2011 Chevrolet Volt

Matt Tierney

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

The technology isn't the problem, it's the ugly exterior design, product availability & that price.
In talking with folks about this car, the most common concerns I have heard have been about the high initial cost and the need to eventually replace the batteries. None of the write-ups in this article mention those concerns.For myself, I still can't believe how badly the stylists dropped the ball on this one. The basic shape is interesting and eye-catching, but the detailing is flat awful. The fake grille on the front is pathetic. The huge cheesy black trim under the side windows ensures that while all the discomforts of a very high beltline are firmly in place, none of the coolness is happening. The rear end is excitingly wide, flat and tall, but the detailing makes it look cheap and unfinished. Where are the people that did the Malibu, Camaro, and Corvette? What happened?
A cargo cover comes standard with all Volts. It is located underneath the floor in the trunk next to the charge cord and tire inflater.
Re: Mr. Tierny:There is a cargo area cover (canopy like) stored under the cargo floor that is standard on all Volts. Please see the link: http://youtu.be/BzLexrbKXNk

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