2016 Chevrolet Volt: Performance Tested - A Deep Dive Into the Numbers
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on March 14, 2016
Testing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle like our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt requires adjusting our testing procedure. Usually we test a vehicle's braking before diving into our acceleration runs, but we want to test battery-powered vehicles with a full charge. It's not a huge change, but it's an important one.
This new Volt is a substantially better performer than our previous long-term car, though 0-60 times are not what a car like the Volt is all about. Read on to see how this new generation model fares when pushed to its limits.
Vehicle: 2016 Chevrolet Volt
Driver: Jonathan Elfalan
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Electric-drive transaxle
Engine Type: Electric motor with inline-four cylinder gasoline engine
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,490/91
Redline (rpm): None Indicated
Horsepower (hp): 149
Torque (lb-ft): 294
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): independent MacPherson strut-type with side-loaded strut modules, specially tuned coil springs, direct-acting hollow stabilizer bar; hydraulic ride bushings
Suspension Type (rear): specially adapted compound crank (torsion beam) with double-walled, U-shaped profile at the rear; specifically tuned coil springs, hydraulic bushings
Tire Size (front): 215/50R17 91H
Tire Size (rear): 215/50R17 91H
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Energy Saver All-Season
Tire Type: Low rolling resistance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,543
0-30 (sec): 2.7 (w/ TC on 2.6)
0-45 (sec): 4.7 (w/ TC on 4.7)
0-60 (sec): 7.5 (w/TC on 7.8)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.3 (w/TC on 7.5)
0-75 (sec): 11.2 (w/TC on 12.4)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.6 @ 89.7 (w/TC on 15.9 @ 83.4)
30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 119
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.85 (0.81 w/ESC on)
(Electric-only mode) Accelerator response is immediate with nice amount of torque right off the line. Acceleration is strong until about 30 mph, then begins to drop off pretty significantly. In this mode, the Volt is quicker to 30 mph compared to running on the gas engine. As expected, the first run was the quickest with the batteries at full charge. It's also best going from brake to throttle with no pedal overlap in between (power braking). Each successive run was slower as the batteries depleted.
(Gas-only mode, batteries depleted) In this mode, acceleration runs are quickest and more repeatable, with most of the speed gains made at 35 mph and above. Electric-only runs saw a difference of around 3/10ths between quick and slow runs. Unlike the electric-only runs, there is some benefit to brief power braking, which ensures the engine is on and revving slightly before releasing the brakes. The engine runs at a moderately low rpm till around 35 mph (even longer ons some runs) until it kicks over to another mode and the rpm increases dramatically, providing much more thrust like a secondary cam. We weren't able to deduce a way to trick the engine into the higher rpm range sooner.
The brake pedal has a soft effort and long travel, almost SUV-like. There's also some occasional instability under maximum braking, which resulted in some front end wiggle on a few runs. The tires don't seem to have great grip which could contribute to the instability characteristics. Despite the subjective instability, brake runs were incredibly consistent, all within a half-foot of each other. With the cooling in between, there wasn't any noticeable brake odor.
Entering the skid pad, the Volt turns in quickly but immediately understeers a moderate amount. Stability and traction control is pretty invasive, dialing back engine torque as understeer is sensed, so it's easier to be smooth and consistent with the systems turned off. Steering feel is almost completely numb and a floaty suspension wouldn't be very confidence-inspiring driving at speed ? Jonathan Elfalan
Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 4,039 miles