2016 Chevrolet Volt: Brake Pedal Feel Is Consistent, Easy To Modulate
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on May 4, 2016
A common annoyance for drivers of hybrid-powered vehicles is a brake pedal feel that's not consistent or easy to modulate. This was an issue we noticed with the previous generation Volt. But the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is noticeably improved. It's now easy to come to a stop smoothly every time.
This particular issue crops up because a hybrid vehicle can utilize two different systems to help slow the car down. One is the traditional friction brakes (i.e., the disc brakes at each wheel). But there's also the electric motor/generator (part of the hybrid powertrain) that is used to convert some of the vehicle's forward momentum into electricity that can be used to recharge the battery pack. This is commonly called regenerative braking.
The regenerative braking can only apply so much stopping power, however, so combining it with the friction brakes in a way that's transparent and linear to the driver has been the struggle for automakers.
But Chevy has gotten it right with the new Volt. If you step on the brake pedal to slow the car down, it feels pretty much just like you'd expect from a regular vehicle. (It's way better than the grabby brakes in our long-term Tacoma, just for comparison's sake.)
There are other ways to reduce speed in the Volt. As we wrote previously, you can also use the gear selector's "L" mode and the paddle on steering wheel. Both apply a specific amount of regenerative braking. But if you just want to keep it simple and use the Volt's regular brake pedal exclusively, I think you'll be pleased.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,778 miles