NEW FOR 2016:

– All-new model.

When Chevrolet launched the Volt at the turn of the decade, it was a watershed moment for electric cars. It offered enough of an all-electric range for most commuters to get to and from work, but its on-board generator gave it the real-world range of a conventional automobile – not to mention the peace of mind and practicality that most full electric cars can’t touch. Buyers voted with their wallets, and GM doubled down with an all-new second-generation car that has just launched.

In principle, the Volt hasn’t changed – it’s still an electric car with an on-board gasoline generator, but it’s been greatly improved. A slightly larger battery pack (18.4 kW) in conjunction with a more efficient drivetrain allows for greater all-electric range. Carefully driven, it’s possible to eke 85 km out of a single charge. Meanwhile, the on-board gas generator has been completely overhauled; the all-aluminum engine is bigger, lighter, more powerful, and quieter when operating. It takes about 4.5 hours for a full charge on a 240-volt outlet, and can be charged from a standard household outlet overnight.

Revisions to the suspension and handling make the Volt a surprisingly fine drive. The ride is more comfortable than before, and overall refinement is good for a vehicle of this size.

Inside and out, the second-generation Volt looks and feels more like a regular compact car. Though it retains a hatchback, it could pass as a standard car. Much can be said about the interior, which ditches the unusual capacitive controls for conventional buttons and houses the TFT instrument cluster under a conventional cowl. A large centre-mounted touchscreen, similar to what’s found in the new Malibu is clear, and easy to use. Another important change is that the Volt offers seating for five, though the centre position is laughably small. It’s useful for emergencies only.

The Volt is available in LT and Premier trims.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, pedestrian safety signal, 120-volt charge cord, charge cord theft alarm, remote starter, solar tinted glass, LED headlamps with halogen high beams, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, power heated exterior mirrors, reverse camera, rear spoiler, tire sealant kit, intermittent wipers, three 12-volt power outlets, cargo area cover, automatic single-zone climate control, cruise control, carpeted floor mats, 8.0-inch LCD instrument cluster display, ambient LED interior lighting, proximity key with push-button start, power locks, tilt and telescoping steering column, heated steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual vanity mirrors, power windows with power express down for all windows and express up for driver’s side, heated front seats, manual six-way adjustable front seats, premium cloth upholstery, 40/40 split folding rear seat, six-speaker audio system with 8.0-inch MyLink display audio system, AM/FM/MP3 with aux-in and dual USB ports, Bluetooth, and OnStar with 4G LTE and WiFi hotspot.

Key options include leather upholstered seats, eight-speaker Bose sound system, bright-finish 17-inch alloy wheels with black-painted pockets, enhanced ambient interior lighting, and an illuminated charge port.

Premier adds bright-finish 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors with extending sun visors, heated rear seats, leather upholstery, eight-speaker Bose sound system, and wireless device charging.

Driver Confidence Package adds blind spot monitoring with lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert.

Driver Confidence Package II adds forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking, following distance indicator, and automatic high-beams.

Key options include navigation, bright-finish 17-inch alloy wheels with black-painted pockets, enhanced ambient interior lighting, and an illuminated charge port.

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