I went for some test drives this morning. I went back to Wheaton and decided to test drive a 2005 Chev Cobalt SS, a 2005 Chev Malibu Maxx, and a 2006 Pontiac G6 Base. I have only ever test driven my current car, so it was an interesting experience. The car salesman that we talked to briefly yesterday asked me if I wanted to go by myself or if I wanted him to come along. I figured, he might as well come along because he might be able to point out some features that I was unaware of.
When I test drove my Grand Am, the salesman was a young very chatty guy. I don't know if I even really had the chance to learn too much about the car. It seemed like the drive route was very short, and I felt very nervous. This morning things felt much more laid back. Maybe it's because I am four years older and wiser. I think it also helped that the salesman was about my parents age and was fairly quiet during the drive. Only pointing out a few different things in the cars.
I took the Cobalt out first. The Cobalt SS is the version with the most bells and whistles. I have to say I wasn't that thrilled. I didn't expect to be, I had a bit of prejudice against them to begin with, but wanted to give them an honest try. Someone we know drives one and swears it's an awesome car, and maybe for her it is. I found in the 10 minute or so test drive that the seat got quite uncomfortable fairly quickly. I found that I am used to a V6 engine, and though the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine was quite peppy it just felt like it was straining a bit to get up to freeway speed. I also found that the suspension felt very stiff and we hit some bumpy places along the way that felt pretty rough in that car. I don't think it's a terrible car, but for the cost I would not choose it. Maybe in a few years once the price drops it would make a good starter car for a young person.
Second I took the Malibu Maxx. The Maxx is their higher end version with a good number of options. I right away felt that the seat was quite a bit more comfortable. The acceleration with the 3.5L V6 was very nice. It was a smooth ride. I have never driven a hatchback before and I felt like I was driving a very large car (even though it's not much bigger than my Grand Am) because the back window was so much further back. The back window was quite small and the rear visibility felt a little limited. One of the options that this particular one comes with is a built in DVD player in the back seat. I guess I would have to start going on road trips with more kids if I got that one ;) It was an interesting shade of green, sort of a silvery, mossy green. I don't love it, but I don't think I can afford to be picky about colours.
Last, I took the Pontiac G6 Base. When I heard it was a base model I was sort of skeptical. However it had a good number of options for a base model. The one thing it didn't have that concerned me a fair bit was ABS. I thought that they were as standard as daytime running lights, apparently not. I would say that right away it felt quite comfortable. The G6 was Pontiac's replacement for the Grand Am. It definitely felt much newer, but it felt a lot more similar to my car. It has the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, which is not my preference but like in the Cobalt it was quite peppy. The suspension felt much smoother. I noticed when I went to get out of the car that I really had to duck my head to avoid hitting it on the door frame. Good thing I am not taller or I don't know if I would fit in that car. It's not that it's so small, it just seemed like I was sitting up fairly tall in that car.
I did not buy a car today. I do however like both the Malibu and the G6. I would be interested to try test driving a G6 with a V6 engine to compare how it feels. I was VERY impressed with the amount of cargo space in the Malibu Maxx. I think I could probably put Jay's wheelchair in the back without taking the wheels off. Also the back seats fold down and I am sure there is enough room in there to put a queen sized mattress. Haha, maybe not quite, but it is very spacious. Not sure how easily Jason could get into the passenger seat of that car, but if he could we could pack a month's worth of stuff and drive to Hawaii. Okay maybe not, but maybe we could drive to Vancouver at least ;)