Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test drive. Part Three


 Here are a few more observations about the new Volt, after driving it for a full week.

I do like the design a lot. Even though I do understand people who miss the more original 1st generation.
It is a little bit blender, but still very modern.
More so than most other compacts out there. And, it is still a hatchback. But looking more like a 4 door coupe now.
it is really slick looking. And has a more upscale feel and look to it.

 Inside, the first thing you notice is the new screen.
The first thing I wanted to do with it is angle it more toward me. But it's not adjustable.
(So don't ever try that. I'm begging you!)

So it lays a bit flatter than it should. But it's actually fine, and not much of a problem to get used to.
Plus, it is quite large and very sharp. And perfectly positioned above everything else on the dash.

The shiny bits have more of a satin finish now. Which is much nicer, and again, more upscale.
The plastics are hard, but everything does look and feel very solid.
(Except the super cheap feeling and sounding turn signal stalk)

The doors still have that heavy feel to them, which I like.

 There is enough room for 4 adults. As you can see. There is a seatbelt for a 3rd human in the back seat, but I cannot imagine how legs would even fit.


 The one thing still missing, is a sunroof. Or some kind of glass panel. At least as an option.
As the roof is pretty low.
GM still gives the "weigh excuse". Which I don't buy. (The new Hyundai ionia will offer a sunroof)

The Bose stereo sounded very good. Although, like most Bose car systems lately, it wasn't very loud.

Overall, I loved my week with the new Volt.
It feels as solid and sporty as the old one.
But it is much quieter when the all new gas engine comes on.
And when it does, power seems to be almost the same as in the EV mode.
The ride is very comfortable, and the car feels super solid over any surface.
The steering is really nice, a little bit on the heavy side, which is a welcome change from most other cars.

As I mentioned before, I got 56 miles out of a full charge (it is rated at 53)
And my gas mileage when the battery was empty was 46 on the freeway and 42 in the city.
Which is, again, better than the official numbers.

I think the Volt is the best way to get into an EV right now.
As a range of almost 60 miles of pure EV is plenty for most people.
Plus, once it's empty, you end up with a very comfortable, quick car that gets great mileage anyway.
It is truly the best of both worlds.
Until we can charge a 300 miles battery everywhere in 15 minutes, the Volt is the best option.
(The Model S is still a rich guy's toy)






BUT....
There is one thing that drove me crazy, most of the time.
As you can see, the stereo system had a lot of trouble recognizing songs from my phone.
As most playlists showed "empty".

When switching to Apple CarPlay, things were different.
But NOT better. As  playlists after the letter "B" were non existent.
Using a different phone, different cables, restarting the phone never fixed the problem.
It would work one time, and nothing a few minutes later, etc..

I checked various forums online, and it looks like quite a few people have that problem.

A few of the solutions included upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
( I did have iOS 9 already)
And, weirdly enough, getting rid of the Pandora app.
I did all these, but it was too late to really check it.
It was working the last evening I had the car.

After mentioning this to GM, they decided to send me another Volt for a few days in a couple of weeks.
Which is really nice.

So I will check this again.
I hate to be picky, but the car is , in general,  my favorite place to listen to music. And I do want to make sure this isn't a general issue with this otherwise great car.

6 comments:

FusioptimaSX said...

Thanks for the thorough review Vince! I'm debating whether to wait a year or two to get a used version of this Volt or to go used with a 13/14 model sooner. While the first one is iconic, I really like the improvements they've made here. It's good to hear that they pulled a VW with the EPA figures where they are always exceeded, but without actually cheating emissions. One thing that bothers me is the screen, but it's something minor to get used to. I'm used to Sync being buggy in with my phone as sometimes it wants to read from USB, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it wants to connect to Bluetooth audio, sometimes it doesn't, songs/albums may or may not be displayed....SSDD

Tard said...

Nice set of reviews, Vince. Good details.

Am very glad the Volt is finally getting good mileage when running on gas. The last model's gas mode mileage was bad.

Doing some basic math, a full charge I think is just over 18 kilowatts of power and will go about the distance of 1.2 gallons of gas. My KW cost is about 9.2 cents, so a charge'd cost me about $1.65, which means charging it will only save a couple cents per day at currently prevalent Texas pricing (about $1.55/gal). For that bit of change, I'd likely never charge it. If you pay more per KW or your gas prices are higher (like in Cal where gas is still a rip off) then your calculations may vary.

But that gets it back to cost feasibility. Gas fluctuates, but the upfront cost vs savings calculation (vs gas-only alternatives) at least in my area would not make sense for a looooong time. Here in TX you'd really just be wanting to make a statement to buy it, which is fine. I do like the look from the pics better than the Ioniq and new dogcrap-looking Prius, but assuming the Ioniq is priced well it would be the alternative-drivetrain of choice, but in that size you'd still likely be better off with the new Cruze or Focus or Mazda3 or whatever.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit unclear. Battery empty and the gasoline engine yields in the 40s mpg? Does the car even move?

Anonymous said...

How is the acceleration?

Anonymous said...

I think the middle seatbelt in the back would be perfect for a child seat since that it is the safest place for them. Maybe that's what GM had in mind. Thanks for the review and good pics.

Tom Janowski said...

It is so difficult for normal sized adults to get i to the back seat without baƱging their heads.