Mashable: “For A Starting Price Of $33,170,” 2016 Chevrolet Volt Is “Downright Brilliant”

OCT 12 2015 BY MARK KANE 67

2016 Chevrolet Volt In Chicago (Image: Mike Anthony/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt In Chicago (Image: Mike Anthony/InsideEVs)

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt was recently well received by Mashable after a test drive in California.

The new generation was praised for its enjoyment, smooth, comfortable driving experience and an extremely quiet cabin in all-electric mode (extended to 53 miles EPA).

“Carving through the corners, the Volt remained extremely hushed and planted on the road. Although the car was designed for efficiency rather than fahrvergnügen (German for “driving enjoyment”), it excels at both. With virtually all of the electric torque available at any point, the Volt is zippy, capable of doing 0 to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 98 mph.”

Interesting note is that Volt offers “delightful all-electric driving experience,” at a much lower price than Tesla, which is important for consumers who can’t afford the long-range BEV.

The other note is that no creature comforts are sacrificed:

“In the Volt, just like its other non-EV modes, Chevy offers a Bose sound system and leather heated front and rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel.”

According to Mashable, the new touchscreen in the center with a lot of features to present driving/propulsion stats will appeal to tech-savvy drivers. Apple CarPlay connectivity does the job and is “incredibly easy to operate“.

Driving in hybrid mode, with gasoline engine on, isn’t as pleasant as the all-electric mode:

“Funnily enough, for as well-known as Chevy is for its gasoline engines, it’s the Volt’s 1.5-liter that tarnishes the car’s sterling driving experience.”

“The shudder is a sensation akin to driving over an undulating road or an engine not running on all of its cylinders. Arguably, most drivers might not notice the engine-caused shimmy — especially on rougher roads. But it was prominent enough to disappoint me a bit, as the rest of the Volt’s driving properties were pristine.

That said, the engine does deserve some kudos. Unlike virtually every other plug-in hybrid or range-extended EV on the market, starting up and throttling the engine doesn’t fill the cabin with a sonorous droning sound. Instead, passengers will hear the engine but won’t feel like they’re being punished for exceeding the electric range.”

Overall, versatility of the 2016 Volt, with all the features, was called a brilliant value proposition:

“The 2016 Volt might not be perfect but it’s a wholly enjoyable car. More than that, the Volt can be many things to many people. If you enjoy geeking out on efficiency, you’ll love the Volt for its plethora of info graphics and the ability to recapture energy through regenerative braking. If you like a smooth, quiet ride, you’ll appreciate the serenity of the Volt’s cabin. And if you simply like skipping the gas station, the Volt will be your new best friend, as Chevy estimates owners will go on average 1,000 miles between fill-ups. For a starting price of $33,170, I’d call that downright brilliant.”

Check out the whole review at mashable.com

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67 Comments on "Mashable: “For A Starting Price Of $33,170,” 2016 Chevrolet Volt Is “Downright Brilliant”"

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i ordered my Volt. Coming next month.

I ordered my Volt. Coming first week of November ( Baltimore Maryland).

When and where did you order from Forever green? I asked two local dealers on Labor Day and they said they wouldn’t be able to take orders for 3 weeks. They said they would contact me and never did!

Mike, I ordered my Volt through Heritage Chevrolet in Owings Mills Maryland about 2 weeks ago. I had to put $500 down. The first dealer I went to wanted $2,500 down. I went in on the first day I was eligible to order the Chevy Volt (in Maryland). I believe I will be one of the first to get the 2016 Chevy Volt in Maryland. I ordered the basic model with the comfort package ( light ash interior). I wish it had adaptive cruise control, but that was not an option.

Mike, if you live in Maryland, what the dealer told you was correct, on Labor Day you were not eligible to order the 2016 Chevy Volt. California was fortunate in that they were allowed to order the 2016 Chevy Volt about a month before us (in Maryland).

It is a brilliant power train. To bad GM refuses to put it into a vehicle that actually has some room in it and has some unique styling.

the gen1 Volt did have unique styling. GM got away from “unique styling” in the belief that it would improve market acceptance.

I think the styling of the Volt is good.

But they REALLY do need to put the Voltec drivetrain into more body types . . . we need a Voltec SUV, a Voltec minivan, and Voltec Pick-up.

Plus 1000 here.
If GM would do a midsize like the Malibu and a CUV they would dominate the phev market now and well into the future.

And people in those segments would love the more limited range, limited performance and lack of AWD.

I think GM first needs to develop an AWD system that works like the Mitsubishi, and then they could sell a crossover.

Yeah, it would be helpful if GM would come up with a larger version of their drive train (which is what ViaMotors is doing, and was already done on the Escalade – they just didn’t put a plug on it).

But maybe the voltec can be used relatively unchanged on a 2wd Colorado, or a 2wd Equinox.

But I think, if the rave review was any indication, that Many People will like the new volt and its luxurious (so they say) interior.

As far as the engine not being very smooth on startup, in 3 out of 4 seasons here, and yearround elsewhere, the engine need only run every 53 (or with a light pedal, probably pushing 70) miles. So even making a 65 mile trip every other day won’t necessarily have to start the engine if you’re light on the gas pedal.

Agreed, but a family van version makes sense, just like Nissan did with the Leaf. There’s also much more room to work with in a minivan.

I’m assuming the upcoming Malibu hybrid doesn’t count?

No plug, so no it doesn’t count, IMO. Yes it will get great gas mileage (something like 48 MPG they said), but an average Volt driver gets infinite MPG on a normal day, and with road trips, still gets “250+” MPG LIFETIME. I’m “way down” to around 800 MPG lifetime at 15k miles on my 2015 after a couple road trips. Single digit MPGs are laughable and so 20th century.

Well, you’ll have the transmission in the Malibu Hybrid and in 2017 (in the USA) the Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Glad to read a Chevy Volt review under the heading “2016 Chevrolet Volt downright brilliant”.
The ‘gasoline shimmy’ is worrying: “the engine sent a palpable shudder through the cabin.”
It will be interesting to hear if other reviewers notice that.

It might just be the contrast between electric driving and gas engines. When I switch from my e-Golf to the Odyssey which is a very good 2014 engine I still feel like I mounted a dinosaur with the shuddering that you are just no longer used to.

I drove the 2016 Volt a couple of weeks ago in both EV and hybrid modes over the same ~80 mile public route at the same media event. I was also a passenger much of the time since I shared the car with another driver.

I have no idea what the “gas shudder” refers to. The 2016 Volt’s gas engine hybrid operation was noticeably quieter and more pleasant than the earlier generation car. The hybrid engine experience was at least as quiet and smooth as a Toyota Prius and probably better (I did not compare the experience side-by-side although I have lots of Prius driving experience).

The start of the gas engine while driving at 40+ mph was nearly imperceptible. Once running, the engine sound was refined and not intrusive. Maybe there was something wrong with the Mashable reviewer’s car or maybe he was just desperate for something negative to focus on….

I don’t recall seeing similar “shudder” comments in other “first drive” reviews.

i really believe that this is the kind of stuff over which only reviewers obsess. i have a gen1 Volt and i don’t get bent out of shape when the engine turns on.

“no comment” said:

“i have a gen1 Volt and i don’t get bent out of shape when the engine turns on.”

Indeed, checking reviews of the 2011 Volt from Edmunds.com, Car & Driver, and Kelly Blue Book, I see nothing but praise for how quiet the gas engine runs.

Having had a 2012, and now a 2014, I can vouch for the fact that there is already an improvement between these 2 model years, the 2014 seeming smoother and quieter, and apparently the 2016 is significantly better, so probably a non-issue.

My Gen 1 is a little noisy and rough when the engine turns on. Yes it could use improvement. It is still the best car I have ever owned and I have owned about 25 cars

Yes the engine shimmy thing is really off base IMO. My gen 1 was OK in the ICE dept. The Gen 2 has got to be better.

I have read many, if not all the Volt reviews available, and I admit – that Mashable one was the only one that mentioned a shudder sensation. I am wondering if they were pressing the car in an unusual situation, or if they actually were driving on uneven or choppy pavement. It’s strange that Motor Trend, Automobile, Autoweek and other truly, known auto entitities drove the car as much as Mashable did and praised the gas range-extender’s operation, and did mention it was a marked improvement in every way over it’s predecessor. Styling is always subjective. I have seen photos and had the opportunity to see one in person ( FINALLY! ) at the Seattle Auto Show – but didn’t go. The Seattle show is like a backwoods affair in the auto world. No notable reveals, nor even a 2016 Prius was there ( IN THE LITERAL “LAND OF THE PRIUS”! ). Would I pay $15.00 to see a Volt in person and sit in one? No, actually. I plan on buying one – but I can wait. I’d feel like a stooge to pay that much to sit in a car that GM won’t even allow me to buy… Read more »

It is all relative.

Volt’s engine is very smooth comparing to coventional ICE or hybrid powertrain. But it is far less smooth than all electric powertrain.

So, the comparison is relative.

As any Volt owners would tell that the engine is darn smooth compared against just about every other car that has engines, but it is no comparison to its electric mode.

Have you ever owned a BMW straight 6. That is the smoothest and best engine made.

I have driven them and they are smooth, but certainly far more noisy than the Volt’s engine.

When is it available in central Florida?

Volt will be available outside of CARB states in mid-2016 as a 2017 model year, just after 2016 LEAF deliveries start.

Followed up by the CARB-only Bolt in late 2016 as a 2017 model year with nationwide availability in mid-2017 as a 2018 model year.

Cue Tesla for Signature series Model III in late 2017 as a 2018 model year (nationwide) with low end ($35K) trims coming in mid-2018.

Mister G, I want you to think back a few years. If your Florida senator was one of those that said, “let GM fail” you will be lucky if you see the Chevy Volt in your State next year. Just kidding! According to what I have heard, the Chevy Volt should be in Florida showrooms early next year. I have no idea why they have a slow roll-out of the Volt.

Too bad with all these positive reviews and most of us won’t be able to get one until the 2017 model (unless we buy one and have it shipped from a CARB state).

“The other note is that no creature comforts are sacrificed” Obviously they didn’t even sit in the rear. Rear headroom is even less than the headbanging Gen 1! The rear seats are for small people only.

0.1 inches less… You would never notice such a small difference.

“owners will go on average 1,000 miles between fill-ups.”

I resemble that remark. Even with previous gen tech. (2014 ELR)

May 22nd – 1688mi – 8.05gal
July 31st – 1108mi – 6.171gal
Oct 11th – 1214mi – 7.673gal

I don’t ‘average’ that, but, when driving mostly in town there it is.

If it Were A Full Battery Powered EV With 300 mile Plus range ..I would say ., That would have Been truly “Brilliant”!

Tesla already makes the car you’re looking for, you just have to fork over another $50k. The fact that you can get 90% of the electric range, and most of the enjoyment, for $33k is what makes it brilliant.

BEV purism is counter-productive and only causes harmful infighting. Stop it.

Yup said:

“Tesla already makes the car you’re looking for, you just have to fork over another $50k. The fact that you can get 90% of the electric range, and most of the enjoyment, for $33k is what makes it brilliant.”

If the 2016 Volt had four times the electric range that it has, it still would fall rather short of that “90%” of the Model S’s electric range you’re claiming. That’s true even of the lower trim level 70 kWh Model S, which has an EPA range rating of 240 miles.

Brilliant engineering? Yes, the Volt certainly has that. So there’s no need to make false claims about it, Yup. It will stand on its own quite well.

what he is really stating is that the AER of the Volt is sufficient for 90% of daily driving.

I’ve had my 2014 for exactly one year, and just past the 12,000 miles mark, burning 30 gallons, and charging exclusively at home (standard level 1 charger). I’m in that ideal usage pattern: 26 miles commute, with enough miles left at the end of most days to run a few errands. Long trips would hurt the stats, but do I think it’s worth $50K? No way.

Pushmi, 1st gen Volt drivers drive 80% of all their miles in EV mode. 2nd gen are predicted to drive 90% of all miles in EV mode. That’s not even “daily driving”, that’s all miles put on the car. So no, I’m not making any false claims. You simply (intentionally) misinterpreted my quote.

Did we not see on VoltStats dot com that the registered cars that report had a total fleet average of about 70% in EV Mode? But some were down at 3.4% and some were at about 98%+ in EV Mode! Probably need to drop the top 5 extreme EV drivers a d the bottom 5 extreme Gas drivers to get a better idea of ‘Normal’ driving patterns.

Are we talking about single-trip range or annual percentage of AE miles? For single-trip range, with the engine also running, the Volt gets 420 miles. For annual percentage, it will get 80% all electric miles.

Per SAE article 2015-01-1164, submitted to the SAE by GM engineers and peer-reviewed.

Summary conclusion #2

“Based on the first generation Volt in-use operating data, the second generation Volt is projected to complete 80% of total miles driven using electricity, which enables the consumption of 25% less petroleum than the first generation Volt assuming the same driving and charging behavior as observed in this subset of vehicles. Further, the need to start the ICE would be eliminated on over 5 million additional trips for these E-REV
drivers bringing the total percentage of all-electric trips to 77%.”

I wish I could be more excited about the Gen2 Volt – it’s beautiful, and the tech is great. On the other hand, I finally sat in the back seat of a Gen1 this summer, and although I’m not tall, my head was touching the rear glass window – a horribly claustrophobic feeling. If Gen2’s headroom is even less, I’ll have to pass – I can’t have my adult rear-seat passengers suffer that way.

Now here is a question that none of the review (I’ve yet seen) have answered: how does it work for a middle class family of four (i.e. two full grown adults and two kids under 10)?

Even the Gen 1 Volt works for my family (2 adults and 2 kids under 10).

Why wouldn’t Gen 2 works even better?

Don’t kids usually get taller as they mature? Apparently the rear seats have even less headroom than the gen 1 models, so it doesn’t seem like it would be better. Personally, since I don’t live in a CARB state, I won’t have a chance even to see one for a year. I can’t seriously think about purchasing one until I get a chance to sit in it – even the front seats may be too tight for comfort I fear.

Yes, I feel the same way. I would want to sit in it first to see how it feels. I also want to put suitcases in the trunk to see how they’d fit. WRT my kids, since my oldest is 5, I’d likely replace it before he is a teenager (with a Model III or Model Y?). My primary concern is how well car seats would fit since my youngest will need a carseat/booster the entire time we’ll own it (she’s still under 2).

Putting carseats in my 2007 Prius is already a major PITA and they both takes up practically the entire seating area. My son won’t graduate out of the booster/carseat for another 2 or 3 years which is quite awhile of having two booster/carseats jammed in the back. If rear-seat spacing is worse than the 2007 Prius, it is a total deal-breaker for me.

I have a Gen1 and I have moved my daughter from infant seat to toddler seat. Both of them fit so far in Gen1, I can’t imagine it won’t fit for gen2.

They come with seat anchors which are generally faster to install and there are tether anchor in the back of the seat which allow you to strap them down fairly good and tight.

The leg room is legit concern. If you have a 6 ft 3 guy, then you won’t fit both front and back comfortably. Then again, compact size cars rarely do.

That’s my exact situation. I’ve had a gen 1 Volt for three years. Works great, no complaints.

Do you use carseats/boosters? How well do they fit?

I don’t have booster but regular Britax car seats. They fit. But leg room is tight.

Worked fine for my family of four in our 3 year lease with a 9 and 12 year old.

Are they 9 & 12 now or when you got the Volt? If it is when you got it, that doesn’t work for me since I’m still in the booster/carseat period.

I have a family of 4 (2 kids, ages 5 and 7). It is pretty much the car we drive around most of the time, and works just fine for everyday driving. The only times we use the other car (C-Max Energi) is when we go on a long distance road trip (the main reason we don’t take the Volt is because of no 5th seat….and I don’t want to mess up my voltstats too :p). The C-Max is my commuter normally.

The only thing I can’t really use the Volt for is camping trips. However, I could probably make it work if I purchased a roof rack and/or a trailer hitch.

Curious. How does the luggage in the C-Max fit? Is that raised battery platform an issue? Do you use a roof-rack?

I assume you are using boosters for the 5 & 7 year old. How do they fit side by side? Any problems with the center console in the back seat? I know the 2nd gen doesn’t have it, but given that the carseats in our 2007 Prius are practically touching each other, I’m curious how much of an issue that is and if that means the Volt is wider.

I doubt you will fit 3 across.

But 2 is no problem.

After two Britax car seat installed, there is very little room left in the middle for anything. But that is “normal” for any compact size car.

For the camping trips, I have to use a rear hitch cargo box and roof rack to carry everything I need. The C-Max Energi is listed at 19 cubic feet, but the space doesn’t seem that much bigger than the Volt’s hatch. C-Max’s hatch is taller, but has less depth.

For the Volt’s rear seats, I had a hardback booster and 5 point booster back there for a while. Access to the middle cup holders is fine…but I actually have those blocked off with a custom cover since the car seats have their own cup holders. Now I have 2 hardback boosters in the rear, and they fit fine.

I did have a Britax Marathon in the Volt for a while…I suppose to could fit 2 Marathons in the rear, but access to the center console would surely be impacted.

After 8+years when the battery needs replacing, how much will it cost, and would owner of 8+year old car likely to replace the battery to continue to drive it, knowing that gas engine may also need repairs soon?

The problem becomes worse as the battery lasts longer; how likely are you to spend $4000 (or whatever it’ll be) to repair Volt battery AND worry about it’s aging gas engine as well after 12 years? If not willing to repair, would it end up in junk yards?

Such was the problem with my Prius: 12 years old; gas engine runs perfect, but bad battery; replacement battery cost more than used gas car price. If I had gas car, I only have to deal with gas engine, not both.

So instead of fixing the Prius or getting a gas car or another hybrid which would suffer same fate, I got SparkEV. I only have to concern with battery, not both battery + gas engine after 8+years.

If you drive like average, in 8 years, you will have a battery that has 90%+/- of the range of a new Volt, or roughly 47 miles. Your 100,000 mile vehicle will have the range extender engine start 6 miles earlier. The engine will have the equivalent of 33k miles on it – or the same as an average 3 year old traditional ICE car.

It is really no worries.

“The problem becomes worse as the battery lasts longer; how likely are you to spend $4000 (or whatever it’ll be) to repair Volt battery AND worry about it’s aging gas engine as well after 12 years? If not willing to repair, would it end up in junk yards?”

The beauty of the Volt is that even it loses capacity after 8 years, it will still function as a decent hybrid.

Volt in California has 10yr/150K warranty so I assume they would last well past your 8 year market.

Prius uses the inferior NI-MH battery, NOT the Lithium ion battery used in the Volt and your Spark EV if you drive one.

It’s not diminished capacity that concern me as much as cell imbalance (ie, some cells go bad). When that happens, entire battery has to be pulled (labor cost) and rebuilt or replaced. For Prius, that’s how it failed, and I find it hard to find matching cells for repair with similar wear level. I don’t know if Volt has mechanism to deal with such situation.

With bad battery, it can be driven, but a big error exclamation mark (ie, check engine light) preclude it from passing the smog check. In 8-10 years, I suspect Volt will also need smog check. There’s also the danger of damaging other parts of the car (eg, inverter) when driven with bad battery.

Chevy only offers warranty for ~10 years, and they’d offer more if they knew with certainty the battery would last longer. I suspect majority (>50%?) would fail just outside of warranty period. Prius failed at 149800 miles, just 200 miles shy of warranty miles, though it lasted 12 years instead of 10.

How is that going to be any different from any other EV?

You don’t have to worry about potential for old gas engine repairs / maintenance with BEV.

In case I wasn’t clear in my initial post, when battery needs replacing after 12 years, how likely are you to spend $4000 to replace the battery knowing that gas engine is 12 years old? You might say Volt gas engine doesn’t get used much, but deterioration due to age cannot be ignored.

There’s also used car market where 12 year old gas cars would cost less than Volt battery. Then would Volt owner likely to spend the money on the battery and risk the gas engine or just junk it and get a used gas car? In case of my Prius, it’s going to become my hacking toy, but that’s like junking it.

In contrast, BEV only need to concern with electrical parts, which should be pretty much ok except for the battery. Once the battery is replaced and fluids / grease changed, it should be good to go for another 10 years.

I would like to order my Volt,but I can not! (Ia am from Europe…)
:/

Have you considered the Outlander PHEV? I know it’s an SUV/Crossover but it seems to be really popular over there. Unfortunately, I don’t think GM plans on bringing the Volt over to Europe through their Opel or Vauxhall brands.

If I ever get to move to Europe and feel like I need to get a car, I’d probably look at the Outlander.

Well done GM – hope they sell a boatload of them.