This week, I had the pleasure of going to the Washington Automotive Press Association’s car rally at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Kent Island, MD. This event is where car makers and automotive journalists get together and test drive various makes and models of automobiles. This isn’t your everyday dealership test drive. This is “Here’s a map of several places in the area for you to drive to. We’ll see you when you get back.” And ideally, that’s how you want it to be. How else can you get the information you need about a type of car, by just looking at it online. And depending on the kind of car, you may not even get a test drive if you don’t have proof you can afford the monthly note.
But Crystal, you’re not a car blogger…..you’re a mommy blogger.
I know right! And can you believe I actually heard some asswipe complaining that there were “mommy bloggers” in attendance and in so many words basically said we weren’t “real” journalist. As he was bitching and moaning, I just stood there and let him have his bitchfest. I take journalism very seriously. I don’t call myself a journalist at all. I respect true journalism (fact checking, research doing, etc). But I’d be dumb to not understand the influence that bloggers have. The spin that they can play on certain experiences and products that some journalists don’t have the freedom to. And with over 7 billion people on Earth, I think there is enough room for both professions to co-exist in peace and harmony. **OK Rant Over!**
So, yes I know I am not a car blogger, but this mommy has had her share of cars. In the last 14 years, I’ve had an Hyundai Elantra, Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Journey, Chevy Traverse, and currently have a Nissan Pathfinder. I’m not loyal to any one brand. And as I round up the second year of my auto lease, it’s time for this mommy to start looking for her next car.
Now, I’ll be honest. Most of the cars I drove at the WAPA Rally were high end, luxury cars. I drove them because I was pretty sure I’d never get the opportunity to drive one ever again. Of all the cars that I drove at the rally, my favorites were:
- Best SUV – Jaguar F-Pace
- This is Jaguar’s brand new SUV. It’s only been on pre-order since May 2016 and has already sold out. The size is similiar to the Lexus LX but it seems to handle so much better. There is a ton of trunk space for such a small vehicle, and seems to have enough leg room in the back for adults. It’s definitely not sluggish on the road.
- Best Sports Car – Mercedes C300 coupe
- My first time driving a Mercedes coupe and I absolutely loved it. This car didn’t feel sporty as I coasted down the highway over looking the Chesapeake Bay. I still felt safe on the road. It also didn’t seem to sit as low as I would expect for a sports car. The dashboard looked like something out of a spaceship and has a turn dial to select various amenities. I would have LOVED to see this have a touch screen but it’s still a very nice car.
- Best Luxury Sedan – Rolls Royce Dawn
- If I had a few hundred thousand dollars laying around, I’d buy this! Honestly, it looks like a boat. When I got into the car seat I started getting a bit apprehensivse. But the WONDERFUL representative (From Ireland) calmed me down and told me that I’d be fine. He showed me how to work a few of the buttons on the dashboard and then he sent me on my way. This car drives like a dream. The pick up was fast as I merged on the highway, without any sluggish engine feeling or kickback. I could have driven this car all day. It was a covertible, so we got a lot of “OMG look at that car” stares and it felt kind of boss like!
- Best Minivan – Chrysler Pacifica
- I mentioned, I owned a Chrysler Pacifica years ago. This is a totally new design, and it’s actually not even the same car anymore. What they’ve done is take the name Pacifica and slap it on to their newly designed Chrysler Town & Country. I think Pacifica sounds less mini-vannish. I don’t know. But it’s nice. It rides like a van and so while I wasn’t overwhelmed by it’s street perfomance, I was really in awe of the amenities it offered it’s passengers (read: kids). The entertainment system alone gave me goosebumps. I could actually drive a car where my 4 kids were preoccupied with games or shows and not fighting about being too close. They still tote their stow and go feature and this baby has a vacuum cleaner built in!! SIGN ME UP!!
- Best Pickup Truck – Ford 250 Super Duty
- I’m not a pick up truck lady. I like their functionality, but except for a few, I’ve never really wanted to own one. The Ford 250 Super Duty changed my mind. The truck rivals a lot of full size SUVs on the market. From the interior to the very quiet hum of the engine, I really took a liking to this truck. The back seats had a hell of a lot of space. You won’t have to worry about your passengers in the back breathing on your neck! It also totes a huge bed which is paramount!
I loved the luxury of the Bentley Mulsanne but I liked it for what it had to offer the passengers. Not so much the driver.
The event was at a pristine location, the staff were great and the food was awesome. I am so happy to have been a part of this event and am actually looking forward to doing more with WAPA as a member (yep I’m joining!)
Did I find my next car or truck? No not yet. I am going to take the next year to really research and try to test drive these cars because I’m thinking my next car is going to be one that I stick with for a while. I need it to last for a long time.
PS – I may or may not have stopped at the local farmers market and picked up two mums for the front of my house!
Check out some pictures and video from the event below.
2016 WAPA Car Show – Kizoa Video Editor – Movie Maker