Last fall I took a road trip to Ottawa because I was scheduled to be on set with CTV Morning Live. I had the opportunity to ride with Joshua Norton, who successfully pitched me to CTV, and we started talking about creative ideas for my blog as well as some of his other projects. I believe in giving credit where it’s due and the idea for this blog post is definitely thanks to him!
In my marriage, my husband and I are opposites. He always seems to be hot; I always seem to be cold. He’s tall, I’m not. He likes to talk, I enjoy silence. He loves the outdoors, I’m happy to be in a ‘climate-controlled’ environment. Do you get the picture? We spend a lot of time in a car… two opposite people in a confined space for a length of time.
Not too long ago, cars were designed with one person in mind: the driver. While the driver is still the primary consideration, more cars nowadays offer customization for the passengers too. These features take into consideration each passenger's uniqueness and tries to keep everyone happy. After all, you want the car ride to be enjoyable! And that could actually improve your quality time together!
I set out to find a car with the most ‘relationship-improvement’ features and came up with the 2014 Lincoln MKZ. See if any of these would help boost your quality time:
Dual Climate Control
Well, this solves the fact that my husband and I always seem to prefer different temperatures. While he enjoys cool air, I can set mine to blow hot, hot, hot!
What a convenience to have memory seats, especially because my husband and I have totally different seat settings. When I get into the car after he’s driven it, I push one button et voilà — the seat is ready for my shorter legs!
Dual Massage Seats
Imagine being stuck in traffic. I don’t know about you but I can get quite grumpy at times. The Lincoln MKZ I road tested had dual massage seats — I totally used it to lower my stress and get comfy.
The MKZ has different colours that you can set for the ambient light inside the car. Colour is often linked to mood. If you two need a bit of relaxing, set it to blue. If you feel a bit intense, pick red. If you and your mate can’t agree on a colour, I suggest using one of my favourite decision makers — rock, paper, scissors!
Blind Spot Monitoring
Ever had a backseat passenger that checks your blind spots right after you checked them? My ex-boyfriend did that and it drove me crazy. With the blind spot monitoring feature, it displays an amber light on your side mirror when it detects another car in that side’s blind spot. So your spouse can still make sure the blind spot is clear without having to physically make it noticeable that they don’t really trust your driving skills.
Where Am I?
Things get tense when my husband and I are trying to find our way and especially when we’re under a time crunch. If we get lost, there’s no need to wonder where we are. With a push of the ‘Where Am I?’ button, the navigation displays your exact coordinates as well as the name of the closest street.
Do Not Disturb
When turned on, this feature directs your incoming phone calls straight to voicemail. Just push the button and your spouse will have your undivided attention!
As journalist Franklin P. Jones once said, “Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” I’m wishing you all a little more love, and a wonderful ride. Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you're going on a road trip, check out "Preparing for a Safe Family Road Trip" and what to pack in an "Emergency Kit for your Car"
Whether you embrace the romance of or refuse to partake in forced declarations of love, our Valentine’s Day page is filled with articles, crafts, activities, and food to fit your mood.
The jam-packed trunk you see above belongs to a good friend of mine. She travels a lot for work and lugs around product samples. Her trunk (and sometimes the rest of the car) is always filled to the brim. She came to our auto repair shop last week because her car needed to have suspension and engine work done. In order for us to replace her rear shocks, we have to access them through the trunk. Before we did any engine work, we had to disconnect her battery . . . also located in the trunk. I love my friend, but when I opened the trunk, you can only imagine the colourful words that came out of my mouth! We moved her trunk contents to the back seat (thankfully, that was empty) and faithfully moved every single item back after we finished repairing her car.
That got me thinking—what if she had to boost her battery? Can you imagine unloading all that to access it? Or what if you have a spare tire in the trunk? You'd be stranded on the side of the road, unloading the trunk contents to access the spare so you could change a flat tire.
Now, I'm not saying your trunk should be empty, but I'm suggesting that you take some time to regularly sort out your car so it doesn't get out of hand. Your car isn't meant to be a permanent mobile storage bin! If you have to carry a lot of stuff, try to keep it as organized as possible. That way, if you have to unload for whatever reason, it'll be more efficient. What physical health experts recommend also applies to your car—if you have any excess baggage, get rid of it!
I personally don't like moving clients' personal items, but if I have to access a part, then so be it. Oh, the things we have found in people's cars—that's another blog post on its own! If at all possible, please keep your car relatively clean, especially if you're bringing it in for major auto service. Keep in mind that if a significant amount of time is required to "prep" your car before work can be done, you may be paying for that added time.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your car is designed to carry that amount of load all the time. Added weight to your car puts strain on suspension components, which may lead to premature tire wear. Your car won't be as fuel efficient and your brakes go through more effort to stop a car that's heavier than its original design.
The next time you pop open the trunk ask yourself, “Is there anything in here that I don't need?”
One thing you should have in your trunk: an “Emergency Kit For Your Car”. Find out how you fare against other Canadians—“Do You Know How To Change Your Spare Tire?”
‘Tis the season for auto shows! With Montreal’s International Auto Show already a success, Toronto is gearing up for the 2014 Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS), February 14-23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Next month, Vancouver, Calgary, and Québec host their own. The Edmonton Motor Show follows in April. Are you thinking of going to see what’s up-and-coming in the auto industry? If you’re in the market for a new car, this is a great one-stop opportunity to see what your options are!
Last month, the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held in Detroit—this one is the leader in North America when it comes to auto shows. Manufacturers come together to showcase their products and there is no shortage of shiny, sparkly stuff! I couldn’t go to Detroit this year, but Michelle from our auto repair shop went as a guest of GM Canada. I didn’t want her to go with a blank slate, so I tasked her with finding the top cars in these categories: best family-friendly car feature, best concept car, and most "wow!" Here’s what she came back with:
The best family-friendly car feature goes to GM, with some of their 2015 models having impressive Wi-Fi capability through OnStar. The 4G LTE connection means that the car will act as a Wi-Fi hotspot, with many of your family’s devices being able to access it at the same time. “A 4G LTE hotspot that’s built into a car’s architecture will provide a more consistent and powerful Wi-Fi connection than a smartphone,” explains Mary Chan, president of GM’s Global Connect Consumer. As OnStar techs showed Michelle, your kids can stream Disney's Cars right in the backseat. Cool!
Concept cars are fun, because they give us a glimpse of what may be the future, and they display the creative and experimental side of car development. They are inspiring! Here’s a shot of the mix of concept cars at the NAIAS:
The best concept car was the 2013 BMW i8. Beautifully designed—this time a wide rear-end is a good thing! The car sits low to the ground and just looks like it’s itching to race. Michelle loved the bright blue accent incorporated throughout the car—even on the seat belts. Let’s not forget to mention the prominent scissor doors. We’ll take a ride in that any day, we’re not picky!
Michelle picked the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne for this category! If Bentley is known as an exclusive luxury car, then we expect their products to be exceptionally luxurious. The Mulsanne shown at this year's NAIAS had bells and whistles on, with a price tag of $389,819 (USD). It had custom pillows and iPads integrated in the back of the front seats, so your kids can sit in the rear seats and play a few rounds of Angry Birds on the way to school. The iPads have their own fold-down table that holds a wireless keyboard. This option has been available on the Mulsanne for a few years, but it was the first time Michelle got up close with it and she definitely said “wow”!
Also on Michelle’s itinerary was a stop at the GM Heritage Centre. This is on my personal bucket list—inside this building is over 100 years of automotive history. We have come such a long way! It truly is a testament to our industry’s pursuit of improvement and innovation.
Congratulations to GM who made a clean sweep this year earning the North American Truck of the Year Award with its Chevrolet Silverado, and the North American Car of the Year Award with its Chevrolet Corvette Stingray!
And what do you do when you win these awards? Hang it up on the wall, of course! Yep, they actually hung the Stingray up at the NAIAS. We suspect the Silverado was a bit too heavy!
Want to know more about maintaining your car? Check out "Budgeting for Auto Repair and Maintenance" and "Questions to Ask when it comes to Maintaining Your Car."