Posts Tagged ‘ electric car ’

2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Okay, so I think by now, it’s definitely safe to say that I can add “Online Car Reviewer” to my resume on LinkedIn.

Last week Toyota sent us our 4th car to review: A 2013 Avalon Hybrid.

For me, this was pretty epic. If anybody is a huge fan of the electric car, it’s me!

I suppose Toyota has pretty much made it obvious they they have cornered the market of electric cars in America.

Of course, I naturally think of their Prius. So I was really surprised to learn that Toyota also makes hybrid electric/gas Avalons as well.

We tested out the Avalon for its stowing abilities last Thursday when we took your teachers their Christmas gifts. I wanted to get a picture of you next their bag of gifts, but you weren’t interested… not until I popped open the trunk.

You wanted inside, with the gifts. I guess that officially marks the first time you’ve been in the trunk of a car.

Monumental moment… let’s savor it for a minute.

[Dramatic pause.]

Before going inside your school to deliver the gifts, you wanted to go find a brown leaf to put in your cubby.

You found the best one!

I’m thinking that was your attempt at helping me write my review of the Avalon Hybrid.

Yeah, I see where you were going with it…

Leaves are easily associated with “going green.” It’s just that I’m not too sure how a brown leaf plays into that.

Maybe brown is the official color of hybrid cars? Somehow?

Not sure I fully understand your genius idea yet, but if it ends up being a hit with the marketing department at Toyota, don’t worry, I’ll make sure they give you all the credit for it, Son.

In closing, I really liked the Avalon! It was totally up my alley.

Our family drove it for an entire week, plus we took a 2 and a half hour trek to spend Christmas with my side of the family.

As you can see from this picture, we drove 345 miles on it, with still 157 miles before it would have ran out of gas.

How cool is that? The Avalon hybrid can go about 500 miles before needing to go to a gas station.

Yet, it was like driving a “normal” car… except the fact the first time I tried to start it up, it took me four tries before I realized it was already started- that’s how quiet the thing is.

With it being a hybrid, it apparently knows when it’s better to kick back and forth to “gas” or “electric” mode, accordingly; because each time I stopped at a red light, you always responded the same way:

“Daddy, I hear an owl. I think he has a whistle. Is he flying over us? Where is he? Where’s the owl?”

You were hearing the transition into electric mode. And that transition translates into dollar signs being saved…

I’ll put it this way: The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid gets 40 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway. Basically the same! Annual fuel coast is only about $1350.

So… up to this point, I think this is not only my favorite car I’ve reviewed yet, but Mommy’s too. I’ve got a little more to say about it, but I’ll save it for my next letter to you, about us going to the recycling center.





Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.


P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

2013 Rav4

2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

2014 Tundra

Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort Of

Nashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

2013 Sienna

We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!

It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now


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7 Reasons This Dad Wants a Chevy Volt

Friday, December 9th, 2011

One year.

A life motto of mine is, “The secret to having it all is believing you already do.”

I choose the simple life as much as possible, as an American. The last time I can remember truly yearning for a particular material item was probably back when I was a kid, before the Internet was practical and/or relevant; back when the phrase “cell phone” was automatically linked to “Zack Morris.”

There is so much power in not wanting. It can cause a person to truly ignore advertisements.

With that being said, I am a man who is struggling in his principles right now, because I really, really, really want a Chevy Volt… as much as I wanted a regular Nintendo in 1988.

The folks at Chevy reached out to my family recently, inviting us to go on a road trip in sunny Florida; starting in Naples, adventuring through the Everglades and the Florida Keys, and ending in Key West.

As a 30 year-old dad with a wife and a one year-old son, I represent an important and valuable demographic. By participating in a glorified test drive of the Chevy Volt, my family would illustrate the car… in real life.

So Chevy’s experiment ended up with extremely positive results, because now I share with the world the 7 reasons this dad (really!) wants a Chevy Volt:

1. For the entire 302 mile drive, I never had to fill up the gas tank. In fact, by the time the trip ended in Key West, I’m pretty sure I still had more than 3/4 of the tank left. The Volt goes about 35 miles on its electric energy before switching over to gas power, where it averages around 37 miles a gallon.

2. The car is flat-out cool. For a guy who’s not hip enough to have Internet on my  phone, you can imagine what an awesome culture shock it was to use OnStar for the first time in my life. I called them to find out directions to the nearest Starbucks (for my wife) and they instantly downloaded the directions to the car.

Not to mention, I got to experience hands-free cell phone use through the car’s speakers, XM radio, and if I wanted to, I could have watched a DVD on the Volt’s built-in GPS screen. Plus, the one I drove was black with black and red interior. It totally made me think of Knight Rider.

3. It was the perfect size for me. To be the most fuel-efficient compact car sold in the United States, it didn’t feel small. Obviously, we had my son Jack’s car seat in the back, along with all our luggage, including his Pack-N-Play crib; but we still had plenty of room left.

4. The Volt is the perfect status symbol. Driving a Volt says, “I can afford a $40,000 car (minus a $7,500 U.S. federal tax credit) but A) I spend hardly anything on gas and B) I care about the environment.

5. It drives perfectly. Imagine driving a hovering cloud but not hearing a motor.

6. The Chevy Volt is an American car. Born and raised in south Detroit… Plus, I’m pretty sure the Volt is the answer to the age-old question, “What would Jesus drive?”

7. Driving the car makes you part of an elite club of  Volt owners. It’s a Volt thing, you wouldn’t understand. Ever heard of the “Volt handshake?” (It involves one of those prank electric buzzers.)

Until the year 2015 brings us the flying car (as featured in Back to the Future, Part II) I will gladly settle for the next coolest car until then, a black and red Chevy Volt.

It actually did kind of remind me of a DeLorean and… and KITT from Knight Rider combined.

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