EV Review: 2017 Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid that was first introduced in the 2011 model year. It has been a top contender for hybrid vehicles ever since. While the first-generation Chevrolet Volt had a very modest 38-mile electric range, the second-gen version’s 53-mile electric range meets the needs for many more environmentally-conscious hybrid and electric car buyers. The second-gen Chevrolet Volt received the 2016 Green Car of the Year award, indicating the Volt’s impressive technology, value, and function. Its 149-horsepower powertrain uses innovative features to capture energy otherwise lost using Regen on Demand. The 2017 Volt adds excellent features to counteract some initial quality concerns. Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system is standard equipment on all Volt trims, while Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Automatic Braking are two features now available for the current model year, in addition to a healthy driver assist feature menu.
Styling has changed very little since the Chevrolet Volt’s initial offering six years ago. With sleek, futuristic body lines, there hasn’t been a need for a major overhaul. On the outside, the 2017 Chevrolet Volt blends into the crowd quite easily until, upon closer inspection, you see some striking detail. Its textured metallic façade imitates a traditional grille. Its high trunk deck with black applique under the lip spoiler is an illusion – it’s actually a hatch. Attractive wheel options are available, although all the options are restricted to 17-inch diameters. Bold colors are available, but options like Citron Green Metallic may not be a popular choice for more discerning drivers.
Fit and finish interior
The first-generation Volt looked a little pretentious inside, and that did not combine well with its relatively inexpensive finishing materials. For this generation, the Chevrolet Volt takes its game up a notch. Tacky white and blue accents have been largely abandoned in favor of more traditional compact car styling. Your choice of premium fabric or leather seating surfaces is available. Keyless push-button start is standard, as is a massive 8-inch center touchscreen display for Chevrolet MyLink. Every Volt is equipped with a 4-mode Drive mode control switch to select appropriate vehicle response for driving conditions. Keyless open and remote vehicle starter systems are equipped on all Volt trims. A full-color, completely digital in-dash cluster display is a particular highlight for the Volt. While cruise control is standard equipment, Adaptive Cruise Control is an available option for the Premier trim, along with Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Forward Collision Alert. It would be refreshing to see a driver assist package available on the lower trim levels as well, especially for such a technologically-advanced model.
When you first get into the driver’s seat, you expect the 2017 Chevrolet Volt to be an exercise in restraint. ‘Starting the engine’ is underwhelming with just a welcome screen appearing. And when you initially shift into gear and apply the throttle, there’s a sense of disappointment as you begin moving silently. That ebbs away as you continue your drive. Over a very slight hum from the front of the Volt, it’s easy to find yourself quickly exceeding the speed limit. The Chevrolet Volt is deceivingly quick, and you’ll settle into the drive before long. The first few times the range-extending 1.5-liter engine starts up mid-trip, it’s a little unnerving but soon becomes background noise. Like Chevrolet’s gas-powered lineup, the 2017 Volt handles the road beyond your expectations. It would be easy to confuse its nimble steering and suspension reactions with those of an entry-level German car – firm yet responsive, and comfortable. Regenerative braking, even when its engaged purposely with Re-gen on Demand, takes some getting used to. It can feel like the Volt is nosediving on deceleration when you expect a smooth coast. With its above-average 149 horsepower, the 2017 Chevrolet Volt is acceptable in fuel efficiency. Combined gas and electric efficiency achieves an EPA-rated 42 miles per gallon. If one could achieve strictly electric power usage, efficiency jumps to an impressive 106 MPGe.
|Electric range||53 Miles / 85 Kms|
|Total range||420 Miles / 375 Kms|
|Time to charge||4.5 Hours (Level 2)|
|Electric Motor||111 kW|
|Battery Capacity||18.4 kWh|
|Top Speed||102 Mph / 164 Km/h|
|Warranty||3 Years / 36,000 Miles or 60,000 Kms|
The 2017 Chevrolet Volt, while not without a few shortcomings, is a great plug-in hybrid for an everyday drive. Decent power production and a healthy dose of standard equipment make it a popular choice among green-conscious car buyers. The Volt appeals to a diverse demographic. It’s an excellent choice as a family vehicle or commuter, with a modest entry-level purchase price and the same amenities as your typical family car. It’s also great for a daily commuter to save on fuel, or a company car that doesn’t range too far from home base.