2016 Chevrolet Volt: Monthly Update for October 2016
by Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Chevrolet Volt made the usual rounds this month, mainly ferrying editors to and from our office in Santa Monica on their commutes. We also drove it to Rosamond, California, home of the famous Willow Springs Raceway, for our annual driving school. On the way, the Volt made a cameo appearance at Vasquez Rocks, aka arguably the most exciting sight on the desolate stretch between Santa Clarita and Palmdale.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
October wasn't a particularly remarkable month for the Volt in terms of energy efficiency. If you look at the data below, however, you'll notice that our Volt has never achieved the EPA fuel economy estimate. Not even on its best tank! How could that be? Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds weighs in:
"We're mostly just driving it. No hyper-tests for it so far. We still need to take it on our standard test loop, for example. Don't forget that the Volt spends a lot of time in notorious L.A. traffic, which is worse than the city driving pattern used by the EPA."
In other words, stay tuned — the Volt's best mpg may be yet to come.
Average lifetime mpg: 38.8 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 42 mpg combined
Best fill mpg: 40.3 mpg
Best range: 531.4 miles
Current odometer: 14,954 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
A flat tire left one editor on the side of the road. The standard inflator kit didn't fix the flat, so we had to use a tow truck to remedy the situation. The right rear tire cost us $195.37, including labor.
"The Volt soaks up small bumps like a typical midsize sedan. It's only when you hit a larger pothole that you feel a harsh jolt through the cabin." — Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor
"My wife is currently driving an all-electric Fiat 500e that we leased a few months back. She doesn't drive many miles a day, so we've found that the standard 120-volt Level 1 charge cord that came with the car is more than adequate. Such charge cords are standardized, so I've been able to use it to recharge the Volt even though the cord has Fiat branding on it. No use uncoiling a second cord if you don't have to, right?" — Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
"I live 46 miles from work, and the 2016 Volt has plenty of electric range to get home on a full charge. I've gone as far as 70 miles when traffic was just bad enough to keep my speed down below 50 mph the entire way. Today's freeway pace was generally higher. Traffic cleared about halfway home and started to move along at the 65 mph speed limit. I made it home on electricity, but 'only' had 13 miles left. That amounts to a projected range of 59 miles. Not too shabby." — Dan Edmunds
"The first-generation Volt was not a particularly smooth-driving car or efficient car when running on gasoline. The engine was coarse, it drank a decent slug of premium fuel and it always seemed to struggle to keep up, especially when climbing hills. But this second-generation Volt is better by leaps and bounds. Its gas engine runs in the dim background to the point where it feels little different than all-electric mode when cruising at moderate speeds or nosing around the city. It starts to be more noticeable when climbing hills or cruising the fast lane on the freeway, but it's still quieter and more subdued than some other gasoline hybrids I can think of. If I had to give one car the Most Improved award, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt would be it. " — Dan Edmunds