So….the good. Finally, I’ve driven a Chevy that drives quite nicely. I really liked the tight steering and the smooth ride. The car, as you might imagine, drew many stares, something which I probably would have really enjoyed in my attention-starved years (what?) but now it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Hell, even the toll-taker at Logan Airport gave me a smile and a big thumbs up and said “hey, nice car!” It was 1 am and I just wanted to get home.
I also really dug the interior. I’m a total sucker for a souped up interior. Give me the colors, the knobs, switches, buttons. Give it all to me. I don’t even care if the buttons don’t do a damn thing – load up that dashboard with nicely lit buttons or messages and I’m drooling like Pavlov’s doggie. So there’s some nice features about this interior – the radio display, even though the picture is a little fuzzy, is a step ahead in terms of intuitiveness – it actually displays the “100.7” and all your other saved stations right there on the screen so you don’t have to remember that “100.7” is preset #1. Nice touch. The driver displays (MPH, RPM, etc) are stylishly retro. Nice job, Chevy. For once.
Yuck: visibility is atrocious. Trying to see out the back is a complete disaster, due to what seems like a one square foot window back there and for some reason, objects in the rear view mirrors seemed further than they actually appeared. That must be a first. While the radio display screen was good, the knobs were badly located, causing me to take my eyes off the road more than once. I should assume that the more you drive the car, the more you get used to it, but you never know. It was a definite minus. What I would never get used to is that all four buttons for the power windows are located in the center console under the knobs for the heat & AC. A horrific idea.
All in all, the important factor here is that I’ve driven an American car that I didn’t get out of and immeadiately puke about. It’s actually been quite a long time since that has happened for me. When I look at Detroit’s output over the past 20 years, it hasn’t been one of innovation or quality. But take a look around. The HHR is an obvious response to the PT Cruiser, despite Chevy’s consistant denial of it. But other, newer designs coming out of Detroit bring lots of hope – the Pontiac Solstice looks like quite a bargain and a nice little sports car. Ford’s Escape Hybrid is a promising start to their green initiative. Other cars like the Chrysler Pacifica, the Dodge Magnum and the beautiful newly designed Ford Mustang all bring hope to what has been a long drought for the U.S. carmakers. I won’t be rushing out to buy one anytime soon, but when I do, they very well might be in the crosshairs.