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2012 Chevrolet Volt Review and Road Test by John Heilig +VIDEO

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Specs, Prices and Comparisons - Chevrolet Buyers Guide


SPECIFICATIONS : 2012 Chevrolet Volt

Model: 2012 Chevrolet Volt
Engine: 1.4-liter I4 (plus electric motor)
Horsepower/Torque: 84 hp @ 4,800 (gas); 111 hp, 368 lb.-ft. (electric)
Transmission: Automatic
Wheelbase: 105.7 in.
Length/Width/Height: 177.1 x 70.4 x 56.3 in.
Tires: P215/55R17
Cargo volume: 10.6 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 93 mpg (all electric)/37 mpg (gasoline)/60 mpg (combined)/42.4 mpg (test)
Fuel capacity: 9.3 gal.
Curb weight: 3,781 lbs.
Sticker: $40,000 (est.)

Five reasons to buy this car
1. Excellent fuel economy
2. For local driving, no gasoline need be used
3. Very good ride quality
4. Decent performance
5. Unique combination of electric/gasoline

The Bottom Line: The Chevrolet Volt isn't a hybrid, it isn't an electric car, it isn't cheap. But it does combine the electric and gasoline functions in a unique way to offer excellent (or very good) fuel economy. It also isn't bad as a car in general.

When I first got the Chevrolet volt, I was totally impressed. While the battery was depleted, I still had some errands to do, and used the gasoline engine enough to use 0.3 gallons of gas. I charged the battery overnight and used the Volt in electric mode for one day, accumulating more than 30 miles and running the fuel economy rating up to more than 100 mpg.

I thought I recharged it overnight, but there was a bad connection between my extension cord and the charger cord (the Volt only comes with a 10-foot cord, so you either need a good extension cord or you must park it near a 115-volt outlet). So it didn't charge. We drove for about 10 miles until the battery ran out. By that time I had amassed more than 127 miles per gallon.

Driving around that day, and an eventual 700-mile road trip that used more gasoline than battery power, dropped my overall fuel economy to 42.4 mpg, still a respectable number. However, if I had been able to use the Volt in my normal driving routine (around town mostly with a few trips to games in the area), I might have been able to use it totally in electric mode and use zero gallons of gas (except for that 0.3 gallon at the start).

Watch the Volt crash test results

Here is the value of the Volt. You can use it in pure electric mode most of the time, yet if you must take a long trip, you still have the 1.4-liter I4 when you run out of battery power. The instrument panel keeps you constantly informed as to how many miles you have left in whichever mode you're using. the switchover from electric to gasoline power is seamless. All you notice is the display on the instrument panel change. The instrument panel is almost an infotainment system. The rectangular panel in front of the driver informs you as to how many miles you have left in electric or gasoline mode, it's a digital speedometer, it gives you overall fuel economy numbers, plus the usual compass, odometers and warning lights.

Operation is silent in battery mode and relatively silent in gasoline mode. the only real problem is that there's too much tire noise for totally silent operation.

Aside from its unique power system, the Volt is a nice compact/midsize car. It has nice styling, with a cD rating of 0.26. The interior styling is also very well done, with a nice dash and the i.p. in front of the driver. There's a navigation/audio screen in the center of the dash that has a clear map and informative audio information. Audio and HVAC controls, however, are on a flat panel on the center stack. You have to look at them to make any changes. The tuner and volume controls to the audio system are knobs. There's a USB connection in the console/arm rest.

I liked the way the shifter tucked itself into the center stack when it wasn't in use. If it had been there when it was in use it would have freed up some additional space inside. The Volt has decent cargo capacity at 10.6 cubic feet. The rear seats fold increasing that number dramatically. Even with the seat sup, the cargo area is an open concept, so if you want something back there you can get it from the rear seats.

The Volt is a four-seater. The battery pack runs down the center of the vehicle, eliminating even the thought of putting anyone in the center of the rear seat. So, Chevy has put a console there with a couple of cup holders.

There are a couple of car salesmen who will be shocked at me saying this, but I liked the Volt. It's not a true electric, like the Leaf, nor is it a Prius-like hybrid. But the unique use of electric and gasoline power makes it more practical in everyday use than either, with the additional range offered by the gasoline engine. It's still expensive. Even with a government payback of something like $7,500, you can still buy a lot of gasoline for $32,500.

Andy Frank, father of the plug-in hybrid, reviews the Cevy Volt

2011 The Auto Page