Track Tested: 2011 Chevy Volt

Track Tested: 2011 Chevy Volt

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.

Now that we've seen how it works, there are three big questions that remain on the 2011 Chevy Volt: What's it drive like? What's it return on a reasonable fuel economy loop? And what does the Chevy Volt do at the track?

Chevy dropped off a fully loaded Volt (parking sensors, leather, polished wheels...$43K) to our office, and the night before testing, we set it up at a special charging station at our test track where, the next morning, we'd have a full battery pack to deplete while running the 2011 Volt through our battery of performance tests.

So, what's the Volt's 0-60 and quarter-mile? And how does running in gas-engine generator mode affect the numbers?

Vehicle: 2011 Chevy Volt
Odometer: 4,114
Date: 11/02/10
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $43,685

Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Planetary CVT
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated 1.4-liter DOHC, variable intake and exhaust, gasoline engine (premium fuel).  111-kilowatt drive motor, 54-kW generator motor
Displacement (cc/cu-in):  1,398/85.3
Redline (rpm): 4,800 (not indicated)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 149-horsepower Voltec electric drive, 84-hp gasoline motor @ 4,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): Voltec engine: 273 lb-ft
Brake Type (front): 11.8-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.5-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Electric power steering with ZF steering gear
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson strut-type with side-loaded strut modules, specially tuned coil springs, direct-acting hollow stabilizer bar; hydraulic ride bushings
Suspension Type (rear): Torsion beam, coil springs, hydraulic bushings
Tire Size (front): 215/55R17 93H
Tire Size (rear): 215/55R17 93H
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Assurance
Tire Type: All-season, low rolling resistance
Wheel size: 17-by-7 inches front and rear
Wheel material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,742 (61.4% front)

Test Results:

EV Mode
0-30 (sec): 3.4
0-45 (sec): 5.8
0-60 (sec): 9.2
0-75 (sec): 14.1
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.8 @ 81.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.8

Gasoline Generator
0-30 (sec): 3.6
0-45 (sec): 5.8
0-60 (sec): 9.0
0-75 (sec): 13.2
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.6 @ 85.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.6

30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 124

Slalom (mph): 60.2
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.77

Db @ Idle: EV: 27 (Gas: 48.5)
Db @ Full Throttle: EV: 54 (Gas: 78.2)
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: EV: 67.4 (Gas: 73.7)

Acceleration Comments: EV mode: Exceptionally quiet with just a little bit of motor whine, but mostly just wind noise. Very linear acceleration. Obviously, no shifting. A little bit of brake-throttle overlap is good for best launch. Best results in Sport mode. Gas-generator mode: Still linear, but you can definitely hear/feel the engine thrum.

Braking Comments: Consistent stopping distance, negligible fade, firm pedal, some rear-end wiggle and wander. Pronounced dive.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Very little, if any, brake correction; rather it just hits a wall of understeer. Steering is light and vague. Slalom: Prefers less-is-more with as little steering input as possible. Steering is responsive, but vague feeling. if ESC does begin to intervene, then the run is no good.

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