2016 Chevrolet Volt: Monthly Update for April 2017
by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
We drove our 2016 Chevrolet Volt 2,305 miles in April. It was a busy month. The unfortunate result of accumulating so many miles was that almost all of our time was on the freeway. Such freeway-heavy driving was consequently less reflective of the city-dwelling habits of typical Volt owners.
The Chevy remained in the hands of our long-distance commuters all month. It is hard to turn down the lure of HOV-lane stickers when you live over 40 miles, or up to two hours, from the office. So we didn't. And that meant our Volt's eyes rarely looked up from the 405 freeway all month.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We've said it before and will here again. Tracking fuel economy for a plug-in hybrid such as the Volt is not straightforward. We do our best to separate miles driven solely on battery power from those using the gasoline engine. It is a system easily sabotaged by simple oversights. A failure to record the switchover from electric to gas modes means a loss of useful data. Fill up with gas before the electric power is fully depleted, and there is another data gap. Other factors also come into play. Still here is what we've observed after 18 months.
Average lifetime gas mpg: 37.5
Best fill mpg: 45.1
EPA combined mpg rating: 42
Average electric range: 51.9 miles
Best electric range: 75 miles
EPA electric range rating: 53 miles
Current odometer: 24,133 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"After driving the Bolt EV for a weekend, I got used to using the steering wheel paddle to control the regenerative braking. When I got into the Volt recently, I remembered that it used the same system and immediately started using it. It works well, but it takes a little practice to consistently get the Volt to stop right where you want it. While inching through traffic, it works well for briefly slowing the car down, but if I knew I had to come to a stop I would just use the brake pedal. I also noticed that holding the paddle doesn't keep it stopped, so you have to eventually push the pedal if you're stopped for a few seconds. It's still a nice feature to have, however, so I'm glad it carried over to the Bolt EV." — Ed Hellwig, senior editor
"I really enjoy our Volt as a commuter. My drive is roughly 10 miles one way, but it can take 30 to 40 minutes as I navigate tight surface streets. I've spent most of the week in the car, charging when I reach the office, and I've yet to hear the engine start. Under electric power, the Volt accelerates hard when you need it, letting you silently out-accelerate slower cars during lane merges. You don't appreciate the quietness and absence of engine vibrations until you spend time with an EV. You don't have to try and cover the din of an economy car powertrain with loud music. It's relaxing." — Carlos Lago, senior writer
"Android Auto integration rocks. I can ignore Chevy's entertainment and nav system entirely, relying instead on Google Maps and my favorite podcasts." — Carlos Lago
"The only downside is the smell. When left in the sun for a few hours, the Volt's interior develops an off-putting and musty stink. Not sure if it's the seat material, plastics, or if something got spilled inside (didn't see anything when I checked), but the smell is disappointing, especially when you're trying to show off how much you like the car to a neighbor." — Carlos Lago
"Most importantly (and unlike the Bolt EV), the Volt doesn't look dorky." — Carlos Lago