2011 Chevrolet Volt Premium 1.5 liter from North America

Summary:

Highly underrated, a pleasure to own

Faults:

So far, none.

General Comments:

We traded in a trustworthy yet old 2002 Prius for a used 2011 Chevy Volt. I had wanted one of these for years, but the costs new were far more than I cared to pay. Used, these cars are a lot cheaper. Even so, the one we got had low miles.

My overall thoughts about the car is that it's actually a fairly underrated car. The overall quality, fit and finish, interior, and handling are all something you'd think would be reserved for a luxury car. What's clear is that GM did their homework. Unlike any other car they've designed in several generations, this was a halo project and they HAD to get it right. Whatever experiences I've had in previous GM cars, which were rife with cheap, flimsy interiors and mediocre handling, were totally gone in this car.

The car is absolutely loaded to the rim with gadgets. The list just goes on and on: front and back sensors, backup camera, heated and cooled seats, powered electric charge port door, nice stereo system, and so on and so on. The interface is not too hard to understand.

As for the car's primary drivetrain, the battery's range has pretty much lived up to its advertised claim of about 40 miles. On the way to work when traffic goes freeway speeds, I can get close to 35 miles on a charge. After work when traffic is more stop and go, I can go about 42-45 miles, hence about 80 miles total going back and forth to work. After over a week of driving, the typical fuel economy has been over 80 miles per gallon, and would be higher except my wife goes to an event every week which requires her to drive 60 miles each way. As far as the engine, even with the battery drained I find the realistic MPG has been close to 40, and as high as 42 MPG. When the battery drains, the car more or less functions like a Prius with regenerative braking.

What surprised me too is that the car handles really well. With the weight of the battery close to the ground, the car feels confident on the road since the center of gravity is as low as it is. Due to its weight, it simply feels smooth as well. Since the wheels are electrically driven, the torque is instant and it takes very little pressure on the pedal to yield full power.

I do have some gripes though... The first one is that the car has NO SPARE. We found that out the hard way when my wife got a flat literally the 2nd day we owned the car and we discovered that no - it doesn't have one, nor did they come with one. I remedied that by buying a used spare from a 2003 Cadillac CTS. We'll take that on trips so we won't get stranded. Second gripe is the alarm system. If you don't unlock the car first, the alarm will go off when you remove the charge plug. That's happened several times so far at 5:30 AM, which I'm sure annoying the neighbors.

But all in all, I am pleased with the car and hope to get just as many miles out of it or more as we did with the old Prius.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th April, 2014

16th May 2014, 11:27

I figured I would update this review as now I've now owned the car for over a month. We drive A LOT, and so far we racked up over 2,500 miles in the first month. After getting into the groove with how to drive the car, I am now getting around 135 MPG, which is amazing considering that means I've only filled the small 9 gallon tank twice.

My one complaint so far is that it's very difficult to see out the rear of the car. It's like looking through a bunker window.

26th Jun 2014, 07:44

The Chevy Volt does not offer cooled seats as stated in this review. Just wanted to point that out, because it is one of the things that is keeping me from purchasing it. I live in the hot and humid deep south, and cooled seats are in demand down here. Other than that... thanks for the great review. =)