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First Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Volt

More reasons to plug in as Chevy does a ground-up on its extended-range electric vehicle.

by on Oct.07, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt gets a new look, a new powertrain, and more range and power.

Few recent product launches have sparked more interest than the debut of the original Chevrolet Volt, the world’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid. But after an initial flurry of sales, demand has sharply slackened off. The question is whether Chevy can charge things back up as it launches an all-new version of what it prefers to call an “extended-range electric vehicle.”

Coming barely a half-decade after the debut of the original model, one might have expected this to be a modest, mid-cycle update. But the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a ground-up makeover, something that’s apparent from the first quick glance. It becomes even more obvious when you slip inside and hit the Start button. About the only thing carried over is the goofy sound effect sequence that tells you it’s ready to roll.

Plug In!

By the numbers, there’s more to like: the 2016 Volt not only squeezes in another passenger but also squeezes out 40% more range on battery power alone – now an EPA-estimated 53 miles. By Chevy’s accounting, most owners are now likely to clock as much as 1,000 miles before they have to fill up the gas tank feeding the range-extending I-4 engine – which is also new on the ’16 model.

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A Year Later: A Closer Look at the Chevrolet Volt

A great drive for a Chevy - but a price tag of a Cadillac.

by on Oct.17, 2011

With the Chevrolet Volt on the road nearly a year we decided to give it another close look.

It’s been a year since TheDetroitBureau.com reported first driving the innovative Chevrolet Volt, the first fully developed gas-electric plug-in hybrid.  In the months since there has been a lot written about the Volt, its rivalry with the pure battery-electric Leaf and the slow market acceptance of battery vehicles.  So, we thought, it might be time to go back and take another look to see if that initial, positive review still held.

In a few words, I liked it. A lot. It neatly solves the problem of range anxiety suffered by pure electrics. The Volt switches back-and-forth effortlessly from stored electric juice to its 1.4-liter
Austrian-made gasoline engine. Altogether, it is a very pleasant, quiet, easily handling, smooth performing and riding car.

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The biggest problem I could discern was the nameplate. At a sticker price of nearly $44,000 as delivered from GM’s media test fleet and quipped with premium options of navigation system and sunroof—but before the federal tax credits — General Motors should have branded it a Cadillac.

Normally, new car buyers would not consider entering a Chevrolet dealership to cough up that kind of money, whereas they’d expect it at a Cadillac store. Still, whatever the brand name, this kind of car does not attract normal buyers, as witness the Toyota’s experience with the Prius. People don’t buy hybrids and electrics to save money on fuel costs. They do it because they like new, high-tech toys, because they want to help the environment, because they want to stick a thumb in the eye of Middle East (or Texas) oil barons, or just because they’re show-offs.

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