Road Test

I am car shopping, which is both exciting and nerve wracking.

In my household are one teenager and one college student. Hence, the mixed emotions. I am looking at cars for them, so safety is key. But so is park-ability. We live in a rowhouse community that provides every driver’s ed scenario ready for that road test, from school cross walks to blind corners to narrow one-way streets. And parallel parking. Plenty of parallel parking. On the right — and the left.

Road test: Chevrolet
Test driving? Everyone wants a turn.

I am what my son calls a “lefty specialist.” I park on a side street next to my house and it only provides parking on the left side. This is OK with me as I am I left-handed and parking on this side feels natural to me. It’s like, finally, I found something that tips in my favor.

Earlier this year I drove a Jeep Compass while my car was in the shop and I absolutely loved it. My son, who is 6 feet 4 inches, could not fit in the driver’s side. When repairs to my car rung up in the way-more-expensive-than-I-hoped category, I traded in my beloved hatchback and bought a Nissan Rogue. I wanted that Jeep, but the Rogue fits all sizes. And truthfully, it hasn’t disappointed me.

But do my children want to be my “Rogue twin” as my son joked?

A few weeks ago, Chevrolet offered me an Equinox for a test drive and I said sure. I was curious. Before owning my Rogue, I was in a car technology void. My hatchback had no back-up camera, GPS or Bluetooth.

(Yes, I parallel parked every day without the benefit of technology. Truly, I am showing my age.)

The Equinox took me to the next tech level. It had Apple Carplay and a feature I really liked – wireless phone charging. I simply put my phone on the pad and it charged quickly and efficiently. For those of us who spend more time than we would like in our cars, this is a nifty necessity. Since my children are older, we are a three-smartphone house and someone always needs to charge their phone.

Road test: Chevrolet
Bark at the Park

The car also had a rear seat reminder, which activates when a door is opened and closed before a trip. When the driver exits the car at the end of that trip, the car chimes and flashes a reminder to check the back seat for passengers and other cargo.

For families with younger children, this would be a great feature to ensure that everyone and everything is out of the car — and doors are closed. When my children were smaller, they each unknowingly left a door open after different trips, which made the car vulnerable to break-ins and drained the battery.

I had the chance to take Equinox for the ultimate road test, to Bark at the Park at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Two adults, two teenagers and one cute dog climbed in for the ride. First, we all fit comfortably, even the 6 footer. We charged phones, we checked rear seats, and we traveled in style. The car made my short list, and I will keep you posted as this road trip rolls on.

What about you? Do you have a favorite car that meets your family’s needs? I’d love to hear your car-buying stories and advice.

About Jessica Gregg

Jessica Gregg is the former editor of Baltimore's Child. She is a happy rowhouse dweller and mother of two.

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