by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Chevrolet Volt started November strong, with most of the drivers only tapping into the gasoline engine for 20 to 30 miles at a time before plugging into a charging station. Michael Massey filled up early in the month for a gas-only average of 40.8 mpg. It stayed around Los Angeles, mostly running on electricity only, until I took it over the Thanksgiving break. Traveling around Orange County for a week made it too difficult to stay hooked up to charging stations, so most of my errands involved running on gas. The Volt closed the month with a 0.2 mpg downtick in overall fuel economy.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 29, 2016
We've written a few prior updates about the regenerative braking paddle on our 2016 Chevrolet Volt's steering wheel. None of them has been positive. After driving our Volt for about two weeks, though, I've found that using the paddle in conjunction with the "Low" driving mode works pretty well.
But is it worth it?
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 22, 2016
Most redesigned vehicles these days are incrementally improved. A few more horsepower here, an inch more legroom there, and perhaps a "boldly styled!" dashboard to top it all off.
But the 2016 Chevrolet Volt? Just about everything is dramatically better compared to the first-generation model.
Let's take a look.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on August 18, 2016
The top of the trunk on our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt is tall. Basically, the beltline and the decklid are both tall on this car, all the way around. As a result, you can't really see the headlights of the vehicle behind you. For me, in a comfortable seating position (I'm 5'9"), it's a windshield-and-up view of cars in the rearview mirror.
by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on August 12, 2016
I put in a lot of time on my Xbox, including plenty of driving games. During my most recent stint in our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt, I came up with an Xbox-related idea that could improve it.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 9, 2016
We recently leased a 2016 Fiat 500e for my daughter. In case they don't sell them where you live, the "e" stands for electric. I'm not a fan of the regular 500's engine and transmission, but that stuff gets magically wiped away when they build a 500e, leaving behind a torquey, cute-as-anything pocket rocket with an ultra-low center of gravity.
But I digress. We're supposed to be talking about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt long-term test car I drove home a couple nights ago. The connection, literally, comes in the form of the Fiat's 120-volt Level 1 power cord.
I'm lazy, you see. Why unwind the Volt's Level 1 cord when my daughter's Fiat cord is already plugged in and ready to go?
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on July 12, 2016
I recently had the chance to drive the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and walked away declaring it my automotive surprise of the year. To put it simply, it's shockingly good to drive, with composed handling and consistent, well-tuned controls. It's especially shocking since it's a hybrid — the gasoline-electric versions of midsize sedans are generally compromised in ways significant enough to make you constantly say, "well, at least it gets 40 mpg."
Aside from its smaller trunk, the Malibu Hybrid just isn't as compromised. Take the brake pedal, for instance, which feels normal and free from the weird, numb, two-stage pedal feel indicative of most other hybrids' regenerative braking. As such, I think the Hybrid is actually the Malibu to get. Not just because it's less compromised than other hybrid sedans, but because its powertrain is so good. The reason for that: it's basically a 2016 Chevrolet Volt without the plug.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on June 14, 2016
I spent a lot of time in our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt recently. In four days I covered just over 600 miles and spent more than 15 hours behind the wheel. Much of the drive included stop and go traffic. The majority of this time, the Volt was in hybrid mode rather than full electric. This experience left me with mixed feelings about the Volt.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on May 11, 2016
I arrived at Edmunds HQ at 6:45 on Monday morning. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt was in desperate need of a bath, and our preferred car wash wouldn't open for another couple hours. Perfect, I thought. This would (or should) be enough time to fully recharge the Volt's depleted battery
Based on my experience with our old 2014 BMW i3, I estimated I would make it out of the office with the Volt around 10 a.m.. The i3 had a 22 kilowatt-hour battery and an all-electric range of 72 miles. It took about four hours to fully charge.
Our Volt, meanwhile, has a range of 53 miles from an 18.4 kWh battery. Using the i3 as my mental yardstick, I reasoned that it would take less time for the Volt to charge.
Nope. It took five hours.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on May 4, 2016
A common annoyance for drivers of hybrid-powered vehicles is a brake pedal feel that's not consistent or easy to modulate. This was an issue we noticed with the previous generation Volt. But the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is noticeably improved. It's now easy to come to a stop smoothly every time.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on April 28, 2016
I've been driving our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt for more than a week straight now. One of the interesting aspects to me about has been how easily the Volt blends in with everything else on the road. Styling the second-generation Volt to look more "normal" was clearly a priority for Chevrolet, and it seems to have worked.
Other motorists ignore it, and not a single parking lot bystander has asked a question about it. It's pretty easy to imagine other people dismissing it as some sort of Chevy Cruze hatchback, or a Honda or Kia.
With the caveat that my experience is just a small sample, I pose the following question: would you want to buy a Volt because of this, or would you want something that stands out more?
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on April 26, 2016
One of the big improvements for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is greater full-electric driving range. The previous generation Volt had an EPA-estimated range of 38 miles; the new model can go 53 miles typically before switching on its gas engine/generator (and we've already exceeded that easily a few times). The upshot is that we're spending even more of our time driving our Chevy Volt like it was an electric vehicle (EV).
That's pretty neat, but it also made me wonder: When it's just using its electric battery power, how efficient is the Volt compared to other plug-in hybrids or even other EVs? Or, put in the way we would ask a friend about his or her regular new car: what kind of mpg is it getting?
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on April 22, 2016
There's a scene in the 1991 movie L.A. Story when Steve Martin's character gets in his Chrysler LeBaron to drive to his friend's house. His friend lives two houses away from his. It's played for comedic effect, yet I've seen a neighbor of mine do essentially the same thing to get her mail from the communal mailbox just a few houses away.
Nobody walks in Edmunds.com's hometown of L.A., or so the saying (or song) goes.
If you're that type of person, odds are you're not worried about wasting gas or incurring the tailpipe emissions that occur mostly at cold engine startup. But that said, it's arguably easier to feel less guilty if you're driving a 2016 Chevrolet Volt to pick up your mail from your mailbox or visit your friend a neighborhood away. Revel in your laziness, in fact!
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on March 17, 2016
"You don't want to do that," said the guy at Selman Chevrolet, where we bought our 2016 Chevrolet Volt. We were surrounded by three pristine Corvettes in the showroom.
In my head I was nodding in agreement like Angus Young. But my mouth said, "Yeah, but this car spends a lot of time in West L.A. and Santa Monica, places where parking enforcement would gladly write us up for no front license plate."
Because it's a requirement in California (and 30 other states,) a front license plate bracket came with the car. But the necessary attachment hardware was nowhere to be found. It takes 6 to 8 weeks for license plates to be issued, so it didn't matter until now.
"I'm here to get the pop-rivets and screws that were supposed to come with the bracket," I continued.
"You don't want to do that," he repeated, meaning something slightly different this time. "Bring it around and we'll put it on for you."
This time he was wrong. "Thanks, but I want to do it myself. Can you see if you have the parts?"
"You're the first person who's wanted to do that," he said. But he soon returned with a baggie containing the four pop-rivets and four screws I needed.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on March 4, 2016
It's frustrating when something little like this happens.
I was staring at the cargo area in our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt with my hands on my hips. I was attempting to install the small sheet of fabric that Chevrolet deems fit to call a cargo cover when one off the hook points comes loose.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on February 25, 2016
There was a thin layer of exterior grime on our 2016 Chevrolet Volt when I grabbed the key six days ago. Consecutive mornings of fog, wind and condensation elevated grunge levels to moderately-thick, but still well below the car wash threshold. A glance through the windows in any direction was obstructed only by a harmless layer of dust.
Or so it seemed.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on February 17, 2016
We got our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt in a paint color that Chevy calls Kinetic Blue Metallic. And it's fantastic.
Seriously, look at that color. It's awesome. I'm glad that we avoided colors like Heather Gray Metallic or Summit White (see: gray and white). The Kinetic Blue reminds me of one of my favorite colors ever, the Sonic Blue Pearl paint on the 1999 Honda Civic Si.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on January 28, 2016
I recently took our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt on a straight-shot freeway drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back. In keeping with the fast-talking, Vegas hustler theme, I'll present my impressions in rapid-fire fashion.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on January 19, 2016
One of the great advantages of an electric car, or in this case a plug-in hybrid operating solely on electric power for some amount of miles, is how quiet it is inside and out. Whether it's executing the perfect holeshot across an intersection in virtual silence, having an effortless conversation with your passenger, or listening to music untainted by the melodies of internal combustion, our 2016 Chevrolet Volt lends itself well.
This cocoon of silence is also something that could possibly drive you mad.
by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on January 5, 2016
Access to our long-term fleet is usually awesome, but once in a while it just gets tiring. Having a clean car every night is great. Having to bring your gym bag up to your desk, along with your parking pass, all your change, and whatever other miscellanea has accumulated is not.
And then you've got to worry if the person who has the car you want will be in the office by the time you want to leave. Or if they've gassed it. Or if they wear terrible cologne. I had a string of bad luck and was ready to trade out of the fleet and into my own new daily driver. So a few weeks ago, before we bought our long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt, I walked into a Chevy dealer to buy one for myself.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on January 4, 2016
Scroll down and you'll notice a few posts about the curious brake paddle on the steering wheel of our 2016 Chevrolet Volt. I should have read the blog before I signed the Volt out for a week, as I was utterly confounded when I pulled the paddle for the first time and nothing happened. Note that I played with the paddle when the car was stopped and the transmission selector was in the typical "D" drive mode.
I tried it several more times. No lights or messages on the dash. No noticeable difference in the way the car drove. I paged through the owner's manual and read that the paddle activates the "Regen on Demand" feature. I assumed it toggled brake regeneration between unobtrusive and halting, like the menu setting in our old long-term 2013 Tesla Model S.
But the Volt always came to a stop in the same way. Lift off throttle and the car coasted until I hit the brakes. I thought the paddle was broken. Then I tried using it when the car was in motion.
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on December 23, 2015
"That's one way to brake! Two ways to brake! That's, three! Three ways to brake, mwah hah hah hah!"
by Kelly Hellwig, Managing Editor on December 17, 2015
Back in 2011, when we took delivery of our first long-term Chevrolet Volt test car, the Chevy seemed so glamorous and high-tech. Until then we were mostly driving around in hybrids that looked like hybrids (read Toyota Prius), and the Volt seemed like a far more exciting option.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on December 16, 2015
There are many things to like about our new long-term 2016 Chevrolet Volt. For one, the general consensus is that it's an attractive car. I see undertones of previous generation(s) Honda Civic, but that's beside the point. I'm also impressed by its electric-only range. I could exist quite comfortably under its 53-ish-mile ceiling for the majority of the week, which means far fewer pesky stops at the pump. Single-occupancy carpool lane access also a huge plus.
One thing I haven't quite wrapped my head around though is how Chevy decided to integrate a control for maximum regenerative braking. It's the steering wheel paddle on the left, and its reason for existence is questionable at best.
by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on December 11, 2015
If you don't think General Motors has cutting-edge technology, you haven't been paying attention.
Though it hasn't had a hybrid with the success of the Prius, or an EV with the range, style and coolness of the Tesla Model S, GM now has the world's best Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) in the new Chevy Volt.