2016 Chevrolet Volt Test Drive Review

SEP 1 2015 BY MARK KANE 17

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

Automobilemag.com published an extensive review from its test drive of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt before General Motors’ flagship hit the showrooms.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt Hits The Streets

After a total of 120 miles (almost half in all-electric mode), feedback is very positive compared to the first-generation Volt.

New Volt is slightly cheaper, with noticeably higher all-electric range (53 miles EPA), and many improvements.

Automobile praised GM for changes inside and for changing “old Volt’s nasty touch controls” to “rotary knobs and simple buttons for the climate-control system“. New Volt is the first Chevrolet to get Apple CarPlay.

Fifth rear seat isn’t full size, but for short trips it could be useful:

“Also most welcome is a new rear bench seat that, in a pinch, can accommodate three passengers. Admittedly, the vestigial center spot is a penalty box: It’s tight on headroom, and you have to split your legs around the battery box protruding from the floor. But for a quick run to the movies, it’ll do. Better than leaving the fifth rider out altogether.”

Second generation Volt has enhanced brakes:

“The new Volt’s binders feel almost conventional. It’s easy to modulate them for smooth stops, and they’re strong and reassuring underfoot. Big thumbs-up.”

The whole driving experience is pleasing with decent steering response. In all-electric mode, Volt is quiet and smooth, with “Almost no wind or tire noise intrudes into the cockpit.” Acceleration is strong enough to effortlessly use freeway entrance ramps.

2016 Chevrolet Volt Dash Cluster (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt Dash Cluster (Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

The steering wheel paddle to engage regenerative braking was praised too:

“The ride has improved from gen one, too. As before, four driving modes are available: Normal, Sport, Mountain (in which the motors and engine combine output for climbing steep grades), and Hold, which switches the car to extended-range mode to save battery juice. There’s also a nifty paddle behind the left of the steering wheel (just like a shift paddle) that activates Regen on Demand. If you’re really looking to maximize every mile of electric range, simply pull the paddle (say, when heading downhill, approaching a stop sign, crawling through stop-and-go traffic) to activate the Regen system without having to step on the brake pedal. The system is surprisingly entertaining to use. Driving through a section of twisties, I found myself “left-hand braking” for many turns where I just wanted to erase a little speed. Besides, who wants to be bothered moving your right foot from throttle to brake all the time?”

Mountain and Hold modes are less impressive due the internal combustion engine running. Engine noise and vibrations fill in the background and there is a bad impression of engine revs detached from the speed and acceleration of the car, although this is normal in this kind of drivetrain.

Anyways, the review ends with rating of “a gargantuan leap forward” compared to the first generation Volt.

Source: Check out the full review at automobilemag.com

Categories: Chevrolet, Test Drives


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17 Comments on "2016 Chevrolet Volt Test Drive Review"

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Quote from article:

“If the outgoing car were a promising college quarterback, the new edition is Aaron Rodgers. The 2016 Volt is that much of a step up.”

This is the type of response coming from other reviewers too. Not just an evolutionary advance from Gen 1. The 2016 Volt is in another league.

Congratulations to Andrew Farah and his team. Mixing football and baseball metaphors, Looks like not just another home run, but a grand-slam:)

Spoke with the brother of a Volt engineer who went riding with him in Florida in one of the production test models that he has been driving. He says they had the A/C on the whole time, it was relatively flat, and they got well over 60 miles in electric mode.

A decent report.
Here is another from Motor Trend.
A little more techy.
The got 7.1 seconds 0-60 time.

And 2.2 seconds 0-30 time which is 0.1 seconds faster than their 2013 review of the Tesla Model S85.

Although MT didn’t clearly state it, I’m assuming these times are in hybrid mode with the gas engine helping out. In EV mode, GM claims 2.6 seconds and 8.4 seconds.

If that is true then that is a huge departure from how the drivetrain worked in the gen 1 Volt. The gen 1 Volt had more or less the same 0-60 time whether in EV mode or charge sustain mode.

Yeah, it looks like the Volt 2.0 has some of the same tech in the ELR, where the car can draw energy from battery and engine simultaneously for more power.

Does this mean that the Volt (and the ELR) are technically no longer EREVs? After all, they don’t have “full power” on battery. I suppose a more nuanced definition would be that you have access to full battery power when running on battery.

Yeah, that settles it unless your name is Clarkson.

I always called my Volt and ELR plug-in hybrids. That other stuff is ‘Straining out the Knat’.

But even though the ELR’s performance improves with the engine, 75-80 mph freeway driving is quite nice without the engine, as long as you don’t mind the juice falling out of the battery.


The new Volt also lets you draw battery power from both motors for increased acceleration without the engine being used. That’show their 0-30mph acceleration time is so improved.

So, the real question is, does using the engine with the battery result in statistically significant faster acceleration?

If so, then full power is not available from the battery, and it is not so much an EREV anymore (technically, but practically it still is).

If not, then it is still, practically, and technically, an EREV.

To add some context, there is another review where the EV (without the engine) acceleration notably surpassed what GM advertised, so GM may have just under-promised on this one.

The 2016 ELR is still based on an enhanced version of the 1st generation Volt engine, transmission, and battery so it internally works fairly differently than the 2nd gen Volt’s new transmission. The old and new Volt and older 2014 ELR are EREVs in both the normal and sport modes. The 2016 ELR has a modified sport mode that is non-EREV. What is EREV? GM’s definition of EREV is documented in an SAE technical paper written in 2007 and published in April 2008. It basically says an EREV must not start the range extender due to vehicle speed or the position of the accelerator pedal (power/torque demand) and the vehicle must start off in EV mode and remain that way until the grid charge in the battery runs out. It also says the vehicle must be capable enough in EV-only driving to meet a California Air Resources Board document’s definition of a Full Power Electric Vehicle. In this sense, a Full Power EV is one that can legally drive on the highway at normal speeds. This designation is meant to distinguish such a vehicle from a less capable Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (golf cart). The Full Power designation has nothing whatever… Read more »

Good writeup.

I should add that GM’s EREV definition is strictly about the propulsion mode behaviors that might or must not cause the range extender engine to start up.

GM’s EREV definition also says nothing whatever about the engine needing to start up due to periodic engine or fuel maintenance reasons or to assist in cabin heating. Those issues are completely outside the scope of the EREV definition.

Sadly, GM’s sensible EREV definition is widely misunderstood and misreported.

And finally, the 172 kW I mentioned earlier should actually say 174 kW (233 HP).

We know the Gen 2 Voltec drive train is very different – with a true “hybrid” mode – as GM has already said they will use it largely unaltered (with a smaller battery and larger engine) in the new Malibu hybrid which will get 47 mpg and have 185 HP of total power.

None of the auto companies, excluding Tesla, gives a crap about electric vehicles. They are all still dragging their feet.

Where are the electric trucks, buses, vans, etc? They won’t build them.

I would say price is the limiting factor. A fully loaded Volt Gen 2 is still in the $44k range, almost at par with the Gen 1. Sure you get a federal bonus but those will eventually run out. Price is way too high to become mainstream.