2016 Chevrolet Volt first drive: Extra vary, extra fashion


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Chevy’s plug-in hybrid goes additional on a cost and appears higher doing it

What’s it? Simply forward of the following Toyota Prius (coincidence?), the second technology of Chevy’s hybrid Volt rolls into showrooms with just about every thing on it new, together with the hybrid drive system, transmission, inside and exterior. Battery capability is as much as 18.four kWh in comparison with 17.1 on last year’s Volt and 16.5 before that. An all-new 111-kW electrical drive unit makes use of two electrical motors working with planetary gear units to combine-n-match energy supply relying on want. The drive unit itself is a hundred kilos lighter than earlier than. The 4-cylinder gasoline direct-injection engine goes up in displacement from 1.four liters to 1.5 however down in exterior dimension and weight. With direct injection and a compression ratio of 12.5:1, the gasoline engine makes one hundred and one hp on common fuel.

The outside of the 2016 Volt is all-new, too: Chief engineer Andrew Farah known as it sleeker and smoother, saying, “If the metallic was unnoticed within the desert and the wind was blowing it like sand, what would it not appear like?”

Uh, like sand-blasted metallic? The modifications are refined however pleasing.

Inside, the brand new Volt appears much less like an IKEA males’s room artwork challenge and extra like a snug every day driver. Gone is the weirdo haptic-suggestions heart console, changed with a extra conventional-wanting interface. The again seat can now accommodate three passengers, or two if the middle armrest is deployed.

EPA vary for pure electrical driving is now a whopping fifty three miles, a forty p.c enhance over the outgoing Volt.

Volt three quarter

The Volt is all-new inside, outdoors and underneath the hood. Picture by Ron Kimball

 

What’s it prefer to drive?

The very first thing you need to do with a drivetrain like that is mess around with that electrical vary. Leaping into our first 2016 Volt, the vary readout earlier than we left promised fifty two miles on batteries alone. Driving conservatively (however not hypermiling) over principally flat floor -– one move was 1,808 toes excessive –- we managed fifty four miles earlier than the gasoline engine kicked in. On the subsequent “tankful” of battery we obtained sixty one.5 miles in EV mode, however that was downhill for many of the first 10 miles, so perhaps saying fifty one miles could be extra correct there. There’s a regen-on-demand tab on the steering wheel that will increase the quantity of regenerative braking from the drive unit and lets you tailor your driving to get extra out of the battery. The EPA’s estimate of fifty three miles on electrical energy appears fully believable. GM engineers say 70-mile vary on batteries alone will not be exceptional, however we don’t understand how you’d get that.

While you’re not making an attempt to hypermile, you’ll discover acceleration will be brisk. Chevy claims zero-60 in eight.four seconds, which beats a Prius by a pair seconds. It additionally feels much more related to the street than a Prius. It’s not what you’d name sporty however in the event you had to decide on and also you needed the automotive that was extra enjoyable to drive you’d get the Volt. The Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid can be near the Volt in driving really feel, although we’d nonetheless select a Volt for dealing with.

The brand new Volt is noticeably quieter than the earlier mannequin and much more livable with its new inside. The one factor we’d warn in opposition to is the sunshine gray inside trim, which turns the dashboard right into a daylight-reflecting driver-blinder. Get the darkest inside you’ll find on the seller’s lot.

Volt three quarter right side

The Volt’s exterior will get a zero.28 cd. Photograph by Ron Kimball

 

Do I would like it?

It’s definitely extra enjoyable to drive than any of the Prii and even seems to be a bit extra fashionable, within the three-field model of mass-market sedans. Nonetheless, for the reason that Volt’s debut on the very finish of 2010, Chevy has solely managed to promote seventy seven,000 models, whereas Toyota bought effectively over one hundred,000 Priuses via July of this yr alone. The beginning sticker worth is $33,995, which, after you begin tabulating authorities rebates, works out to as little as $24,995 in rebate-completely satisfied states like California. And you may “purchase American.”

 

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