2017 Chevrolet Volt

2017 Chevrolet Volt Review

With more than 50 miles of all-electric range, the Volt is a great choice for a plug-in hybrid.
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Brent Romans
Edmunds Editor

The 2017 Chevrolet Volt offers unique plug-in hybrid functionality in a sleek, high-tech package. We like how it can go more than 50 miles on all-electric power before switching to gas. If you want real EV functionality without the usual range-based limitations, it's a home run.

This year marks the second year of production for the redesigned Volt, but last year's model was available only on a limited basis. As such, many shoppers may not be aware of the changes that the second-generation Volt incorporates. There's a new body structure, for one thing, along with more conventional styling inside and out that departs from the old Volt's concept-car vibe. Under the surface, a revised plug-in hybrid powertrain delivers a remarkable boost in all-electric range (the original Volt could only go about 38 miles). Moreover, the 2017 Volt's quieter 1.5-liter gasoline engine/generator no longer requires premium fuel, and it achieves an EPA rating of 42 mpg combined once the battery pack is depleted.

Fundamentally, though, the new Volt's appeal remains the same. Most plug-in hybrids offer roughly 10 to 20 miles of electric range, but this Chevrolet has enough battery power to keep you away from the gas station for weeks at a time, if not months. On the other hand, there's none of the range anxiety that plagues purely electric cars because the gasoline engine is always ready to kick in and propel you more than 400 miles between fill-ups. During the week, you can commute in your Volt and never use a drop of gas. And should a weekend getaway come up, you can simply rely on hybrid gas-electric power, with no need to stop and find a charging station.



what's new

For 2017, the Chevrolet Volt's options list grows to include adaptive cruise control and an upgraded automatic emergency braking system.

we recommend

There's not much choice when it comes to the Volt, but we think that getting the Premier trim level is the way to go. Though the base LT is reasonably well equipped and can be fitted with some optional upgrades such as leather upholstery, we like that these features (plus a few extras) come standard on the Premier. The Premier is also the only trim that offers optional advanced driver safety aids. Also be on the lookout for the Premier's available tan-and-black interior color scheme; you might like how it livens up the Volt's otherwise gloomy all-black interior design.




trim levels & features

The 2017 Volt is a five-seat, plug-in hybrid hatchback sedan offered in LT and Premier trims. Both come with a plug-in hybrid system consisting of twin electric motors (149 total horsepower), a 1.5-liter gasoline engine/generator and a 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. You need to plug it in to recharge fully, but the battery pack can also be partially recharged on the go from the gas engine/generator and regenerative braking. The LT comes reasonably well equipped, while the Premier is more upscale and provides access to more optional advanced driver safety aids.

Standard feature highlights for the Volt LT include 17-inch wheels, LED headlights (low-beam) and taillights, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, automatic climate control and a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Notable technology features for the Volt are a reconfigurable driver information and gauge cluster display screen, Bluetooth, OnStar (with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity), an 8-inch central touchscreen with Chevrolet's MyLink interface, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration for iPhone users and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

Optional for the LT is a Comfort package that includes heated mirrors, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Leather upholstery can be ordered with the LT Comfort package as well. An eight-speaker Bose audio system is available as a stand-alone option.

Move up to the 2017 Volt Premier and you get all of the above as standard, plus different 17-inch wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated rear outboard seats, a wireless charging pad for cellphones and other equipment, a navigation system and an automated parking system (parallel and perpendicular).

The Driver Confidence package available for the Premier trim includes blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert. The Driver Confidence 2 package (requires basic Driver Confidence package) adds forward collision warning with automatic low-speed emergency braking, lane departure intervention and adaptive headlights. If you get the Driver Confidence 2 package, you can also spring for adaptive cruise control, which is bundled with an upgraded automatic emergency braking system.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a 2016 Chevrolet Volt Premier (1.5L 4-cyl. plug-in hybrid; CVT automatic). NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Chevrolet Volt has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Volt.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling3.5 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0
Climate control3.5 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use4.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Driving position3.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.5 / 5.0
Visibility2.5 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.0 / 5.0
Smartphone integration5.0 / 5.0
Driver aids4.0 / 5.0
Voice control4.0 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
Considering the Volt's eco-friendly mission and its thriftiness on fuel, it performs admirably. The 2017 Volt feels willing and able in just about every situation, and it's one of the smoothest-driving plug-in hybrid vehicles out there.

Acceleration

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The Volt's powertrain delivers smooth and seamless acceleration whether in electric or gasoline mode. Our sprint to 60 mph took just 7.8 seconds on electricity or 7.5 seconds on gasoline, an enthusiastic performance for a green car.

Braking

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The brake pedal is a bit unresponsive initially, but otherwise the Volt's braking is pleasingly smooth and linear. The blending of regenerative and regular friction braking is nearly imperceptible, too. In our 60 mph-to-zero panic-stop test, the Volt posted a respectable 119-foot distance.

Steering

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It steers with a confidence and directness that makes it easy for the driver to guide the car around turns and through corners. Effort is generally good, but it can feel a bit "thick" and indistinct around center when cruising straight.

Handling

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The Volt exhibits good coordination and even a bit of playfulness on winding roads. Don't push it too hard, though, because the suspension and economy-minded tires aren't optimized for that sort of thing.

Drivability

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Electric drive is very smooth in the Volt. In gasoline mode, the engine and its CVT work well together, too. It's an easy car to drive. The Volt has a "L" mode and a steering-wheel-mounted paddle for more brake regeneration; some drivers might find the paddle's abrupt engagement off-putting, though.

Comfort

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The Volt is certainly quiet, and the ride is smooth most of the time. The suspension doesn't always maintain its composure on the worst roads, though. The seats are generally well-shaped for most, but they have a few limitations that prevent them from being universally loved.

Seat comfort

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The seats generally receive high marks for comfort and support, but the bottom cushion could be longer to help with thigh support. The rear outboard seats, thanks to the seat contouring and armrest padding, are comfortable for adults.

Ride comfort

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The Volt is generally smooth and buttoned-down over typical sorts of worn or uneven road surfaces. But driving over potholes results in sharp impacts in the cabin. The Volt can seem overly soft and out of sorts when you encounter midcorner bumps, too.

Noise & vibration

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Electric mode is exceedingly silent, of course, but this second-generation Volt is now tame when running on gasoline, too. Engine noise is no longer the sore point it was before. Detectable but not excessive levels of wind and road noise.

Climate control

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Automatic climate control is standard. It's single-zone only, however. Cabin heating works well and warms up quickly. The Premier's heated seats (front and rear) and the heated steering wheel also work well.

Interior

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The Volt's interior is far more useful than before. It's a lot like a regular car, and you can seat up to five now (in theory). But some rival plug-in hybrids are roomier and have better visibility.

Ease of use

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This Volt differs from the original in its more logically arrayed buttons and knobs. Because of some of the car's advanced tech, however, this isn't a simple car that you can immediately hop in and drive. Setting the climate control manually can be a little confusing, too.

Getting in/getting out

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Access to the front is easy thanks to wide-opening doors and an agreeable roofline. Backseat access is trickier because of the lower roofline and smaller door opening. Taller folks will have to duck a little.

Driving position

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There's enough adjustability for most drivers, but the driver seat's height adjuster could stand to have more range. Also, you can't get a power driver seat in a Volt; Chevy uses manual adjustments, presumably to save weight.

Roominess

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Plenty of room up front for adults of all sizes. The backseat is a little tighter, but it's still roomy for two adults of average height. In theory, you can fit three back there, but the space taken up by the wide battery pack underneath means the center spot is for kids or car seats only.

Visibility

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Good view out the front, but the nose drops away out of sight, making parking trickier. Reasonably sized rear door glass helps minimize over-the-shoulder blind spots. Rear visibility is hampered by the small rear window (though the rearview camera is excellent). A rear window wiper isn't available.

Quality

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Though the styling of the cabin is much improved, the quality of the plastic and the overused plastic-chrome trim could stand more refinement. Acceptable, but not outstanding. Exterior assembly and paint quality are about average.

Utility

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The Volt's luggage area doesn't hold a whole lot, but the hatchback design makes the most of it. For everyday driving, the Volt should work out fine. But some rival plug-in vehicles are a bit more utilitarian.

Small-item storage

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The open storage space ahead of the gear shifter is useful for holding your phone or other small personal items. There's also a small slot next to the shifter and a decent-sized center console bin. The cupholders will hold most drink sizes. In back, the Volt has two cupholders but no other storage options.

Cargo space

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The trunk, at 10.6 cubic feet, is modestly sized; fitting golf bags is problematic. The provided security cover is chintzy, too. Still, the hatchback design gives you a bigger portal to load luggage compared to the typical small sedan, and the 60/40-split seatback folds down.

Child safety seat accommodation

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Chevy provides the Volt with a typical arrangement of LATCH anchors. Accessing the lower anchors is OK, but the thick seat cushion contouring can hamper fitting of safety seats. Rear-facing safety seat installation might require sliding the front seats up a bit.

Technology

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You would expect that a car as advanced as the Volt would have the latest suite of in-car tech, and Chevy delivers. The touchscreen interface is easy to use, and most driver safety aids are either standard or optional.

Audio & navigation

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Every Volt comes with an 8-inch touchscreen with the MyLink interface. The graphics are sharp and the menus are easy to understand. Factory navigation comes standard on the Premier. You also get the upgraded Bose audio system; sound quality is better and more enjoyable than with most base systems.

Smartphone integration

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The two main smartphone app integration systems out right now, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, come standard on the Volt. Bluetooth pairing is simple.

Driver aids

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Most of the latest driver safety aids, such as blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning and lane departure intervention, are available. But you can only get them on the top-level Premier trim. An automated parking system is also optional.

Voice control

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In our testing, MyLink's voice recognition system works reasonably well and gives sufficient prompts if you don't know which commands are available. Also, Siri and Google Voice on your paired smartphone can be called up by pressing and holding the voice button longer.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.