
photo credit: PommeGranny via photopin cc
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by International Car Wash Association (ICA). All opinions are my own. For more information on sponsored posts, read here.
January 3rd, 2013
On an icy cold day in December a sporty new car landed in my driveway. As the keys were handed over I was given my mission: test drive the car for a week and report back. Not a bad task at all.
The car was a Kia Optima Hybrid filled to the brim with all the bells and whistles. At first glance I was mesmerized by the sheer newness of this car. I’m on my own quest for a new car and have been on and off looking for the past six months or so. It’s been challenging to find a car that meets all of my criteria: a car with some redeeming eco-friendly features that fits a family of five, one dog and lots of ski, soccer, karate and baseball gear.
This was my first experience driving a hybrid and a Kia so I knew I was in for an interesting ride. Over the course of the week the car was mainly used for transporting my boys from point A to point B. Rarely were all five of us in the car together. The car worked perfectly for this. The best was when I drove the car alone. The stereo speakers were incredible-hopefully you didn’t see (or hear) me singing at the top of my lungs.
Interior of the Kia Optima Hybrid
Overall the interior of this car was pretty plush. A favorite feature was the heating and cooling seat options for both the front and back seats. It took a while to get used to the low bucket seats in this car. I’m an average height, coming in at 5′ 4″ on a good day, and the bucket seat on the driver and passengers side felt very low. The car was easily able to fit my three tall boys in the spacious back seat. They were seated next to each other which probably wouldn’t be ideal for a long trip.
The touch screen stereo system was a nice feature and very intuitive. I was able to get my fix of satellite radio. The navigation system was also very simple to use and aesthetically added to the loaded interior of the car. If you have a newer iDevice you will have to get an adapter to plug in-the car is fitted with an older plug.
Another favorite feature was the rear-view camera display which clearly showed when I was about to back into something. My kids were all over this.
The smart key remote system was incredibly convenient. The key never had to come out of my bag to start or unlock the car.
Exterior of the Kia Optima Hybrid
The car arrived all shiny and beautiful and left with snow and ice. The Kia Optima Hybrid is a sporty looking sedan with snazzy looking alloy wheels. The large sun and moon roofs allowed plenty of sunlight into the car. My one big complaint was the size of the windows. They felt extremely small and coupled with the low bucket seats they presented a bit of a challenge when checking my blind spots.
The true test was when it snowed and the roads were incredibly slippery. The Kia did very well with minimal slippage.
The car has heated side mirrors which were fantastic in the cold and snowy conditions.
Fuel efficiency and environmental performance
This car has great fuel efficiency. I was doing mainly city driving and it came in around 33 MPG. The expected range is about 34 MPG for city driving and 39 MPG for highway driving. Not bad.
The warranty on this car is fantastic. Kia offers a 10 year/100,000 mile limited warranty.
This was my first time driving a hybrid. It took a while to get used to the transition from hybrid to gas. I could actually feel the engine kicking over from one to the other. When the car was in hybrid mode it was extremely quiet. At various times I wasn’t sure whether or not the car was on. After driving the car a bit I began to figure out how it was operating.
Kia Optima Hybrid value
The MSRP of the Kia Optima Hybrid is $25,700. Add in the bells and whistles and your now up to $32,620. This car qualifies as a bit more than a commuter car. It’s a mid-sized sedan with a lot of perks.
Overall impression of the Kia Optima Hybrid
I could get used to driving a mid-sized sedan. The Kia grew on me as the week went by and I was sad to see it go. It’s not a practical everyday car for our large family, but it could easily work as a second family car. Overall the car was luxurious and comfortable. Tall family members had no problem with head or leg room. The fuel efficiency and other options made it a comfortable ride.
Disclaimer: The Kia Optima Hybrid was loaned to me from a 3rd party. I was not compensated or asked to write a favorable review. All opinions are my very own.