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Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt Hatchback Review

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2013 Chevrolet Volt Hatchback

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt Hatchback

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2013 Chevy Volt provides the best all-electric range of any plug-in hybrid, plus gasoline-fueled peace of mind that all-electric competitors can't match. But it's pricey for what you get.

  • Pros

    Low monthly fuel cost in normal driving; useful 300-mile maximum range; appealing standard features; excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Questionable value; cramped two-person backseat; touchy brakes; no power front seats.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Chevrolet Volt gets a number of worthwhile upgrades. A new "Hold" mode makes it possible to save all-electric operation for times when it's most efficient to do so. A new Low Emissions package grants the Volt access to HOV lanes in California and New York. New options include a center rear armrest and forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Chevrolet Volt Hatchback

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt gets a number of worthwhile upgrades. A new "Hold" mode makes it possible to save all-electric operation for times when it's most efficient to do so. A new Low Emissions package grants the Volt access to HOV lanes in California and New York. New options include a center rear armrest and forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

Introduction

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is not an electric car. In some ways, it's actually better than an electric car. The Volt belongs to a new class of environmentally-friendly models known as plug-in hybrids. In simple terms, a plug-in hybrid runs on pure electric power for a given distance, then switches over to a gasoline-electric powertrain similar to that of regular hybrids. In the Volt's case, this four-seat hatchback can travel about 38 miles on battery power alone, whereupon the 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine pitches in to generate electricity that can extend the car's range to about 300 miles.

Practically speaking, this means the car's actual fuel economy depends greatly on how it's driven. Buyers with an average 30-mile commute who plug the car in to recharge the battery pack every night (a process that can take up to 10 hours using a normal household outlet) are likely to find themselves going a very long time between visits to the gas station.

Drivers with a 60-mile commute -- not to mention those who want to use the Volt for roadtrips -- will find themselves exceeding the car's all-electric range and utilizing the gasoline-electric hybrid system that returned 35 mpg in a year of Edmunds testing. That's pretty good, but still a good bit lower than the 40-50 mpg commonly achieved by most traditional hybrids.

For 2013, Chevrolet engineers have introduced a new factor into this equation in the form of a "Hold" mode. Say you're about to take a drive that involves lots of highway driving followed by stop-and-go city driving. In the Volt's "Normal" mode, most of its all-electric power would be wasted on the highway before it even reached the city environment in which electric power is best utilized. Selecting "Hold" allows the driver to engage all-electric power when most appropriate.

As is the case with all hybrids, bottom-line-oriented buyers will want to spend some time crunching the numbers. Though the cost of the electricity to recharge the Volt's battery pack is a bargain compared to the price of a gallon of gasoline, the Volt's relatively high sticker price can be hard to justify even with the available $7,500 federal tax credit and/or additional state credits.

For this reason, we think buyers looking at the Volt should also consider some cheaper alternatives. Although much more limited in terms of range, the all-electric Nissan Leaf is less expensive and may better satisfy one's green-leaning desires. Alternately, the Toyota Prius Plug-In and new Ford C-Max Energi can't go as far on electricity alone as the Volt, but they are priced substantially less and are otherwise similar in powertrain concept while also being more practical.

Yet at the moment, only the 2013 Chevy Volt provides approximately 38 miles of all-electric driving range plus a gasoline-powered range extender. It's also the nicest car to drive among these super-eco machines. That should at least make up for some of its additional cost.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is a midsize four-door hatchback with seating for four passengers.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lamps, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, automatic climate control, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, OnStar emergency communications, MyLink (which includes Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice-controlled audio functions and enhanced smartphone integration) and a six-speaker sound system with a touchscreen interface, a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.

The Comfort package adds heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Premium Trim package includes the Comfort items plus leather upholstery and a removable rear seat center armrest. A new Enhanced Safety package 1 bundles a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. To that, the Enhanced Safety Package 2 can be added, which includes front parking sensors and forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

Other options include a seven-speaker Bose sound system. A navigation system can be added to this that also includes real-time traffic info, voice controls and 30GB of digital music storage.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2013 Chevrolet Volt is primarily powered by an electric motor that puts out 149 horsepower (111 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet of torque.That electric motor is fed by a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack until the battery charge is 70 percent depleted, at which point the Volt's 1.4-liter four-cylinder internal-combustion engine springs to life to power the electric motor. In some situations, the gasoline engine can also come online to boost the car's performance. There are Normal, Hold, Sport and Mountain modes designed to maximize the powertrain's performance and efficiency in different situations.

Recharging the battery pack completely requires plugging the car in to a 120- or 240-volt outlet, though regenerative braking and the engine generator can help recharge it to a certain extent. In long-term Edmunds testing, we found the Volt had an average all-electric range of 37 miles (against an EPA estimate of 38 miles), with certain charges ranging from 25-50 miles. Once the battery was depleted, the Volt averaged 35 mpg in our year-long test, a few mpg under the EPA's combined estimate of 37 mpg.

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

Safety

The list of standard safety features on the 2013 Chevrolet Volt includes antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side-impact airbags, front knee airbags and full-length sidecurtain airbags.Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

Front/rear park assist and a rearview camera are optional, as are forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Volt came to a stop in a respectable 124 feet.

Ingovernment crash tests, the Volt scored an overall rating of five stars (the highest possible), with five stars for both frontal and side-impact protection categories. Similarly, in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Volt earned the highest rating of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the 2013 Chevy Volt, the four-passenger interior has a modern feel thanks in large part to touch-sensitive controls inspired by the latest in personal electronics. While this design creates a suitably cutting-edge mood, in practice these small and similar-looking buttons can be difficult to identify at a glance. They also don't work very well if you're wearing gloves.

The gauge cluster is another futuristic touch, as it's really a display screen that digitally shows speed, battery and/or gasoline level, various trip functions and a little graphic that encourages efficient driving. It can be a bit much at first, and the screen itself can wash out in direct sunlight, but most find it to be usable and even helpful.

From an aesthetic point of view, the passenger cabin looks attractive and has a refined feel thanks to good quality materials. The lack of a power-adjustable driver seat and a cramped second row lacking in both headroom and legroom are somewhat disappointing, however, especially for a car in this price range. Out back, the Volt's hatchback design makes for easy loading and unloading. Cargo capacity is a mere 10.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up, a number that puts it at a significant disadvantage compared to hybrid hatchback competitors like the Toyota Prius.

Driving Impressions

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is surprisingly rewarding to drive. It accelerates quickly from a standstill on an effortless wave of torque typical of electric power, and behaves like a more potent hybrid when the all-electric mode runs out. The Volt's appeal extends farther than just its powertrain. From the compliance of its ride quality to the weight and response of the steering, the Volt drives more naturally and feels more substantial than hybrids like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.

There are some oddities and annoyances, however. 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 out of proportion to the vehicle's speed. The brake pedal can also be quite touchy and difficult to modulate, though stopping distances are good. Another constant annoyance is the Volt's low-hanging front airdam, which scrapes on just about every driveway and speed bump. But given its construction of black-colored flexible material, it is thankfully designed to take these inevitable hits.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 48 reviews) Write a Review


Great 2 person car!

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Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Volt



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great technology all electric with gas back up

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Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Volt

Car is great runs on electric only but if you run out of juice it has a gas engine as back up The back seat is a little tight for tall people but other than that. I have no complaints



3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Used 2013 chevy volt

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Volt

That it's a great car. It is one of the most advanced vehicles on the road and you can buy a used one for a fraction of the original price.



8 of 10 people found this review helpful

Best car i have ever owned.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Volt

I LOVE THIS CAR!!!! I have had this car for 3 years and 63,000 miles and I still look forward to driving it every day. The EV experience is amazing. Reliability of this very complex vehicle has been perfect. I have not had any items fail. I will be keeping this car for a very long time.



6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Just reached 12k miles and so far so good..

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Volt

So far, the car has been great. It drives so smooth and the instant torque I get from a dead stop is a delight after dealing the turbo lag on my Outback XT for 8 years. The EV range covers my work and weekend commutes so I can go months without having to buy gas. Getting the HOV lane stickers is great along with the $1,500 rebate from the state. I also got a time-of-use meter from my local utility (Pasadena) so I get cheaper electricity rates during mid and off peak times. They also gave me $300 of LED lightbulbs! The car is sluggish in ER mode while driving in the city but, has been fine on long trips. I average 37 to 43 miles MPG depending on how fast I'm going. No issues ... yet.



7 of 13 people found this review helpful

Poor car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Volt

the volt is a poor car. I have had one for 2 years and have had a radiator replaced a water pump. The radiator cost $1100.00. I took the dealer 3 days to get it back to me. It now needs a battery. The battery cost 300.00 and it has a leak in it so when it goes to the car wash it leaks on the passenger side. that will cost 400.00. In the past I have bought 9 chevrolets. THis is my last. Save yoursellf the grief and look at a Prius.



Talk About The 2013 Volt

2013 Chevrolet Volt Discussions See all Started By

lavjr
lavjr
05-23-2016
I can get a Volt 2013 for 14k, but I'm concern with the battery been used and the warranty is 8 years or 100k miles, right?...


Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com
06-11-2013
2013 Chevrolet Volt Price Cut Reflects EV Price War...


mainlee
mainlee
12-02-2015
mind running the milage up because I liked the Volt and was planning on purchasing it anyway. The problem is, the leasing company will not finance the balance because the car is not worth what I agr...



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