Consumer Reports: First Drive Of 2016 Chevrolet Volt

NOV 22 2015 BY MARK KANE 37

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

Consumer Reports takes a quick look at the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, prior to purchasing its own for an extended test drive and full evaluation.

The new generation Volt is compared to its predecessor from 2011 model year, and Consumer Reports notes improvements in most areas, like ride comfort, quieter drive, 5th “symbolic” seat (good for small child or in emergency situations, as there is not much room for legs), new infotainment.

Of course, the 2016 Volt brings significantly more all-electric range, and even at first try (without much effort), Consumer Reports achieved 48 miles out of the 53-mile EPA rating.

“When the Volt was originally introduced for the 2011 model year, it signaled a turning point for electric cars. Now, the 2016 Volt has more electric-only range, and solid improvements in refinement and livability.”

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37 Comments on "Consumer Reports: First Drive Of 2016 Chevrolet Volt"

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I have sat in a Gen II Volt at the car show, and I liked the thinner A Pillars but I don’t remember the rear end being so high. Can you see a low slung car like a Lotus behind you?
My Gen I Volt has the split rear hatch with the transparent lower panel so that I can see out the back and see the lower parts of cars behind me. Does the Gen II have the same feature? It looks opaque.

Mainly, what gen2 provides, besides a “4-Door Coupe” style which is less of a mish-mash than gen1 — is 53 miles of all-electric drive! Gen2 does this before switching to REGULAR GAS, not Premium. In CS mode, MPG is up to 43 MPG Combined.

The Prius-like split window in back is gone. All that’s left is a black-colored panel on the trunklid as a continuity styling cue ( like the black “Volt” delta in front rearview mirror harkening back to gen1, and even further to the Volt Concept. While the little window on the hatch was awkward, it also was hard to keep clean. Sam goes for it’s match on gen2 and 3 Prius. I never used it, and relied on the backup camera, anyway.

I hear you, James, I only use a gallon a month but being able to use regular unleaded would be nice for boasting privileges. If you drive a lot, paying the extra 20-30 cents for Premium would get old fast.
Once cool thing is that if the Gen II is EPA/DOT rated for 53 miles of AER, I would think that it would be fairly easy to get 60 or more miles of AER 9 months of the year. I get 44 in my 2013 all the time, except in the winter of course.
I have been laughing most mornings lately because my Guessometer has been dropping this past week from 44-45 miles of AER to 42. Next month we will probably see the the annual flood of posts that say something like “My Volt battery is dieing! My predicted range has fallen by 8 miles!”

“relied on the backup camera, anyway.”

Does it come with the base model? It should.

Rear visibility is pretty poor, and short cars are difficult to see (even regular cars’ headlights may not be visible at night).

Does the rear view camera come with the base model?

Yes. The rearview camera is standard on the base model 2016 (and on the premium, of course).

I really like what Honda did with their Civic Hybrid… 😉

Then you must love what Honda did with their Crosstour.

Oops, mods switched pic & deleted my second comment comparing the Model X to a Crosstour. The pic above should be this one.

It’s an easy mistake to confuse “Form Factor” with Styling. So I forgive you. They’re both certainly crossovers, but they’re not stylistically the same.


Both ugly, and one has no excuse given the price.

My eyes! My eyes!

I’m personally a big fan of what Jaguar did with their XF:

They really cleaned up some of the lines. +1 on removing the exhaust too.

Yes. Taking some of the best design elements from high-end European cars, is part of the Model S’s success. But there is more Aston Martin than Jag in it.

If GM thinks emulating mid level Asian cars is their target audience / market; more power to them.

I think it is proper and appropriate for a high-end luxury EV to have “similar design language” as a high-end luxury ICE. I don’t think it’s appropriate to do the same for the Volt; that’s what the ELR is for, and it does a great job at that regard.

Furthermore, I think it’s rather obvious that the Volt’s target market is precisely mid-level Asian sedans. Everyone knows that the primary target for the Volt is the Prius, but copying the design language of that car is all kinds of bad.

36 mpg? They must have been really flogging it. My Gen 1 rarely gets as low as 36 mpg.

I presume they tested it in the Northeast.

Winter Is Coming.

I average 29MPG on my 2015 Volt. I do live in So Cal that has a lot of hills

I have been driving the 2016 in hilly, hilly San Francisco for 28 days now. I am a huge fan of the regen paddle, and even with climbing 6 significant hills and in major stop and go traffic every day I’m still averaging 58 miles to the charge. The highest I’ve gotten so far is 63 miles to the charge. I think this thing would be a real knockout if I could drive it in a relatively flat terrain without a stop sign or traffic light every other block! Oh – I agree the backup camera is necessary for safety (and the blind spot warning, too, since the sideview mirrors are really small).
Really love my quiet, sporty little Volt and just wish they could have gotten us a true 3rd seat for the rear. On the other hands, my kids are happy to be separated and it does make for a somewhat more peaceful drive when they’re back there together!

Can’t really argue with them that the fifth seat isn’t much of a seat, and yep it doesn’t have power seats.

The 2016 isn’t going to break their rating system, but it should improve on the Gen 1’s 68 score.

Probably True.

Why do people forgot that it works well for small kids.

It does work well for kids, it does. I’m very pleased that they added it. I’m trying to think like Consumer Reports. They give lots of weight in their ratings to things like rear seat room.

Breezy, as I recall, the MY 2011 and MY 2012 Chevrolt First Gen Volts were rated at 98% by Consumer Reports- back to back years.

The Chevy Volt EREV was knocked from that highest pearch when Tesla Motors Model S emerged for review in 2013 and 2014, consecutively.

Notice the 11.29.2012 date Of the Reuters peice liked below.

Link Goes To Ruters artice dated 2.12.13-

Link Goes To Consumers Reports Tesla Motors Model S Review Posted On The Tesla Motors Forum Dated 02.24.2014-


Thomas J. Thias



Hey Thomas,

The Volt scored 93 in Consumer Reports’ 2011 owner satisfaction survey and 92 in 2012. Highest of all vehicles. The road test score, which is assigned by CR testers, not by owners, is 68.

That first photo makes the Gen 2 look better from the rear than most of the shots I have seen so far. I’m looking forward to seeing one in person.

When paying once a month for fuel and not a full tank premium is not that big of cost. The more EV miles definitely helps. I think chevy needs to have a quick charging option which would give more EV miles when in big cities

Who the hell uses regular fuel these days?

I even use premium in my old ICE car as otherwise the injectors get fouled with the Chinese regular fuel they sell in Australia.

Ps just filled up the Volt with 12 L after … a year and the fuel was on it’s cheap cycle that day!

Yeah, I think I used gas once… I think it was in April. I’ll have to refill this winter because of ERDTT.

With >50 miles of range, I am surprised people care as much about premium vs. regular.

I look forward to a full review from Consumer Reports. Hopefully it shows on on Talking Cars soon.

I am really tempted to get a Volt 2.0 next year, but I will not be able to get my hands on one before Model 3 is revealed. At that point I might as well wait for Bolt/LEAF 2.0/Model 3.

“Consumer Reports achieved 48 miles out of the 53-mile EPA rating”.
To be fair to the GM Volt, CR actually said they achieved 48 miles AER “in fifty degree weather”.
The EPA rating is in mild temperatures without using heating or aircon.
I get the impression that 53 miles AER is possible in mild weather.

Southern California, with its arid climate does get chilly mornings.
For example, even San Diego on the southern border has a forecast low of 56 degrees for tomorrow morning.

What AER do you guys forecast CR will get
in Winter driving their own Volt in New England?

Well, it is actually relatively positive for the Volt by CR considering that CR is usually very negative on the Volt.

Did anyone notice the first picture trying to convince families that all three kids will fit! I pity the youngest one that will have the middle seat.
I’m still sold on one since I have only three of us in the family.
Also the metallic red looks more burgundy in that shot. I will have to see one in Florida sun.

The middle kid will be in a car seat which will fit the legs better.