2011 Chevrolet Volt: Thunk
November 11, 2011
Never underestimate the power of a robust, low-frequency pulse of air, and its resonance on the surrounding sheet metal, when closing a car's door. The Volt has a nice, reassuring thunk that says it's more mid-90's Impala than, well, mid-2000 Malibu.
I think the Chevy marketing people are working the wrong angle here. Instead of playing on the "isn't that an electric?" range-anxiety theme, they should be working the Volt's substantive feel, how it presents itself as more of a solid metal cocoon than the standard go-to hybrids on the road.
Granted, any automaker can layer the doors with sound deadening material and structural reinforcement. Doesn't make it a good car, necessarily. And most car shoppers won't mind the sound of anemic metal-to-metal contact if they think the car will get them 50 mpg. But the Volt is a good car. And the sound it makes when you get in and close the door, and when you step out and do the same, would give it a head-start in most people's minds.
Probably wouldn't hurt if the accounting department shaved $10,000 off the sticker, either.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor