About that dude ranch….

 

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The entrance to Brasada Ranch

Actually, it wasn’t really a dude ranch, but it did feel like one when you drove under the ‘Brasada Ranch’ sign and passed a field of horses to your right.

Brasada is a ranch right out of a Ralph Lauren ad.  Cozy cabins with fireplaces, full kitchens, living rooms and golf, horseback-riding, archery, hiking … I could have moved in for a month and been really happy! It was the perfect setting to relax and get to know the representatives from 10 major auto companies and their cars.

About those fast cars …

 

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Each cabin had two bedrooms and a full living room and kitchen – fireplaces in all rooms!

 

Well, about that.  Yes, a few were fast, as a matter of fact, I finally found out what zero to sixty in 4.6 seconds means (Aston Martin DB and Mini Roadster reviews to come in the next posts).  But the majority of cars were the ones that you and I buy like Jeep, Buick and Hyundai to name a few. Most were the new models coming out in the fall for 2014 and a few innovative cars that recently made their debut in 2013 were there as well.

I was invited with 16 other women journalists and bloggers to test drive them on a 35 mile course in the rolling hills of the High Desert near Bend, Oregon.   I loved the fact that that so many talented women were writing about cars, a man dominated subject in male dominated websites and publications. Several of them have been test driving cars for as much as 30 or 40 years. Needless to say, they all pretty much knew their way around cars.

 

I am not a car writer

But I am a seasoned driver. I was somewhat prepared to test these cars.  After all, my husband and I have a deal.  Whomever gets to the bedroom first at night gets to chose the channel to watch.  I want HGTV and he wants any car channel.  (I have discovered there are a lot of them.)  I don’t normally win.  I thought I would know something about cars due to my TV education, but I was still nervous.  After all, when we go car shopping, my husband asks what I’d like, I tell him.  I want a green SUV with heated seats. I let him take it from there. That is until we walk into the car dealerships to make the final decision.

 

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The group of journalists, bloggers and auto manufacturing gals!  Heels and Wheels 2013

 

Car 101

Women have a huge say in buying cars – we make 80% of the purchasing decisions in the US and yet the marketing is geared (pun intended) toward men.  That is one of the reasons I wanted to go to this ‘Ride and Drive’ event.   I wanted to find out how to talk about cars to women like me who want a green SUV with heated seats and don’t really know much about what they want past that.

Over the next few weeks, you will be seeing posts on the cars I drove.  I don’t want to call them technical car reviews, but I will tell you about my experiences driving these cars and how they met my needs.

There are too many excellent choices out there and I hope this will help you figure out how to make the right one for you when the time comes whether you are car hunting today, tomorrow or in two years. Read on and put this info in your pocket for when you need it.

 

The Cascades were the backdrop for our 35 mile test drive course

The Cascades were the backdrop for our 35 mile course we drove in the High Desert near Bend, Oregon

What a Woman Wants …

I am pretty sure that most women don’t care about that ‘zero to sixty in so many seconds’ fact.  I am also pretty sure most women won’t need a V8 engine to take the kids to school. When car shopping, look at the comfort and easy-to-use factors. A car is most women’s second home – you need to judge how it is  going to fit in with your needs and lifestyle.   However, do not disregard the tech info.  I will give you links where you can find all you need to know about the tork, the turbo package, traction control and a TON more from those who know what they are talking about.

Here is what’s on my checklist:

Comfort:

  • Built in Seat temperatures:  Heat for those cold winter mornings or Ventilated- basically air conditioning for your bottom on scorching days or when you are having hot flashes
  • Leather interiors: easy to wipe up spills, dirt, dog hair, car-sick accidents
  • Seat Adjustments:  spacious legroom and memory controls for seat adjustment so you won’t spend 15 minutes getting it back to your ‘perfect place’ after someone else drives your car. How easy are they to find and operate? Is it easy to get the kids and car seats out of the back without breaking your back?

Easy to Use:

(This means you can find all the doo-dads easily)

  • Built in GPS: which will include maps (touch screen or not), IPod connectivity, Blue Tooth and WiFi hotspot
  • Satellite Radio/Stereo that is easy to use at a quick glance.
  • Steering Wheels: heated steering wheel, easy to adjust and radio and driving controls on the wheel

Extra Necessities:

  • Plug-ins for Cell Phones, chargers, plugs.
  • Rear View Camera for backing up so you don’t hit the garbage cans in the driveway, the car parked behind you, or in my case, the cat.
  • Airbags and Safety ratings. This is high on my priority list. If I am not driving kids around, my older kids are driving.  That’s precious cargo.
  • Parking assistance and sensors  – they will help you get into those tight spots.

Gas Mileage:

  • How many miles per gallon does it get around town and the highway?
  • How many gallons does the tank hold or in other words, how far can you drive on a tank of gas?

 

Stay tuned for the next post on this trip and you’ll learn more about the cars we drove and just how women test drive cars.