2016 Chevrolet Volt: Well-Suited for Longer Road Trips
by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on May 13, 2015
Rather than take a flight up to California's wine country for a work trip, I opted to drive the 425 or so miles each way. So the call went out to our in-house wranglers to see which of our long-termers needed some miles. Since our 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been used primarily as a commuter with a charge station on at least one end of the route, it was lacking in the long-distance part of its life.
I left L.A. in the morning, but not early enough to beat traffic. After 42 or so miles the batteries had depleted and switched over to the gasoline engine. The only indication I had of the switchover was courtesy of the gauges. The engine was nearly as quiet as the electric motors and there was no detectable change in power to the wheels.
"Turn right in 140 miles," was the navigation command.
The Volt is a great road trip car. It's quiet and has just as much power as the typical family sedan. The ride quality is as smooth too, with nothing standing out one way or another and that's a good thing.
Three hundred miles in, I was ready for a break and fuel. 7.657 gallons of 87-octane went in for a 39.2 mpg result. Not bad considering the hills and 70-mph speed limits. I arrived at my hotel in Calistoga four minutes before the meeting. Perfect.
As I handed the keys over to the valet, I asked if they had a charging station I could use. He said they do indeed and also have a Tesla-specific charger. The standard charger was right in front but the valet mentioned he would have to wait a while to use it because that section of the lot was reserved just for the cars in the event I was attending.
I told him that he can charge it whenever is most convenient as I wasn't leaving for a few days. The day before my departure, another valet knocked on my door, handed me the keys and let me know that it was fully charged and parked right outside my door. I love good service.
The next morning I departed but drove only about 120 miles south before stopping in Los Gatos, California, for a super fancy dinner with an old friend. The first 49.9 miles were electric-only, once again followed by gasoline power.
I rolled back into L.A. the following afternoon. The whole round trip added another 874.6 miles to the odometer with 21.957 gallons of gas poured in. That figures out to 39.8 mpg if you only account for gasoline. Electrons are cheaper, but they aren't free.
Considering how comfortable the Volt is and how you really can just treat it like an ordinary car, I wouldn't hesitate to road trip in it again.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 9,000 miles