Tag: apple carplay

Travel Swellness: Camping getaway in a Chevy Trax

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On my the fourth road trip of the summer, I went camping for the first time, and I loved it. More on that in a future post.

For this road trip, I was looking to try a car I’d never driven before so for this camping weekend, thanks to General Motors Canada, I had the chance to test drive the Chevrolet Trax. I will say, when I checked it out online, I was skeptical about whether it’d fit all of the camping gear, food, and my dog, Billie Jean. It is definitely much smaller than the other SUVs I’ve driven recently, such as the Buick Envision, Chevy Equinox and GMC Acadia.

So how was the Trax? When I picked up the car, it was indeed as petite IRL as it’d looked online (it’s category is indeed small SUV). This made the car way easier to park and simple for sometimes hectic city driving, so it definitely gets points for that. Much like the Chevy Cruze I drove the WayHome, it was a breeze to park in my cramped underground parking garage.

Billie Jean in Chevy Trax

I did get concerned as I started packing the car for the weekend, though. Trunk space is limited. Once I put in one large MEC bag of gear and my carry-on bag, and it was essentially full (save for some nooks and crannies I was able to stuff small, soft items into). Thankfully, my friend knew that the flap that covers the trunk space can easily be removed, and once we took that off, we were able to pile much more gear into the back trunk space.

Chevy Trax_camping in Rondeau

From there, we put the rest of our stuff into the backseat, leaving one spot for Billie Jean to sit. It was tight, but we made it work. So ultimately, the Trax is just big enough for a camping trip for two to three people. Although, I should mention that we ended up bringing more gear than we needed (such as an extra sleeping bag, some awkward-to-travel-with chairs, and some sleeping mats, we didn’t end up using).

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The soft lines of the car make it a really cute and fun SUV, and so in that way, I think it was perfect for our little girlfriends getaway. We both thought it handled well on the road and appreciated the blind-spot assist (we took turns driving that weekend) and we loved being able to connect our iPhones with Apple CarPlay. I thought it was well designed and I appreciated the black finishes (all of it felt sturdy and well-made). In terms of what we didn’t love: we found that the backseat headrests get in the way of looking through the rear window when driving; and while not a big deal, I did miss having that compartment you’ll often find between the driver and passenger seat (I usually find this cubbyhole helpful for storing things like maps and sunglasses). And the trunk doesn’t feature a button to close it (and we went into the trunk a lot over the weekend since it served as a storage space for our food and some gear).

Since I’d be primarily driving a car in the city and only doing getaways calling for a lot of space (like this camping weekend) occasionally, I think this car makes a lot of sense for someone with a similar lifestyle.

I have another two road trips this month so be sure to check back to read about my camping and driving adventures. And if you’re an avid camper, I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you’ve got!

Leave a Comment August 18, 2017

Travel Swellness: 2016 Chevy Spark

Chevy Spark at Humber College Lakeshore

The “ultimate mobile device” is music to my ears. If you hang out with me for a day, it becomes obvious that I like to be connected–I’m often posting on social media (or checking what other people have posted), and, of course, I’m always working on getting shiz done–as a freelancer, I’m used to, and I’d say required to, always be on top of emails and texts–if an editor is trying to reach me, or if I’m offered an assignment, for example, I can’t afford to delay replying, and in spare time, say, waiting in line, I’m often reading news and articles and staying on top of trends on my iPhone.

So when I heard “ultimate mobile advice” from Chevy a few weeks ago, I was pretty curious. Turns out they were talking about the 2016 Chevy Spark, which is wifi-enabled; now, I can honestly tell you that I don’t know if I appreciate how much torque a car has (I always need to ask the GM pros to explain that concept to me each time I see them), but I do appreciate a car that has wifi.

To help us discover the Chevy Spark that day, which is affordably priced and thus making it a good option for the very first car buyer, we were asked to spend the day as millennials. Ironically, while I’m certainly not a millennial, I’ve never owned a car. (Well, I suppose I’ve partially owned two cars, but they were secondhand, so I don’t feel like that counts).

My first impressions of the Spark? As a visual person, I like the sleek and short (in height) lines of the Spark. It’s pretty darn cute and compact, wouldn’t you say? Especially in this Electric Blue shade (although I’d call it sky blue…), which I showed no shame on calling dibs on. The car’s lower profile, besides making it sleek and attractive, helps to reduce aerodynamic drag, making it more efficient, while changes made to the interior mean that the ample headroom inside hasn’t been affected. In addition, the interior now has upgraded materials, higher density seat foam for greater comfort and a great deal of attention to detail (I couldn’t help but notice the subtle pleasing graphic on the inside of the car doors and dashboard).

More exciting to me is that way your phone can be integrated with the car’s technology. If you have an iPhone 5 or later, the colour screen in the car displays content from it through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features. Which means you can use apps from  your phone including phone, messages, maps,  music and more on the car display. The Spark’s MyLink radio features a touch colour display, and the interface is the one most of us know thanks to our smartphones (I wasn’t forever searching for where to press on the screen for once, since it looks much like my iPhone screen so it was easy to use, plus you can swipe and pinch, for example, much in the same way you use your smartphone). Oh, one of my fave features: many of the features on both Android Auto (such as Google Maps) and Apple CarPlay can be controlled by voice command through a button on the steering wheel; my friends who drive have all had me lecture them if I find out they text and drive–those dangers of texting and driving PSAs really hit a nerve with me, what can I say, so anything that helps drivers keep their eyes and attention on the road, is important to me.

The Spark’s engine is all new, but I’m not going to talk engines because I’m not an expert on them (yet–but I’m driving more often it seems to trying to learn more); I’ll leave that to the hardcore car experts to describe to you. As for price, the Spark LS starts at $9,995 and at the top end is the 2LT, which starts at 18, 195.

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After taking the Spark for a quick drive to get a feel for the car (during which we stumbled upon the Humber College Lakeshore campus–how appropriate given our millennial theme of the day!), we were given one task from Chevy: to go to IKEA armed with $100 from them and shop for items to donate to a worthy cause of our choice. A friend of mine is helping a number of Syrian families get settled into Toronto, so Megan of www.immrfabulous.com (my friend and buddy for this Chevy Spark day) and I picked up a ton of kitchen staples such as plates, pots, tools and the like, loaded them into the trunk (surprisingly spacious given the compact feel of the car) and then dropped off the IKEA haul to my friend.

Spark trunk space

Then with the millennial lunch budget Chevy gave us, we filled our growling bellies with delicious, affordable vegetarian bowls at Fresh. (But let’s face it, a truly budget-friendly meal when you’re in college is more like a 99 cent package of ramen! Or a poutine. I lived off of poutine in CEGEP!)

Good deed of the day done, while getting to test out this zippy little car, which thanks to its compact size was a dream to park (one of my least favourite driving tasks!), we reluctantly gave back the keys to Chevy Spark and bid adieu to our day as millennials with their first new car.

Chevy Spark in Electric Blue

 

Can’t wait to see what my next adventure on the road is with GM!

Leave a Comment April 6, 2016


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