This was my last week in San Francisco (I didn’t know it was on Monday) and as usual I went to Hertz Presidents Circle for my car. Normally I get an Infiniti Q50 or a Nissan Maxima but this week there were two Camero’s just sitting there! One was a hard top and the other was a convertible. Well, when given that sort of choice I’m going to pick the convertible. Most would have considered it too cold to put the top down but not me!! I had the top down the entire week except for when I parked the car for an extended period of time.
The color was a very nice charcoal color and I had the added benefit of it being a SS so there was a V8 under the hood with tons of power. However in Cali, you can’t drive fast! There is so much traffic or the roads so small with low speed limits that this car was definitely wasted because the sheer power was always contained. The car also drinks a ton of gas! I used more gas with this car than any other that I’ve driven in recent memory. The layout of the car was pretty decent, I didn’t like that the seats didn’t recline as far back as I like but that was a small thing overall. I’m pretty sure I was the only crazy person in all of Sunnyvale that was driving around with the top down blasting music going to work. I saw a few convertibles but they all had their tops up, granted it was around 60 degrees out but with the heat turned all the way up and with my North Face jacket on, I barely felt the cold except on my face during those rare moments I could go fast on the 101.
The steering wheel layout on the Camero was pretty nice, everything was within reach and the gauges were actually digital, they just looked analog which I thought was totally cool. They also provided a little bit of nostalgia because I was able to see the battery charge level which used to be standard on most cars but was dropped in the last 15 years. Even though its a little hard to see, the temperature controls were on the center console vents to control the temperature and fan speed. It took a little while for me to figure it out but once I got the hang of it, it made driving in the Northern Cali cold that much better with the top down. The car has some crazy power under the hood, I was able to floor it just once on the 101 for less than 5 seconds to get past some really slow traffic and it was soooo fun and having the top down made it that much better. I think I want a convertible or something in the future but I’d also still want to keep my motorcycle too.
By far the best feature on the car was that it had CarPlay! This was my first exposure to CarPlay and I was pretty excited when I discovered that the car had it. I always carry a lot of lightning cables with me and I used one in the car so that I could hook up my iPhone 7 to the car to enable CarPlay. The setup was really simple, just plug it in, touch the touch screen for CarPlay and the interface comes up. In the picture you can see that I was using it for navigation using Apple Maps. I know there is a lot of hate for Apple Maps compared to Waze and Google Maps, both of which aren’t available in CarPlay but I found the Apple Maps experience pretty good. I was able to select my destination and it would use like a regular GPS that is included in a car with the only difference being that its really running from my iPhone. I was able to try out Pandora, the Music App, and Amazon Music app as well. All 3 worked flawlessly and also worked with the steering wheel controls of the car. I was able to use the touch screen to look for things that I had previously listened to or if it was on a list. I was only able to do search by using my iPhone but I’m sure there is a way to do it from the screen but I’m sure its hard to find so you don’t do it while you drive.
I definitely want my next car for the family to have the option of CarPlay or Android Auto in it. I find that having that is better than having a dedicated infotainment system in the car. It will probably be upgradeable although if its anything like the interface Tesla uses, I could be happy with that too since it also receives over the air upgrades to enable new features.