Consumer Reports Comments On 2016 Chevrolet Volt – (w/video)


“More electric-only range, faster acceleration, better fuel economy, and easier controls: they’re all part of the Volt’s redesign, shown at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.”

That’s how Consumer Reports summarizes the changes made to the 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

The world’s leading consumer magazine basically says that the next-generation Volt is evolutionary, not revolutionary:

“Electric-car aficionados have been eagerly awaiting big breakthroughs in the second-generation Chevrolet Volt, and they won’t be disappointed. But the advances may not be the ones fuel-economy enthusiasts were looking for.”

“Sure, the 2016 Volt has a little more range than the outgoing model—GM claims a 20-percent bump, from 40 miles to 50 miles.”.

“It also gets more energy-generation power, with the engine output climbing from 84 hp to 101 hp. Displacement also grew incrementally, from 1.4 to 1.5 liters. The electric drive remains at 149 hp. Shaving about 250 lbs. off the curb weight should help both performance and efficiency. Plus, the gas engine no longer requires premium fuel.”

“But none of those are the biggest breakthroughs.”

So, what are the biggest breakthroughs then for the 2016 Volt, according to Consumer Reports?

“In our own testing, the Volt mostly performed impressively, with silent, smooth electric power and acceleration better than a Toyota Prius. Where it fell down was in the everyday details that made it hard to live with: the jumble of indecipherable and unresponsive capacitive touch buttons, the rear seat cramped into near uselessness, and the total lack of a center rear seat where you could install a child seat.”

“Those are the things this Volt has fixed: The 2016 Volt has dedicated hard buttons and knobs for climate controls. The battery still sits under the center of the second row and robs any semblance of place to put a passenger’s legs there. But at least it has a thin cushion and a center belt where you can install a child seat. And yes, you can use the middle LATCH anchors for the outboard seats to cinch down a child seat more easily.”

Improved all around.  Not radically, but enough to make the next-gen Volt better in almost every aspect compared to today’s Volt.  That’s evolution and Consumer Reports thinks it’ll be enough to convince more consumers to go electric by buying the 2016 Volt.

Source: Consumer Reports

Category: Chevrolet

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51 responses to "Consumer Reports Comments On 2016 Chevrolet Volt – (w/video)"
  1. kdawg says:

    Seems like CR is now scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with bad things to say about the Volt.

    1. Evil Attorney says:

      Yea, that’s what annoys me about CR. They have a tendency to exaggerate the negative, blowing some small things way out of proportion. Not just for cars, either. It’s the same for pretty much all they review. In the age of the internet, I feel like most niche websites are better able to review products/cars than CR.

    2. Anon says:

      The smack-talk againt the gen1, just means they like gen2 better. The Volt that got released, was never perfect. What is? But they seemed to appreciate GM making an effort to improve upon it, even if it’s a tad underwhelming.

      I don’t see that as a negative.

    3. Mike989 says:

      Incredible bias, but the Volt owner satisfaction seems to be getting thru.

    4. Scramjett says:

      Their MPG ratings tend to be considerably lower than what most people get in real world driving also. Even with ICE cars! I’ve often wondered if they test cars in the dead of winter with the defroster running full blast and flooring the pedal.

      Personally, I’m waiting for the review from Alex on Autos. He tends to have a very pragmatic review from the perspective of how most people use and drive cars. And he’s the ONLY one I know of who tests how carseats fit!

      1. BillFractheCarGuy says:

        I have sold three Volts in the past year, not a lot, but the most in my dealership. I just spoke to a customer this week who said he has gotten over 50 mpg on a trip here in hilly central PA (2014 MY). He is the first client of mine to state this….he also transitioned his electric sourcing over to all wind generation provider, and said his bill only went up 3 dollars per month so far. Win/win!

    5. DonC says:

      This guy is an idiot. He was debating some other CR “car guy” and they were discussing whether the $120K Model S or the $150K i8 was more practical. Practical? Really? You don’t buy cars like these because they’re practical. No doubt they’ll also say a $500 cup of coffee is more practical than the $700 cup of coffee because it’s two ounces larger.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        No argument with what you say DonC, and I think they missed another point with the VOlt: People say the quality is much higher than typical Japanese Fare.

        I know my Tesla Service Center manager test drove my Volt, (he asked if he could since he had never driven anything electric besides a Tesla), and he told me he was very impressed, and I don’t think he was just saying that. Another Tesla service tech told me he plans on buing a used 2011 (similar to my 2011) when the 2016’s come out since he figures he can get them at a discount, and the car will still last for years since its such high quality.

        So thats 2 Tesla people I’m aware of that have said very complementary things about the volt. It may not be perfect, but ‘Nuff said.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Most Tesla owners I know actually like the Volt and appreciate it…

          It is usually those Prius owners or LEAF owners who happens to be GM haters or BEV purist that would like to hate the Volt…

        2. Bill Howland says:

          Of course, days like today make me talk under my breath at the thing, seeing I’ve got like 2 or 3 horsepower to try and get me unstuck multiple times from my driveway. What with the superlow ground clearance, and the lack of power since there is no way to disable the traction control on my model. If this thing was designed in Michigan, I don’t understand how they could make such boneheaded decisions. Maybe I’m just getting sick of snow with an undersized electric snowblower. I’m semi taking care of that problem by just ordering the biggest snowblower elecric model they currently make. But clearing the property and fighting the snow plows several times a day is getting old. At least the charge port on this car doesn’t freeze too easily, its just the remote control door never works. (Another bone-headed idea since there’s nothing to steal).

    6. Jeff Songster says:

      How is what they said bad? They overall said that it was much more refined with most of the weaknesses addressed.

      It all rang true to me. I chose not to get an original 1st gen Volt because while a very cool design… it was too small for my whole family of 4 to fit into… 3 out of 4 of us are almost 6 footers… so not happening for us. The back seat issue is certainly true… after a test ride my daughter never wanted to ride in it again.
      Ended up in a LEAF and really enjoy it everyday. 17k Solar miles and counting.

  2. Jon says:

    The volt 2.0 will steal a ton of sale from the prius,especially with the tax rebate. This could be the first mainstream plug-in vehicle selling ~100k vehicles a year.

    1. Stephen says:

      They will need to knock $5k off MSRP to get near that kind of volume. I don’t expect more the 50k per year at best.

      1. kdawg says:

        I think 2015 will be less than 2014. Gen 2 doesn’t go on sale till the 2nd half of the year. So I’ll guess 16,000.

        1. Josh says:

          If they only sell 16k for the entire calendar year of 2015, GM better cancel the program.

          The new Volt has been teased for more than 6 months already. There is record number of EV owners coming off lease this year. There should be massive pent up demand for 2.0.

          If GM can’t sell 20k of the 2.0 in the second half, they have a complete disaster on their hands.

      2. Jon says:

        the car has been improved all around from all electric range, better mpg, lighter weight, better performance, lower MSRP(most likely). GM will advertise this much more then they did with gen 1.

      3. Nix says:

        I read somewhere that GM claims they have whacked $10,000 dollars out of the cost of production. It was in the context of making the Volt profitable, so it is hard to tell how much (if any) of those savings they will pass on to customers. But if this is true, it does sound like there may be room for a price cut.

        The price seems to be the last secret they are holding close to their chest.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      It damn well better. The new Volt is SUCH a better value.

  3. QCO says:

    Interesting comment about the Volt 2 looking less like a hatchback than before. The big 3 marketing arms are convinced Americans won’t buy hatchbacks or station wagons, so that input obviously drove the styling.

    I can’t help but think they are missing something since there are some great hatchbacks out there, including Mazda 3, Golf, Focus, Subaru….

    1. Mike989 says:

      Yes, I’d like to see a wagon version as well.
      They’re missing the small business, hunting, camping, biking market.

      1. Mike989 says:

        Hell, with a wagon version they might be able to go after USPS rural delivery contracts.

        1. Jeff D says:

          They could give one to my wife to test out for that purpose. My main concern would be the location of the shifter, as she straddles the center to reach the peddles.

  4. davidw says:

    Looks like they got their math wrong. An increase from 40 miles to 50 miles is a 25% increase, not a ‘mere’ 20% increase.

    40*1.25 = 50

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      Starting from 40 and increasing to 50 is, as you point out, normally calculated using the original value as the baseline. For and experienced publication like CR to use 50 as the comparison [(50-40)/50] is somewhere between disingenuous and just plain sleazy.

      1. Mike989 says:


        Just another indication of BIAS.

    2. DonC says:

      Technically they are going from 35 miles in the 2011 MY to 50 miles in the 2016 MY. That’s a 43% increase.

      However I doubt it will be a big deal. There just aren’t many days when people go over 35 miles. GM is saying a 10% decrease in gas consumption (1000 miles between fills from 900 miles), but my guess is it will be less than that. Maybe in cold climates.

      1. JRMW says:

        It will be a big deal here in MN.
        Winter range can hit 20-25 miles here in winter
        Upping the overall AER will hopefully bring winter AER to 35 miles in a place like MN

      2. TimE says:

        I don’t know about not often going over 35 miles. My Leaf has done plenty of 100 mile days, and tons of 60 – 70 mile days. That nice little convenience of a 6.6 KW Charger certainly makes a lot of additional charging and more trips possible in a single day. Our ICE gets out of the garage maybe 1 – 2x a week at best, while the Leaf is in and out constantly.

  5. ClarksonCote says:

    Where the Volt 2.0 misses:

    – No change in Engine Running due to Temperature operation, which causes northern customers to largely miss out on the “electric only” operation for daily commuting that makes the Volt so great.

    – No 6.6kW charging option, which some would gladly pay for to be able to recharge their battery to nearly 50% after spending an hour eating or at the mall, for example.

    1. kdawg says:

      Where did you hear no change in ERDTT? I read that the winter performance is supposed to be better.. but no details of course.

      1. DonC says:

        I think he meant the user won’t be able to deactivate it. They have said they’re still fiddling with the settings but it will probably be different.

    2. Jeff Songster says:

      Better yet put Combo DC port quick charge capability on it. If they offered that those customers could triple the electric miles traveled in their Volts.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        That would only benefit very small% of the Volt owners.

        Your thought works for BEV purist, NOT general public.

        When I need 100 miles range each way, it is during my commute that I won’t stop for DCFC just so I can stay 100% the entire way…

        The point of DCFC is NOT to get you 100% EV, but to get you home or to the next DCFC station…

    3. Bill Howland says:

      I’m easily satisfied. Newer Volts than mine can be set to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, which to me is acceptible. There are enough days when outdoor temps are 16 or higher to make this engine running ok. But 27 degrees is usually unobtainable around here so the engine runs..

      So if there is ‘no change’ and its still off at 16 degrees, I don’t count that as a big negative.

  6. Speculawyer says:

    Damn it . . . people better buy this damn car. It is providing us with a GREAT way to move to electrified transport while keeping all the advantages of gas cars for those that can’t make the full move yet.

    Wanna clean the air? Buy it.
    Wanna screw over Putin? Buy it.
    Wanna reduce greenhouse gases? Buy it.
    Wanna save money on gasoline? Buy it.
    Wanna create good American jobs? Buy it.

    1. Scramjett says:

      Wanna visit the gas station only once every couple months? Buy it!

    2. JRMW says:

      Barring some major surprise, (like GM doesn’t release it in MN) I’m buying it!

  7. Breezy says:

    I’m a subscriber and I can write their review already.

    Highs: Low running costs on electric, quiet, instant torque, standard backup camera, value

    Lows: Visibility, some interior materials, some controls, range loss in winter, active safety features only on top level trim

    I’m sure the Volt will move up from a 68 rating to a 72. 🙂 It will still be underrated, because they don’t get it.

    1. Scramjett says:

      You do know that, while they write the “highs” and “lows,” their ratings are based mostly on reader feedback from people like us (I’m a subscriber also).

      I filled out a survey last year on my Leaf.

      1. Breezy says:

        Nope. The road test scores (what I meant by rating) are based on a set of objective test results plus subjective opinions of the editors. Owner satisfaction scores, based on the survey, are reported separately. If you check their data you’ll see there are sometimes large disparities between the two numbers. The Volt is one example, with owner satisfaction of 85 to 93.

  8. flmark says:

    I wrote up the item over on the GM-Volt site, but it is worth it to link over here, too. For those who complain the Volt doesn’t fit an ‘SUV lifestyle’, read this!

    1. James says:

      Hey flmark, it’s me, James.

      We are some of the world’s biggest Volt fans, although I don’t own 2 like you do!

      We have to know that just because we know and value the Chevrolet Volt’s numerous pluses and advantages – the big world of car buyers may not ever “get it”.

      For one, Volt’s advantages over Prius and PIP are legion. The market now has to figure that out by driving one. Secondly, I bought a Prius back in 2007 after trying various minivans and groaning at 22MPG. My wife nixed the Prius purchase and we were going to wait on an American hybrid minivan. Toyota has built one for Japan called the Estima for a decade, but never sold it in NA due to perceived market conflict with Sienna.
      Since I couldn’t stomach 20MPG I had my wife put two baby seats in the back of a Prius at the Toyota showroom. To her surprise, they fit! So did the stroller and diaper bags in back. She saw Prius as a subcompact like a Corolla with no storage. Those assumptions are hard to bust – unless one gives a car a try.

      We purchased the Prius and now know the Volt is just as practical ( sans one passenger ).

      CUVs are here to stay, and their buyers exceed sedan buyers of all sizes. Rather than fight or re-educate them, might as well build CUVs that are more efficient. V.2 Volt is a half-step in the right direction, with it’s 1/2 seat in the middle. It’s still not going to convert some Prius owners, and not many CUV buyers.

  9. Tesla Fan says:

    could have been a leaf killer if it had 70-80 miles of EV range and 300 miles of gas.

    That would be awesome

    1. Open-Mind says:

      In my perfect world, GM would offer an AWD SS option that adds a second motor at the back wheels. With about 300HP and a 0-60 time in the 5’s, I think such a car could strongly compete with Tesla, and it could have been available this year.

      Selling for $50K, it could offer Model S 85D performance for $36K less money. But for whatever reason, GM does not want to build it and take my money.

    2. Breezy says:

      It would have been a no brainer with 70 miles of range. Even at 50 miles it’s much more difficult to make the case for a 70-90 mile BEV unless you must be pure electric.

  10. Robert says:

    I was at the car show and got to sit in a 2015 volt. I felt the car was to small on the inside and the interior was nothing to brag about.If GM plans to sell and be competitive with other EV they should of made the car bigger and spent more time making the interior more plush.

    1. Breezy says:

      This article is about the 2016.

  11. Bill Howland says:

    Perhaps GM and others are waiting for higher gasoline prices to drive up sales of plug in products… I’m not sure we will have to wait a long time since crude oil prices seemed to have bottomed; “Teaching Putin a Lesson” which was nonsense, and he knows it, since it just shows the West’s vindictiveness seems to be currently falling apart, what with Hollande and Merkel meeting with Poroshenkal and Putin independently of the US. The recent “Minsk ‘2’ ‘agreement’ will of course fail as the first one did, but it buys time for the European people to clearly see that dancing to washington’s tune isn’t doing them any favors. So crude oil may be headed back up again soon, or at least that’s my analysis of it.

    GM will clearly do more on the EV side of things when other manufacturers, seeing increased public demand due to the return of $4 and $5/ gallon gasoline, start flocking to EV’s in large numbers, since fortunately electricity is still relatively cheap in many places, Solar panels are still reasonably attractively priced, and in many areas of the country make much more practical sense than where I live due to the increased electric production for the same investment.

    GM definitely won’t allow others to eat their lunch. As I say many times, bring back that Cadillac Escalade hybrid with the integrated 2- 80 hp motors, and just put a 48 kwh battery in it and presto, you’ve got a 100 mile all electric range large luxury carrier unique in the market place for a good long while. They should have done that years ago, but still, better late than never.

    One sure fire way for

  12. Bill Howland says:

    Hummm, these little edit screens confuse my typing.. Poroshenko. I forget what the sure fire thing was.. hehe.

    Maybe it was as of Minsk 2, the ‘Separatists’ (that’s anyone in Eastern Ukraine who doesn’t want their homes burned down – there’s already been 1.25 million people ‘displaced’) have to retreat to their original borders and give up the territory they’ve gained ONLY WHEN Poroshenko does all the things he’s agreed to do, namely stop bombing their apartment buildings, which he wont do. So time is on their side. This whole operation of Nato-izing the Ukraine is falling flat on its face, and all the low crude prices and sanctions are doing is making the Europeans Jump ship.

    Greece isn’t exactly cooperative with the IMF lately, and Spain and Italy are watching. So much for the Bush I’s ballyhooed New World Order….. A NWO is apparently forming, but fortunately, its not Bush’s… hehehe.

    So the short answer is it is long term good for higher crude prices, and with it, much increase demand for electric cars. As other blogs here have shown time and again, the US at least can handle many, many times the amount of EV’s on the road without having to do a thing infrastructure wise.

  13. no comment says:

    it’s hard to find consistency in the CR remarks. on the first hand, the obsessively criticize the use of touch controls on the Volt, but seemed to love the tesla model S that has a touch screen. getting rid of the touch screen seems to have been an area of fixation with the CR reviewer, although i have never understood this fixation.

    it does seem, though, that CR is going out of its way to nitpick in its comments about the Volt and to blow the criticisms out of proportion. it’s ok for CR to not cheer lead, but using language like “indecipherable” and “unresponsive” about the center stack control, and comments like “the rear seat cramped into near uselessness”, seem a bit hyperbolic.

    the comments about the “fifth seat” seem fair; and i also agree that the new Volt does not look like a hatchback. i also agree that the overall changes are incremental but for people who do have to use gasoline, i think that the ability to use regular gasoline is a really nice feature. i would also think that the reduced noise and vibration from the engine are also nice features (although this one will be difficult to assess until people have had a chance to test drive the car).

  14. Bill Howland says:

    The main thing that would kill EV enthusiam in general would be HIGH Electricity Prices, such as happening in New England. Electric Prices are effectively double what they are here in Buffalo, and these days its the same Utility, British National Grid.

    California has had ridiculous confiscatory rates for years now, for a variety of reasons, including collusion going on with regulators about the ill-fated San Onofre SONGS (Nuclear Generating Station)

    Remember that cutesy SONGS-TREK? With O’Hurra and Jim Kirk?

    I’m not hyperlinking it since there’s bound to be more news out about that in the coming weeks.

    But 24 cents per kilowatt-hour in New England kills the very much needed price advantage EV’s used to have. Not sure why such high prices are allowed, unless its superhuge decomissioning costs of the defunct Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.

    What obscene rates will have to be paid when Pilgrim goes tits up also?