If youre an urban family, finding the right hauler something that is easy to park, see out of and goes light on fuel is not exactly an easy proposition. At Chevrolet, the hope is that youll take a look at their large crossover: the Traverse.
The Traverse has turned into a great seller for Chevrolet, but how does it handle in a city environment?
For more information check out: AutoBird Reviews the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse
About a month back, I got the leg work in motion to start reviewing cars from General Motors and, hopefully, other automakers in the future. Before the first review goes up, I wanted to go over some of the criteria you will see in my reviews.
First, I find that most car reviews are done on a closed track, or out in the suburbs. Essentially, I find the way auto buff mags, TV shows and some blogs decide to review test vehicles to be utterly useless for a car shopper.
My car reviews will be the exact opposite, and will have a realistic city driver focus. With nearly 200 million people living in densely populated regions in North America, city driving isnâ€™t some niche market. None the less, I think many automakers miss key points when catering to their city buyers, which will be brought to light in my reviews.
Every vehicle will get a star rating in the following categories (read beyond categories for more star rating information). A proper â€ścity-friendlyâ€ť vehicle will score well in the following categories:
- Visibility [3 points]: This is by far the most important aspect of city driving. A proper city driver will have a clear, unobstructed view out front and clear sightlines throughout the vehicleâ€™s entire greenhouse. Electronic assistance from radar systems, cameras and blind spot detection systems will also improve a vehicleâ€™s score, but are not a substitute for a physically-unobstructed view.
- Ease of parking [2.5 points]: If you live in the city, youâ€™ll know that one of the biggest challenges is finding a parking space. Vehicles that make your life easier in this respect will get higher scores. We are looking for vehicles that are easy to parallel park, have enough room to open up the doors in tight city parking lots, and are easy to back up out of diagonal spots without sideswiping bikers or passing vehicles.
- Gas mileage [2 points]: Automakers love touting their highway mileage, but if you live in the city you know youâ€™re likely to get barely half that figure. Vehicles that do well here will have to withstand heavy stop-and-go traffic at an average speed of 15 mph, while maintaining something resembling their EPA city mileage estimates.
- Versatility [1.5 points]: The urban jungle requires a great deal of flexibility, whether that means squeezing your Chevy Suburban into a compact only spot or driving in the bike lane. Vehicles that are adaptable in the cityscape will get a good score here. Weâ€™re looking for things like affordable power folding mirrors, automatic dimming rearview and side mirror lights, automatic reverse titling side mirrors to see your curb side â€“ stuff like that.
- Ride Compliance [1.0 points]: Cities, especially ones in the snowbelt, are generally pothole ridden. City comfort should be supple on any potholed street, but hard braking shouldnâ€™t cause any sway in the suspension. Speed bumps should be easy and smooth, even when going over them at 5 mph.
Each of the above categories will get a star rating. The number of stars will represent the total percentage of possible points the vehicle will get in each category. The points will be totaled to give us the ultimate score.
- Exceeds the set standard
- Meets the set standard
- Approaches the set standard
- Falls below the set standard
- Falls far below the set standard
By combining the total score of the above categories, we get a simple 0-10 score of the vehicleâ€™s effectiveness in the city, as follows:
0 points: This vehicle only works out in rural areas
1-3 points: This vehicle is best for sedate suburban living, moving from McMansion to corporate business park on the interstate.
4-6 points: This vehicle is adequate for inner-ring suburban living, or for people who commute from suburbia to downtown parking garages.
7-9 points: This vehicle is an effective city dweller, capable of street-only parking and maneuvering tight spaces effectively.
10 points: This vehicle was bred for the city, capable of cutting off bicyclists and taxi drivers without danger, fitting into the tightest parking spaces, and traversing any pothole, all the while getting superb gas mileage in the process.
Note: Scores will be based comparatively to vehicle segment class and to its competition.