2013 Chevy Volt Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Low monthly fuel cost in normal driving
- useful 300-mile maximum range
- appealing standard features
- excellent crash test scores.
- Questionable value
- cramped two-person backseat
- touchy brakes
- no power front seats.
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.
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.
2013 Chevrolet Volt models
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.3%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt Overview
The Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt is offered in the following submodels: Volt Hatchback. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback (gas/electric hybrid DD). The Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 1-speed direct drive. The Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt?
Price comparisons for Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt trim styles:
- The Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt Base is priced between $15,590 and$16,990 with odometer readings between 44719 and71016 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2013 Chevrolet Volts are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Chevrolet Volt for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2013 Volts listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,590 and mileage as low as 44719 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Chevrolet Volt.
Can't find a used 2013 Chevrolet Volts you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Chevrolet Volt for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,455.
Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $11,105.
Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Volt for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $7,689.
Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 2 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $18,727.
Should I lease or buy a 2013 Chevrolet Volt?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.