A Better Volt in every aspect
I simply loved this car. Because I love the idea of driving an EV without range anxiety. It is as simple as that.
I already had tested the first generation Volt about three years ago and was very satisfied. And, in the second generation, the Volt only got better and more attractive in design.
The principle remains the same: You have an electric car, drive electric all the time and, thanks to a gasoline engine as range extender, do not have to worry about range anxiety.
The car has a firm, yet comfortable ride, accelerates like a sports car, thanks to the instantly available maximum torque and brakes well. It offers a very quiet ride, due to not only being an EV but also good sound insulation. I think that also the tires deserve some credit for that.
The Volt has four driving modes: Normal, Sport, Mountain and Hold. The latter saves electric range for later use, which really alters its driving character.
For this amount of money, you own a car with a mature and advanced technology, attractive design that gives you great driving pleasure. GM optimized the design aerodynamically following a hard work in the wind tunnel. And it only makes sense for an EV. And if you look at the car’s face, it is unmistakably a Chevrolet.
General Motors says that the electric motor drive unit is now 12 per cent more efficient and is 45 kg lighter, while battery capacity has been increased to 18.4 kWh despite having 96 fewer cells than the unit in the first generation car. The new pack has also been lightened by 9 kg.
As the most distinguishing feature of a Volt, a gas-powered 1.5-litre four cylinder range extender is part of the power generation.Combined gas/electric output is rated at 149 horsepower delivering 294 lb-ft. of torque.
With the improved efficiency, now, you can drive the Volt pure electric for up to 85 kilometers.And our one-week nearly 400 kilometers’ test drive between Burlington and Toronto took place almost pure electric with a single visit to gas station (which was a our discretion but not necessary.
Every evening, we plugged in the car and charged from the ordinary residential outlet.
As one of the weaknesses of the Volt (and is still a problem for EV’s), full charging with the regular 120-Volt outlet may take up to 19 hours. however, if you have a good, well-thought driving plan, you can live with that and may even forget that the car has a range extender.
The improvement in the interior with much better materials and workmanship is very obvious. The cheap, white plastic of the previous generation is history. Heated cloth seats, a heated, leather-trimmed steering wheel, a leather-finished shift knob, an easy-to-use 8-inch MyLink infotainment touchscreen display surround you a give the feeling of a premium car. Most importantly the instrument cluster has a much better layout which is much more similar to a classic dashboard. The thin-film transistor display is very easy to read. If you remember the dashboard in the first generation Volt, you will greatly appreciate the difference.
Unfortunately, the uncomfortable, tight rear seat sticks to the current generation as well. Due to the T-shaped layout of the battery the middle seat in the rear is virtually non-existent and the Volt is practically a four-seater. Even for the two rear-seat passengers the legroom and headroom are limited and better suited for the kids.
Obviously, this technology that brings the best of two worlds together, doesn’t come cheap. Our very well equipped test vehicle’s MSRP exceeds 40 Grand. As a relief, buyers of Volt in Ontario, BC and Quebec can receive government rebates of up to almost 13K, which is significant.
The Volt makes a great, second car for families of four, like us. for a single person or a childless couple, it would meet every driving need, unless you have SUV-obsessed.
Of course, you have to crunch the numbers, do your math and decide based on your annual mileage calculations. The Volt is still “slightly expensive” even after generous government rebates.
Type of vehicle: Mid-size Hatchback vehicle
Engine: 1.5L DOHC gasoline engine as range extender, Lithium-ion battery propulsion (18.4kWh)
Transmission: 1-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): $38,390 / $40,545
Destination charge: CAD 1,600
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 2.2 (electric only), 5.6 (gasoline only)
Optional features: Siren red tintcoat: 455
Total Price as Tested: $40,545
Article: Varol McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars, Chevrolet Canada
Test vehicle was provided by General Motors Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)
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