Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Ride and Drive right here

Rather than having to go somewhere else, I was very happy that, today, our office in Pontiac was host to an all-employee ride and drive and that I got a chance to drive some vehicles for the first time.

Today, I drove three and those were:
The CTS-V Coupe
The Chevy Spark
The Buick Regal GS
I usually have my own photos, but since I had left my smartphone at my desk, these will have to do.

The horsepower on these vehicles ranged from <100 to >500 so I ran the gamut.  We drove on roads around our facility and so, even though at one point I was sitting behind >500 HP, I only hit 45 MPH.  GM's OnStar system is an extra deterrent from going crazy during the test drive - they can basically know where you are and what's going on with the car all the time - you can't hide!

Of the three vehicles my favorite feature of all the cars was a button knob/system just ahead of the center armrest in the Regal, so you could navigate the center console screen without having to lean forward and touch it.  This worked on the audio screen, the navigation screen and for the hands free calling system.  I could navigate though the menus while sitting basically a normal driving position.  Additionally, within, say, the radio menu, it could show you stations that were present in your area as a list (rather than just having to press scan over and over and see what you get).  As possibly old fashioned as it is, I still like to listen to the radio and so thought that all of those features were spiffy.  This is also available for the XM stations as well.

While the CTS-V does have an amazing engine, except for the sportier bucket seats, the inside of the vehicle appeared pretty much the same as the CTS Wagon I rented earlier in the summer.  Not as much change as I would have expected.  I enjoyed how it started to go just from a light touch on the gas, but, again, it was frustrating not to be able to take it out on the highway and try and merge from an on ramp to see more of what the acceleration can do.

Finally, even though I had sat in it before, today was the first day I drove a Spark.  I got to drive a green one, like I had taken a picture of in one of the earlier posts.  If I were to get one myself, though, I might go for the silvery light pink.  While the CTS-V purred along during the test drive (since it couldn't show off due to the speed limits), the Spark was, in it's own way, satisfying because even at these lower speeds its engine was working more and so it sounded like you were doing more.  I'm sure on a highway, this test drive would have felt very different.  The spark felt quite roomy for a small car and it has a touchscreen console.  While the touchscreen worked pretty well the button to shut off that screen/system which was like a "button" on a smart phone - an icon that's flush with the surface but still does something when you touch it - didn't always respond when I pressed it which was frustrating.

So, with getting to talk to people while waiting in line and getting out in the sunshine to drive some more of GM's offerings, Thursday turned out to be a better day than I anticipated.  Tomorrow night I have a guest coming and then it's the weekend.  Yay!

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