From time to time, we pack up the ol' family car for the 7-8 hour drive to visit my in-laws in Pittsburgh. With five passengers and a ridiculous amount of stuff, we've concluded that sometimes it is just easier to pack everything and everyone into the car the road trip it rather than fly. But it can also be a looong drive.
A few weeks ago, we made this familiar trip for Easter weekend -- but with one exciting twist. Instead of traveling in our nice, but somewhat outdated and very kid-worn family car, we made this road trip in a shiny, brand new Chevy Traverse.
As part of the Driving the Midwest initiative, I was offered the opportunity to test drive a Chevy vehicle for a week (blogger perk!). I timed my week-long "free rental" to coincide with our Midwestern road trip and it worked out perfectly.
Now, let me begin by saying that I am not a big car person. I haven't done a lot of comparison shopping. I just want a car that works well for my family. I like our regular car (A 2003 Lexus GX470) just fine, although is has some significant wear and tear from its dutiful service throughout the years.
During our week with the Traverse, we noticed several key features or upgrades from our car that we really loved:
- The Traverse offers a third row of seats and also a decent amount of trunk space. In our car, the third row of seats basically eliminates any trunk storage.
- We loved the two captain seats that made it easy for kids to climb in and out of the third row. We also loved that the captain seats easily slide forward and collapsed so that it was easier to install our big Britax Marathon carseat in the back row.
- The Traverse also got pretty decent gas mileage (17 city/24 highway) -- a huge bonus in this time of out-of-control gas prices.
- The navigation system was super helpful on our trip (we were even able to see where there was a traffic backup because of an accident and avoid it).
- The Sirius XM Radio was also a welcome addition to our road trip experience (no more turning the dial through lots of radio static!)
- The rear seat entertainment system was fantastic. We popped in a Max and Ruby DVD and the kids happily belly laughed their way through Ohio (and those of you who've driven clear across Ohio know that it is not an easy thing to do).
- And finally, the Traverse just had a ton of space. We celebrated my daughter's birthday while we were in Pittsburgh and we acquired even more stuff to bring home with us (including a life-size, stuffed yellow lab named Sarah! Love her!). All of our gear fit into the car, and everyone had enough space to be comfortable -- the hallmark of a great family car.
When our current car conks out (which will be sooner rather than later), we will definitely look at the Traverse as a family-friendly, mini-van alternative (hubby says no way, never on that one).
Disclosure: I received use of the Chevy Traverse for one week at no expense.