that chevy malibu thing i did

some of you may remember the recent death of my saturn. if you’re new to the story, there’s really isn’t much to tell; the engine threw a rod, and i had it towed to the back of the driveway at the manor. it seemed like a good enough place to let it sit until i figured out what to do with it.

i wasn’t exactly stranded. i have a lot of friends in the area, and i could carpool or borrow a car if i really needed one. jblood and i carpooled to work most days b/c his rodeo had a brake problem, and he’d just been letting it sit until he someday needed to get it fixed. we both preferred to ride bikes when possible, and the loss of my saturn led to daily bike commutes to work and anywhere else we wanted to go. i figured that this was a great opportunity to be on my bike more often — i’d been slacking off over the past few months b/c it was just easier to drive — and i decided to put off car shopping until the weather turned against me near the end of the year. j fixed his rodeo in the meantime, just to be safe.

not long after this all started, chevy asked me to participate in a promotion where i’d drive a new malibu for a month and blog about it on their site. i almost always politely decline in these situations, but my friends pushed me a bit, and i decided to do it. what could it hurt?

during the first conference call, i asked a lot of questions. they told me to drive the car like i would normally and make it a part of my life. but, they also told me that it would be sold as new once returned and any damage would be my responsibility. i asked if that meant i was to drive it carefully and not put my dog or bike in it, and they danced around it, saying, “use your own judgment.” they wouldn’t flat out tell me, “no, you can’t do x,” but it was very apparent that it was to be driven carefully in town and kept clean. at this point i really started to wonder why i’d agreed to this whole thing, but, at the very worst, it was a chance to test drive a car i wouldn’t have originally been interested in.

one of the annoying things was how they assumed i had dreams of being a full time blogger or something. there was a lot of “your blog will get so much more traffic” and “lots of people will see you.” the thing is, i like to write about things that are going on in my life when i have time. i have no interest in quit my job to be a full time blogger, and i’m not trying to promote this site on a large scale. if you know me and want to read it, cool. if you don’t know me and want to read it, nifty. plus, i already agreed to do the promotion, so stop trying to tell me about how awesome it will be for me b/c i’m not stupid; getting people with a lot of local readers/followers to promote a product for a month in exchange for gift cards is good, inexpensive marketing.

they let me pick the color, but it was between mocha and white. i went with the former. i asked if they had any obnoxious colors, and the dealer said, “chevy doesn’t make ugly cars.” ok.

chevy sent me (and two other bloggers) on missions every week. they were boring housewife-themed missions like “go grocery shopping” and “get a manicure,” but i’m not sure what else i was expecting. surely “go hiking, then throw your muddy bike in the back of the car,”  “tow a horse trailer,” or “drive up a mountain” weren’t in their best interest.

let’s just skip ahead to the pros and cons of this car. on the plus side, it drives smoothly and accelerates quickly. it has a high safety rating and does feel really safe, even on the highway. i came to love the xm radio and ipod controls. i’m torn on the bluetooth. it was pretty neat for the first day or so, but the novelty wore off once i had people in the car and it started automatically answering all my calls. as someone who’s on the phone often, i can see the need for being able to talk without using the phone itself, but the actual implementation could be a lot better. the trunk had a lot of space. this is apparently one of the huge marketing points for the malibu. so, yeah, it does. it won’t fit my bike, though.

on the not-so-plus side, the onstar never worked for me in the city (i could call it, but they couldn’t get turn by turn), and i now have no intention of ever having that feature installed on purpose. google maps on my iphone saved me when onstar had no idea where it was telling me to go. the headrests bend your neck at an uncomfortable angle, and i can’t imagine getting rear ended and not walking away with major neck injuries b/c of this. no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t get two large coffees (which aren’t huge) in the cup holders at the same time. the middle holders are too close to each other, so you can only have one drink there at a time. there are holders in each door, but they won’t accommodate tall drinks.

at the end of the day, it’s a $30k car that gets ok gas mileage. everyone who rode in it thought it was a nice car, and it is a nice car, but it’s not for me. i don’t know if the name, which i hate, influenced my subconscious (think malibu barbie), but that’s pretty much exactly how it felt to me: a boring car for a content housewife to drive when she takes her polite kids to soccer practice or when she wants to meet her boring friends at a quiet bar where they drink cosmos and flirt awkwardly with the bartender.

whatever, that’s how my brain works.

i honestly don’t hate the malibu. i just wasn’t excited about it at all. from what i understand (from people at work who watch tv), they’re trying to market to women in their 20s-30s. i just think they’re targeting the wrong demographic. don’t get me wrong; it’ll be a great car — it may just be the perfect car — for many of you. it just didn’t suit me at all, and i constantly felt like i had to be overly careful with it.

if that doesn’t make chevy hate me enough, i managed to end up with a knee injury that eventually landed me on crutches a week before i had to take the malibu back. realizing the need for a car in the event that an injury might keep me off my bike, i left the dr. and went straight to the hyundai dealership and bought a 2010 accent. it’s adorable, gets good mileage, and there’s a 0% interest for 60 months promotion going on (to move out the 2010s). they sent a tow truck after my poor dead saturn, for which i’d just received a violation from the city (having a nonworking car parked on my property) and had ten days to remove. my dealer drove to lawton and brought me back a green one that evening b/c i hounded him until he found one. it has all the features i liked in the malibu and enough room for many drinks. in fact, jblood liked my accent so much that he went and bought the exact same one (in dark gray) the following monday.

so cute.

i have to thank chevy for helping me decide what features i’d like in my new car and for making me realize that i could, in fact, live with an automatic transmission. as it turns out, clutchless is the way to go when you have a knee injury. to be honest, i’d have slightly preferred a manual in the accent, but they only offer it in a stripped down version (no auto doors or locks, etc). i still love it, though, so i’ll live.

i hate that i’m admitting this, but i really want to put daisy rims on it.