2011 Chevrolet Volt from North America

Summary:

A great everyday commuter's dream

Faults:

The rear hatch shocks were weak and replaced in a recall.

A small coolant valve between the battery coolant and engine coolant systems failed and was replaced.

General Comments:

First... before I continue... I wanted to write this review for those who might either own or want to buy a Chevy Volt. I had previously written a review and it was over-run with comments not related to the Volt. Please refrain from doing that.

Here has been my honest assessment of this car, a 2011 Chevy Volt.

We bought this car when it was 2 years old. These for whatever reason they lose value like crazy. So... we got what had been a $40,000 car for $17k.

Prior to the years leading up to COVID I had a HORRIBLE commute. These cars qualified for the carpool lane, which cut down on commuting time. That and at work they had lots of free chargers. My commute was exactly 37-38 miles each way. This is the first gen Volt which came with a 34 mile range. If I was gentle I could get to and from work with maybe a mile to spare on the battery. On warm days I could actually get it up to 42 miles.

The cost to run these is unbelievably cheap. Because the engine doesn't run as much oil changes are only every 2 years, and besides coolant and transmission lubricant everything else lasts as long as the car. At home it's about 90 cents to fully charge. As mentioned, work was free. So I was spending under $5 to run the car per week in battery power.

The engine is probably the worst thing about it. Once the battery drains you're left with an anemic, low displacement 4 banger that then is used as a big generator to run juice through the battery and into the motors. It takes getting used to. It doesn't really rev; it whines. And when the battery runs out you get the sense of how heavy the car is. When it's on battery it's FAST and the torque from leaving stop lights is insane. Putting it into "Sports mode" makes it feel like a rocket. But that uses more juice faster. If you're on the freeway or someplace relatively flat it's fine. Even on hills it's OK. But we found out the hard way that if going up long, massive hills it will go into limp mode as the engine desperately tries to both charge the battery and move the car. There is a mode called "Mountain mode" that you have to press before you get to the hills. That in turn directs more of the engine to the transmission.

The range has degraded somewhat. When new I could on occasion go 40 miles. Now it's more like 34-35.

The interior fit and finish is pretty good. IMHO, better than the Prius we had before it. Everything feels solid. The seats are very comfortable. Everything on it, some 150,000 miles later works well.

The head light lenses are now starting to fog. We live in a very sunny part of the country. I will buff them out every 6 months. The paint on the roof is starting to show oxidation. Makes sense: It's black and dark colors around here suffer from the UV.

We are probably going to replace this with a Rav4 plugin hybrid. GM stopped making the Volt some years ago.

In summary? These cars do what they were designed to do and ours has been pretty reliable. It's a shame they did not sell as well as I would have imagined. On the used market you can pick up one for cheap. They make excellent, no-nonsense commuter cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2021

4th Apr 2021, 12:23

Thank you for offering this excellent review of the Chevy Volt. I appreciate the fact that you are someone who experienced it for nearly a decade.

Hope you guys continue to enjoy it, and someday enjoy that Toyota RAV4 as well. All the best!

2013 Chevrolet Volt 1.4L from North America

Summary:

Completely underestimated - Amazing Car

Faults:

One software update for the OnStar system, because the hands free calls were fuzzy sounding.

General Comments:

I have wanted a Volt since they began to sell in 2011. Finally, used prices started to drop and a bunch of off-leases hit the market. I found my 2013 Volt this past February for $12,900 and only 12,000 miles! Clean Carfax, 3 year lease, absolutely not one service history entry. The car has heated cloth, lane departure system, accident avoidance system (i.e. both safety packages), backup camera. I absolutely love the performance of the car, and the handling. You can really throw it into curves, believe it or not, due to its very low center of gravity from the HV battery location.

Put this thing into Sport Mode, and drive in "L" and you will have a blast.

BTW, my electric bill in SE Michigan went up ~$15 a month, and that is depleting the charge every day (about 45 miles on electric). We are fortunate to have very affordable kWh here.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2017

1st Jul 2020, 01:36

I am the OP - Since my 'original' 2013 Volt (sold that in Sept 2018), I purchased another 2013, sold that one too, and just this past week bought a beautiful, 50k mile, 2015 Volt with every single option. Every time I sell a Volt, I end up missing it, and buy another LOL. If that isn't a testament to what excellent cars these are, I dont know what is!

But... I'm starting to look crazy to my family & friends, haha.

By the way, the 2015 seems faster than my 2013's. The 2015 DID have a larger capacity traction battery vs. prior years. Don't know if that has anything to do with it, but it also gets MUCH better range. I easily get 50+ miles out of the 2015, while on both of my 2013's getting 45 miles on electric was pushing it.

The cars are becoming more and more rare, as every day some Volts will meet their demises, and it's not like they sold as a "mainstream" car in the first place. I am glad to be a Volt owner and this time plan on keeping the 2015 for a long time!!

1st Jul 2020, 20:32

Make sure when you retire, consider treating yourself to a really nice upgrade. Life is short.

20th Oct 2020, 06:28

A few common problems with the 1st generation Chevy Volt.

- Stator bearing failure (the car will make like a 'saw' noise).

- Loss of braking function, very little stopping power (Service Brake Assist - Service Stabilitrak). Some owners had the brake module replaced ($$$) but others found loose wires at some fuse panels. So inspect first any brake related wiring or harness.

- HVAC valve.

- Service high voltage system message. Could be a faulty battery disconnect connector, battery heater core inside the Main Controller Unit ($$$), a complete new main battery needed ($$$).

- Reduced propulsion power message.

Generally speaking, the 2nd Volt generation was quite more trouble prone compared to the first generation (transaxle, sensors, end links, Battery Energy Control Module, etc).

29th Mar 2021, 22:43

Look at this Russian video. When these cars go bad it's really hard to fix them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-NkJsm1wdw

2nd Apr 2021, 16:09

Have a look on Edmunds. Click to see all reviews, then select to see the reviews with 1 or 2 stars. You'll get an idea about a few of the problems. Keep in mind, the facelift 2016-up was even more problematic https://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/volt/2013/consumer-reviews/?rating=2

3rd Apr 2021, 01:02

So what vehicle do you recommend? The review and comments say nothing about the individual retiring. Could be they are already for all you know.