My goal for my time with the Volt was to spend the entire weekend using only its electric battery for power. I got off to a good start. On the drive home on Friday night, traffic was incredibly slow - it took me 45 minutes to drive only 12 miles -- but because of that, I only used about 6 or 7 miles of range from the fully charged battery. Whenever I had an errand to run for the rest of the weekend, I consolidated it with other trips in order to avoid any unnecessary driving. I'm happy to say that I did reach my goal, and it actually wasn't that difficult. What's nice about the Volt is that you really can drastically cut down on your consumption of gasoline by planning ahead, but if you need to take a longish trip you don't need to worry that you're going to run out of juice before you get to your destination.
When the production version of the Volt was first revealed, several people lamented that its exterior styling was too conservative, especially compared with the concept car, but I actually think it looks OK -- a little conservative, perhaps, but very much in line with the rest of the Chevrolet family. The interior, as Matt Tierney noted, is much nicer in this car's black-and-champagne theme than the last Volt we drove, which had a white center console and oddly patterned door inserts. My main complaint with the center console is the lack of haptic feedback of the controls. Rather than dials or toggle switches or any other devices that you can actually manipulate with your hands and operate by feel, the console operation is similar to that of a touchscreen. It may look modern, but it doesn't work in everyday use, as it forces you to take your eyes off the road whenever you want to adjust the climate control or the stereo.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor