Overview & Reviews
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.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 195.00
Gas saver - 2012 Chevrolet Volt
By Dale todd - December 27 - 12:09 pm
I bought this 2012 as a leftover on the lot in late 2013. Dealership titled it to save the tax deduction thus making it a used car with 800 miles. I own a pharmacy and we make deliveries for customers. I installed a rapid charger at Rx for about $600.00 and avg 220 mpg. I go months without fueling up. Plug ins are great for the right person and situation. In SC the weather does not impact the charge range as bad as up north. Worst I have had is 38 miles vs 44 in summer. Overall it is a great vehicle so far. No issues other than a recall notice I received and dealership handled. Not even sure what it was it gave me no problem.
Don't buy into the hype... - 2012 Chevrolet Volt
By T. Lewis - December 5 - 10:15 pm
I bought this car because my husband is a Prius owner and we have become gas snobs over the last few years. The car was pricey for a Chevy (this is my first American brand car), but with the fuel economy rating (99 mpg is what the tag said), I figured it would pay for itself soon. I live in Cincinnati and bought the car in the summer. The battery gave me about 50 miles per charge and I was filling up once a month. Once the winter hit, the car ran mostly on gas (the engine had to come on to warm the car) and my battery miles were reduced to 28-31 miles per charge and my fill ups were weekly instead of monthly. In short, in the winter months, I am averaging around 40 mpg. I considered trading it in this year (the car is 3 years old with 40k miles) and discovered that the trade in value of the car is @ $12k, which is a considerable depreciation from the $38k price tag 3 years ago. Huge let down.
Love this car. - 2011 Chevrolet Volt
By Mark Grabosky - November 30 - 6:04 am
I purchased one of the first ones made. Drove it almost 5 years only using gas on road trips. Just traded it in for a new 2016, hope it's as good. Best car I have ever owned.
Just be prepared for the keyless remote going dead - 2012 Chevrolet Volt
By Dave - November 29 - 6:50 pm
Bought my 2012 Chevy Volt with 34K miles about 6 weeks ago. As quiet as the 3 Toyota Camrys I've owned. Great acceleration (considering I've only owned 4-cylinder cars), and love, love, love the fact I can drive round trip to work on zero gas. LD trips out of State (Atlanta, 280 miles) I can easily get 35+mpg, or 45ish if I drive 70, and use the normal setting for all uphill / mountain, and "mountain" for all downhill/flat. My ONE complaint occurred this weekend, when my keyless remote was suddenly (and without any prior warning) not picked up by the car. Luckily there is a key entry in the driver door, but no way to start the car using that key. Was stuck 10 miles from home with nobody available to get a ride. Bought two replacement batteries, but no change. Finally sat in the car for 15 minutes tapping my remote until suddenly the car recognized the remote and would start. From now on, I've hidden a second remote with batteries removed (plus 3 batteries) in a small bag inside the car. If this happens again (and it has) and the remote stops working, I can access the second, slap in a battery, and hopefully get this thing started. There really needs to be SOME option for starting the car using the key.
Best car I have ever owned. - 2013 Chevrolet Volt
By Kevin - November 18 - 9:25 pm
I LOVE THIS CAR!!!! I have had this car for 3 years and 63,000 miles and I still look forward to driving it every day. The EV experience is amazing. Reliability of this very complex vehicle has been perfect. I have not had any items fail. I will be keeping this car for a very long time.
One sweet vehicle - 2015 Chevrolet Volt
By Mike - November 18 - 7:05 pm
Have owned my volt for only 7 months now. Just took a trip from Michigan to Florida and back. Volt ran 70 mph all day and had absolutely no problems. I averaged 40.2 mpg going to Florida and 38.4 mpg on the way back to Michigan. I have driven Traverses and GMC Arcadia for the last 6 years, so getting used to a smaller vehicle took some time. I still want to grab my car keys when I get out of the car. At home in Michigan, I have only filled the gas tank 2 times. I have been getting anywhere from 39 to 43 miles on a full electric charge. I don't know why it may charge to 39 miles one time and 43 miles the next though. Car has a great ride for a small vehicle and the seating in the front is comfortable. I can't say anything about the back seat, because no one has sat there yet. Breaking is excellent and the radio is very good. One big thing to watch is when you are changing the drive mode from normal to anything else, you better be very careful, because you can easily hit the blue power on/off button. Did that once and there is not a thing you can do, except to pull over and restart the vehicle. I talked to my dealer about this and he agreed with me and said there is chatter on the chevy site about this, but no solutions yet. The combined millage includes my 2600 miles going to Florida and back.
Positive volt - 2015 Chevrolet Volt
By john - November 14 - 11:01 am
Great comfortable, functional, and fun car. Many positives. Rear seat room just above adequate. Negatives are: Climate controls are too complex. Heat is a big drain on the battery.. even being careful it cuts range by 20%. Exterior gap and fit still not up to Japanese quality.
Fun and economical drive, but poor controls - 2015 Chevrolet Volt
By Gabriel Teixeira - November 10 - 12:23 pm
The car is indeed very economical, but you should mind that it uses only premium fuel, which is not so economical in money after all. It is electrifying fun to accelerate yet it does not invite you to drive fast. I would put it in sport mode and leave the traffic lights in front of everybody, but I was never compelled to go faster than the speed limits. The interior is really comfortable, but mind that it just takes 4 persons. The trunk space is reasonably big, considering it is a compact. But the controls for the audio, ventilation or navigation are really hard to use while driving. It is easy to mistype the buttons since they are capacitive and often I would touch them and there would be no response. Besides that since it has no tactile feedback, I would have to turn the attention away from road to do simple tasks.
My first oil change was at 35K miles $0.00 spend - 2011 Chevrolet Volt
By high volt-age - November 2 - 7:48 pm
This car is fun to drive especially in sport mode, the only complain is the middle arm rest it is kind of hard and it should be a bit forward. My first oil change was at 35K miles and it was free, so far no repairs (except the couple recalls) $0 spend in over 2 years I don't know why if you check the cost to own it it says Maintenance first year $166 second year $317 not true $0 spend Repairs first year $80 second year $191 not true $0 spend I din't spend a dime in 2 years how did edmunds come up with this numbers ? http://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/volt/2013/st-200424007/cost-to-own/
Great commuter car -spare car - 2014 Chevrolet Volt
By j - October 21 - 9:48 am
Pros: Great mileage. Plug in at 8pm, usually full charge by am. Warm days bring better electric miles (~48) cold days (~30). I only commute a few miles to work, so this is perfect for my situation. Quiet (no rattles). My German shepherd's preferred vehicle -lol (vs. LexisRX350). Nice to have range extender engine that gets decent mileage. entertainment system easy to understand. Car settings easy to change and understand. Nice to have on-star for free (3years). Low Mainteneance (so far). Driver layout, cup holders, front Instrument Panel Storage with outlet (great for gps unit or phone connection). Remote App (to locate car, Open Locks, Warm car up etc. Cons: No spare tire, Large front pillars (visibility), rear leg-room (expected), Window flutter noise (when one/two windows open - all windows have to be open), Black Paint (to hot when sun is out) - then you need to use Air Conditioning which depletes electricity. Low front clearance (rubber scrapes over little driveway inclines. Seat warmers s/b std. equipment. hard to judge front end when parking. Weekends (when everybody wants to use car) running totally on Electric becomes an issue (do not have quick charging unit).