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GETTING THE FIRST RIDE: A crossover to freedom

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GETTING THE FIRST RIDE: A crossover to freedom

Old 03-06-2006, 10:51 PM
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GETTING THE FIRST RIDE: A crossover to freedom

<img src="https://www.chevyhhr.net/news/hhr21.jpg" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="2">GETTING THE FIRST RIDE: A crossover to freedom
Mom picks safe, affordable Chevy HHR for daughter


When we first looked at cars at the Detroit auto show last year, it was fun. Like window shopping. I was enjoying the time with my daughter -- she was dreaming of freedom.

I set out to see what was safe. Comfortable. Affordable. She set out to find an escape vehicle.

Following the show and the Free Press story about looking for a first car for Molly, then 15, I got a ton of advice: Buy a junker; she'll crash it in 3 weeks. Buy a used Volvo. She should buy her own car. Wait six months. Give her my car and get myself a new one. Get her a Ford. Get a Chrysler. Get a Chevy. You'd better buy American.

Motor City readers aren't shy with advice when it comes to cars.

My husband and I debated. Actually, he debated. I was pretty convinced. I had seen too many friends pour hundreds of dollars into used cars -- $100 here, $600 there. I don't like surprises -- particularly of the monetary kind.

I know the best protection is a safe driver. We believe Molly is and we did everything to get her the experience she needed.

But I wanted as much insurance as possible. I wanted safety. I wanted air bags everywhere. I wanted OnStar for at least the first year.

I combed safety ratings, rollover ratings and prices. I quickly got down to the new Chevrolet HHR crossover. I liked its different look -- easy to spot.

I liked that it sits up a bit, but not too high to be a rollover risk. And frankly, I liked the price. The car has a manageable monthly payment and a solid warranty. It gives peace of mind.

With Molly's 16th birthday on Oct. 21, I wanted to surprise her with it. She hoped she'd be driving something, but we had her thinking it would be her dad's car.

With work being crazy busy and the normal craze of tracking two teenagers, I had next to zero time to go from showroom to showroom.

Enter the Internet.

Cauley Chevrolet in West Bloomfield is not far from my house. I've passed it and toured the lot a bit. I shot an e-mail and soon salesman Jeff Cideko wrote back. I quickly learned that Cideko, with Cauley for 18 years, is as patient, flexible and accommodating as they come. I also learned that with e-mail, he has customers he has never met face to face.

The HHR, it seems, is quite popular. The right color didn't have the right options. The OnStar model didn't have the side curtain air bags. But he kept trying until he found the keeper: A 2006, amethyst (grayish purple) HHR with side-curtain air bags, antilock brakes, OnStar and a bonus, a sunroof. Sold!

The morning of her birthday she woke up and we handed her the keys. We were first in line at the Secretary of State's office. But the best memory was going to the dealership and having Cideko walk Molly through everything. He was terrific.

Never addressing me, he addressed just Molly as if to let her know what an awesome responsibility -- and gift -- she was getting.

Her calls about the car are priceless.

The first time she got gas she said, "Thirty bucks! That's crazy, mom!"

And when she ran out of birthday gas cards, she didn't know how to pay with cash. Then there's her fear of car washes -- she's not ready to tackle that maneuver. But the best are her cell phone text messages that read: "I'm here..."

That's a requirement.

Molly said recently, "Mom, I'm ready to not have to do that." I reminded her that it's not about her. It's about me -- I'm not ready.

Molly loves her car and loves the freedom it affords. She has taken on the responsibility as maturely as we could have hoped.

But nothing prepared me for the first time she pulled away without me in the seat next to her. Horrifying is too soft a word.

The greatest sound in my life is no longer birds chirping in the morning or a child's laughter. It's the sound of her car pulling into the driveway. Another safe day.

That sound is my new bedtime lullaby.

****

Molly's HHR

Model: 2006 Chevrolet HHR LT

Price: $22,152

Buy or lease? We bought so that it gets Molly through college and for her freshman year, we have an extra car as her sister learns to drive.

OnStar: Our salesman, Jeff Cideko, walked us through it, and then the OnStar operator walked Molly through it. If her air bag ever goes off, 911 is called immediately. If she has a problem, help is a button away.

Phone: Onboard hands-free phone for 1 year -- only Mom has the number. As her friend said, "Oh my gosh! Your mom is coming out of the radio!"

The rest: Side curtain air bags, antilock brakes, sunroof, remote starter and iPod jack.

The rules: It's been 3 months, and Molly is doing great. She makes curfew. Only two friends in the car at one time. Her recent report card showed a 3.8 grade point average. She buys her own gas (most of the time) and she chauffeurs her younger sister with a smile (most of the time).

The ditch: She found her first one, just a gentle slide in the snow a few blocks from home. No damage to her or the car, but it gave her a good sense of what it feels like to be out of control.

Fingers crossed: She's a lucky girl, but so are we.

February 9, 2006

Email this Print this BY LAURA VARON
Contact LAURA VARON BROWN at 313-222-5002 or [email protected].

Last edited by #06; 03-08-2006 at 05:09 PM. Reason: source
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Old 03-07-2006, 12:03 AM
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Hell, when I was 16, I was driving a old beat up 1980 3/4 ton chevy pickup that I actually had to fully replace the engine block and rebuild the engine by myself. That was the only way I was getting something to drive. I even had to replace the transmission, in which found one at a junkyard. I was just a poor country boy growing up on a farm....Sure wish I had parents like this growing up.
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Old 03-07-2006, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by txsman2930
Hell, when I was 16, I was driving a old beat up 1980 3/4 ton chevy pickup that I actually had to fully replace the engine block and rebuild the engine by myself. That was the only way I was getting something to drive. I even had to replace the transmission, in which found one at a junkyard. I was just a poor country boy growing up on a farm....Sure wish I had parents like this growing up.
Agreed... must be nice. I got to drive my grandma's "hand-me-down" '72 Buick Electra 225 (deuce & a quarter) Bu-hog w/455 CID. Luckily gas $$$ was about .60 cents gal back then.
I wanted to mod that 225 so bad but who the heck makes cool aftermarket parts for a Bu-Hog 4dr Boat. At least I had a ride.

Sometimes ya do the best with what ya got!
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:43 AM
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today's kids are spoiled rotten.

Oh and i found it interesting that they said the on star vehicle did not have the side airbags. I didn't think you could get on star without the side air curtains.


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Old 03-07-2006, 11:51 AM
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When I was 16, I had been driving for 7-years.
My first "car" was a 1950 Willy's Jeep I learned to drive off-road when I was 9.
Drove it every summer after that at my dad's place in the desert.
Started driving it to school when I was 15 (illegally!)
Boy, a lot of memories from that old Jeep...
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Old 03-08-2006, 03:00 PM
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# 06, Can you add a source at the bottom of this?
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Old 03-08-2006, 05:11 PM
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Source? Meaning author? If so, yes I have added that info.
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:55 AM
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She's a lucky girl. My first car was a 56 BelAir 4 door sedan that I bought myself from a neighbor. Of course back then the only safety equipment was......nothing...LOL.

I hope she enjoys her new HHR and experiences only good things from it.
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dan-d
She's a lucky girl. My first car was a 56 BelAir 4 door sedan that I bought myself from a neighbor. Of course back then the only safety equipment was......nothing...LOL.

I hope she enjoys her new HHR and experiences only good things from it.
Hey Dan; how much did you pay for your BelAir back then?
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCalHHR
Hey Dan; how much did you pay for your BelAir back then?
A whopping $400.00

And making $1.25 an hour it took me a while to save up for the purchase.
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