2016 Chevrolet Volt: Monthly Update for February
by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
In the month of February we fed our 2016 Chevrolet Volt a steady diet of commuter miles. It was a lot of heavy lifting for the Volt. But driving wasn't the only work we subjected it to.
Editor Dan Frio and I tag-teamed the entire month with the Chevy. His slog between home and Edmunds HQ is a round trip of 120 miles to my 80. So the majority of the 1,380 miles we drove last month were on the highway, though Dan still made a concerted effort to live the EV life. Additionally, we challenged, and exceeded, the limits of the Volt's cargo hold while running errands locally.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
As always, tracking fuel economy on a plug-in hybrid such as the Volt is not straightforward. We do our best to separate miles driven solely via battery power from those motivated by gasoline. It's not a perfect system because it means diligently (and accurately) recording the battery-gasoline switchover point when applicable, plus other factors. But here's what we've observed so far:
Average lifetime gas mpg: 37.4
Best fill mpg: 45.1
EPA combined mpg rating: 42
Average electric range: 51.4 miles
Best electric range: 75 miles
EPA electric range rating: 53 miles
Current odometer: 21,828 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"The Volt has this odd behavior when it's driving on the gas engine after the battery has been depleted. There's this little symphony of micro-lurches and surges that occur at different points of pedal pressure as the Volt's two motors blend and back off continuously, depending on seemingly hundreds of variables. It's probably not noticeable to anyone else in the car (at least no one who's ridden with me), but it's apparent from the driver seat. Especially if you're active on the pedal and trying to modulate speed smoothly. It's a little distracting, even a little unsettling ... and maybe nothing to worry about. Just the normal workings of the Volt's innovative drivetrain." — Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
"I picked up two sheets of 3-by-5-foot cement backer board for a home bathroom remodel. The cargo area of the Chevy measures just over 3 feet so they'd fit fine, I thought. But it turns out the rear-most edge of the cargo space is just under 3 feet. I got everything in, but it was far from graceful." — Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
"Here's one for the 'What Was I Thinking?' file. I needed to pick up some practice mats for martial arts, specifically the thick tatami (woven straw) mats used in judo. Designed to cushion the body on impact, the mats are long, wide and not especially light. I underestimated just how long and wide when I figured the Volt could handle the job. It's a hatchback, I thought. We've loaded plenty of gear into it before. Well, the Volt handled the job, but it wasn't pretty. Those are six mats in the photo, each measuring 6.6 by 3.3 feet. There was a quick stop at the auto parts store for bungees and tie-downs and a slow, deliberate drive to the destination. Moral of the story: Don't bring a hybrid to a truck fight." — Dan Frio
"I just loaded five 8-foot-long two-by-fours into the Volt. It was a piece of cake. I just leaned the front passenger seat all the way back and tucked them into the footwell. It worked better than any open-bed pickup truck would have on this rainy day." — Mike Schmidt
"The Volt has a big hatch/cargo area, but here's one place the car reveals its compact dimensions: rear-seat footwells. There's not enough room for the two grocery bags shown in the photo to fit lengthwise. And this is with the seat set for a 5-foot-6-inch driver. You might be able to jam them in there, at the risk of crushing your bread and bruisin' your peaches." — Dan Frio