2018 Chevrolet Volt Electric Hybrid Hatchback (Review)

As gas prices have continued to climb in recent years, more consumers are seeking fuel efficient vehicles that not only have a stylish exterior, comfortable interior, and technologically advanced features, but fuel efficiency that can be felt with fewer trips to the gas station. The new 2018 Chevrolet Volt embodies all of those characteristics and so much more. Chevrolet has introduced a hybrid sedan that saves gas, money, time, and provides one of the best hybrid driving experiences available today.

The Volt is a mid-size, plug-in electric hybrid vehicle that comes in two trim levels- LT and Premier, and has become one of the most popular hybrids in North America. It is powered by an electric motor that delivers 149 horsepower and 273 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor receives power from a 18.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack until the charge is 70% used up, at this point the vehicle’s 1.5 liter, 4-cylinder gas engine kicks in and powers the electric motor.

There are various driving modes, such as normal, sport, a mountain mode for rougher terrain conditions, and a hold mode, which turns of the all-electric propulsion mode until the best driving conditions are met, permitting the vehicle to achieve optimal efficiency.

Standard features for the LT trim include- keyless ignition/entry, heated mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, remote ignition, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, LED running lamps, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, cruise control, an auxiliary audio jack, automatic headlights, a height-adjustable driver seat, satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface, Bluetooth and phone connectivity, OnStar communication with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, 8-inch touch screen display, a 6-speaker audio system with CD player, and Chevrolet’s MyLink system, which offers Smartphone integration and voice controlled audio functions. For 2018, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is not a standard feature; instead it is available with certain packages.

The Premier Trim adds leather upholstery, heated rear outboard seats, a wireless charging pad for smartphones and other devices, a center armrest, heated front seats, a removable rear seat, better 17-inch wheels, an automated parking system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

A Driver Confidence package is available for both the Premier and LT trims and offers rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

For the Premier trim, a Driver Confidence 2 package can be added to the Driver Confidence package, which offers adaptive headlights, forward collision warning with automatic low-speed emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control and an upgraded automatic emergency braking system. A navigation system is optional for the Premier trim.

Increased safety packages are also available for the Volt and include a rearview camera, forward collision and lane departure warning functions, front parking sensors, and rear parking sensor. A 7-speaker Bose Audio System, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a navigation system with digital music storage and voice controls are optional.

Unlike an all-electric vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt is a hybrid, in which the vehicle operates in electric mode for about 38 miles and then the 1.5-liter, 4 cylinder gas engine switches on to generate electricity to help prolong the Volt’s mpg by an estimated 300 miles. Between the battery and an 8.9-gallon fuel tank, the Volt delivers an impressive 420-mile range, which makes it the perfect choice for long distance trips.

Compared to many hybrid competitors, the Volt definitely has a longer electric range. Many of the Volt’s plug-in competitors can only operate in electric mode for  about 10-20 miles before switching over to hybrid mode, whereas the Volt can achieve in electric mode more than 35 miles. This makes the Volt the best choice for commuters who typically drive shorter distances to school, work, or in the city, eliminating the need to visit a gas station for a very long time with the Volt’s Hybrid System yielding an astounding 101 in the city and 93 on the highway.

It is necessary to plug the car into either a 120 or 240 volt outlet to recharge the battery. I recommend using a 240 outlet, because it greatly reduces the charging time to only about 4.5 hours, whereas the 120 outlet takes about 10 hours to charge completely.

Unlike many other hybrids, the Volt has an attractive and sleek exterior that looks very much like the Chevy Cruze Hatchback. In fact, from certain angles, it is nearly impossible to tell them apart, aside from the Volt’s distinctive badge and rear/tail that sits higher to better repel air in the best way possible.

The interior of the Chevy Volt is stylish, modern, with a quiet cabin, comfortable seats, and high-end materials. The front cabin feels spacious and there is plenty of head/leg room for taller passengers. The Volt’s interior has a twin-cockpit design with elegant black and silver accents. I like the layout of the dashboard with the big 8.0-inch touch screen display and I noticed that the soft “touch” controls that were in the first generation of the Volt have been replaced with easier to use traditional buttons, which work much better. Cargo space is somewhat limited with no cover to hide items in the trunk, and the bottom of the front of the vehicle seems to scrape the ground when entering or exiting some driveways.

On the road the Chevy Volt provides a smooth, comfortable ride, navigating curves and tight corners extremely well, without any roll feel, and handles bumpy road conditions with ease. The Volt has a refined demeanor and feels composed even on rougher terrain. The hybrid engine is quiet and there is only a small amount of noise heard from the tires when driving over rougher surfaces.

Currently, for the 2018 Volt, a 7,500 federal tax credit is available and many states in the U.S. are offering generous incentives, which make it one of the most affordable hybrid vehicles available and with a starting MSRP of only $33,220, it is definitely worth taking a look at.

To find out more about the 2018 Chevrolet Volt, please visit- www.chevrolet.com

 

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