The Chevrolet Volt is all grown up in its second generation. Sure, the first Volt generation hit most of the green notes. Ok, so it’s not 100 percent electric. We will get there, but baby steps.
Plus, who wants range anxiety when plug-in charging stations are not widespread? I’ll take a tank of gas to bail me out any day. I live in NE Alabama. The hybrid of electric and gas would be a must.
Let’s get the ranges out of the way and then dive into what Volt fans can either look forward to in anticipation or trepidation.
How many pure electric miles can you get off the 2106 Chevrolet Volt? 53 miles. That means for the urbanites among you, the Volt could be driven as a pure electric. Unfortunately for the rural people – including me – we’ll need that gas tank.
Full charge and a tank of gas? Expect around 420 miles. Those that keep the battery charged between fill-ups? Chevrolet is suggesting you’ll get 1,000 miles before having to hunt a gas station down. Yeah, all cars should have that.[divider]Design[/divider]
Here’s where automakers tread carefully. Every new generation brings design changes and it either converts people or out come the pitchforks. What you’ll notice in the 2016 Volt is that it has lost the distinct exterior styling.
The nose is rounder with the rear kind of hiked up. You can make the argument it looks like your typical four-door. Is that a good thing? That depends. If they fly off lots, then evidently. First-generation Volt owners? If you are sold on the original style, you might come away disappointed.
What about the interior? Now here’s where the first generation needed some help. The washer/dryer looking touchpad controls? Gone. Instead, the Volt earns more conventional controls with dials, switches and knobs. It gives the car an almost luxurious feel.
Two eight-inch screens give you all the important details. The blue lighting? Well, if you didn’t realize you were buying an electric, the blue accent lighting is there to remind you.
The rest of the interior? Chrome and more chrome accents. It’s GM. It’s what they do. The 2016 did manage to squeeze a third seat in the back, but it’s stressed for occasional use. That’s code for your friends hate you if find yourself buckled in the middle.[divider]Power[/divider]
The second-generation Volt is getting an upgrade. For one, the 84 horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder is gone. In its place is a 1.5-liter engine that gives you 101 horsepower. Also, the Volt went on a diet. Chevy engineers shaved 130 pounds off the drivetrain.
In the end, EV is all about the torque. Don’t worry, it has 294 lb-ft to give the 2016 Volt a healthy shove in the back.[divider]Battery[/divider]
Most owners of the Volt want pure electric. That means the stated 53 miles might need some wiggle room. To do so, the 2016 Volt borrows the regenerative braking system used on last year’s Cadillac ELR. A paddle behind the steering wheel allows the vehicle to recycle energy when a driver lifts off the accelerator.
Perfect world? Owners could get a bit past the range claimed for pure electric and make it a true ‘one-pedal’ car during a typical commute.
Here’s where the marketing comes in. The price is as low as $26,495 after the full tax credit of $7,500. The MSRP starts at $33,995. It all comes down to the credits and how the tax credits shape out moving forward. Still, you’re not buying a Tesla for that price anytime soon.
Want one this year? California and ten other states will have them before the end of the year. Everyone else? The wait for 2016 begins. As for the Prius and Leaf? You better watch your back. Chevy is gunning for you.