2016 Chevrolet Volt
Launched for the 2011 model year, the Chevrolet Volt is GM’s first volume plug-in hybrid vehicle. Also sold as the Holden Volt, Vauxhall Ampera and Opel Ampera around the world, the five-door compact has already won numerous awards, including the 2011 North American Car of the Year. The most advanced version of the Volt used a 17-kWh battery that enabled it to return a range of 38 miles in all-electric mode. For 2016, the current Volt is being replaced by a redesigned, second-generation vehicle that delivers enhanced fuel economy from its revised gasoline generator, better performance and a greater electric-only range.
The new Volt has been revamped inside and out, with emphasis on a sportier exterior design and a brand-new drivetrain that’s significantly lighter than its predecessor. The five-door compact is also slightly bigger in its second generation, allowing Chevy to not only increase legroom front and rear, but enable the Volt — previously a four-seater — to offer seating for five. Read on for the full run-down.
Updated 09/13/2016: The 2017 Chevrolet Volt scored a Top Safety Pick+ award for its crash performance from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Check the "Safety" section for the full details.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
In preparation for the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt, the last of the first-generation Volts was produced this week at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. As much publicity that surrounded the Volt when it first went into production in 2010 (shown above), the final car – a white 2015 Chevy Volt – rolled off the line with little fanfare.
Over its five years of production, Chevrolet sold 76,136 Volts (through April), and that doesn’t include export versions of the car like the Opel Ampera for Europe and the Holden Volt for Australia. The Volt’s sales peaked in 2012 with Chevy selling 23,461 Volts, but last year just 18,805 units were sold.
The first-gen Chevy Volt was a true innovator with its range-extended electric drivetrain that allowed 38 miles of all-electric driving with the added benefit of a gasoline engine that provided an extra 350 miles of range. Similar powertrain technologies have since been used by other automakers, including the BMW i cars.
Chevrolet has not said when production of the more advanced second-gen Volt will commence, but the car will be in dealerships sometime during the second half of this year. Even though production of the Chevrolet Volt is off-line, the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly still builds the Cadillac ELR, Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Impala.
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Volt.
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.