2011 Chevrolet Volt Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Chevrolet Volt Hatchback

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chevrolet Volt Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine .0 L -cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 1-speed Direct Drive
  • Horse Power Info is not yet available.
  • Fuel Economy 0/0 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt

  • The 2011 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid is arguably the most fuel-efficient car on the market, but it's pricey for what you get.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low monthly fuel cost in normal driving; useful 300-mile maximum range; appealing standard features; high-tech cabin.

  • Cons

    Questionable value; small backseat for two people only; touchy brakes; no power front seats; home charger is a necessity.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is Chevy's much-anticipated new plug-in battery/gasoline hybrid, featuring an electric-only mode with a range of up to 40 miles.

Full 2011 Chevrolet Volt Review

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is Chevy's much-anticipated new plug-in battery/gasoline hybrid, featuring an electric-only mode with a range of up to 40 miles.


So what exactly is the 2011 Chevrolet Volt? It's a question we get all the time. A confusing array of claims and rumors have been swirling around this car since it debuted as a concept a few years back, so we're not surprised that people aren't clear on what the Volt is all about.

Here's the long and short of it: The Volt is a four-seat, four-door "series-parallel plug-in hybrid" hatchback with a lithium-ion battery pack that can power the car's 149-horsepower (111-kilowatt) electric motor by itself for an estimated 40 miles in the city. After that, the gasoline-powered inline-4 engine primarily supplies electricity to the motor for as many as 300 additional miles. All told, the Volt is the most advanced hybrid to date and quite possibly the most fuel-efficient car you will be able to buy.

We say "quite possibly" because you can't measure the Volt's fuel economy in any standard fashion. It all depends on how you drive. Suppose you have a 20-mile round-trip commute, and you plug in your Volt every night when you get home (a full charge requires as few as 3 hours). Congratulations! Your fuel economy is infinity, because you'll never run the battery pack down all the way. But if you have a 100-mile commute, you'll be driving at least 60 miles a day under gasoline power, so you'll have to refuel on a regular basis. And in an Edmunds fuel economy test of a Volt with its battery depleted, the car returned only 31.4 mpg in mixed driving. That's far below the typical fuel economy provided by regular hybrid vehicles.

Obviously, how far you routinely drive will play a key role in how thrifty the Volt will be. We think most potential owners will be able to take advantage of its electric range. And electricity costs for recharging are but a fraction for the equivalent amount of gasoline. What's not clear is whether those savings are worth what you'll have to pay at the dealership. Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, a base Volt will still cost $33,500 -- and that's without the home charging station that's essentially mandatory for a plug-in hybrid like the Volt. There's also a strong likelihood that dealers will try to gouge early customers with sky-high markups.

Still, there is no denying the Volt's technological promise. Most importantly, it has the ability to keep on going when its battery runs down (say, on a road trip), whereas an all-electric vehicle like 2011 Nissan's Leaf does not. If you want an intriguing yet practical taste of a greener automotive future, the 2011 Chevy Volt might be just what the General ordered.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a midsize five-door hatchback sedan with seating for four.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition, remote ignition, automatic climate control, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, six-way manual front seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, OnStar, a navigation system with touchscreen, voice controls and real-time traffic, and a six-speaker Bose stereo with CD/DVD player, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB interface and 30GB of digital music storage.

The Premium Trim package adds leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats. The Rear Camera and Park Assist package adds a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2011 Volt is primarily powered by an electric motor rated at 149 hp (111 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet of torque. This motor draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack until the battery charge is 70 percent depleted. At that point, the Volt's 1.4-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine, which requires premium fuel, comes to life as a replacement power source for the electric motor. Under certain higher-speed conditions, the four-cylinder can also help power the wheels directly.

The battery can only be completely recharged through either a 120- or 240-volt outlet, but regenerative braking and the engine generator can replenish it slightly. In Edmunds range and fuel economy testing, we found the Volt had an electricity range of between 30 and 39 miles in mixed driving. When the battery is depleted, it returned 31.4 mpg. However, the term "your mileage may vary" has never been so true.

In Edmunds performance testing, the Volt went from zero to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds in electric mode and 9 seconds flat with the engine generator. Both are fairly quick times for the traditional hybrid segment.


Safety features on the 2011 Chevy Volt include antilock brakes, stability control, front side airbags, front knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Volt came to a stop in a respectable 124 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt's distinctive center stack appears to have been modeled after various personal electronic devices with touch-sensitive buttons. It looks less like an automotive control panel than an oversized iPod, which we applaud; after all, if you're spending this much money on a vehicle, you'll likely expect a little something special inside. Overall interior quality is also high, with materials that seem to be the best yet from recently improved Chevrolet.

There's plenty of technology involved, too, including a standard color display with a built-in hard drive. In terms of functionality, the Volt's main controls are fairly intuitive, and the futuristic gauge readout is easy enough to read at a glance (though it washes out in sunlight). There's also a nice little ball -- sort of like the bubble in a water level -- that helps you stay in the most energy-efficient driving range. It's big and green when you are conserving fuel or battery energy and smaller and angry orange-yellow when you're not.

Space and comfort is a little disappointing. There is no power driver seat option, which limits adjustability and seems like an oversight in a car that costs $41,000. In back, there are just two seats, and they lack both headroom and legroom; adults will likely feel cramped.

The Volt's hatchback design is convenient for loading cargo, but the swooping rear roof line and battery pack location limit maximum luggage capacity to just 10.6 cubic feet with the back seats up. The rear seats fold down to expand cargo capacity, but overall practicality is below that of a Prius.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt accelerates quickly from a standstill and is very responsive at moderate speeds as well; it's the kind of performance that's typical of electric vehicles.

In all-electric mode, the Volt is as quiet and smooth as any EV we've driven -- and it's still a competent vehicle when the engine-generator kicks in. The change-over from battery charge to generator power can be difficult to notice, though once you inevitably do, it may take a while to get used to the engine revving regardless of engine speed.

The Chevy Volt feels slightly nose-heavy when you bend it around a corner, but it makes its moves with little body roll. Indeed, from the compliance of its ride quality to the weight and response of the steering, this Chevy Volt drives more naturally and feels more substantial than hybrids like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. One problem area is the brake pedal. It is quite touchy and can be difficult to modulate, though stopping distances are good.

Read our Chevy Volt Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Battery memory

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Volt 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD)

In love, at first, several trips to the dealer during the first six weeks for "unexplained" engine error messages", almost made me invoke the "Lemon Law". Life settled down after a computer upgrade...until early in the 5th month that I owned the car. At that point, a full charge became less and less miles. I began at 38 - 40 miles ev per charge and now I am at best, 23 -24 miles ev. The Chevy Volt team and my local dealer state that it is the weather and the way that I drive it. First of all...the way I drive it should not change the battery capacity. Secondly, it is not even cold yet...average temp approx. 42 degrees. Thirdly, I charge it in a heated garage.

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

Car snob humbled by volt

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Volt 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD)

I'm a car nut-- have owned everything from Bentley's to Hondas to Lincolns to Porsches. My partner wanted the Volt, and I was skeptical. I was wrong. After 1500 miles, it is the car we choose for family outings (our other cars are '11 Audi A8 and and a '10 Audi Q7 TDI, both of which we love). Why? The Volt is silent. It is quick. It has fun technology that works! It has a refined manner-- much more refined than our Lexus 400h hybrid was. Most of all-- it is versatile. Knowing there is a gas generator to keep you going after the battery is exhausted on long trips, takes the stress out of trip planning. Full recharge takes only 4 hours, but is unnecessary if it's inconvenient.

21 of 49 people found this review helpful

My volt after 3 months

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Volt 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD)

I have owned my Volt since mid-March, and have used exactly 20 gallons of gas over 3100 miles. Most of my daily driving is done in all electric mode, but I did take one 80 mile trip and one 750 mile trip. On the long trip I did not recharge and averaged 41 mpg in charge-sustaining mode. I also own a Prius and feel that the Volt, though a bit smaller, is a big leap forward over that fine car. The Volt is quicker, handles better, is quieter, has much lower operating cost/mile (i pay only $0.10 per kWh), and has been totally glitch free. It's an astonishing achievement.

3 of 17 people found this review helpful

Outstanding mpg!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Volt 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD)

I bought the Chevy volt for one reason only. I'm a business man who drives around 300 miles almost everyday. Driving both city and highway averages 104mpg. Im glad I got this and not the Prius.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Volt 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD)

My Volt is incredible. My lifetime mpg is 112 and rising. I've driven over 1000 miles without any gas. I didn't buy any gas the first month I owed it. It has a sport mode that makes it fun and sporty to drive with speed to jerk your head back. It's as powerful as a V-6. I'm loving it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Hats off to gm

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Volt 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD)

I have only had my volt #2499 for a week and am I impressed. The car, the concept, everything about it is game changing. My other car is a CTS-V and it has been parked ever since I got the Volt. The only problem is that my wife wants to trade her SUV and get one too. Saving gas $$ is not my objective - using the cutting edge technology and proving it in everyday use is the fun part. What a tribute to the team that put this vehicle together and brought it to market. Let's hope to "Halo effect" spills over and helps all of GM.

Talk About The 2011 Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt Discussions See all Started By

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test We lived with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for a year. Read all about our daily driving experiences in our long-term road test....

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test We lived with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for a year. Read all about our daily driving experiences in our long-term road test....

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test We lived with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for a year. Read all about our daily driving experiences in our long-term road test....

Gas Mileage


  • Not Available
  • cty
  • Not Available
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411