Saturday, June 30, 2012

I only test drive cars when it's over 90 degrees out :-)

Hi!  More cars to talk about.  I safely and smoothly made it from MI to PA in about 8 hours which is around what I expected.  Before I left though, I strolled through the GM Employee Car Show.  Note: this car show was just from people who work in MY location, not from all over the place, and there was still a huge selection.  Here are some highlights from the day:

One of the interns who sits across from me worked on and off for two years on the suspension for this one
After a stroll around the parking lot to take it all in, I hopped in the now charged Volt and took off for PA.  Last post I wrote that I was excited and curious to see how the Volt would drive in all-electric mode.  Turns out, for better or worse depending on what you expect coming into it, driving a Volt in charged electric mode isn't all that different from driving it while it's running on gas - smooth and quiet.  When it switched from battery to gas (in the middle of while I was driving down the highway!), I didn't notice anything other than a changed icon on the dash (the battery icon is minimized and the fuel pump icon gets bigger to show which power source is being used).

From flipping through the manual, I found out that there is a sport driving mode which makes acceleration more responsive.  I think it does indeed add some extra kick.  I've now used the navigation system, On-star, hooked my phone up to Bluetooth, listened to music from my iPod via the USB port in the center console and found out that it takes longer than I expected (?at least in this hot weather?, to charge the batteries using a standard 120V outlet).

I left PA this morning, and stopped in New Jersey...for more driving and to complete my "at least one car from each of the big 3" June test driving experience.  This event was a Ford Focus ST test drive that was free that we had found registration for online.  They're coming to Boston later this summer, but the event might be "sold" out already (as I said before this was no cost other than getting there).  Here's the one thing though...The Focus ST is a manual car and I'd only ever driven a manual once before.  I can now say I've driven a manual a couple times more albeit for short periods of time.

The younger, more aggressive sibling of my own yellow '05 ZX3 Ford Focus - the ST
The event was set up as an autocross and you got two laps to learn and then three time trial laps.  I was way slower than many of the folks who showed up but I managed to complete the laps in manual mode (luckily autocross is as much about handling as it is about speed and so you only needed to be in 1st or 2nd gear to do the whole thing).
Lined up to get ready to go - drive smoothly
I made it - despite a few stalls at the start I was proud of myself - need to keep learning though
Tonight I continued on to NYC and will be seeing some friends from undergrad in the city.  Tomorrow, off to Vermont!  Definitely taking advantage of GM's shut-down week.

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