Vehicle Type: Range extended EV five-door
History/Description: With the promise of exceptional fuel efficiency, a full-function, five-door, driving experience and access to one of the most unique driving experiences on the road, the Chevrolet Volt hit the Canadian marketplace for model year 2011 with a unique Voltec propulsion system, a full range of available feature content, and a flexible cabin with room for four adults and a hatch full of gear.
Volt is a range-extended electric car, and it’s not for everyone. In a simplified nutshell, the Volt isn’t a hybrid, but an electric car with a gasoline generator on board that’s used to recharge its drive batteries when an initial charge, gained from plugging the vehicle into an outlet, is depleted. It’s like an electric car, but with gasoline backup, to avoid being stranded on the side of the road with a dead battery, or having to stay close to home, or close to a plug-in charger.
All models were four-door, front-wheel drive, and there’s nothing quite like them on the road. According to GM, Volt owners who recharge regularly typically drive over 1,400 km between fill-ups, requiring, in many cases, only a single visit to the gas station every month. Volt allows for electric-only driving of between 40 and 80 km, depending on temperature and terrain, with a full tank of gasoline extending the range to over 600 km. If you’re commute is less than 80 clicks a day, and you plug in and recharge the Volt where you park it, in theory, you’d virtually never use fuel.
Engines/Trim: All models get a 16-kilowatt battery pack and electric motor drive unit, as well as a 1.4 litre gasoline engine. A one-speed direct drive transmission sent 273 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels.
Available feature content includes OnStar, navigation, premium BOSE audio, heated leather, a configurable touchscreen driver interface and automatic climate control. Ambient cabin lighting and a premium trim package round out the Volts usable, upscale and high-tech cabin. Bluetooth connectivity and XM Satellite Radio are standard. Folding rear seats, a generous hatchback cargo area and plenty of at-hand storage help make the Volt easy to live with every day.
The Zero-Litre Challenge: Test Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Volt
What Owners Like: Owner reviews typically see positive feedback on the extended driving range, conventional-car driving feel, slick and unique styling, a modern and upscale interior and overall comfort from both a seating and ride-quality standpoint. Not seeing another copy of the car you’re driving very often helps round out the appeal to some shoppers, as does the idea of having an electric-car experience, without the ‘range anxiety’. Noiseless cruising in EV mode, and the robust low-end torque, are also highly appreciated.
What Owners Dislike: Common gripes include some easily-scuffed interior plastics, a relatively small cargo hold given the Volt’s overall size, and a heavy feel to the car when driving around corners.
Here’s a look some owner reviews.