2016 Chevrolet Volt Review By TestDriveNow – Video


2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

TestDriveNow’s Steve Hammes presents and reviews the 2016 Chevrolet Volt with insights on his driving experience.

The review begins with an argument that for the vast majority of Americans, electric cars simply don’t make sense, but later review becomes more positive overall.

From the driving perspective, the new Volt is more polished with better ride quality. The sleeker look and improved interior were appreciated too.

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32 responses to "2016 Chevrolet Volt Review By TestDriveNow – Video"
  1. Bill Howland says:

    I am always curious as to what the response of ‘Normal Drivers’ will be to the Generation 2 VOlt’s Double planetary gearsets (up from 1 in Gen 1), where the engine is now CONSTANTLY GEARED to the tires. (A trick overrunning spider prevents movement with the engine off – we’re down to 2 clutches as opposed to 3, so in a sense it is simpler – although the 2 separate transmissions give a wide range of modes).

    The engine shuts down at stop lights because of the above, and then starts on the electric motor unless floored, when absolute smoothness isn’t necessary.

    Still in all, GM has done amazing tweeks to this 2 transmission combo to not have the engine starting and stopping be noticeable.

    Every one of these reviews gives the VOlt high marks for quality and finish – apparently improving on an already outstanding product.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “CONSTANTLY GEARED to the tires”

      Only if the clutch is engaged. =)

      1. Jeff N says:

        Bill is correct. In Gen 2, the gas engine is always connected to the planetary gears which give it a mechanical path the wheels.

        In the 2 EVT modes, one for city driving and the other for highway driving, it is connected in a series/parallel fashion where it needs one of the electric motors to be active in order for the mechanical power to push the car instead of just freewheeling the motor. In the 3rd mode, the engine is directly connected to the wheels as in a conventional transmission at a fixed gear ratio with an electric motor that can be inactive or can optionally help push or regenerative it brake.

        The gen 2 no longer has a series mode like the gen 1 had — it is directly connected to the planetary gear without a regular clutch in the way. Instead, there is a one-way clutch that keeps the engine from turning backwards when the engine is off and the car is using two motor EV mode.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Yeah, for the longest time I was scratching my head wondering how they crank start the engine with no starter motor… Then I realized they just overspeed the motor to make the engine shaft turn forward – the ‘overrunning brake’ allows this since the shaft is turning in the correct direction.

  2. Blastphemy says:

    What are you talking about?!? The gas engine does not run in the Volt until the 18.4 kWh battery is depleted. The first 45-55 miles are completely gas free unless one engages Hold mode. This ain’t a Prius – the engine isn’t constantly running. Even at full acceleration and high speed, the gas engine does not run unless the battery has been depleted or Hold Mode is engaged.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      He knows that.

      He is talking about the REx mode.

      He owns a Volt and ELR.

  3. ModernMarvelFan says:

    The new Volt looks better in person.

    1. Koenigsegg says:

      It really does. And will look even better with the mods im gonna do to it.

    2. Ambulator says:

      I think I like the old Volt more, but the difference is minuscule.

    3. Ziv says:

      I like the Gen I look a bit better. It stands out more. The Gen II is going to blend in with other cars.

  4. ggpa says:

    Mark … I think your quote in the second paragraph is too short, because it loses the context that the complete first sentence conveys.

    “For the vast majority of Americans, electric cars simply don’t make sense, whether the issue is driving range, vehicle size or financial.”

    He then goes on to say that Chevy Volt is the most sensible solution for folks wanting to drive an EV.

  5. kdawg says:

    Overall good review, but some mis-information at points. I also didn’t like the preface saying EVs aren’t for most people.

    1. ggpa says:

      Kdawg, the truth can hurt!

      You write – “I also didn’t like the preface saying EVs aren’t for most people”

      I felt the same way until I heard the full sentence “For the vast majority of Americans, electric cars simply don’t make sense, whether the issue is driving range, vehicle size or financial” and then I realized that Steve Hammes is correct.

      Much as readers here love the existing selection of EVs, they will not sell in double digit percentages until Steve’s 3 points are satisfied
      – longer range
      – bigger size (think SUV)
      – lower cost

      1. kdawg says:

        I don’t think SUVs make sense for a vast majority of Americans, yet they still purchase them. Same goes for sports cars, etc. To say a car has to “make sense” is not a good way to start an article. Everyone has a different opinion of what makes sense. It’s sort of like the old “what’s the payback” arguments. Blah.

        Note the price of the Volt is on par with the average price of a new car. Does Steve say this? No. Instead he continues with the myth that EVs are too expensive for everyone. Also no mention of maintenance savings, just the EPA guess on fuel savings. Oh, and I didn’t like his bit about “under perfect conditions, you may get the 53 EPA rated miles.” That is false. The EPA testing is not under ideal conditions.

        1. ggpa says:

          You may think you know what is sensible for other people (no SUVs!), but what really matters are their opinions, not yours.

          You, me and folks reading this blog are early adopters. We are willing to make compromises because we like EVs.

          Right now EVs are about 1% of US automotive sales. In order to grow that number, EVs have to make sense to people that do not think like you or me.

          1. Djoni says:

            While I agree with your comment about opinion of many I wouldn’t say that all of us, early adopter, are making compromise as much as we are reasoning our choice.
            So there is not much reasoning about buying something 3 times bigger than you need with all the waste and money it implies.
            Eating too much make you fat and obese, and this serve nobody.
            You can switch the scope on anything that we do, it just about the same motive, too much isn’t enough!
            Having cleaner air, water, and city is also about stopping to buy unnecessary things that harm the well being of all.
            I’ll stay thin and healthy, it’s just so more fun to be like that.
            You said it, opinion matter more than reasoning.
            This is the greatest threat for our future in my “opinion”:-) and a bit of reasoning, presumably.

          2. kdawg says:

            “You may think you know what is sensible for other people (no SUVs!), but what really matters are their opinions, not yours.”
            You are repeating what I said. What makes “sense” is an opinion. So for the reviewer to say EVs don’t make sense for the vast majority of Americans is a silly thing to say.

            1. ggpa says:

              Wow, it is time to calm down a bit, I think!!!

              When 99% of sales are not EVs, then by definition it does not make sense for the vast majority of buyers.

              You can slow down on the judgments like “silly thing to say”. You are more out of line than him. By far.

              1. kdawg says:

                Sales is not simply a reflection of the product(s). There’s a lot more going on than just 3 simple metrics.

              2. kdawg says:

                I also find it odd you are asking me to “calm down” when every other sentence you type is filled with exclamation points. Very calm on this end, no worries.

                1. ggpa says:

                  You seem to have a very thin skin. Cheer up!!!

                  1. kdawg says:

                    Skin is pretty thick, especially after the holidays.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        ggpa said:

        “Much as readers here love the existing selection of EVs, they will not sell in double digit percentages until Steve’s 3 points are satisfied
        “– longer range
        “– bigger size (think SUV)
        “– lower cost”

        Much as I wish it were otherwise, that’s true. If it wasn’t, then we’d already be seeing exponential growth of worldwide EV sales. Sadly, aside from the “premium sedan” segment where Tesla Model S sales are growing exponentially, we’re still stuck in the early adopter stage of the EV revolution.

        1. kdawg says:

          IMO it’s going to take more than just those 3 things.

          Education/familiarity is a huge part.

          1. Stuart22 says:

            Education is overrated, especially now with gasoline prices so low. What will cause people to wake up is when gasoline prices spike upward, past $4-$4.50 a gallon. When people start feeling pinched, they’ll start looking for relief. That’s when ‘education’ will be of help.

            1. kdawg says:

              They need to be educated that even at $2/gal gas, they are better off in a plug-in.

              1. Stuart22 says:

                Results won’t exceed the efforts until people feel some pain. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the mentality of the average car owner. Gas prices now are levels too low to cry about, and so the pace of EV adoption is not going to change much with sales pitches.

  6. Leftie says:

    Not a terrible review, but it’s amazing (in a Bad way) that this guy can review how the car performs in cold temps, but never mention that the heating system relies on the ICE running to provide cabin heat below either 35F or 15F. The start temp can be set for the lower number, but engine starts can’t be disabled, even if the car is preheated while charging.If the Volt had a heat pump, it would be a great car for Northern climates. Even adding the option to disable the low-temp engine start would allow shorter trips using only the electric heater. As it is, the irony is that the Leaf and similar ‘Not for most of us’ EVs provide great comfort with no gas burned while the Volt insists that you start the engine when it’s cold out, regardless of whether or not that’s needed..

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “If the Volt had a heat pump, it would be a great car for Northern climates.”

      Heat pump doesn’t work well when it is close to freezing temperature.

      So, it is actually good for mild weather region that occasionally get cold but not too cold.

    2. bill howland says:

      You neglect to mention that heating at 15 degrees F is extremely efficient while the engine is running, and that doing so makes the efficiency of the ICE Skyrocket.

      One review I’d love to see is a comparison of an engined BMW I3, compared to the VOLT in cold weather.

      Drive both until the battery is dead in each vehicle, THEN see how much MORE gasoline is used in the I3 with the heater on ‘High’. Do the same thing with the VOLT with the heater on ‘HIGH’.

      While you’re at it, give all of the REST of us the FIRST REVIEW out of dozens that never turn the resistance heater of the I3 rex on while doing performance tests.

      I’ve said I don’t care much about straight line performance, and I’m not going to cat-call here either. I’m strictly interested in which vehicle has FRUGAL gasoline consumption.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the VOLT used only HALF the gasoline of the BMW I3 Rex for the same distance traveled.

      There is a bit of a double-standard here: The volt is ALWAYS criticized for the slightest bit of gasoline consumption, yet never the slightest constructive-criticism of the I3, when to my mind it is fully deserved.

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        You’ll be waiting a long time for a fair comparison of the i3 REx and the Volt.

        BEV purist commenters actually cheer the fact that the i3 REx’s engine doesn’t mechanically link to the wheels, despite the fact that the Volt produces more power, better fuel efficiency, and properly utilizes engine heat for cabin efficiency.