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2019 Chevrolet Volt Premier Swan Song Review - By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

EDITOR's NOTE: Chevrolet announced that they will be discontinuing the Volt model...I'm assuming that this will be the final review of this breakthrough model. Chevrolet had the opportunity to make this a big winner but blew it...Back in the day the design engineers and product management for the Volt PROMISED us that the next model year would be rated as a flex-fuel vehicle...just imagine an American hybrid that uses virtually no about green oh well the suits at GM just didn't get it... so RIP Volt RIP.

REVIEWED MODEL: 2019 Chevrolet Volt Premier

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION: 1.5-liter inline 4/Electric Drive Unit

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 149 hp/294 lb.-ft.

WHEELBASE: 106.1 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 180.4 x 71.2 x 56.4 in.

TIRES: P215/50R17

CARGO CAPACITY: 10.6 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 106 mpge/42 mpg gasoline

FUEL TANK: 10 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 3,543 lbs.

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura ILX, Ford Focus, Nissan Kicks, Prius V

STICKER: $42,420 (includes $875 delivery, $3,425 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Chevrolet Volt is classified as an e hybrid with a “range extender” 1.5-liter engine. In reality, you can drive the Volt as a compact car with a small engine and forget all about plugging it in regularly.

Because of health issues in our family we did not have an opportunity to drive the Chevrolet Volt in pure electric mode. That was no great loss. Chevy claims a range of a mere 52 miles on pure electric plus 420 on fuel with the “range extender” 1.5-liter inline four. On the plus side we didn’t plug the car into the wall every night. The recharge cycle is 2.25 hours using a 240 volt plug, 13 hours using 120 volts.

Consequently, we drove the Volt as a “normal” compact car. Using the gas engine, the Volt is quiet, even under hard acceleration, which is smooth. There is no way this feels like a 1.5-liter four. When we did accelerate, I almost had the feeling I had when I was driving the Tesla, with less available power, of course. There is the same temptation to keep accelerating, but eventually you run out of room, I suspect shortly before you reach terminal velocity.

Since we also drove the Volt in winter weather, we found it thoroughly enjoyable to drive, especially with the heated wheel. The heater worked well, but the addition of the heated wheel and seats was appreciated.

Our tester had all the desired safety equipment - lane keeping assist, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert. And since we weren’t using the electric storage, there was no unnecessary drain on the batteries, nor did we have to worry about it.

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The driver faces a clear instrument panel with a centrally mounted digital speedometer surrounded by a 180-degree fuel tank level on the right and charge information on the left. The EV range was on the left with the fuel range on the right with total range in the middle. It’s all very clear and there should be no range anxiety.

For entertainment there is a Bose audio system with eight speakers. The Volt has Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility, as well as a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot with available 4G LTE data. If your equipment can use it, there is also standard wireless charging on Premier models. Additionally, the audio controls are simple.

Front and rear seats are comfortable, but I hit my head on the door frame every time I entered the rear seats. Rear leg room is tight. Chevy claims the Volt is a five-seater, but there’s really only room for two in the back because of the console extension that extends all the way to the rear seating surfaces.

Cargo capacity is small and the cargo space cover is so flimsy that it might as well not be there. The rear seat backs fold easily to extend the cargo capacity, however.

The Volt is a stylish package with great economy. I’m always willing to try it again when I can use the electric side of the equation for a change. However, it is best as a four-seater, rather than a five-seater.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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