The Chevrolet Volt is an important trendsetter as the first mainstream model to establish the plug-in hybrid segment as a viable answer to long-range EV driving. That same segment it created, however, is now bursting with new entries three years after the Chevy first hit showrooms.
The Volt shows how far the level of technical knowledge has come in just a few short years, as the latest models have little difficulty topping the Volt’s MPGe scores and do so with conventional three-man back seats and traditional trunks for luggage.
At the time of the Volt’s development, its Chevrolet Cruze -based platform could only accommodate the giant T-shaped li-ion battery pack if it was laid out under the center console and back seat bases – creating a cockpit much tighter than most are willing to accept in a $35,000-plus new car.
Therein was the Volt’s other major critique at launch: prices that mean buyers could afford almost two fleet-spec Priuses for the price of one loaded Volt. Luckily, time has caught up with the Volt’s technology and the pricing of competition from the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid , Toyota Prius Plug-in and Ford Fusion Energi .
The Accord PHEV and Fusion Energi are both actually a bit more expensive than the Chevy , but can deliver a quicker and more-efficient drive while making fewer interior compromises.
For 2014, the Volt gets a (very slightly) larger-capacity battery pack, detail trim and color changes, and a simpler opening mechanism for the EV charge door on the front fender.
Where does the Volt fit in today’s eco-confused market? Does its battery-plus-generator powertrain still rank as a world-beating first or more of a barrier to purchase among buyers who need a big trunk and seating room?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Chevrolet Volt, with highlights on how its interior room, efficiency and performance rank versus the much-newer competition.