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Quebec Road Trip with Chevy Equinox - Part 2 La Malbaie

The Charlevoix region of Canada's Quebec province has a 200-year tradition in tourism. As early as 1800, locals started to open their homes to passing guests, allowing a hospitality industry to gradually emerge in the community. Visitors would come to the area seeking fresh air, picturesque views of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and participating in a slew of outdoor activities within a majestic setting.

At one point in the early 20th century, Charlevoix experienced an era called Belle Epoque wherein the famous palatial steamboats - known as White Ships - glided on the waters of St. Lawrence, past the quaint villages that sprouted along the shores. While this era is gone, the tourism tradition of the region remains as robust as ever.

Today, Charlevoix is Quebec's premier holiday destination for nature-lovers, artists, and gourmands. A little known fact about this region: it is one of the largest inhabited craters in the world. 350 million years ago, a 15-billion-ton meteorite smashed into the land that currently spans 56 kilometers in diameter from the west end of Baie-Saint-Paul to the east end of La Malbaie. This accounts for the unique and rugged landscape of towering summits and sweeping estuaries found here.

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We drove out of Quebec City's Route 440 towards Montmorency Falls and Sainte Anne de Beaupré Basilica on our left side, and the St. Lawrence River and Île d'Orléans on our right. When Route 440 turned into Route 138, the highway started to climb and dip. Our fuel-efficient, compact crossover 2010 Chevy Equinox negotiated the hilly, twisting roadway with no problems at all. It was a smooth ride all throughout, from city to country roads.

While the main road to La Malbaie and the Charlevoix region is Route 138 (East), we took our Chevy Equinox through the more picturesque Route 362, which starts at the artist enclave of Baie-Saint-Paul, past Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, Les Eboulments, and Saint-Irenée villages to La Malbaie. As we wound around the country route, I noticed many quaint artisanal shops and artists' studios dotting the surrounding area.

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It was quite disappointing that we arrived at our Relais & Châteaux hotel, Auberge La Pinsonnière, in the darkness of 5 pm. We had totally miscalculated the early sunset time in this far eastern Atlantic region, thus missing the view from our floor-to-ceiling windowed suite.

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However, the slight miscalculation turned into a wonderful surprise in the morning, as the rising sun jolted our room to life with a bright, warm, winter sunshine.

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We spent the morning exploring the little villages around Route 362 before heading back to Quebec City. We summed up the total number of kilometers that we drove over the weekend in Quebec City and La Malbaie to be nearly 500 kilometers. And the biggest surprise about the 2010 Chevy Equinox compact crossover? The gas gauge barely even moved!

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What to drive:
I highly recommend the 2010 Chevy Equinox and I'm not JUST saying that. Here are the reasons:
-For a family like ours, the all-new Equinox is equipped with technological features like CD Player with MP3 playback, USB port for iPod, DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth capacity, and XM Radio that provide endless entertainment during long drives.

-6 standard airbags, StabiliTrak, 182 Hp-4 cylinder engine, and OnStar system make negotiating tough, slippery winter roads easy in the safety of its sleek, one-piece body stamping design.

-The big bonus is the Equinox's fuel efficiency. At an impressive 6.1L/100 km, it is one of the most efficient vehicles in its segment! Like I said, at nearly 500 kilometers we covered, we didn't have to fill up at any point because the gauge barely even moved from its full position. If we used our standard Japanese compact car to drive the same distance, we would have filled up 45 liters of gas per 480-500 kilometers!! It doesn't take a genius to know that you can save big gas bucks with the 2010 Chevy Equinox.

Where to stay:
Auberge La Pinsonniére

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu

Where to eat:
Mouton Noir in Baie-Saint-Paul

La Pinsonniére Restaurant in La Malbaie

*This was a sponsored event.

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Quebec Road Trip with Chevy Equinox - Part 2 La Malbaie + trip