Shockingly, Not A Crappy Drive - 2011 Chevrolet Volt Long-Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test

2011 Chevrolet Volt: Shockingly, Not A Crappy Drive

June 23, 2011


I don't know if I hang with the wrong or the right crowd, but no one has ever asked me: "So what's it like to drive a Chevy Volt?" Maybe my friends just assume I only care about high-powered sports cars and sports sedans.

But one person actually has been pestering me about the Volt: Me. Last night, I finally got the chance to drive our long-termer.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it turns out the Volt is simple and fairly normal to drive. In a strange way, it's kinda fun because you can actually drive it in full electric mode for a long period of time, including highway speeds. With other hybrids, as soon as you step on the gas with any real force, the gasoline engine immediately fires to life.

In fact, the most confusing thing about the plug-in Volt may be our elaborate fuel/electric logbook (photo below), which is much more in-depth than with our gasoline testers. But for good reason. And yeah, I probably screwed it up and Dan Edmunds, our Director of Vehicle Testing, will fire me soon.

Volt fuel log.jpg

Back to the Volt. The switchover from full electric to gasoline is nearly seamless. For the record, it did The Great Switchover at 34.6 miles. Traffic was moving at a decent rate last night, which means the Volt was not operating at its most efficient because speeds were relatively high.

Acceleration was reasonable in both full electric and gasoline modes. It's about as quick purely numbers-wise as the Kia Forte 5-door I had been driving the last few days. But in real-world stop-and-go, it actually feels considerably faster, what with all that immediate torque available.

I can see why people might be attracted to this car. It has a plush ride and comfy seats for a real kick-back commute. The steering is admittedly a bit lifeless, and the Volt feels Heavy when you lean it into a turn. There's little in the way of sporty driver involvement, but then, this is an A to B car if there ever was one.

The Volt has some quirks and faults for sure, such as its odd low-speed braking behavior that makes it difficult to be smooth, but we'll delve more into those on later blogs.

For now, I'm pleasantly surprised. And I'd definitely drive it again. The fuel/electric logbook won't scare me off.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 6,761 miles.

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