I know that has to be the most shocking statement you’ve read today. So what you’re telling me a car that was the darlings of all the car magazines, at the time, is better than a 1.5L Malibu rental. So now we’ve gotten that revelation out of the way, how is it?
So when I rented the car on Sunday, I posted this:
At the time, I was not happy with it. Since then I spent over 10 hours in it and put just over 700 miles on it. My thoughts have changed since Sunday.
Let’s start with my least favorite part of new cars, electric power steering. When I first got in the car I thought the steering was numb and way too light. However a few hours into the trip my opinion began to change. Back in December, I rented a Hyundai and put 550 miles on it in a day. I hated that car. The steering is overboosted and way too twitchy. It required constant input to keep it in a straight line on the highway and the slightest input had an exaggerated effect in the direction of the car. The Chevy, on the other hand, was an excellent highway cruiser. The steering was heavy enough where it felt planted at 75-80 mph and required more input than the Hyundai to change direction. It is among the better EPS cars I’ve driven, it really isn’t bad. If Hyundai is anything to go by, EPS is going to be shit, if Chevy is anything to go by, we’ll be fine in a few years.
Now we’ve found out that the steering isn’t that bad, let’s talk about the engine. It’s the 1.5L turbo I-4; according to the internet, it’s got 163 hp at 5700 RPM and 184 ft/lbs between 2000-4000 RPM. It’s not a powerhouse by any means, but it doesn’t feel like it needs more power to get out of it’s own way. There wasn’t a time when I thought it was a terrible engine. However, it only got 30-34 mpg. I drive the same, no matter what car I’m in. I got between 28-30 mpg on the highway in my 128i. A Chevy with an engine half the size should do better. Put a 2.0L NA I-4 in it and it’d probably return better fuel economy. If I’m buying a 1.5L, I want fuel economy, this would not satisfy me.
While we’re talking about the engine. I want to be able to turn off the stop start feature. If I’m in ATL traffic, I want that feature off. BMW lets you turn it off, you can turn it off in a Mercedes. Come on, at least give me an option to turn it off. (If it’s possible you can turn it off, it’s not obvious.)
This was equipped with carplay and I actually liked that. My complaint with carplay was that it didn’t load all the pandora stations I have, it stopped at like “D”, meaning I’d have to use my phone to select the Pandora station I wanted. It worked fine once I had the station selected, but wasn’t easy to select the station I wanted. I also used my iPod, and I’ve got something like 76GB of music on it, and I have to say idrive handles that volume of data so much better. It’s also a lot easier to scroll with the idrive knob as opposed to using a touch screen.
Let’s talk about the interior now. The seat was alright, but after about hour 4, my back was starting to hurt. The seats weren’t that supportive, but they did have lumbar support, something my 128i lacked. That said, it took about 8 hours of driving before I wanted out of the 1, Chevy was about half that time. Then again, this is a rental car and 4 hours is a pretty long time in a car. Luckily, after hour 4 on the way down, I stopped in Savannah and had dinner with my sister and her boyfriend, so I got a nice 2 hour break. There is a lot of plastic on the inside, but it feels miles better than the cheap plastic GM put in cars of the early 2000s.
Honestly the worst part of the car is the front styling. That would be the main thing that kept my from buying the car, and I really have a bad taste in my mouth after my parents had 2 GMs when I was 18. The 2002 Regal my dad has was plagued with problems, and when I was home that was my car.
Bonus: this E91 I saw in Savannah, too bad it was auto.