The Chevrolet Volt has been built up in a media frenzy prior to its release and it turns out that it may not be everything that it was cracked up to be. This is not a vehicle that can run on electricity alone, it is actually nothing more than another hybrid vehicle that uses a combination of lithium ion battery and a small 1.4 liter four cylinder engine. The one thing that does make this hybrid stand out from the rest is its ability to run solely on the internal battery when it is charged. Other hybrids do not give the driver the option to run on nothing but electricity.
This car can travel up to 40 miles on electricity before the gas engine kicks in. When you need to fuel this vehicle you can fill it with E85 or normal unleaded gasoline. The volt is almost the same dimensions at the Chevrolet Cruze and will be a big contender in the hybrid market when it is released. The future is definitely in a hybrid technology, but it is hard to tell if this vehicle has enough tricks up its sleeve to compete with others that have been in this market for years.
Bodystyle: Four-door hatchback
Motor/Engine: 1.4L I-4, 16 kWh Li-Ion battery pack
Transmission: Single reduction ratio
Unveiled as a handsome concept in 2007, the production Chevrolet Volt is more rounded and aerodynamic, but is also more amorphous. Chevy says the car has no competitors, though it will be compared with hybrids and pure electrics. Expect very limited volume for a few years, at a $41,000 price (or $33,500 less $7,500 in tax rebates), to serve mostly as a showroom-builder for the new Cruze.
Thanks to the familiar grille and taillamps, Volt is unmistakably a Chevrolet. At just 56.3-inches tall, it's also lower than many modern family sedans. With its smoothed edges, the design values aerodynamics over all.
The interior reflects the high-tech values of the car, with a Mac-inspired brushed chrome center stack and blue-green ambient lighting in the door panels. Expect base to premium trim packages, likely LS, LT and LTZ.
Performance & Handling
Chevy promises sporty handling and good straight-line performance. It rates the powertrain at 150 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. Suspension is MacPherson struts front, compound twist axle rear. Brakes are four-wheel disc and fully regenerative. Chevy claims operation costs one-sixth the cost of a conventional 30-mpg car.
Chevrolet has not yet released the Volt's list of safety features. Expect similar equipment to the Cruze, with 10 airbags, including front, side curtain bags and knee bags, plus StabiliTrak, traction control and anti-lock brakes.
EPA Fuel Economy
NOT YET RATED
- Fuel economy
- Cutting edge technology
- Lithium-ion batteries
You Won't Like
- Exhaust note
Possibly 2011's most important car
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