Test Drive: 2012 Chevrolet Volt car test drives reviews green reviews chevrolet
2012 Chevrolet Volt. Click image to enlarge
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Chevrolet Canada

Review and Photos by Mike Schlee

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

Last December I was given the opportunity to drive a nearly new Chevrolet Volt for a few days.  Although I didn’t write about the vehicle for this website, I was enamoured with the vehicle and came away more than impressed.  But now it is eight months later, Volt-mania has died down and I’ve driven a slew of hybrid and electric vehicles since.  Will the Volt’s good first impression hold up from over a half year ago?

This was more than just a pseudo-reunion between me and a model I had previously tested.  The 2012 Chevrolet Volt I received was in fact the exact same car I had driven previously.  It now showed north of 15,000 km on the odometer, which, for a press car, is in actuality closer to 45,000 km worth of use and abuse.  The dented hood and scratched body panels can attest to this fact.  It’s hard to say anything about the Volt that hasn’t already been said.  If you are even remotely interested in cars, I am sure you have heard, read, and discussed all aspects of the Volt.  The Chevrolet Volt starts at an asking price of $41,545.  Our tester came equipped with $2,490 worth of options and retails for $45,585 after destination charges.  Incentives on a provincial level may still exist in your region for this vehicle as well.

As a refresher, the Volt features an electric drive motor that is either powered by a lithium ion battery pack or a gasoline generator engine.  The Electric drive engine produces 149 hp and 273 ft-lb of torque.  That kind of torque would shame your neighbour’s diesel Jetta.  The battery pack at full charge is estimated to give the Volt a range of 40–80 km depending on terrain, driving style, and temperature.  The 1.4L 63-hp gas ‘generator’ engine kicks in once the battery pack has depleted and will continue to power the Volt until it is charged again.  One downside to this engine is its requirement for premium gasoline.

Test Drive: 2012 Chevrolet Volt car test drives reviews green reviews chevrolet
2012 Chevrolet Volt. Click image to enlarge

All Volts come equipped with 17-inch wheels sporting Goodyear Fuel Max P215/55R/17 low-rolling-resistance tires.  The rims themselves are attractive and function aerodynamically as they play a part in the Volt’s impressive 0.28 Cd.  During my original test drive I found the Volt handled very well for a hybrid-electric-fuel-saving-vehicle-thing, and after my second stint in it my impression has not changed.  Thanks to its Chevrolet Cruze platform origins, the Volt is very competent in the corners and drives with a for more neutral feel than would be expected in a 1,715-kg vehicle whose sole purpose is to save fuel. The Volt balances this with a supple ride that absorbs rough pavement and bumps very well.

After each stretch behind the wheel, the impression I keep coming away with is just how much the Volt drives like a regular car.  Electric vehicles like he Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-MiEV are yet to replicate this and tried and tested hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight always remind you that you are driving something different; for better or worse.

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