I have a confession.
Although I’ve lived in the Motor City for a little over 7 years now, I’ve rarely given much thought to cars. Strange, I know.
After attending a series of events as a guest of GM and driving the Chevy Volt, you can probably guess that I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what people are driving these days. Really, though, more than anything, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much thought actually does go into the decision making process when it comes to buying a new car. Yes, income and affordability is probably the biggest factor in this decision but lifestyle comes in a very close second.
After all, it wouldn’t matter if you could afford a $75,000 Corvette, if you can’t fit your family in it. It simply won’t work.
When I drove the Volt, I was in awe of it’s luxury and technology. While I still highly recommend it for Eco-concious commuters, I can’t say it’s a great car for large families, due to it’s limited passenger and cargo room.
Those of us with children need space. Even smaller families, like mine with 2 children, often find themselves with extra kids in the car and almost always hauling an incredible amount of “stuff.” Far more “stuff” than we did before we became parents. For the most part, our vehicle selections have been limited to either an SUV, or the old stand-by, a minivan.
Or so I thought.
Recently, General Motors introduced me to the 2012 Chevy Traverse a family-friendly cross-over SUV, with room for 8. Fellow Detroit Mommy, Courtney, drove the 2011 model last year and it left her wanting more. Me?
I. AM. IN. LOVE.
The first thing that struck me about this vehicle was how stylish it was. It has the same amount of passenger room as a minivan, but it doesn’t look like a minivan!
The model I drove had leather seats and room for 7; driver & front passenger, two captains chairs in the second row and a 3rd row split bench. My two teen girls LOVED the captains chairs. These gave them each their “own space” but they were still close enough together to chat (or annoy, depending on who was in what kind of mood). The captains chairs also gave them plenty of room to keep their “stuff” close by, but not crammed under their feet.
I was equally impressed with the amount of cargo space in the Traverse. If you read my previous post, Tips for Easy Meal Planning, you know that I plan, and shop, for 6 weeks worth of meals at one time. 6 weeks worth of food for a family with 2 teenagers is quite a lot, but the Traverse easily accommodated our grocery haul after folding down the 3rd row bench seat. Folding down the bench seat was easy too! Unlike my minivian, which requires two hands (and sometimes a foot) to get the back seat down, it only took 2 fingers with the Traverse.
One of the biggest changes between the 2011 and the 2012 models appears to be the rear camera and navigation system. Courtney was not impressed with either in last year’s model, but this year, they integrated both into a beautiful display built into the driver’s console. The rear-view camera uses a fish-eye lens, so it was very easy to see everything behind me, even the peripheral view.
The Traverse comes loaded with gadgets and add-0ns for the tech lover in your family including Bluetooth, Sirius XM Radio, rear-seat entertainment system and Wi-Fi. Yes, you read that correctly – you can have Wi-Fi installed in the 2012 Chevy Traverse!
Did Cheverolet have mom bloggers in mind when they made this an option? Me thinks so!
Of course, safety is something to take into consideration, family car or not. With 6 air bags, StabiliTrak traction control, rear-door child security lock out and anti-lock breaks, the Traverse does not disappoint. In fact, it has received high marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
I said I loved it, didn’t I?
But not all love it blind. There were a few things that could be improved:
The rear-seat entertainment system was difficult to figure out. In fact, we had to break down and read through the owner’s manual before we could get it work. Once we got it working, it was nice, but I feel technology should be intuitive. You definitely don’t want to be on the road with cranky kids, trying to figure how to get a DVD to play.
The cup holders (yes, I went there) for the rear passengers are located in the door. I found this very odd and could easily see a drink sloshing around after accidentally slamming the door closed.
I wouldn’t consider either of these as “deal breakers”; you can easily compensate for them by being prepared and being careful.
Overall, I highly recommend this car. It’s great looking and had plenty of room for families. In short, it’s family-friendly but not frumpy.
You’ve heard what I’ve had to say about the all new 2012 Chevy Traverse, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Thanks to General Motors, Detroit Mommies is giving you a chance to drive this family-friendly crossover SUV for a week!
A one week loan of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse, insurance coverage and your first tank of gas included!
Leave a comment below telling us what you look for in a family-friendly vehicle.
The Fine Print
No purchase necessary to enter. Open to legal resident of Michigan, located within 40 miles of Detroit, must be least 21 years of age with valid driver’s license. Winner will be selected randomly through http://random.org. Detroit Mommies writers and contributors are ineligible to participate. Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered. Detroit Mommies is not responsible products shipped from outside vendors or sponsors. The contest will close on Monday, October 17, 2011 @ 11:59:59 p.m. EST and winners selected on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Winners must respond to Detroit Mommies within 24 hours or an alternate winner will be selected.
The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse was given to me to drive for 7 days, courtesy of General Motors. All opinions here are strictly my own.
Random.org has spoken and the winner is lucky #7! Congratulations, Keki!