Our drivers are in unanimous agreement that the design team underdelivered, with a mainstream, generic look. Although you won't hear us pining for the wonky shape of the concept, the Volt's technology, purpose, and capability are deserving of a more progressive design. You can't pin it all on aerodynamics, either, as the coefficient of drag is a good-but-not-great 0.28. "My major gripe about the Volt is the same one I had about the Acura NSX," chided contributing writer Preston Lerner. "This was a chance for the designers to go wild. But, instead, they erred on the side of caution. There are no obvious signposts that this is a car that features breakthrough drivetrain technology. It looks forgettable."
Our flawed hero has internalized some of its shortcomings as well, with the cabin failing to match expectations or price. Although fit quality is up to snuff, the surfaces are aesthetically questionable. The large plastic panels on the upper doors are finished in a solid color or come with a graphic overlay, but either option appears to be an afterthought in the greater styling theme of the cabin. The gloss-white center stack looks to be inspired by an early iPod (note to GM: it's all about aluminum over in Cupertino these days), while the scattered touch-sensitive controls make for a very un-Apple-like user interface. Fortunately, there are more tasteful options, like cream leather and a charcoal center stack. Regardless of how the interior is trimmed, though, climbing into the rear is like getting into an entirely different, surprisingly cheap car. The door panels and the central tunnel are featureless slabs of hard plastic, and rear-seat passengers have to contend with a dearth of legroom and only modest headroom. Blame the battery for the former.