Our latest little road adventure this summer has come courtesy of Chevrolet Canada. One of their zippy 2016 Cruze LT sedans was loaned to us for the past week in a campaign cheekily hashtagged #MATUREish. The concept is perfect for folks like us: we’re over the hill chronologically yet out enjoying life to the fullest.
While some of us are out at the bar come quitting time, we’re at home relaxing with a glass of wine as we prep dinner. Not all the time though. My husband and I are pretty blessed to live one of the most walkable cities, and within that city, one of the most compact neighbourhoods — Kitsilano.
While West 4th and West Broadway are lined with some great cafés, shops and restaurants, sometimes we like to head across town for weekend brunch or dinner.
With the Cruze, we made an early start of a long weekend morning beating the queue at uber-popular restaurant-du-jour Jam Cafe. Only open for a few months, this 49-seater has a loyal following from the original Victoria location (we’ve heard that a second Vancouver location is in the works!).
When a restaurant sees a crowd at 8 am on a Sunday, it’s time to get out the Cruze and head over (a great convenience with the Vancouver Pride Parade taking place later that morning and bus routes modified in the area).
This quirky diner offers all-day breakfast as well as regular lunch and dinner service. We highly recommend the maple pan-fried oatmeal served with lemon curd, blueberry coulis and fresh strawberries in a cute little skillet.
Another winner is The Gravy Coupe, a buttermilk biscuit topped with fried chicken, house sausage gravy, two sunny side up eggs and hashbrowns, a perfect match for a cup of JJ Bean java.
This zippy sedan packs some punch! Tech geeks will love the integrated MyLink and Apple CarPlay options, making it super easy to listen to your fave tunes, check a location on Maps or use Siri to make a phone call hands-free (the system works with Android devices as well).
Once you’ve paired MyLink with your smart phone’s Bluetooth, it’s good times. A caveat though: I’m not a Siri fan, and that gal’s gotta be enabled in order to use CarPlay. I’ve gotten used to having it turned on but wouldn’t normally use it, so I’m hopeful that future CarPlay versions will make that aspect of the program an option rather than a necessity.
One more thing: you’ll need an Apple Lightning cable to plug into the car’s USB port. Third party cables are no good.
Tall people might find it challenging to see road signage ahead (case in point, my 6’ 4” husband). We both like the side view mirrors, parking assist, rear cross traffic alert and an awesome BOSE speaker system installed together with Sirius satellite radio.
Another goal of mine was to finally master the standup paddle board. Here’s where I turned to Stand Up Paddle Vancouver for a couple of private lessons in Stanley Park. In my opinion, this is hands-down the best way to learn any activity!
Yoga teacher and Lululemon Ambassador Kristy Wright Schell has a super personality and a lot of experience when it comes to getting newbies onto an SUP. As we get the gear out of the company van and onto the beach, I’m given a good dose of safety tips, paddling instruction and current/wind activity before we set foot into the water off of Third Beach.
This part of the city sees very little wind and is well protected against stronger currents found in other parts of the Georgia Straight. I’ve done a few SUP sessions in the past, but never had any success standing on the board for more than a minute or two.
By the time we’re off the coastline, Kristy’s already getting me comfortable with the eventual big moment — getting up off my knees and rising to the standing pose.
It’s not as difficult as I imagine it would be, especially with the encouragement and chill one-on-one vibe this sunny morning. And I do fall in. Twice. And then get back up again on my own with Kristy’s guidance.
The water’s almost warmer than the air and it’s delicious! I’m happy to have fallen in to gauge how much energy I need to get back onto the board and rearrange my balance to get up a third – and fourth – time before we make our way back to shore.
Good times on the water!
On BC Day (August 1), we take the Cruze out of the city and test it on Highway 1 east towards Port Moody. There are four craft breweries located on the same street, gaining a bit of a cult following as Brewer’s Row.
I’m the designated driver on this little road adventure and the weather is gorgeous for a frosty pint or two, so I leave it to my husband to enjoy sampling from all four breweries. We top off our day on the road at Casa Dolce Gelato with a scoop of decadent gelato and iced coffees.
As we pull out of a parking lot, a pedestrian asks how we like the Cruze as he’s considering selling off his gas-guzzling truck for something more fuel efficient. We give it our thumbs up.
FUEL CONSUMPTION L/100km
Manual > 8.2 city/5.8 hwy
Auto (LS/LT) > 7.8 city/5.6 hwy
Auto (Premier) > 7.8 city/5.9 hwy
The day was warm enough to make use of the airco system (strong when needed!); by day’s end, the temperature’s cooled down enough for us to enjoy opening the sunroof as we head home with another beautiful Vancouver evening sky as backdrop.
KEY SAFETY FEATURES
– 10 standard air bags, including driver and front passenger knee air bags
– Side Blind Zone, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert
– Upgraded high-strength steel in key areas for enhanced crash protection
– Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control, rollover mitigation, anti-lock brakes
The 2016 Chevy Cruze is base-priced at CDN $15,995. A big thanks to Chevrolet Canada for providing me with a customized Cruze experience this summer!