U.S News & World Report: 2014 Chevy Volt is Best Upscale Midsize Car For the Money


Chevy Volt is Only Plug-IN Vehicle on the List

Chevy Volt is the Only Plug-In Vehicle on the List

U.S. News & World Report has put out its “2014 Best Cars for the Money” list and only one plug-in vehicle made the cut.

Oddly classified as an “upscale midsize car,” which is wrong on several levels, the Chevy Volt was the only plug-in selected for a 2014 Best Car for the Money award.

For starters, the EPA (and most everyone else) lists the Volt as a compact, not a midsize.  Secondly, there are perhaps only a handful of Volt owners who would classify their ride as “upscale,” which is typically a term applied only to an entry-level BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac and so on.

2014 Volt Comes in Two New Colors

2014 Volt Comes in Two New Colors

The category that the Chevy Volt belongs in is “compact car.”  We’re not sure if placement in the correct category would have affected its Best Car for the Money award status.

Of the Chevrolet Volt, U.S. News & World Report says this:

“The 2014 Chevrolet Volt is our Best Upscale Midsize Car for the Money. Though some buyers may initially pass on the Volt because of its high sticker price, generous tax breaks and gas savings help make the Volt more affordable. Reviewers like its high-tech interior design and the fact that, though it has an advanced powertrain, it still drives like a regular car.”

U.S. News & World Report details its selection process as follows:

“To find the award winners, we combined the average price paid from TrueCar.com and five-year total cost of ownership data from Vincentric, LLC with the U.S. News Best Cars rankings data. The U.S. News rankings are based on the opinion of the automotive press about a car’s performance, interior features and interior comfort, combined with reliability and safety ratings.”

Vehicle Size Class As Determined by the Only Official Governing Agency in the US

Vehicle Size Class As Determined by the Only Official Governing Agency in the US – Link to EPA Site Here

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Categories: Chevrolet


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38 Comments on "U.S News & World Report: 2014 Chevy Volt is Best Upscale Midsize Car For the Money"

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Well I’m glad this news was picked up on and reported here, but a little disappointed that all the content was on discussion of the car being in the wrong category.

The bigger story, in my opinion, is that the Volt has won dozens of awards for the technology, tops several customer satisfaction surveys, tops multiple “best car for money” surveys, and recently, was ranked #1 in dependability. Seems like this combination of awards and strong owner sentiment should make for a great write-up at some point (mental note-to-self) 😉

Good points all.

Perhaps your article should include a discussion of why GM as a whole – from leadership to dealership – has gone the 0.99-mile of actually investing the time and money in this superbly engineered car, ….

….but cannot bring itself to do the remaining 0.01-mile of actually marketing it at the flagship position it deserves to be in.

If you’re not sure what I mean, just compare and contrast GM’s treatment of the Volt with Nissan’s treatment of the Leaf.


However, look how Nissan has treated their early adopters with the problems (ie. battery degradation) by comparison to how GM has outstandingly treated their Volt customers.


But this only emphasizes the point, that despite having a more technologically limited product, with less “curb appeal”, bigger range anxiety concerns, and worse post-purchase customer care than the Volt, – on the ground 3 years in, Nissan is selling a far higher proportion of its cars as plug-ins than GM…

Back when we got our Leaf (summer 2012) our neighbor was practically begging the local Chevy dealerships to offer him a reasonable deal on a Volt. They couldn’t care less. At the same time, we essentially had the local Nissan dealerships carry out a bidding war to win our lease.

I agree totally. We ordered both a 2011 Volt and 2011 Leaf when they were first available. Ordering the Leaf was amazingly simple while getting a dealer (ANY dealer to actually order a Volt configured to my specifications AND at even MSRP) to order a Volt even at MSRP was almost impossible.

However once each of the cars was ordered, Nissan’s delivery and actual follow up on the car was totally “second rate” and GM’s support and attention on the Volt was at least as good as any Toyota, Honda or even Lexus, BMW, or Audi that we had owned in the past.

At the end of the Leaf lease, it went back to Nissan as did the 2011 Volt, however the Volt was replaced with….a 2014 Volt, while the Leaf was replaced with a ….Tesla Model S.

So you did get another Volt. You were so actively selling folks on my car at the Folsom event that you sold yourself one, again! LOL

Yes, the Volt is in the wrong category. It is smaller than my compact Insight (if it was larger, I’d likely be driving one). But the news here is that the Volt is given yet another award.

As for upscale, it’s a bit of a stretch to argue the Volt is NOT upscale. Just look at the driving characteristics. It has smooth, silent acceleration – something that only the most upscale ICEVs approach. It is loaded with features and creature comforts – from heated seats to built-in nav. It even comes standard with smart phone / internet activated remote start! Only a handful of cars have that option (all EVs, incidentally).

The IS and Regal are also smaller than a midsize as the EPA defines it, so maybe it’s just that the category as a whole is mislabeled, and not that the Volt was placed unfairly in the wrong category.

It seems “upscale to me” – and there’s lots of folks like me that traded a Mercedes or BMW for a Volt.

I agree Brian. Definitely upscale. Not a Tesla, but lots of creature comforts and performance not found in a lot of the micro EVs.

Not a midsize and not a micro. It has practically the same wheelbase as my old Camry but definitely not the rear seat leg room. The Volt is more sporty than most and with that comes a loss of space, although the cargo room is quite good in the Volt.

Here is one reason I have a little problem categorizing the Volt as a compact. I hauled a washing machine home in mine once and you can’t do that in too many compacts or midsize sedans for that matter. That is a BIG plus for me. It is only the wife and I so I need great legroom up front, great hauling, and not so much for additional people. Statistically this matches a broader audience.

I guess it is a little like the EREV thing, people have a hard time fitting the Volt into traditional categories. It reminds me of David Murray’s ugly article on the LEAF. The LEAF looks different without a grill and people are having a hard time adjusting to the changes.

Agreed with everyone here. Insideevs seems to like to “Damn with Faint Praise” the Volt at many opportunities, but the Volt is silky smooth when on batteries, which for most people is most of the time. One commenter even stated its “Smoother than a Rolls Royce” (!!!!).

All I know is I let my Tesla Service guy (who is now a Branch Manager) drive my Volt for a few miles, and he said he was surprisingly impressed that the Volt is so Nice! And this is for someone who deals with “S’s ” all day.

The Volt is definitely upscale. Anyone saying otherwise should get out of the car business. Chris Harris who regularly test drives $250k cars gave the Volt a great review on you tube. He said the Volt is quieter than a Rolls Royce Phantom. The Volt has an awesome interior that never makes me bored. I love all the buttons and high tech look.

The Volt is neither mid-size or upscale. The interior had far too many hard shiny plastic surfaces to be considered upscale. In fact, the interior is definitely down-scale for its compact segment. There are many more compacts with much nicer interiors than the Volt. Any mid $20K compact is outfitted with better standard equipment. The interior is stark, cold and plastic. Hardly awesome.

Unplugged, You have no appreciation for a high tech interior. Whenever I drive a different car, I feel like it is old and outdated. Feels good getting back into my high tech Volt interior. My father just bought a BMW 750 Li. I am totally bored and not impressed with driving it. I just feel bad breaking it to him that his car is outdated, even at $120k. My Volt has a higher tech interior, the electric steering on the Volt is just awesome. Totally silent and vibration free. The sweet electric take off sound that you have to listen for is out of this world futuristic.

For a Compact car, the ride is quiet, very smooth with great 0-45 acceleration. For the price, you are getting a lot of tech in a car that is just a pleasure to drive with no compromises in range. We fill the battery overnight in our garage w/supplied 120v cord and drive around town mostly on that cheaper electricity and get about 38 mpg for long out-of-town trips with a current lifetime 120 mpg average. I wanted an EV and the Chevy Volt was the best choice for us!

Congrats Volt!

Eric, Respectfully, I think you got this story wrong. Really, since when is the EPA God in calling the Volt a “compact”? Can you list how many compacts weigh 3,800lbs, and beat the ride characteristics of other “upscale mid-size” cars? Please, try. Even Audis and BMWs have louder interiors, and higher roll-centers. Shoot, the Volt is even better than the Tesla, in several respects. Tall drivers can get lower, it’s ~1,000lbs lighter, and the suspension is more compliant because it didn’t have to be set up to handle 360-415HP. I’ve now driven both, plan to get the bigger stable mate, and am calling it as I see it. The only thing compact about the Volt is its rear leg-room, and 4-passenger limit. Otherwise, when I think “compact”, without offense to cars in that class, I think sh^tbox.

Upscale midsize is certainly not a “real” category. It simply doesn’t exist.

But Eric, how can a site promoted to electrification of the automobile reference something like this, and then just discuss the validity of the category it won? That seems to miss the point entirely.

Am I just over-tired and cranky??

They provided their criteria, which you faithfully reproduced. “Performance, interior features, interior comfort, combined with reliability and safety”. What’s wrong with just going by that?

You latter added the EPA size classes. They assign the ELR a “compact”, too, while other coupes with seats in back, like the Porsche 911, are two seaters? I don’t see how anybody, government or otherwise, has a monopoly on how to classify cars.

Not everything has to use the EPA classifications. They don’t seem to have any meaning when I rent a car. Other publications come up with categories and awards that don’t follow the same classifications by coming up with their own categories with terms such as sports, performance, luxury or green. This is nothing new so lets not pretend like we’re living under a rock.

We don’t believe in inventing our own category just so a vehicle can fit in somewhere where its advantageous. Categories are defined by the EPA The same body who gives range and mpge ratings. Or are you saying we should make up those ratings too

EPA figures don’t always match figures from METI but that doesn’t mean the METI figures are made up. If the U.S. News article cited the EPA as their source to determine the categories, but then didn’t go by it, that’s a problem. They didn’t. Read more into their categories and you’ll see their logic behind what ties those cars together is the price range. Is this a flawless way to categorize? I’d say no. Are these the exact groups of cars I would choose? I’d say probably not. However, I think strictly going by EPA size class to compare cars is way worse. When you say, “Upscale midsize is certainly not a “real” category. It simply doesn’t exist.” I would clarify that it does not correspond to the EPA categories. Big deal — Since when have publications been restricted to comparing cars strictly by the EPA’s categories? The EPA size classifications are interesting. If we strictly went by it we would have the BMW M6, Aston Martin Rapide and Chevy Spark in competition with each other when none of them belong in the same category. There are bigger flaws with that than U.S. New’s upscale midsize category. Show me a… Read more »

The EPA considers the Volt a compact. Enough said.

I bought a Focus Electric because I was put off by the Volt interior. Too much hard plastic. The Focus Electric has an excellent interior. Or, as Car & Driver states in its March 2014 EV comparo, “The Tesla Model S for the rest of us….”

I don’t know about that, it should be, “The Tesla Model S for those that don’t need the range or interior space”

…and can’t afford a $70K+ EV. That is the one key point the Car & Driver is making when they write, “…for the rest of us….”

I have an FFE too, as well as a Volt. Part of my trade space when I got the Volt last month was to get rid of the FFE, an ICE (Mercedes C230), and a pickup truck (Dodge Ram Quad Cab), in favor of a Model S.

I chose to just add the Volt to the fleet because the range, interior space, and cargo capacity of the Model S are inadequate for my needs. For me, it’s better to have three tools that are right for their specific job rather than one tool that does a mediocre job at all three.

I have seen the interior of FFE, I would hardly call that better than the Volt.

Not to mention that Volt’s EV performance is definetly better than the FFE.

Some people don’t like the shiny center console, but that is a personal taste issue. The technology and infotainment system is definetly cool.

I have driven both the Volt and the FFE, and hands down prefer the Ford’s interior. It feels like a real car – I really don’t like the look of the Volt’s center console. As you said, it comes down to personal preference.

@pjwood – And if you think “sh^tbox” when you think of compacts, maybe you should read about the other cars in the EPA compact category: Audi A4, S4; BMW 6 series, 3 series; Bentley Continental GT, Cadilac ATS; Mercedes C class, CL class. I don’t need to go on. I’m getting the idea you don’t get out much if you think the Volt is so much better than other cars in this category.

I like the Volt, and I think its technology is still the best for extended range. But its weakness is seating four and a cheap interior that sacrifices soft surfaces for weight reduction.

So, soft touch is important to you? So if it is aluminium or carbon fiber, then it is okay? B/c in those case, a “hard surface” is no longer an issue…

So, according to you, hard aluminium or carbon fiber is okay, but hard shiny plastic is NOT okay…. Well, Apple has been using hard shiny plastic as “high end” look for decades now…

They have actual measurements/specs that they use to classify vehicles.
Luxury is not a deciding factor in what size it is.
The Prius is slightly larger than the Volt and is a mid-size. But it is bigger.
I drove the Prius for 8 years. Now the Volt for 1 1/2. I do notice the difference. It isn’t huge. But it is noticeable, and I would classify it as a compact.
It’s at the top size of a compact, but it still is.
The 1st gen Prius was a compact. The 2nd gen became Midsize.
I expect the same will happen with the Volt.

I think the same only the rear seat are compact. For a chevy is upscale, but compare to a Cady ELR is normal good. I enjoy my volt every minute of driving and I don’t listen to Fox news. So is nothing negative for the car.

I have a Volt and a Leaf in my garage, and I find the Leaf to be a LOT roomier for people and the Volt to be a LITTLE roomier for stuff.(with rear seats down). Being 6′ tall I have to crank the seat all the way down in the Volt to keep from going Dino. My wife and I can share the armrest in the Leaf but not the Volt. So my vote is yes to upscale, and compact for the class… would be a subcompact for me but there is room for an armrest… barely… someone with a >44″ waist would probably need to have someone shut the door from the outside.

What would you call an i-miev that was stretched to be a hearse? Due to the size of where the (live) people sit, I would leave it in the micro class.

Someone with a >44″ waist should be on a bike.

+100. But he CAN be shoehorned into a Honda Fit more easily than he can into a Volt.

Not quite. I have had a 7 foot + tall and over weight man test drive my Volt and he said there was plenty of room, unlike most other cars he had tried. GM designers and CEO’s in the past have been very tall. So in general, they design all their vehicles to be able to handle very large people. On the other hand, most of these foreign cars are designed by short people. My hair hits the ceiling of Hyundai Sonata. Lots of room over head in my Volt.

Im 6’1 and have no problem getting in and out of the Volt. My seat is halfway pumped. I love low rooflines. When i drive my Smart i always have so much headroom which is perfectly fine but low rooflines are my favorite.

Lol that Ford Fusion literally has the same trunk space as my Smart ED. The plug in version or whatever. I laughed when the salesman popped the hatch.