2016 Chevrolet Volt: Monthly Update for March 2017
by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
Where Did We Drive It?
We spent most of March driving our 2016 Chevrolet Volt on gasoline. Yet we still managed to set new lifetime marks in average mpg and average electric range. A routine visit to the dealer led to some surprises, in the form of three recalls and over four hours of our day.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We drove the Volt a total of 1,069 miles in March. This registered as one of our lowest monthly totals. By contrast it was one of our higher electric-use months, with 398 miles, or 37 percent, of the total distance traveled on the juice. It was enough to inch our average gas mpg higher by one-tenth and average electric range by five-tenths of a mile. It certainly wasn't dramatic, but it still moved the needle.
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: 22,857 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
The Volt went to the dealer this month for routine service and a trio of recalls.
We showed up a few minutes early for our 8 a.m. appointment at DeLillo Chevrolet in Huntington Beach. An adviser greeted us immediately, processed the car and gave us an estimate of three hours to complete the work.
The oil change and tire rotation cost $45.70 and took about 30 minutes. Three recalls fell under warranty but took almost four hours themselves. Recall 16055 reflashed the drive-motor power inverter module; 39570 recalibrated the front view camera to keep it from freezing; and 16055 reflashed the hybrid computer (HPCM2) to remedy a reduced propulsion power error.
"I'm very picky about seats. This is a big problem in most hybrids and electric cars because they tend to go with a more one-size-fits-all design to limit adjustability and, therefore, weight. Usually, this is terrible for me because I'm large. The Volt seats, though, are quite comfortable for me. My 5-foot-6 wife, on the other hand, complained about her comfort in the passenger seat." — Will Kaufman, Associate Automotive Editor
"I knocked the driver's seat of the Volt for its long-distance comfort before. So I gave it another chance. For the past five days it was my daily commuter. In my case that is at least an hour in each direction. I came to the same conclusion. But this time I discovered my breaking point: 45 minutes. The seat is just too flat and firm to go any longer without a break. I can't live with that." — Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing
"Why, why, oh why, is there so much faux chrome (faume?) in the Volt's interior? I give this car a lot of credit for being comfortable (P.S. thank you, Chevy, for the extendable sun visors), but on my commute there were moments when the chrome surround of the bowtie on the steering wheel reflected the afternoon sun directly into my eyeballs. If this were my car, there'd be a piece of tape permanently affixed to the center of the steering wheel." — Will Kaufman
"I fully expected the Volt, with its funky almost a 2+2 seating position, to be a bear when it comes to installing a child seat. It's not. Though the LATCH anchors aren't the easiest to get to, the rear door opens nice and wide and the actual seat itself isn't too far back. ... There's a ton more front/rear space than I expected, and my front passenger had plenty of space. Sure, there's not a lot of headroom for you to lean down into and the seat bottom is angled slightly back, which may mis-angle some car seats ? but that's easy to work around. Overall, this is a setup I, and most parents with infant seats, could live with every day. ... Now if only I could live with the rest of the car." — Mike Magrath, Content Strategist