By on February 20, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Volt w/ Alex Dykes, © 2016 The Truth About Cars

This weekend, Alex dropped a bonus video review of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, he’s also been too busy building sheds to do a full review, so this is all we’ve got.

(It’s okay, though. The best work happens in a shed.)

Want to check it out? Hit up the video after jump.

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139 Comments on “VIDEO: Dykes Reviews the New 2016 Chevrolet Volt, and You Should Watch It...”


  • avatar
    RogerB34

    For 2016 the Volt has an Atkinson cycle engine.
    Volt differs from Prius in that the Prius is primarily mechanical engine driven with a battery electric motor assist and Volt is electrically driven battery, battery generator and engine, or engine generator direct.
    Good article.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    No mention or comparison to the A3 etron?

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Shorter review than usual, but concise and complete. I feel like I know all I need to know.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Ummm, Seattle to Los Angeles is not in the range of a Volt.

    Seattle to Los Angeles without stopping is not in the range of any showroom stock car SUV/CUV I can buy today.

    I’m guessing you meant San Francisco to Los Angeles?

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I think he either said, or at least I infered, without a recharge. Refuel is quick and readily available.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Well, yeah – if I understand the Volt concept correctly, you could drive from Biloxi, Mississippi to Pocatello, Idaho without a recharge.

        How the car performs when it’s out of amps may be another question, but it’s certainly possible.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          It performs the same in ev or hybrid mode. Other phevs are dogs compared to the volt. Cough, energi fusion.

          Voltec is by far the best phev powertrain in the world, its just too bad about the rest of the car…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      New, I can’t think of any. Used, mid-90s VW Passat TDI wagon could do it. ~1200 miles per tank, Seattle to LA is ~1135. Combination of 50mpg and a gigantic tank (25-26 gal, IIRC).

      My ’02 Golf TDI would do ~800. I did Portland, ME to Trenton NJ and back a few times on a single tank.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    It looks like they listened and learned to make a better product. I still like the idea of using the electric motors for instant torque – always – and basically making that engine gasoline-powered electric generator – so you don’t have to buy a short-range or a long-range vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      It really is that good: the drivetrain is the best gasoline drivetrain I’ve ever driven. I bought one, now have 6k miles on it (3/4+ on electric and that is with a road trip), and it is quite fantastic.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        I’m glad an owner (you) weighs in on it. I’ll not soon forget the disparaging and inaccurate criticisms leveled at the 1st Volt: the Obama car, a product of Gov’t Motors, EV’s are bunk etc. etc. TTAC commenters seemed especially critical of what would prove to be a great American engineering accomplishment, so blinkered were they by partisan and ignorant politics that they missed a great leap forward.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          It’s funny how people blame Obama for a car that was conceived under the previous presidency.

          Maybe they think that the future president was holding-down a full time job at GM calculating regen strategies. Funny how the hundreds-strong press corps that followed him around constantly from ’06 to ’08 didn’t catch-on.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            This wasn’t covered by the liberal mainstream media, but the Trump campaign has unearthed evidence that GM outsourced its electric car development in the early 70’s to a bunch of 10 year olds in Kenya.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Cazart! All the cost, complexity, compromise and claustrophobic crunch of this thing make it a dog. A Samuel Johnson dog on its hind legs.

    And it barely beats the ICE-only Civic for highway mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Evs are completely not about highway mpg. If most of your driving is on the highway, an EV is not for you.

      It’s like complaining about the ride quality of a dump truck.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        So all that miserable crampiness, blindness and EV surcharge (whoever pays it) is only for trying to survive between garbage trucks and buses in dense urban driving? Even more repellent.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          It works wonderfully in a suburban setting, so much nicer than driving a gasoline powered car. The response of the accelerator is addictingly brilliant.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Objection, Your Honor.

            This response is incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial as it proceeds from a Causa Fanaticus line of reasoning which is demonstrably incongruous with yer average buyer out there.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Not every car is appropriate for every buyer. That’s why there are different models.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          It would be ideal for me. Plug in overnight, drive to work on EV (~25 miles.) Plug in at a charging station at work, drive home on EV. lather, rinse, repeat.

          • 0 avatar
            Nicholas Weaver

            That is what I do, I bought a 2016. 40 miles each way, if I can charge at work its a pure electric commute, if I get too late for a plug, eh, I make it home no problem.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          RideHeight: if it’s so miserable, cramped and blind (?) then feel free to buy something else. The rest of us who recognize a good American engineered synergy of ICE freedom + an inevitable electric future will happily contradict you with our wallets.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          It’s for not having to slosh around in diesel puddles at gas stations, while huffing the gas fumes said buses and dump trucks can’t help but putting out. And for those other 3 days of the year when you drive beyond Tesla range; that’s why the Volt ships with an engine as well…

          It’s a brilliant compromise for those who mainly drive in urban/suburban settings, but who still needs/wants the added range of an ICE now and then.

          If any car for sale in the US nowadays is “cramped”, for 98% of the population, they need a diet and exercise program, not a different car.

      • 0 avatar
        BrunoT

        But even those who use them for around town sometimes go on vacations or business trips or other long drives. With nice 4 cylinder cars of the same size currently out-of-favor and highly discounted, the premium paid for these will never make sense financially. And cars of that class already pollute so little these days that any environmental advantage is moot. Some chinese steel factory puts out more in a second that these cars do in a lifetime.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Conservatives need to figure out that early adopters and “innovators” (the very first group to try out new tech) don’t buy technology to save money.

          Those who are primarily motivated by cost savings are classic late adopters. Basic rule of thumb: New tech marketing should ignore late adopters, because they will ignore or not understand all of the benefits that make your product interesting or unique, and they will just gripe about the price.

          Instead of reading garbage such as Thomas Sowell, read something useful such as Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm.”

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Not saying you’re categorically wrong, but the “ignore the frugal” mentality was all the rage in Japan as well, until their asset pumping bubble decisively burst. And then for a decade onward, as “everyone” figured “they” would find a way to reinflate it and things would go back to how “everyone knew they were supposed to be.”

            Doesn’t really work out that way in the long run, since no matter how fashionable and self congratulatory “early adopter” sounds; it is, over a long enough, full cycle, sweep of time, just another word for vain and spendthrift. Which is fine and dandy, as long as there is still some smatterings of wealth available for transfer, to those vain and spendthrift enough to still spend it on vanity. But when that dries up, or when those the wealth is transferred from wise up: Oooops! Suddenly tried and true and “boring” and, above all, efficiently made and maintained, rises to prominence again. And covering up sloppy fundamentals with appeals to fashion, simply ceases to work.

            OTOH, for the large group of people who generally drive < 40 miles twice a day, this isn't so much "early adoption" anymore, but rather a pretty sensible buy according to quite a few metrics. Just like the slightly less nontraditional Prius was, for the vast majority of it's buyers, who after all did NOT buy it because they have wet dreams about hugging trees and Obama at the same time.

            But dude, seriously: Geoffrey Moore? While Sowell writes "garbage"??? If that's not bragging your busted, but oh so fashionable, Rolex is more accurate than my functional Casio. Like, once a day……..

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          That argument goes both ways, obviously. Why would you want a car that’s not ideal for the 350 days a year that you are puttering around cities and suburbs, just so you can be slightly more comfortable the odd time that you go for a very long interstate drive?
          I doubt it’s that much worse than you typical sedan with the cruise set at 70 for a few hours.

        • 0 avatar
          Nicholas Weaver

          The premium is damn low over a Prius when you compare the post-tax-credit price, and the Volt drivetrain drives so much better than the Prius CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      So? This car regularly goes over 1000 miles using electricity and only a gallon of gas. Owners dont buy volts because of hwy mpg. What other straw man you got?

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “This car regularly goes over 1000 miles using electricity and only a gallon of gas.”

        Ouch! That’s like, what, 2 days in an iron maiden!

        Some people self-harm. At least this method liberates no body fluids.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Waste of time and money

  • avatar
    THE_F0nz

    I purchased my 2013 Volt. The facts speak for themselves:

    – I’m averaging 200+ mpg with a 34 mile daily commute.
    – I have severely cut down my commute time using the carpool lane.
    – I fit a big screen TV in it without issue.
    – I don’t need a second car for weekend trips
    – The car is perfectly silent, so hands free calling is a breeze

    When I do the math, I pay less per month than a comparably optioned car between fuel, insurance and monthly payment. Not to mention the government made money off the bailout, so I think people can stop being sour about it.

    In my opinion a Volt on the used market is the steal of the century right now. Get the backup camera and the leather wrapped wheel.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Great! Let’s watch new sales results and see how many are in your crampy corner.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        Sales results show that big macs are more popular than Chicken vindaloo in the US. I will happily stay in the less popular crampy corner….you are free to do what the majority tell you to do.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Indian food and crampy have a storied history together.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Indian food and crampy have a proud and fragrant history together.”

            Beppermind oil in enderic goated gapsools gan ‘elp wid daht!

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “you are free to do what the majority tell you to do.”

          *grating Dalek yowl*

          I OBEY!

          • 0 avatar

            RideHeight, your rapier sharp wit may really be better served on some other kind of sight. Seriously, try another sight. ANY other sight. Thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Seriously, try another sight. ANY other sight. Thank you.”

            Sure thing! I’ll find another sight that feels more rite. That’s better than a fite!

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Umm ……. WTF dash riprock??

          Chicken Vindaloo???? What is that???

          Vindaloo derived from a pork dish from Goa, it was orignally used by Portugeusse sailors. It was good for preserving their meals on those long voyages in the olden day’s (pre climate change/GFC), ie, sail boats.

          I do cook as a hobby and curry is one of the meals I do like making. There are a trillion variations from Japan across to the the Horn of Africa and even Fiji, SE Asia incl. Indonesia.

          Here a cut and paste. If you do make curries then adapt some of the ideas here to make a Vindaloo.

          Chicken Vindaloo, that’s like having a beef burger made with turkey. I can see why Big Macs outsell it.

          The biggest variation of Vindaloo, which makes it not a Vindaloo is the use of beef.

          ………………………………………..

          A “vindaloo” is a standard element of Indian cuisine, derived from the Portuguese carne de vinha d’alhos (Literally: Meat, wine and garlic), a dish of meat (usually pork) marinated in wine and garlic.In its basic structure, it was the Portuguese sailor’s ‘preserved’ raw ingredients, packed in wooden barrels of alternate layers of pork and garlic, and soaked in wine. This was ‘Indianised’ by the local Goan Christian cooks, by the substitution of palm vinegar for the red wine and the addition of dried ‘red’ chili peppers with additional spices to evolve into the local and easy to pronounce “vindaloo”.Nowadays, the Anglo-Indian version of a vindaloo is marinated in vinegar, sugar, fresh ginger, and spices overnight, then cooked with the addition of further spices.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      “Not to mention the government made money off the bailout…”

      Uh, no. The final taxpayer cost on the GM bailout was $11.2 billon. I think you’re confusing the GM bailout with TARP.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “The final taxpayer cost on the GM bailout was $11.2 billon.”

        That may be the official tally but does not take in consideration the mom&pops that went under because they were not part of the selective bailout.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        I’m sure that the employees of the Kansas City plant that built my 2015 Volt (and the U.S. based suppliers) not only have contributed to the local economy (supporting “Mom-and-Pops”), but are paying taxes/SS/Medicare, have health insurance, and may be sending their kids to college. “NO BAILOUT” may have had greater far-reaching costs to our society.

    • 0 avatar
      gaston

      Taxpayers LOST over $11 Billion on the bailout, see:
      http://time.com/82953/general-motors-bailout-cost-taxpayers-11-2-billion/

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        The flip side is the USA didn’t lose its biggest and most prestigious manufacturer, and by extensions the thousands of contracting companies who served it – and kept hundreds of thousands of people employed who otherwise would’ve swamped our unemployment safety net. Anyone who believes the bailout was a bad idea either doesn’t understand best-case scenarios or just flat-out hates America.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          I never understand why the same people who are so outraged that the government stepped in when the banks wouldn’t, saving every American job present and future associated with GM and its vendors, never utter a peep of protest that enormously larger sums were thrown down the chute to save the bankers themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            It may be because the US gov’t actually made money on the bank bailout.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Tonycd, banks, lenders and mortgage companies back then were following the national policy on lending and investment set down by the Clinton administration, and not changed by Shrub’s administration.

            There was CRA and individual home ownership high on the list and that led to much speculation by both lenders and individuals.

            Since that policy failed, Dodd-Frank has tried to set guidelines that have tightened the financial markets, some say, too much.

            But betting on financial institutions you can’t ever go wrong. They exist to make money. And they do. In spite of government policy and intervention.

          • 0 avatar
            stevelovescars

            Oh please… the desire to have people own homes had nothing to do with the fraud and greed that led to the banks overextending themselves with credit default swaps or the ratings agencies turning a purposefully blind eye to the risks of those things. If your argument was that lifting banking regulations was to blame for the housing crash, then you must also agree that more regulations are required to keep the banks from doing it again?

            GM management surely made many poor decisions over the years but their sudden bankruptcy (and Chrysler’s) was due to the banks’ sudden lack of desire to loan money. The bankers were/are a bunch of lemmings who followed each other off the cliff and took everyone else down with them.

            “Wall Street” didn’t like companies keeping cash reserves because they made more money on short-term loans. They punished the stock of companies who used cash. Most large public companies, as a result, didn’t keep cash on hand, they borrowed constantly from the banks to meet payroll and keep the lights on. When the crash happened, the damage was made worse because credit was suddenly unavailable and they had low cash reserves.

            We (taxpayers) bailed out the banks but they continued to keep credit tight for years, extending the effects of their original f*** ups while they took home huge bonuses. I don’t believe there was any reason for these continued tight lending policies except the bankers own stupidity.

            Economics tells us that high pay is due to those who either take the biggest risks or have skills (brains) that are in rare supply. If the banks essentially have no risk of their own (too big to fail) and they are obviously filled with idiots who were all to quick to ignore the bubble they were creating, then why do they continue to make so much money? Oh right… they have the money and control the political conversation.

            It’s easier for Fox News to continue to feed the “Government Motors” line to the sheeple than to piss off their banking buddies.

            To me, the GM bailout was a bargain and the bank bailouts just perpetuated the problem. The GOP won’t let any real bank regulation take affect and the feeding frenzy has simply happened again. But that’s just my opinion. I tend to favor people and companies that actually create something, not just move money around and pick up the crumbs without any risk of their own.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            Amen, to both you and the commenter known as Stevelovescars. The Murdoch empire told its minions that bailing out banks and their stuffed shirts = good, bailing out one of Americas biggest employers = bad. Even the Communist party at its most influential never propagated such damaging disinformation.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      @ the fonz – currently looking for a used Volt myself. The electric drive is addicting. One of the best cars on the road if your spending my money. I drive BIG vehicles and didn’t find the Volt camped at all when I demo’d one for 3 days. Awesome car!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think the Volt is a wise buy on the used market.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        My business partner bought his used close to 2 years ago. He has a 13′.

        The cat has been dead reliable for better than 30k miles. He just had a healthy repair for the battery radiator that needed to be replaced. From what I understand a rock went through it. not sure how you call that the cars fault.

        I am in total agreement that these make for a spectacular value on the used market. Even more so now that gas is dirt cheap. I mean history has proven hat it will stay cheap for a long time….right?

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          The vulnerability of the front radiator is a known issue – Chevy added a plastic grid directly over the lower part of the radiator tubes to protect them from stone impacts, but you have to check that they were installed properly (or not at all?).

          There is a solution that I’m going to either make on my own, or purchase from these nice folks:

          http://voltshelf.weebly.com/voltscreen.html

      • 0 avatar
        THE_F0nz

        I really love it for city driving especially! Normal 4cyl car for 14-16k: Rev up, shift to second, brakes, stop. Repeat.

        Volt? 200+lb/ft from the start, no shifting, no noise at all, brake.

        After my lease they offered to sell me mine for 13k. Silly low prices right now. I read a report awhile back that the auction prices are even lower right now.

        The front row isn’t cramped at all in my opinion and I’m about 5’10”, 230lb. The second row works pretty well for people my size or smaller.

        This is my first hatchback. I agree with about everyone on this site that the room is pretty great once the seats are folded down.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The volt is a great vehicle. I know a few that own Volt’s and they have been bullet proof so far. This car is damaged by Obama being attached to it. The Anti-American crowd love to put down the Volt with no real reason besides personal political beliefs.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not about to buy one. I prefer my ICE straight–like my bourbon. But it sounds like they did a good job with it, and it’s great to hear about something good coming out of Detroit.

      • 0 avatar
        THE_F0nz

        Mine has been as well. I really like that it is pretty darn heavy and feels like a very substantial vehicle.

        I think the Volt was pretty far along before Obama came along… Its a pretty lousy deal that Chevy got that reputation.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          they had powertrain mules driving around almost a year before the 2008 election.

          I don’t think it really hurt them; as far as I can tell anybody who cares about any putative connection with Obama isn’t likely to byuy a hybrid or EV.

          I think Lou Dobbs’s nonsense (“See, the problem with the Chevy Volt is it catches fire”) could have been far more harmful. I’m surprised GM didn’t go after CNN for that one.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Pretty common knowledge that the Volt was Bob Lutz’s baby. GM also had to fight to keep it during the bailout. Obama merely endorsed it. His point that American car companies need to offer good fuel efficient cars like the Volt in addition to full size PUs and SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      85lynx

      Agreed. I bought a 2011 Volt w/16k miles on it 2 years ago for a little less than $20k. So far I have put another 25k miles on it. I’m averaging about 70mpg overall (I do a fair amount of highway driving) and it costs about $1.30 per charge to go 25-40 miles depending on temperature. My only maintenance items so far have been two oil changes and a set of tires. I prefer driving it over my wife’s A6, especially in the city.

      Two other people in my office recently picked up used Volts for about the same numbers that I bought mine for and they both love them as well. My next car will be another pre-owned Volt or maybe the Malibu with the Voltec. Incidentally, the Volt is the first domestic car I’ve bought in over 20 years. The interior is not nearly as nice as our Audi, but overall the Volt seems more solid and well engineered in my opinion. I’m really impressed with the car.

  • avatar

    The new volt is a better looking car, but until it reaches the SIZE OF THE MALIBU, sales will continue to suck.

    Very disappointing that Chevy chased max fuel economy with the Malibu instead of offering a PHEV bigger than the Volt.

    This is a SIZE ISSUE.

    And that’s why crossovers are beating cars so well.

    People are looking for interior space for 4 or 5 people. The Sedans that offer that space, mostly don’t offer AWD or ground clearance so the crossover keeps stealing sales.

    I am 100% sure that the BOLT will ultimately do better than the Volt.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Secind gen Voltec is outstanding. See alex’s video in it. I just am not a fan of the rest of the car. The first gen had the futuristic theme right but a terrible interior, the second gen has a terrible interior and exterior with a ledd usesble hatch. Kia optima plug in hybrid and that nee kia plug in wagon which get 31 ev miles are way bettet cars, they just needs to up the range.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      all that says is the Kias are measurably worse at what PHEV buyers actually *care* about.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        And the volt is worse about what a actual car buyers care about. Its a half assed car wrapped around the outstanding voltec concept.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        The Niro isn’t a plug in, it’s a Hybrid.

        The Optima Plug in has a range of 27 miles in a car that isn’t dedicated to just EV power alone with plenty of space for 5. For reference the Fusion Energi is rated for 19 on electric alone.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Most other PHEV’s (Kia, Hyundai, Prius, Fusion, C-Max) will still kick in the ICE under heavy throttle or in hilly terrain, even with a fully charged battery. The Volt gets all of its power (except in a very narrow set of circumstances) from the electric motor.

      And the Volt has a large enough battery to qualify for the full state rebates and federal tax credits (yeah, sorry).

  • avatar
    tonycd

    nickoo, I don’t get your comment about the terrible interior. I sat in it and it seemed pretty nice to me.

    I’m going to blow off the other flame comments in this thread because they’re tired reruns of rants from previous Volt/GM articles. To summarize: “The Volt is bad, because Obama.” Yawn.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I’d like to see this powertrain in a Malibu too. And the Volt-based hybrid Malibu suggests it would work pretty swell. But the ROI for buyer and builder alike is presumably better if GM starts by putting it in a commuter car rather than the family boat. And the all-new Malibu is, well, all-new; they won’t need to add a new version to goose sales for a little bit yet. I’m sure GM is aware that there’s a thing called the Fusion Energi, and that Ford sells a few. If the business case is as good as BTRS thinks, they’ll build it.

    Also, Spiro Agnew called…he’d like the mods to do something about the troll problem on this blog. Said something about “nattering nabobs of know-nothing nitwitted negative nincompoopery contributing f*ck all of value to the discussion.”

  • avatar
    malloric

    Point of clarification:

    The Prius is cheaper, significantly so. Like most EV reviews, you assume electricity is free. It is not. If it’s using 14 kWh to go 45-50 miles that costs $1.68 in electricity. You know what else you can buy for $1.68? A gallon of gas. Said Prius will then go 50 miles or so on that gallon of gas. While they might use the same GAS on your 120 mile commute, the Volt is also using a gallon of electricity.

    The other frightening part is what your math is telling me. If you’re only averaging 52 mpg that means you’re using 2.3 gallons of gas to go 75 miles, or right around 32-33 mpg. That’s horrendous. Yes, driving style. There’s not a whole lot of reported fuel economy in charge conserving mode. Toaster Reports got 36, not far off your 32-33 whereas I actually do average 50-52 in the Prius.

    Fair point that the Volt drives better and I agree looks much better inside and out. It is FAR less practical though. Brought up in many of the comments. In the real world being significantly less practical than a 4-door mini is going to really limit who you can sell to. It’s the car I want to like but since my commute is also on the longer end it just never works. The fuel economy is horrible for what it is and with gas as cheap as gas currently is (electricity IS less volatile, fair) there’s no real point to it from a cost basis. I do like how EVs drive so I guess there’s that. GM needs to figure out how to get reasonable fuel economy and put it in something that’s at least as practical as a Prius C wrapper, bonus points if they keep the looks.

    I’d suggest what I came from before getting the Prius, however, if the dopey looks and marshmallow driving of the Prius bug you; Mazda3. Looks good, drives good, no practicality hit like the Volt has, gets the same gas mileage as the Volt. The two things you give up is it’s not an EV and gas prices are more volatile. At current prices the Volt on EV isn’t much cheaper than a conventional non-hybrid ICE on gas. I bought the Prius when it was north of $4. It wouldn’t be the car I’d buy today with <$2/gallon gas. I have motorcycles when I want to have fun and all I do in the Prius is sit in traffic so, hey, it still does do that pretty well but the other 10% of the time when I'm on a nice road without congestion it sure would be nice to be in just about anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      yet another yahoo who thinks gas will stay at current prices forever.

      look, the use case for a PHEV like the Volt lines up with a lot of suburban commuters. It would work great for me since I (now) can charge at both home and work. For the vast majority of my weekday driving I would use *no gas at all.* (I was geeked when work started putting charging stations in for employess, then all of the damn managers started getting PHEVs as their leases and hog all of the chargers.)

      and as for your Prius smuggery, I never cease to be amazed at people who intentionally live 60 miles away from where they work, sit in hours of slow or stopped traffic, yet brag about how “environmentally conscious” they are because they own a Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        S197GT

        here is another “yahoo” who thinks low gas prices are here to stay:

        http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/talking-numbers/why-low-gas-prices-are-here-to-stay-222628437.html

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          that’s the opinion of *one* analyst, and since analysts tend to be little more than overpaid guessers, I wouldn’t take it as gospel. You can find an analyst to support whatever argument you want to make.

          the other thing you’re ignoring is taxes. most states are dealing with crumbling roads and highways, which derive most of their funding from fuel taxes. it’s not inconceivable that low prices can be used as justification for increasing taxes on fuel.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Low fuel prices don’t so much mean “less” fuel taxes collected, since fuel is taxed per gallon, not per cent. Except with lower fuel prices, Americans are driving lots more and paying lots more fuel taxes, that go everywhere EXCEPT fixing the roads and other related crumbling infrastructure.

            But currently, are Americans completely rejecting hybrids and other gas sipping compacts? Are large SUVs and big pickup sales through the roof?
            No, I think Americans are listing to the voice of reason, more than anyone else’s.

          • 0 avatar
            ihbase

            I think that JimZ’s comments on fuel costs are 100% correct. Last week 3 big exporters agreed to cut production. And there appears to be a lot of domestic political pressure to shift additional infrastructure cost burdens to increased fuel taxes.

            Imagine what the market would look like today if fracking had not temporarily adjusted the supply curve.

            I am impressed that a company as moribund and stodgy as GM actually produced the Volt in the first place. That powertrain configuration probably makes a lot of sense for a huge percentage of American commuters.

            -Mike

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            If gas goes to $4, so what? Most of these crossovers are getting upper 20s, the difference between getting 28 MPG and getting 40MPG is change, even at 15,000 miles a year.
            Americans don’t want small cars, and they’re not going to give up what they want to satisfy some self-centered egotists views of how the world should work. The cheaper the fuel the better the economy, it doesn’t require a doctorate to see the advantages of cheap fuel on the economy.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Low fuel prices don’t so much mean “less” fuel taxes collected, since fuel is taxed per gallon, not per cent. ”

            I know that, and it’s totally beside my point. I’m saying right now, on a relative basis we’re paying less for a gallon of gas than we did in 1957. and as ihbase said, there was just an agreement of exporters to cut production, which meant the price of a gallon of gas (by me) jumped about $0.40 and hardly anyone noticed. You don’t think there are some state governments thinking that maybe that makes it easier for them to “sell” a gas tax increase? ‘cos it’s clear to anyone who isn’t being deliberately obtuse that what they’re collecting now is grossly insufficient. and there’s only so much you can take out of the general fund to try to help.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “Grossly insufficient” because it’s not very much? Or simply not enough for much to trickle down to actual infrastructure/roads? Collect more, then what? Will even less make it there?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            We’re not even using all of the gas taxes collected now on roads, you have to be completely blind and uneducated to expect the government to properly allocate an increase in funds to road work. Not everywhere in this country has bad roads, why should us in NC have to pay an increase in federal gas tax (as I don’t care what states do with their own taxes) for roads in New Jersey?

      • 0 avatar
        malloric

        While acting like a yahoo is I’m sure fun for you, Jim, if you had better reading comprehension you’d realize I never said that. Volatile. You can use the Internet for things like informing yourself rather than just acting like a yahoo and demonstrating your limited vocabulary. It makes for much more civil discourse than pounding away about smuggery, your superior lifestyle, and how people are yahoos.

        With current gas prices, meh. You seem to enjoy being smug about using less gas so that might be a consideration for you. The way I look at it, if I don’t burn it it’s not like it will stay in the ground.

        Depends on gas/EV mix. For said 120 mile commute it really wouldn’t matter. They both use the same amount of gas so whether gas is $1/gallon or $50/gallon you’re still using the same amount of gas. Volt makes no sense if you’re going to be doing 60:40 gas to electric. Flip that and with high enough gas prices it could. Average for the previous Volt was a little more than 60:40 electric to gas. Should be better with the longer range.
        Your inferiors who drive longer distances have tended to not buy the Volt in large numbers because it’s not efficient. While acknowledging your morally superiority to my lowly self, I respectfully maintain that it does not work for me as much as I’d like it to due its getting poor fuel economy.

        I still wouldn’t buy a Volt though as there’s the other half of the problem. It’s less practical than most subcompacts. I think that’s actually really one problem. The drivetrain isn’t efficient. I think that’s why Chevy isn’t putting it in the Malibu or probably never coming Equinox hybrid. By way of comparison, the Rav4 hybrid gets similar (rated) fuel economy. Toyota is usually pretty close now with EPA and real world estimates. All hybrids seem to get significantly downgraded (Prius’s “60,” Fusions “47,” perhaps the Volts “42.” Too early to really say that but if Toaster Reports is getting 36 and our esteemed tester 32-33, seems like it also has the typical hybrid EPA overestimate. Likewise, Malibu won’t really do 48.

        • 0 avatar
          THE_F0nz

          I budget 15 dollars a month for fuel and 35 a month on my electricity bill as result of the increase. More gadgets than people know what to do with. 1 oil change a year (if that). Carpool lane access. Silent operation…

          People who actually sit across the table from me (rather than angrily pound on a keyboard from afar) generally agree that it makes sense… but then again – I could buy a less powerful, less gadget-laden, less convenient ride and save money!

          People were leasing them for something like 279 a month for awhile there for 12k miles. Fantastic deal for someone with a 20-40 mile commute.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          The Escape Hybrid’s real world mileage was consistent with the EPA ratings. Pretty similar to the Rav4 Hybrid also.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I never cease to be amazed at how judgmental fans of Hybrid/EV are of each other and the rest of us.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          As a hybrid owner, I have to respond that non-hybrid/ev fans have directed a lot of scorn and abuse at ev/hybrid ownership. Perhaps it becomes more noticeable if you have a hybrid/ev. I would also say that hybrid/ev owners are probably far less likely to make such comments about non-hybrid/ev fans. For instance, every time there’s an article about a hybrid or ev, there are comments about the sense of buying one, or the personality defects of those who do. How often do you see hybrid/ev owners posting such comments on articles about things like Hellcats?

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “non-hybrid/ev fans have directed a lot of scorn and abuse at ev/hybrid ownership”

            Here’s us:

            http://tinyurl.com/puchaqp

            Here’s you:

            http://tinyurl.com/hdsze7k

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      @malloric – Your are privy to the fact that the 1st Gen Volts best customers are former Prius owners!………LOL

      • 0 avatar
        malloric

        That doesn’t surprise me. Prius was really my introduction to that, hey, driving a car that is EV-ish is actually really nice. I think it was for a lot of people. It’s a natural progression. As I’ve said repeatedly, the Volt is the car I’d really like to like.

        Volt doesn’t work for me for two reasons:
        1) This distances I drive are too long and it gets no better gas mileage than a regular ICE.
        2) It’s not practical.

        If those aren’t concerns, fantastic. Get a Volt. I’m sure a lot of prior Prius owners are current Volt owners and generally are happier in the Volt. It doesn’t work for me and works for them, and that’s terrific. I’m a bit jealous, actually. Unfortunately as much as I like the concept as executed it doesn’t work for me.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “Mazda3 gets the same gas mileage as the Volt” is highly misleading, since the Volt goes a number of miles before it uses a drop. Yes, electric travel doesn’t have a per-mile fuel cost of zero, but it’s damn sure cheaper than gasoline, even today’s “permanently” cheaper gasoline (gas supplies are infinite again! Who knew?).

      The Volt is not the best personal transportation answer for everyone. But nothing constructive is achieved by bending the truth to suggest it’s right for no one.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Most people on this site, including me and pretty much all Americans, are incapable of associating a price of $30-40k with a small volume-brand domestic vehicle. The Volt continues to be a car mismatched with the market, and if I was a Caddilac for another $2k and a $2k nicer interior it would go over well.

    • 0 avatar
      z9

      I’m not so sure about that. There are many buyers of Ford and Chevy hybrid products who would previously have turned up their nose at these brands. As mentioned above, the aesthetic aspects (quietness, smoothness etc.) of the EV powertrain are a lot more compelling than the name on the outside of the car. These qualities have become their own sort of luxury that a marque can’t touch. If BMW, Audi, or Lexus made this car, would it sell better? Their hybrids haven’t exactly torn up the market. If I were these companies, I would invent an AMG-type of sub-brand that focused on modifications not for ultimate performance but for ultimate efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      you’re doing the “Internet Car Guy” mistake of just considering cars as collections of parts, and judging them on the cumulative merits of each of those parts. That’s not how most people buy cars. Marketing/product planning came up with a term, which is “why buy.” A “why buy” is a feature so compelling it sells the buyer on the car. in this space the EV features and range are the “why buy.” so comparing a car like the Volt with other cars solely on its price bracket is pointless. The Volt is not competing with other $30-40,000 cars, it’s competing with other hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs. It has much longer EV range than any PHEV Toyota or Ford have, and it’s half the price of the cheapest Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Scott_314, it’s a niche market. Just a niche market. And a small one at that.

      The vast majority of people on this planet drive vehicles with ICEs. And that isn’t going to change.

      It didn’t change when gasoline was $5/gal and it’s not going to change now that gasoline is much less expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      No one in there right mind has spent $40k on a Volt since 2012. I brought my 2nd, a 2015 last year for under $23000 before tax credit and all

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Good popcorn. Like watching a cripple fight.

  • avatar
    IAhawkeye

    The spirit of Voltsonfire lives on long after he got banned.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I don’t see the point:

    A. The Volt is too small inside to replace a general purpose car like a CUV or larger sedan, for most people.

    B. If you have multiple vehicles and are looking for a commuter car that will not be taken on long trips, a pure EV is better since you don’t have to charge as often, and you avoid the complexity and weight associated with carrying an ICE around all the time.

    C. The Audi A3 E-Tron is interesting as a potential replacement for a general purpose car with a long gasoline range, but the reviews on it have not been glowing.

    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Hopefully, GM will find a few hundred thousand people with an IQ sufficient to see the point and buy a Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      Master Baiter

      A) Agree the volt is smaller than ideal inside. I don’t understand why they haven’t put the drive train in a larger car or CUV

      B) Disagree. The volt is a good commuter car if you drive 20-40 miles betwern recharging. But unlike a pure EV (Tesla with the supercharger being the exception) you can use it for longer trips. I took my on a weeks vacation last year – the car was packed to the rafters – 4 people and every inch of storage space used. (hence comment A)

  • avatar
    John

    Whether you love the Volt, or hate it, you have to admit this was an excellent, very informative review.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Alex: Great Review (I like the ‘multi-panel’ view, or whatever it’s called).

    An important thing that you omitted was the NVH of the engine/generator when the battery is fully depleted.

    On my 2015 Volt, it’s certainly noticeable when it kicks in, as the genset is only capable of around 90HP output. If you’re using a lot of “go pedal”, the engine revs pretty high to keep the battery @ 0 percent (20% reserve), and if one switches to “Mountain Mode” when the battery is drained, it will attempt to bring the charge up to 40% capacity while driving (to allow full EV power reserve for long uphill stretches).

    I would consider this a “ding” of the powertrain, if the owner will routinely run the traction battery to “zero miles” (20% reserve) during their commute.

    I do love my 2015, but the technology is still limited enough that you have to appreciate the *concept* of the vehicle, and how it fits your commute so that you can enjoy that sweet “EV” response, and relatively instant heat (although costly in range) in cold weather.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I really like the concept of the ’16 Volt, however the back seat is tiny – like impractically tiny, and not just in the middle position. That’s the price paid for the location of the battery, it appears. Sad, as I think this will severely limit the market for what’s otherwise a very intelligently designed car.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I’m the furthest thing from an EV guy (there’s a V8 powered half-ton on my driveway). But if I were to buy a compact car, it would be the Volt without question. I could commute to work without ever using gasoline or having to kill time buying gasoline. Besides the cost savings it would be nice to cut that weekly errand from my schedule! I’m also drawn to the techy nature of the car; its a wonderful piece of engineering.

    Once Voltec matures to the point where we can have a Equinox model (Voltinox?) with 50 miles of EV range, GM will have a real winner.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Why a TTAC article about a car review needs to descend into a political catfight, I don’t understand.

    Can’t we just talk about the car’s merits and weaknesses?

    The powertrain is a nice development for EVs, with improved EV-only range and a better integrated gas generator/engine/thing.

    The interior continues the Volt’s traditional weakness–the back seat is not for adults or even rear-facing child seats. For a typical family with growing children, the Volt should do just fine. In theory it seats five, but I would rather drive separately than use your middle seat.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The major sin here IMO is the lack of premium seating. Cheap manual seating is acceptable in an <18K type model, not in something which retails 32-42K or thereabouts. Power lumbar seating with heated/cooled seats isn't expensive, it should at least be offered as an option.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The lack of a power seat is what throws me off.

    • 0 avatar
      THE_F0nz

      I agree its a bit of a head scratcher. I’m surprised it wasn’t added for v2.0 too.

      All I’ve read is that the feature was left on the cutting room floor for the sake of weight loss. Smaller glass, manual seats, thinner/lighter plastics in the interior and lack of sun-roof were the solutions.

      I imagine the sun-roof cannot be put it in due to the resultant headroom penalty in the back seat as well.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Even worse than the lack of premium seating is something you won’t discover until you get home with it. It has an extremely cheap, slow on-board charger. Leafs and other plug-ins have optional 6.6kW or large on-board chargers. The Volt only comes with a 3.6kW with no optional upgrade. With the new increase battery capacity, there’s a real need for faster charging. Reviewers that don’t actually own plug-ins tend to miss stuff like this.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Personally, I consider plugging in a Volt at a public charging station a severe breach of etiquette – I have a back-up generator, so the higher-level charger is redundant.

        When I first brought my Volt to work, a Facilities worker was asking me about the car, and said (kind of jokingly) “So, I suppose you’ll want a charging station installed?”; I replied: “I’ll never use it – it would block access to someone with a full EV”.

        Now, if for some reason I had the ICE fail, and needed to (and could) get back to the dealer, maybe.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    I was hoping there was a naked woman jogging by. For something recommended to watch, it was a letdown!

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    At a local car show, I found the new VaporVolt to be cramped and worthless to own – even though the center stack in the interior is superior to that cheap white plastic thing from the prior generation.

    Don’t be fooled – you’ll still never have any financial reason to purchase a VaporVolt over another sub $18k car that gets at a minimum of 40 mpgs on the highway. You will still be able to purchase, to fuel, and to finance an $18k car as noted and drive it for upwards of 150,000 miles before you spend the purchase prices of a VaporVolt. And you’ll pay more in interest and personal property taxes on the VaporVolt than the other vehicle.

    This car is for ecosnobs which also happen to be some of the dumbest buyers on the planet because they cannot justify buying one – so either they lease it or they just claim they are being green and ignoring they aren’t saving a dime anywhere. Being green without any financial payback is just being stupid.

    Did you see how cramped that backseat in the VaporVolt is? I’m telling you in the real world it is even less spacious – and that trunklette is a joke. Look at how the liftover is!

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Let’s be clear here – the VaporVolt still has an engine that is not suited to its “mission” – this is NOT supposed to be a direct drive fossil fuel powered car with electric assist – this is supposed to be since inception an electric vehicle with onboard regeneration by the engine. And here is the rub – you would never stick a 4 cylinder engine of ANY kind in this application. Having actually studied this concept for over 30 years, the superior application is either a two or three cylinder bio-diesel that is tuned to operate in a narrow and most efficient power band since it is just a generator. This way you have a truly efficient engine operating ONLY in its most efficient rpm range to maximize fuel economy. You’d be surprised how much more efficient smaller diesels are in comparison to that huge 1.5 liter 4 cylinder on all levels.

    Alas this is simply a very bad Prius (and I loathe them). You’d be better off with a cramped new Chevrolet Snuze and use the savings for fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      The engine/generator’s output (out of necessity) is somewhat smaller than needed to actually move the car directly, so it works with the remaining 20% of battery capacity to keep up with demand. So, the engine actually runs at several different RPM ranges, depending on the power required. An uphill grade will have the engine running at a higher RPM than level ground, etc.
      I’ve found that there seem to be 4 different RPM levels in my 2015 Volt, with the highest generating the maximum 85 HP for uphill operation.
      There is a “Mountain Mode” which (if you anticipate a 5-mile or so uphill grade in you commute), which will attempt to keep the battery at a 40% charge level so that you won’t be compromised on the long uphill grade.
      I believe that diesel would be a poor choice as a fuel for the ICE, as many drivers have fuel in the tank for 6 months or more – the Volt itself runs the engine periodically to lubricate itself and to remove old fuel from the tank – I believe that it would probably use the full 9 gallons in a year or so.
      I’ve used 9 gallons in 1100 miles, mainly because I wanted to make sure that all of the drive modes worked properly.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      except now you need big and expensive catalysts and filters to clean up the junk spewed out by a diesel engine, along with a urea tank. how much battery capacity are you willing to give up for that pipe dream?

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    My mother looked at the Volt, but chose the Malibu because the volt was small and she often brings her old lady friends to places. If not for that, she might have bought the Volt but for many people, it is on the small side.

    Just like Alex’s pants are on the small side. Alex, you need bigger jeans!

    Alex, this is not a beach, and you are not wearing Speedos


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