2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test - Cargo Space

2011 Chevrolet Volt Long Term Road Test

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Unbright

January 03, 2012


With holiday celebrations to attend (and gifts to schlep) across the Southland this season, I had plenty of opportunity to put the Volt's cargo area to the test. Size-wise, the cargo area served us pretty well, even during the couple of occasions when our kids' gift haul was on the large size. (We left our enormous stroller at home.)

But we quickly noticed one major flaw: that tiny light in the wall on the driver side is the only light for the cargo area. It's not nearly enough. Need to find something in a fairly packed trunk in the dark of night on Christmas Eve? You best have a flashlight handy, because the built-in light isn't nearly enough, even if it isn't mostly blocked by the cargo itself.

The hatch is nearly all glass, so I guess it's challenging to find a suitable place to tuck an overheard light into; that's the only excuse I can think of for such an inadequate cargo light.

What is the lighting like in your car's cargo area? I used to have a stripper Civic coupe without any cargo light at all. Ended up installing a stick-and-click light to get by.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 13,729 miles

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Black Friday Hike

November 28, 2011

volt hike 1600

Took the family on a hike last Friday, to work off the stuffing and whatnot and enjoy some nature. The Volt's cargo area served as a convenient post-hike picnic spot, at least for the kiddos. The cargo area is plenty deep for the little ones to sit in, and it's a relatively small surface area to have to deal with. While it isn't as accomodating as a crossover, SUV or minivan would be obviously, it was great to have a contained place to plunk them and feed them. Thankfully, our snacks were non-greasy, non-smushy, non-crumbly and non-sticky, so cleanup was easy, too.

Bryn MacKinnon, Edmunds.com, Senior Editor @ 12,360 miles

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Left Out

November 23, 2011

chevrolet volt rear hatch

File this in the Whiny Baby Pants bin.

I'm left-handed. I know it's the (cool! creative!, wonderul!) minority of handedness, but would it kill automakers to put two grab-handles in their rear hatches? Look at all that blank space on the left of our long-term Chevy Volt's rear hatch, doing absolutely nothing but begging for a grab handle. That vast swathe of plastic practically screams, "Ooh, grab me!" doesn't it? (I think it actually said that to me when I was taking this picture.)

This isn't a Volt-specific tragedy, either. It's rampant in the automotive world. My personal car, a Honda CR-V, only caters to the righties, too. I deal with this injustice every. damn. day.

Fine. I learned to use right-handed scissors in kindergarten. I can learn to close a hatch that way, too.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,278 miles

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2011 Chevy Volt: Does the TV Fit?

October 10, 2011

TV in the Volt.jpg

Mark invites me over to play the super-top-secret sneak preview of Forza 4. I want to play and establish the slowest time, proving once again I'm crap at video games. Pizza has also been promised.

However, there is not one but two baseball playoff games on that I really want to watch. Oh the decisions that plague me. In the end, I chose cake and eating it.

I bundled up by surprisingly lightweight 32-inch LCD TV in a beach towel and carried it down to my garage where it sandwiched perfectly inbetween the front and back seats of the Chevy Volt. Arriving at Mark's, I was laughed at, but soon we had his DirecTV plugged into my TV sitting on a chair and Forza playing on his ginormous 3D flatscreen. Totally doing this again sometime.

Who says you need to compromise?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Stay-At-Home Parent: Errand Test

September 21, 2011


As I noted on Monday, I've got the Volt all this week and next week and am trying to drive it as if I owned it and was a stay-at-home parent. With a lot of short trips and easy access to at-home charging, I'm playing to the Volt's strengths here. But it's also interesting to me to see how it does.

So far, it's all been quite positive (ha!). With a conservative driving style, I've been able to go about 40 miles on a charge, and 40 has so far proved to be plenty. Even if I've done multiple trips in a day, I've always brought the Volt back home at some point, and that means I've been able to hook the Volt up to the charger to top off (or at least have the option to). For errand running situations, it'd be pretty hard not to stay on full electric continually in my opinion.

Besides the power issue, the Volt also works pretty well as an urban runabout. It's quiet, comfortable and has a trunk that's big enough to handle most daily items.

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2011 Chevy Volt Has a Cargo Cover

June 14, 2011


Yesterday, I should have said the Chevy Volt does not have a traditional cargo cover. You know, the roll-up kind found on the Prius, Insight and virtually every wagon or SUV on the market.

However, as two of our commenters oh-so-graciously pointed out (as well as the Volt's dealer order guide), the Volt does have a cargo cover. Those little hooks I assumed were just for the cargo net also hold in place the canopy-like cargo cover. A video on how it works after the jump.

I obviously did not and do not recall seeing another car with a cover like this. But you learn something every day. So, sorry Volt.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Chevy Volt: Steal My Stuff

June 13, 2011


I went shopping in the Volt on Saturday and as I closed the hatch, I realized the car lacks a cargo cover. There is no option for one on the Chevy Web site, nor could I find one as an aftermarket piece. There certainly isn't any pre-made "plugs" in the car to add one -- just some hook-like things for a cargo net.

By comparison, both the Prius and Insight have similar hatchback/trunk designs yet both offer cargo covers. It would be nice if the Volt had one to keep your valuables away from thieving eyes. But at least there's now a way to plug the trunk hole.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Chevy Volt: Doing Hatchback Duty

April 08, 2011


The Volt is a quasi-electric car, it's the way of the future, it has a funky touch-sensitive dashboard, blahbity blahbity blah. But it's also a hatchback and hatchbacks are better than sedans because they are more useful when the time comes to carry big bulky things. Things like a ginormous, original Z3/GoldenEye promotional poster from 1995. Picture after the jump.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,908 miles

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Electric to Pedal Power

April 04, 2011


This weekend I took Emma and her 20-inch beach cruiser down to the beach to do some cruising. I was surprised how easily her bike fit in the back of the Chevy Volt, still allowing one seat to remain in an upright position.

After we parked on Ocean Avenue, an older man stopped as I was removing her bike from the car.

"Is that fer when yer car runs outta juice?" he asked.

Seems he knew enough about the Volt to understand the electric part, but not enough to know about the gasoline-engine part.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 3,839 miles

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: The Grapes of Wrath

March 08, 2011

Volt Grapes.jpg

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt has this gap between the seats because of the layout of its battery. I actually like it for a couple of reasons. Looking through that gap helps with rearward visibility. And the separation between the seats reminds me of my old 1992 Honda Prelude, which had a storage area that ran down the center of the two seats. But I found out this weekend that this gap could be dangerous in the event of a hard stop.

I was driving back from the grocery store when a car in the opposite direction decided to make a left-hand turn a short distance ahead of me. I had a green light and the right of way, but the man wasn't paying attention and cut me off. I slammed on the brakes, which worked really well, avoided a collision and was able to stop a few feet short of him.

When I arrived at home, I opened up the cargo area and saw that all my grocery bags were smashed up against the seatbacks and a pack of grapes (shown above) was in the back seat. During my hard stop the grapes somehow jumped out of the bag, threaded the gap between the seats and ended up in the back seat.

I pondered what would have happened if someone had been sitting in the backseat. Would they have been hit by flying grapes? What if the flying object had been something heavier? My advice to Volt owners is this: Buy the cargo net! According to the Chevrolet Web site, it is a $45 dollar option, but a small price to pay to keep your cargo from taking flight.

Chevy also sells a cargo organizer for $99, which according to the site "provides a storage compartment between the rear passenger seats, while closing the gap between the rear seats and the cargo area." I wasn't able to find a photo of this of the cargo net.

My apologies for this recreated photo, but I was a bit freaked out that I almost crashed the Volt. Taking a photo then was the last thing on my mind.

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 2,993 miles.

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2011 Chevy Volt Can Learn From the Mini Countryman

February 16, 2011


"Note: Any photography equipment left in the trunk during a shoot will fly forward and hit the driver in the right arm." - Mike Magrath's caption for the above photo.

With a two-person back seat consisting of split buckets in front of a hatchback cargo area, this is going to be a problem. The Volvo C30 is another offender, but what about the Mini Countryman and its twin rear buckets?

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: Makes You Think Green

February 10, 2011

Volt Solar Panel.jpg

Somewhere between one and two years ago (I've honestly lost track) I used some credit card reward points to order two 15-watt solar panels. I ordered them because:
A. They were essentially free, and
B. I was curious to see what, if any, benefit they would deliver

But as I said, I received these panels a while back and had done exactly nothing with them. Then I got the most expensive electric bill I'd ever received and suddenly it seemed foolish to not even give these panels a shot at reducing my electric costs (plus there's that whole carbon footprint thing).

Something about having the Volt in my garage (and sucking up expensive California electricity), along with seeing that monstrous bill convinced me to unpack those panels and let some UV rays hit them. But I needed to confirm what mounting screws to use, which meant taking one of the panels to my local hardware store.

No worries, as the panel fit easily in the Volt's cargo bay and I was able to have a store employee confirm the diameter and length of the screws I'd need to secure them to my roof. And yes, I had fleeting thoughts of strapping them to the top of the Volt in an attempt to improve the pure electric range.

A few hours (and solder burns) later I had both panels mounted and 35 feet of wire running down the side of my house to a couple leftover automotive batteries (yes, I also know deep marine cycle batteries are better for this application). I won't bore you with all the details involving charge controllers and inverters, but I will say I technically watched the second half of the Super Bowl via the power of the sun. Well, almost. The inverter's low-voltage alarm went off at about the two-minute warning, so my football entertainment had to go back "on the grid" for the game finale.

But there's no doubt my experiences with the Volt finally drove me to go solar (on a limited basis). If one of the many points of these cars is to make us more seriously consider our energy usage, mission accomplished.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large

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