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Chicago Auto Show #CAS

auto show

I was thrilled to be a guest of General Motors at Media Day of the Chicago Auto Show.  Spending the day in what a Facebook friend described as “a whole room of new car smell” was both entertaining and educational.

Before I go on about the Chicago Auto Show (CAS) itself, I need to give a great shout out to both the Peninsula Hotel and Gibson’s Steakhouse who made the night before the show so much fun for all of us “out of town” guests.  Be sure to take a peak at my slideshow farther down in this post to see the Peninsula’s luxurious rooms and Gibson’s gargantuan desserts!  GM’s social media guru, Connie Burke, planned an evening of fun and food for all of us and we certainly appreciated it.

 
 The auto show itself was amazing.  I was immediately impressed with the fact that the organizers of the CAS understood the power of social media and chose to utilize it to help get the word out about the event.  
 
Our day started with a breakfast attended by both social media influencers and Chevy Volt owners.  Hearing the personal accounts of how the Volt is working so well for folks who live in the city was really interesting for a suburban chick like myself.
 

We then moved onto the floor of the show where we learned about some of the new features of the different GM vehicles.  I personally fell in love with the tweaks that have been made to the 2013 Acadia that makes it just about perfect for families.  The Acadia’s front middle airbag is an industry first and exemplifies GM’s commitment to making the safest vehicles for your family.


I loved that our tour included not just GM vehicles but other manufacturers as well.  The GMC tour guides spoke honestly and candidly about their competition, pointing out what other vehicles offered and what their strong points were.  I felt it spoke volumes that the GMC folks had such positive things to say about their competitors and did not feel the need to “bash” or talk badly about them.


Overall, the CAS was really a lot of fun. Jeep had a test track-type experience that felt more like a roller coaster ride than a test drive and Chevy offered the opportunity to test drive the Volt (which has all kinds of cool features to teach you to use your fuel most efficiently).


The 2012 Chicago Auto Show runs through Sunday, so be sure to pop over to www.ChicagoAutoShow.com and check out the upcoming events.

Bloggers Attend #CadillacRock in Chicago

I started working with General Motors a little over a year ago when I wrote a review of the Chevy Traverse.  Since then, I have really enjoyed the interactions I have had with GM and grown to love the brand and folks associated with it.  Of course I love the amazing vehicles they have allowed me to test out (my review of the Yukon Denali will be coming soon) but more than that, I have loved working with Connie Burke, the Social Media and Communications Manager at GM.


Connie is one of those people who really understand the social part of social media!  Not only is she immediately engaging (whether you are meeting her on Twitter or in real life) but she understands that the relationship goes past just arranging for a test drive and checking to see if a post was written.  I can probably count on one hand the number of PR or Social Media folks who have actually commented on a review I did for them.  Connie did.  And she let me know what it was about the review that she liked – I can’t tell you how helpful that is when you are doing your very first car review…and are wondering if you did it right.


When I was approached about co-hosting a Cadillac event with Social RevUp and two other bloggers and learned that Connie would be the featured guest, I didn’t even have to think about it.  It was an automatic YES!

The event was held last night at Reza’s Restaurant in Chicago and hosted 75 local bloggers who got the chance to kick the tires on several Cadillac models, enjoy fabulous food, and even go home with some great prizes.  The highlight of the night for many was the chance to meet Connie and get to know the person behind GM’s social media presence online.  Connie took some time and explained what it is she looks for when choosing who she will entrust the keys to. (She pointed out that turning over an expensive vehicle to someone is much like agreeing to a date – you kind of want to know the person a little bit and feel that you can trust them.)


Connie also reiterated what we bloggers tell each other (and ourselves) all the time – it’s NOT all about numbers.  It’s about what unique perspective you can bring to the table and how you cal allow your voice to shine through in your piece.  I loved hearing that from a brand representative and was so glad that so many bloggers got to hear it as well.



Personally, I had a blast at the #CadillacRock event, and I think the other attendees did too.  It was exciting to see the official Wisconsin Mom Squad logo printed on all of the materials and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off this new venture of mine! (If you are a Wisconsin blogger, we’d love to have you join the Wisconsin Mom Squad too!)




There were great door prizes and a Cadillac cake!
@TheDomesticExec checks out the Escalade.


My Time with the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

I had the opportunity to drive the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for a while last week and pretty much fell in love with it.  When it was dropped off at my house, my first impression was that it was very expensive and classy looking. 



 The sleek silhouette and gorgeous wood trimmed interior give it the feel of a very high-end car before you even turn it on.



Once I turned it on, the first thing that struck me was the silence.  Because it is a hybrid, you do not hear anything upon starting it up.  It’s a rather odd sensation until you get used to it.  Once you get going, the engine makes a little more noise, but I still found it to be the quietest of all the cars I’ve ever driven.  A friend of mine had another manufacturer’s hybrid model and found there to be an annoying whine that got on her nerves.  I have to say that I was never aware of any whine or other noise that gave away its hybrid status.


Once I had been driving it a while, a few things struck me:


* Economy.  Obviously, being a hybrid, it is much more fuel efficient than what I am used to driving.  I actually reached the highest fuel efficiency tooling around town where I averaged 39.9 miles to the gallon.  I drove it quite a bit (including a day trip up to Green Bay and back) and barely dipped below the half-full mark in over four days.



*Technology. The Lincoln MKZ has Microsoft Sync technology which I always assumed was similar the the bluetooth/hands free technology I had experienced in most cars.  Sync took it a step further.  Not only could I answer my phone with the touch of a button on my steering wheel, I could also make calls from my dash and download my contacts/address book into the car’s system as well as receive audible text messages.



* Safety. I loved the safety features that are built into the Lincoln MKZ. The backup camera is one of the best that I’ve seen and is clear and detailed in any light.  A tone sounds if there is something behind the car (and the sound comes from the rear as well, so your attention immediately goes back there) and alerts pop up if a car is approaching from either side as you are backing up.  My absolute favorite safety feature was the blind spot alert.  When you are driving, a small light on the side view mirrors lights up if something is in your blind spot.  There is almost no excuse for hitting another vehicle if you are in the MKZ (now, if they could just protect us from those other drivers out there!!).



*Comfort.  Air conditioned seats and duel climate control.  Need I say more????



So, any downsides to the MKZ?  My only observation would be that this car might not be the best choice for families with more than two children.  The backseat was very comfortable with two adults sitting back there, but more than that would feel tight.  Also, I would have loved a few more plugs for electronics chargers, our plug-in cooler, the DVD player, etc.  The only two plugs I could find were in the front seat area – would love one in the trunk and backseat.


All in all, I loved my experience with the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and was very sad to have to give it back!  Starting at $34,645, it feels much more expensive than it is.  Plus, right now Lincoln is running their Summer Exclusive Sales Event, so check with your local Lincoln dealer about any special pricing you might qualify for.

The Chevy Equinox – A Tour #ChevyGleeks

You all know that Melissa from A Broken Compass and I drove to Michigan for Gleek Retreat at the end of May.  You may also know that the nice folks at GM loaned us a Chevy Equinox to make our trip in.  Rather than do another photo review (like I did with the Traverse) I decided to give you a tour via video.  Enjoy!!

Thanks again to the folks at GM for loaning us this SUV – it really made the trip feel so much shorter to be riding in such a nice vehicle!!

Using OnStar in Chevy Vehicles is Easy Peasy!! #ChevyGleeks

Wondering how OnStar works? We show you in this quick video demonstration.

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