The Chevrolet Volt represents a voyage into uncharted waters for both General Motors and automakers in general. A so-called plug-in hybrid, the front-wheel-drive Volt is a four-door, four-seat hatchback that's motivated primarily by an electric motor good for about 40 miles of range. That's enough to get most people to work and back. Should you need to go farther, a gasoline-powered engine is aboard (it acts as a generator) to extend the car's range by as much as 300 miles and essentially turn the Volt into a regular hybrid.
Truly, the Volt represents a glimpse into the future of automotive propulsion. For those with a short commute, the concept makes a lot of sense, while the car's gasoline-powered engine gives it a notable range advantage over all-electric cars like Nissan's Leaf. Moreover, with potentially hefty government tax rebates plus a $5,000 price cut for 2014, a new Volt is more attainable than ever, with used values likely to drop accordingly. We encourage early adopters to give the innovative Volt a chance.
Current Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt is essentially a plug-in hybrid, meaning it has the ability to run much faster and farther under electric power alone than a normal hybrid. In the Volt's case, this means up to 100 mph and anywhere from 25-50 miles without using a drop of gasoline.
Once you run out of battery juice, the gasoline-powered inline-4 engine kicks in, producing electricity for the motor and actually powering the wheels in some circumstances, stretching the Volt's range by as much as an additional 300 miles. A "Hold" feature lets you choose when to bring gas power online, allowing all-electric mode to be saved for opportune stretches.
The electric motor is rated at 149 horsepower (111 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet of torque. Drive force is sent to the front wheels through a specialized planetary gearset.
Standard feature highlights include keyless ignition/entry, automatic climate control, a split-folding rear seatback, a six-speaker sound system and GM's MyLink system that includes Bluetooth streaming audio, voice controls and enhanced smartphone integration. Major options include low-emissions equipment so it can qualify for HOV lane access (certain states only), a rearview camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats, lane departure warning, a navigation system and a Bose sound system. Volt owners can monitor the car's status and set charging times through an online Web portal or a mobile phone app.
In our reviews, we've found that the Chevrolet Volt has satisfying zip at low speeds thanks to its electric motor, which offers abundant torque. Although the Volt corners surprisingly well due to its low center of gravity, the overall driving experience is as bland as one would expect from a car designed to maximize energy efficiency. But the Volt certainly isn't a laggard, and overall performance is similar to what you'd get from a normal four-cylinder-equipped family sedan. Acceleration is the same whether or not the gas engine is in use, but there is a noticeable (though not really objectionable) increase in noise.
Inside, the Chevy Volt features a unique dashboard layout that's part spaceship, part iPod -- and pretty darn cool. There's a high-tech gauge readout behind the steering wheel and a swoopy center stack that looks like an oversized high-end electronic device. Unfortunately, the touch-activated "buttons" can be difficult to pick out at a glance, and sometimes don't respond on first press. This is definitely an instance of form over function.
The rear seat is adequate for two average-sized adults, but there's no middle seat thanks to the T-shaped battery pack, which occupies this slot as well as part of the trunk. Cargo capacity is limited due to the Volt's rakish roof line and that hefty battery pack, though the rear seatbacks do fold down.
Used Chevrolet Volt Models
The Chevrolet Volt debuted for 2011. In this first model year it came standard with navigation and the Bose sound system; they became options the following year. Note that these early Volts had a potential battery fire issue after a particularly severe side crash. As such, you'll want to make sure any early 2011 Volt has received the needed fix.
Changes have been mostly minor since, though the 2011 and '12 Volts lack the optional low-emissions equipment and lane departure and collision warning systems found on the current model. Likewise, the "Hold" mode wasn't introduced until 2013.
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been in our fleet for what seems like forever (our fuel book indicates that the beginning of "forever" is November 2015), but we still manage to add a respectable number of miles to our elder statesman's odometer each month. As usual, our plug-in hybrid was used primarily for around-town duties, whether it was solo commuting in the carpool lane or, in my case, traveling at normal highway speeds on Interstate 10 through downtown L.A. (traffic is totally clear at 10 p.m.). Without any long-distance trips, the Volt traveled just over 800 miles in August.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Of the 816 miles driven, 211.1 miles were driven on electric power alone. We didn't set any records in terms of electric range, but I noticed my sustained highway-speed EV travel produced an all-electric range of 46.3 miles, compared to the EPA's estimated 53 miles. I wasn't surprised; with no traffic, I couldn't use the regenerative brakes to recharge the battery and extend the EV range. Our monthly gas-only fuel economy averaged out to about 40 mpg, good enough to increase the Volt's overall gas-only economy from 37.7 to 37.8 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 37.8
EPA mpg rating: 42 combined
Average electric range: 51.4 miles
Best electric range: 75 miles
EPA electric range rating: 53 miles
Current odometer: 27,600 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I wish the Volt's brakes were a bit more robust. Compared to the accelerator pedal (which you barely have to press when driving under battery power, the electric thrust is so readily available), the brake pedal requires a fair shove to slow the Volt. On more than one occasion, I had to slam the brakes to get it to stop where I wanted." — Abigail Bassett, senior director, video & social media
"I drive the Volt in D (rather than L) because I have a long (all of 17 miles), mostly highway commute from where I live to the office. L is great when you are tooling around town and want to utilize the regenerative braking paddle on the steering wheel, but when coming from a standard dinosaur-burning vehicle, using a paddle to stop takes some getting used to. For now, I'll stick to using my foot rather than my fingers." — Abigail Bassett
"I've been in the Volt for about a week straight now, and I still love it. I have, however, found something to complain about. When the gasoline engine kicks on, I can feel some faint vibrations in the seat and floor, and I wish Chevy had worked harder to edit all of those vibrations out. After all, the engine comes on quite frequently in non-EV operation, and that's how I've been driving it for a number of days. (The charger at work has been in high demand due to the number of short-term EVs we've evaluated recently.) As a Volt buyer, I would gladly pay a little extra for some more advanced motor mounts to keep those vibes completely out of my space." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"The Volt is a good commuter car, but what is up with the rear hatch? This thing is so long and heavy that, once opened, it's pretty darn hard to close it. It swings way too far upward, to the point where I actually reached my body's stretch limit trying to get the handle. Short people will clearly have a difficult time reaching the hatch when it's open. A power-closing feature is necessary here." — Sal Meda, imagery production specialist
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1.5L VVT DI DOHC 4-Cylinder Range Extender. Hybrid! Come to the experts! Located right next to Dulles International Airport on Route 50 in Chantilly, Fairfax VA. Be the talk of the town when you roll down the street in this fuel-efficient 2018 Chevrolet Volt. Such a refined car, with a gas-saving powerplant, does not come up for grabs very often, so you better act fast. All prices exclude taxes, title, license, freight, and dealer processing fee of $699.00. Published price subject to change without notice to correct errors or omissions or in the event of inventory fluctuations. All features not on all vehicles. Vehicles shown are for illustration purposes only.
2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier FWD 1-Speed Automatic 1.5L VVT DI DOHC 4-Cylinder Range Extender Pearl Awards: * 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with optional front crash prevention * Ward's 10 Best Engines Reviews: * Low fuel costs; big all-electric range for a plug-in hybrid; plenty of advanced tech and safety features. Source: Edmunds We have been serving our community for the last 61 years and it is our pleasure serve you. * We make every effort to provide accurate information, please verify options and price before purchasing. All prices are special internet prices only. All financing is subject to approved credit. All prices are excluding freight. Internet prices include all applicable rebates and incentives. Additional rebates and incentives, such as Military, College Graduate Programs Or first-time buyers, may apply to those who qualify. Internet pricing may not be compatible with special factory financing. Internet prices are valid based on manufacturer incentive program time periods and cannot be extended by the dealer, which vary by model. See dealer for details. *Internet Pricing may not be available with special financing, and may not qualify with lease offers. **All prices do not include registering state TAX, Title, License and a $699 processing fee ** * MSRP is the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of the vehicle. Unless specifically indicated in the advertisement or customer added options, MSRP does not include taxes, fees or other charges. Actual dealer pricing may vary. Consult your dealer for more information and complete details. * The dealer advertised price may not reflect specific dealer offers, and may be subject to certain terms and conditions as indicated in the advertisement. Consult your dealer for more information and complete details. * Images and options shown are examples, only, and may not reflect exact vehicle color, trim, options, pricing or other specifications.
Looking for a new car at an affordable price? This vehicle won't be on the lot long! A versatile hatchback seating as many as 5 occupants with ease! Top features include leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, lane departure warning, and a split folding rear seat. It features a front-wheel-drive platform, an automatic transmission, and an efficient 4 cylinder engine. We pride ourselves in the quality that we offer on all of our vehicles. Stop by our dealership or give us a call for more information.
Volt Premier, 1.5L VVT DI DOHC 4-Cylinder Range Extender, 1-Speed Automatic, FWD, and Jet Black/Jet Black Accents w/Leather-Appointed Seat Trim. Criswell Chevrolet is pleased to offer this terrific 2017 Chevrolet Volt. When H2O starts showing up in the weather forecast, the FWD power delivery will help keep you in control of things. Check out our customer reviews and see why your friends and neighbors choose Criswell - We're Driven by You! The New Vehicle Internet Sale Price includes rebates, incentives and dealer discounts; customers may not qualify for all incentives; freight, sales tax, tag fees and a $300 processing charge are additional. All prices, specifications, and availability are subject to change without notice. Pictures may be for illustrative purposes only; offers not valid on prior sales. Please contact Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg, MD for complete details and the most current information. Price includes: $1,000 - Volt Select Market Incremental Consumer Cash. Exp. 10/31/2017
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Call Sales Managers for any additional questions at 301-424-5900. New vehicle prices exclude taxes, tags, destination, and $300 processing fee. See dealer for rebate eligibility. Excludes tax, tags, destination and $300 processing fee. Price includes rebates applicable to qualifying customers. $1,000 - Volt Select Market Incremental Consumer Cash. Exp. 10/31/2017