2019 Chevy Volt Still The Plug-In Hybrid Champion

2019 Chevy Volt

NOV 20 2018 BY WADE MALONE 94

Despite newer options from Toyota and Honda, CNET says the Chevy Volt is still the PHEV champ

Earlier this year, Chevrolet announced several major improvements to the Chevy Volt for its 2019 mid-cycle update. Owners had been clamoring for many of these changes since the Gen 1 Volt launched in 2010. Now that the new model year has started arriving at dealerships, reviews are trickling in. So far the response is quite positive.

CNET’s Jon Wong recently put the updated Volt to the test for Roadshow. Typically, the biggest draw for a buyer looking to get into a plug-in hybrid is the all electric range. The Volt’s 53 miles of range continues to reign supreme as the gold standard compared to the Prius Prime, Kia Niro PHEV and Honda Clarity PHEV. For most drivers, this is more than enough for daily commutes. Strong regenerative braking and the convenient regen paddle is still a much loved feature on both the Chevy Volt and the Bolt EV.

One of the biggest notable changes to the car is the faster 7.2 kW charge speed that is standard in the Premier and a $750 option on the LT. The rear-view camera is drastically improved over previous models as well. That clarity really shows on the updated 8-inch touchscreen and new infotainment system. Other changes such as better placement of the wireless phone charger and optional power driver seat are very welcome. The 2019 Volt can also now operate in EV mode at temperatures as low as -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit) without activating engine assisted heating.

Wong does have a few issues that he wished Chevy would have addressed this model year. While the Volt is by no means an unattractive car, he feels the styling is on the boring side and would have liked to see an updated exterior. While the suspension adequately smooths out the ride for those up front, the rear seat is not nearly as comfortable. Rear headroom also remains an issue.

Despite these minor issues, Roadshow says the Volt is “The plug-in hybrid champ.” Check out Roadshow’s full review and final score below.

Source: Roadshow

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2017 Chevrolet Volt
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94 Comments on "2019 Chevy Volt Still The Plug-In Hybrid Champion"

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I take it that this is only for Plug-In Hybrid vehicles that are sold in the USA.

Mostly though there is the Velite for China.

Are there still only two seats in the back?

The Volt seats “three” in back since MY2016. However the middle seat has very little headroom and the passenger must straddle the battery pack.

Let’s call it 2.5 (or 2 + 1 person you hate that sits in the middle)

This not a good way to speak of a family pet 🙂

Referring to that person as the “family pet” is kind of kinky.

Hmmm, I guess I am neither educated, nor interested in such things. We have a pet rabbit and a betta fish; both are 100% vanilla, from what I can tell. Dr. Freud, of blessed memory, would probably say, “Sometimes a pet is just a pet”.

Good for a child/car seat in the middle though for sure!

When you have a gang of 5 travelling together, at least one is often a small person or a child.

I think that PHEV is a very good choice but will need three improvements to the current technology to make it mainstream and make people forget about BEV. Not all people require BEV for their daily commute to begin with.
– 60-70 miles per charge
– DC charging (0-80% in 10 minutes)
– petrol engine working as a generator to charge the HV battery on long journey.

In warm weather the Volt already gets a real-world 60-70 mile range.

DC charging would be nice, but not really needed in a PHEV.

The gas engine keeps the battery at a set threshold. Increasing the charge level of the battery would be inefficient and pointless. The battery should be depleted at the end of a long journey so that it can be plugged in and recharged.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Relatively few people need 60-70 miles for daily driving. At this point, the only reason to up the range would be indirect (part sharing, cost savings by cheaper, less power dense chemistry). But anyway, GM’s more likely to go long-range BEV and drop it entirely..
DC charging would be a nice-to-have, but not really worth the cost. The economics of it would be poor.
You can use Hold mode to maintain current SoC, or use Mountain Mode to charge up to and try to maintain 50% SoC, but otherwise it’s unnecessary and inefficient. There are packaging and cost benefits to having a fully serialized drivetrain, but at cost of efficiency.

They need the Phev for thier dealers service departments

You must not be familiar with the Gen 1 Volt then. My Volt has never needed anything but tires and an oil change every 2 years. I did have a flat tire that irritated the heck out of me, though. 5.5 years of reliable running.

I have a 2017 with 28,000 miles and same. No maintenance except rotating the tires, etc. And not a single problem. Incredibly trouble free car. And with regenerative braking, even your brakes last forever.

You’re assuming the driver has a house with a dedicated parking spot and garage that can have a charger installed. Less than 55% of the population fit that.

Anyone in a rental property or an apartment building needs longer range and fewer than daily charging sessions. Think in terms of multiple days of driving or once a week charging.

I live in a condo that used to be an apartment building. The engineer said it took him less than 30 minutes to put a 16 amp outlet near my parking spot. They charge me $20 a month for the right to plug my car in and claim that they doubt I will ever get close to using that much electricity due to the time of use. This isn’t rocket science.

I have an electrical outlet next to my parking spot. in 2016, I asked my condo HOA if I could use it (and reimburse the electricity) and was told no– too much liability (they claimed someone would trip over the cord or the car might catch on fire, and that the outlet was only 4 amps (a lie, it is actually 16). After pointing the lie out and getting additional umbrella policy insurance, they are now trying to have an electrician come in and see how much it would cost to get everyone wired up. My guess is that they will say the cost is prohibitive and prevent me from using the 120V outlet

@ziv
What’s your solution for people in NYC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, etc. that live in an apartment, condo, coop, or house and who park on the street because they have no dedicated parking spot?

I can guarantee you that the typical autoshopper does not even know what BEV or PHEV are.

I can’t say enough good things about the two Volts I’ve owned. I hope GM continues to build and improve on it. Volt owners love their vehicles and are dedicated to the product.

Yep I really like my 2018 but I would LOVED the faster charging speed.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

I like my 2013, but would like a lower ERDTT. ERDTT annoying on short winter trips: the engine runs to provide heat, but on a 1 mile run, it’s not going to get hot.
Faster AC charging also a nice-to-have that could help occasionally.

Maybe configurable.

Well the 2019 gives you an ERDTT threshold that’s about 30 degrees lower. Time to upgrade!! 🙂

I have a 2013 Volt and I thought about getting a Gen 2, but given the lack of performance and the mundane look, I think my next car will be a Tesla Y or 3. It just feels like my Volt is an afterthought for GM, whereas Tesla really wants my business.

Lack of Performance? I find the Gen 2 to have plenty of performance, certainly more than the Gen 1. I also feel like the Gen 2 is about the best looking EV out there, shy of the Model S. But looks are subjective so I get it.

Gen II 20% faster than Gen I

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Oh, I know that they dropped it. I was noting that it’s more important to me that 7.2kW charging. -13F is low enough for us. <15F is common in winter here, but I've only had to go out -13F once in 11 years.

But, we only bought our Volt 5 years ago. Our Prius is 9 years old, but barring a sudden write-off, I'd replace that with a long-range BEV.

I will never buy one, with that small useful mileage. It they cant go at least 300 miles, they are not worth it to me, or thousands of others.

Well it’s enough to get me and thousands of others to work and back on just battery. They run on gas too though…I would never get a pure EV…takes to long to change. I like having gas as an option.

Ok Chevy. Now is the time. Please put the voltec drivetrain into an equinox. It will sell by the 100,000’s.

Came here to post this – I own a Volt but I’ve outgrown it. I have a kid and the rear facing car seat pushes the front passenger forward enough that their knees touch the dash.

By only offering plug ins in sedan format they limit their sales (maybe intentionally). At this point I’m waiting for the XC40 EV. It’ll probably be two more years.

One of the main things people asked for in the Gen2 Volt was a middle “seating position,” specifically for car seats. I don’t know if you have a Gen1, or if you have a Gen2 but your car seat is so wide that it would push both seats forward, but the middle seating position is pretty much specifically intended for that use.

The Gen2 definitely has a steeply-raked rear seat, so if you have a car seat with a similar rake but it needs to face the rear, I could definitely see a problem. (But it sounds like you had the Volt before the car seat…?)

Get the Clarity PHEV it’s a midsized car

drove an equinox as a rental on a business trip. It was tippy feeling and slushy to drive. Maybe a battery in floor would lower its CG enough and using electric motors would make it responsive enough to make it something bearable to drive.

I half agree with you.

This is the time for a Voltec crossover or small SUV, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up about the sales. The Volt and Bolt should already be selling twice what they are now, in my opinion… but it seems the market is not there yet.

They’re not stocked sufficiently to see true market demand IMHO. Not to mention many dealers lacking an interest.

They have had plenty of stock for a long time – in the Volt’s case, many years. I don’t think supply is the problem (in the US, anyway).

And if dealerships really have the ability to stop EV demand, I’m not sure how that problem ever gets solved. If we have to first abolish the dealership sales model for EVs to take hold, the outlook is grim.

Had plenty in stock, Based on what? For the last year around me there’s only 1 or 2 available across several dealers. And I’m in a CARB state.

Unless there’s 10 at every dealer with a variety of options, they’re under stocked. Several dealers don’t even deal in the Volt, so unless someone is looking for one, it’s not going to sell.

It is unreasonable to ask for “10 at every dealer” for a car that sells less than 25k units/year nationally.

My Volt, which sat on a dealer lot for nearly 2 years before purchase and required the dealer to discount it $9,000 begs to disagree. There is plenty of stock outside of CARB states. There is poor marketing though, which has more to do with the government’s involvement than anything else.

Marketing has nothing to do with it. There are lots of “green GM haters”.

If it has a Toyota badge on it, it would have sold at least 2x as many. Marketing won’t change that.

To me that just says dealer doesn’t care to know about the car, and people don’t know about it either. If that dealer had 10+ in stock and actually knew about their features, they would’ve all sold.

This is magical thinking. People are not more likely to buy a specific car just because there are more on the lot.

Totally agree. Now GM just needs to make a bigger version of the Volt…

Also maybe a performance-oriented Volt.

That 700hp electric “crate” motor that Chevy put in the 2018 eCOPO Camaro makes me excited for the future of electric power. https://newatlas.com/chevy-electric-copo-camaro/57042/

A Malibu PHEV would be nice.

Impala. The best traveling car but can’t sell

How about both

I agree with Leeper and Bro. Chevy needs a bigger roomier version of the Volt. Equinox size would work well. Heck, Malibu sized would be an improvement. Keep the smaller Volt but add to the Voltec lineup. Add improved performance and handling packages to all of the versions. Charge enough to make it profitable, but quicker and better handling Volts/”Voltec Equinox” would be an option many would pay for and it would help the Voltec image immeasurably. It would be great if they could finally put the pack below the cabin in the next generation, but I am not holding my breath.

Strongly agree with others here that GM seriously needs to get off their butt and use this platform in a small/mid-size SUV. If priced reasonably it would sell as fast as GM could screw ’em together.

I also want to strongly disagree with Wong’s opinion re:the Volt’s looks. I think it has a very clean, modern look that will age well in the coming years, and it definitely avoids the “Hey! Look at me! I’m an electric car!” weirdness.

The one thing I struggle with is the sales figures on the Volt. I honestly can’t understand why it doesn’t sell much better in the US than it does. Perhaps there’s a “size anxiety” factor, akin to range anxiety, that keeps people from buying what is effectively a four seater…?

Given the the position of the Volt/Bolt relative to their competition, I’d say the biggest factor on sales is the badge.

If the Volt and Bolt had Toyota badges, they would be selling at least 50k/year.

The Volt doesn’t sell well because dealers don’t like them. They are nearly maintenance free and rarely need any repairs so, no service dept profit. Sales people shun them because they take too long to explain & would rather switch the customer to a faster sales process. Also, Volt buyers are “thinkers” and salespeople hate when they can’t just b.s. people. So, Volts lay in the back of the lot uncleaned with dead batteries.

I’m not sure why an EV would be any less likely to have issues with suspension or exterior than an ICE. Unless you’re saying that the Volt itself is just too well-built?

The myth that car service will not exist in our electric future needs to end. No, you won’t have (regular?) oil changes, and you won’t need to replace your brake pads… but that doesn’t mean that your tires will last forever, or that your struts are now invincible. (And EVs haven’t really been around long enough for us to see what kind of transmission issues they may have.)

There are many areas of a car that require service outside of the engine and the brakes.

Fortunately the GEN 2 volts have had as a yardstick – the GEN 1 to be compared to…..So although not overall quite as reliable as the GEN 1 the GEN 2 is still pretty good -if reports are to be believed. The 2019 volt is a very attractive car – even if it suspiciously looks a bit like a Toyota product. The Bolt Ev is usually described as a bit ‘homely’ (I prefer to call it ‘Oriental Styling’), even if it is very space efficient. I’m disappointed that GM apparently must be dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ into making significant EV or PHEV offerings, and can only hope that the (HOPED FOR) success of the Honda Clarity (a fine vehicle in its own right – even allowing for its annoyances), convinces GM to compete in the mid-large size vehicle arena. Now if some large company world-wide would release an Impala-Sized PHEV – now that would definitely create a market segment all of its own. Yes, there is the Model “X”, but seeing as most of them seem to sell for $130k, they are not ultimately going to sell millions of them, and for such a pricey vehicle to have the absolute… Read more »

Hybrids have always been a mean to delay BEVs.
Hybrids are allowing the ICE car company cartels to keep their old engine facilities running and not retool toward the necessary and urgent electric turn.

A relative of mine is car shopping. I may be able to convince him to get a PHEV. The town he lives in is small (20,000 ppl) so all of his in-town driving would be electric. Along the highway routes he drives, the nearest DCFC are 292, 307 and 395 miles away from home. There is zero chance he’d get a BEV.

Excellent example of why I keep saying we need as diverse a set of EV offerings as possible. People have widely (some would say wildly) varying real life circumstances that make some options not just better than others, but the only viable ones with others not even in the running.

I have to wonder, for example, how many more cars Tesla would sell if [1] they could put stores wherever they wanted (looking at my home state of NY on this point), [2] they offered a wagon version of the 3, and [3] you could just go in and buy a 3 and take delivery in a couple of days the way you can at a legacy dealership instead of waiting months.

That last item is a huge negative for most consumers, even though it’s actually a positive for the fanboy crowd who just love how different everything about a Tesla is.

Okay I’ll bite, what other Chevy vehicle(s) is the Volt engine used in?

The Chevy Malibu hybrid – there were supposed to be 10 times as many Malibu Hybrids sold with the “VOLT” engine as volts themselves. – Except I haven’t seen one since the dealers are not stocking them.

In agreement with others here: Now how difficult would it be to take the existing Malibu Hybrid with its voltec drive train – put a bigger battery in the thing (even at some sacrifice of trunk space), and put a charger and a plug on the side?

I have always felt hybrids were a bridge, not a road block, and they can have a greater immediate impact as they fit into today’s infrastructure, meaning that nearly all drivers could convert today to hybrid/PHEV with $0.00 dollars spent on infrastructure changes…

The infrastructure is the road block, not the hybrid..

I love my Volt, and the improvements are welcome, but they fail to address the lack of space for the price, and they leave the central battery pack that hurts interior space and usability.

A relatively easy fix would be to offer the Volt with a more traditional hatchback design like the Cruze hatchback: it’d give more headroom to rear passengers and more storage space.

For the next generation Volt, they absolutely need to move the battery into the floor to do away with the central hump splitting the seats.

And, yes, a CUV version of the Volt would be welcome, though I think so long as the central hump remains it will not be the run-away sales success that some think it will be.

The Volt is the Cruz

Bring the Buick Velite 6 here and offer AWD as an option. I’m not normally a GM styling fan but that Buick is gorgeous. Looks very premium and that matters when you are going to lay down $40,000 or so

Do Not Read Between The Lines

First they’d have to make an AWD PHEV.

ridiculous review puts the Volt ahead of the Honda Clarity because of more EV range- its 53 vs 48- really a difference?? In the meantime for the same price the Clarity is a full size car with a beautiful interior compared to the cramped Volt.

In real world tests Clarity beat Volt so I assume they’re essentially the same. Agree Clarity is far more comfortable and better appointed. Volt is great but a class down in size and luxury.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Different size class.
To me the compact size is an advantage.

Also, the 2019 Volt is pretty much an EREV, with no electric performance limitation. Clarity has a detent to help, but 0-60 in 13 seconds shows the limitation.

Also, what were they thinking with a 7 gallon fuel tank?

They compared the Volt to the Niro, Prime, and Ioniq, not the Clarity… probably because the Clarity isn’t a hatchback.

I test drove the Clarity and bought another Volt instead. Most people feel the Clarity is ugly compared to the Volt. I like the large liftback access of the Volt. Volt reliability is unrivaled – Clarity may be good but too soon to tell ( just because it’s a “Honda” doesn’t make it a great car.)

The Volt is ahead of the Clarity because you can actually buy the Volt anywhere. The Clarity is only available in California and Oregon.

Not so – the Clarity everyone is talking about here is the Clarity PHEV which is widely available.

Clarity’s EV performance in acceleration is a slow poke compared with Volt.

It also doesn’t handle as well as the Volt.

Yes, I agree that interior is more spacious.

I will weigh in here. I have a gen 1 Volt. Even with it’s design compromises it is a fabulous car. The blind spots are no problem. I’m tall and I double and triple check while backing out. The touch screen and interface works well enough. The engineering is par excellance. The drivetrain, battery tech and range work for me. 4 passenger seating is all I need. As for gen 2 styling. Some will say it looks like a Honda Civic. Chevys own Cruze. Have you seen a civic. Too many poor design Choices in order to stand out. Trapezoid shapes on the rear bumper. Boomerang shaped taillights. The Honda Clarity. Enough said. The Hyundai Kona. Styling not great compare to Chevy equinox. Kia’s electric offerings also not great. The current volt. Nice curves and shapes on a sides of body. All cars have plastic as part of the outside. If I have to have it I want it shiny. There is enough chrome trim that is tastefully applied around the car on the outside. I like the chrome faux grill. The taillights have combination clear chrome and red in them. Looks so sharp. And finally the dash information display… Read more »

When I went looking it didn’t have adaptive cruise control and a sunroof (I just like sunroofs). I believe it got the adaptive cruise… still hoping for a hole in the roof. Higher speed charging wasn’t something I knew I wanted, but DEFINITELY do.

I had gen 1 Volt, considered gen 2 Volt but got Clarity instead. At the base trim levels (where volt & clarity have the same price), Clarity has a better value proposition, considering all of the safety / convenience techs being included, along with 7.2kW charger.

No driver side blind spot monitoring available at any price with the Clarity (they have the camera view for passenger side). No rear cross traffic alert available either. Note that Consumer Reports has reported many issues with Clarity. Seems to be very competitively priced.

It would be awesome it they could improve the range to at least the first generation BMW i3 level and optional CCS.

The most face-palming feature is that Chevy added a power driver seat with no memory settings. What’s the point?!?

Volt may be the king, but it is an old king with a “damaged reputation” of Chevy as a brand. That will be the forever limiting factor for the Volt.

The Volt is still the champ because the Volt is an EREV, designed to run fully electric until the batter is depleted. and the rest are PHEV’s, designed to run like hybrids and only run fully electric when not under heavy load.

This is the reason I continue to favor the Volt over all PHEV’s and most BEV’s. I never use gas unless I go out of town…

Based on that current definition (which has changed many times over the years), it means Prius Prime is also an EREV. You drop the pedal down to the floor, even with the Heater or A/C cranked, the engine does not start when in the default EV mode. It will remain in electric-only drive.

In other words, labels really don’t mean much. It’s more about capacities and efficiency ratings… values, not categories.

Not the one my relatives have, drop the pedal hard and the engine comes on immediately even with a full charge and in EV mode.

You hang out here too so you can bash the Volt just like you do at gm-volt.com? …..Geez……… Not wasting my time with you here just like I don’t waste my time with you there… Buh bye….

Pushing GM to finally diversify by offering Volt technology in a vehicle like Equinox is bashing? You’ve got really messed up priorities if you think that.

Of course, just 5 days later, I’ve been vindicated. The reason for my “too little, too slowly” concern was about Volt’s financial viability. If GM didn’t find a way to increase sales volume, it would be discontinued. That’s basic economics. If the product doesn’t grow, it will fail.

Turns out, that is exactly what happened. Rather than the plant producing volume ramping down Cruze as it needed to build more Volt, the entire operation collapsed. The transition to an electrified offering failed.

You wasted your time by not listening. My concern originated from the bankruptcy task-force, those put in charge of making sure GM had a solid plan to get back to good financial health. Volt was claimed to be part of that effort. Calling my contribution to get GM to diversify bashing is just plain wrong.

The Volt is so tauntingly close to perfection … it seems to make many people feel wistful “If only it were a little larger … If only the EV range was 100 mi … If only it cost a little less … if only its powertrain was in the Equinox/Malibu/whatever” 🙂

Price and size have been the Volt’s two biggest weaknesses. I continue to be disappointed that GM has not moved Voltec to larger vehicles, especially the Equinox. This will be their downfall…

We had a 14 Volt, and now a 16 Premier with 24000 miles. One oil change. No problems either car.

Our LIFETIME MPG is 143. This is mostly because we can do Church or shopping for less than the electric range. But when we go to our big regional shopping town, it is 132 miles round trip. That takes 1.92 gallons and another $1.30 of night electricity.

1,82 gallons. And most of our shopping is a 40 miles round trip. We use about 4 gallons a month.

And still not available in Europe. The Volt always add the advantage against the competition.

Chevy can easily double or quadruple Volt sales with a few simple modifications: first thing is to make driver assistance package standard, particularly on LT trim (currently not available). Then, for the next generation, increase practicality. These days people want more practical cars, decent rear legroom and headroom is a must for mainsteam adoption. My guess is that currently they are not interested in selling more of these.