"Chevy delivers a no-compromises electric vehicle"5.0 starson by ViperRT10Matt
Pros: -Ride is smooth and amazingly quiet
-Handling far better than other hybrid competitors
-Instant torque from electric motor
-Nice interior materials
-Seamless transition between electric and gas motor when necessary
Cons: -"iPad wannabe" center stack with no real buttons difficult to use while driving
-Requires government credits/rebates to reach reasonable cost
-Fuel economy on gas motor lags behind primary competitors
Summary: I will lead off by saying that first and foremost, the thing drives like a car. A nice car. All the wizardry that's going on under the hood, all the technology and computers that make the thing go, they all disappear while you drive it. Acceleration is brisk from the always-ready-to-dispense-torque electric motor. Handling is reasonably sharp and predictable, with the steering splitting the difference between the near-surgical Acura TSX and the big-sedan-that-feels-like-a-big-sedan Nissan Maxima. The suspension does a decenet job of masking the car's weight in the turns. Brakes are smooth and linear until you get below 5 mph, after which it becomes guesswork--a typical hybrid bugaboo.
Interior quality, something GM just recently got good at, is a split decision. Thumbs up for the seats (comfy), the quality of the leather (nice), and the dash materials (nicely put together). But then you have the center stack. My best guess is that the center stack was the result of a GM executive saying, "iPads are hot right now! Make it look like an iPad! Take away all the buttons! People will eat it up!" Sounds dumb on paper, and is even dumber in practice. Every other car in the world has at least SOME real buttons on that console, and for good reason; you don't want the guesswork of a wondering whether a touch surface registered your press when you're doing 75 miles per hour. The center LCD display rises out at an odd angle, and despite looking adjustable, is not. This whole iPad wanna-be thing is going to look real dated in about three years.
Exterior styling is of course a personal preference. While I don't hate it, it really doesn't do anything for me either, especially the odd rear end. Ah well, I'm not buying the car for its looks.
I will not go into the technical details of battery versus gas here (as it's been covered ad nauseam elsewhere), but I will say that I am averaging around 40 miles per charge, with some pretty spirited driving. A less excited right foot would have probably hit 45. On two road trips when I had to use the generator, I averaged right around 40 miles per gallon, again with a fairly spirited right foot. When the gas engine comes on, there is no sound, no shudder, no nothing. You honestly probably wouldn't know if the LCD display didn't tell you.
All my prior drives in a Prius, I did indeed do a bit better than 40 miles per gallon, but being behind the wheel was never fun, never comfortable, and always felt like a chore. Maybe you like the way the Prius drives; I didn't. The Volt is an electric car that drives as good as any decent car. I'll sacrifice a few overall MPG versus the Pruis to get that.
Oh, and plugging it in? Cord goes into outlet on the side of my house, other end goes into the front of the car. Light on dashboard turns green a few seconds later when the juices are fully flowing. Time elapsed: 15 seconds. Total cost to fully charge the thing: about $1.75. That $1.75 can take me 40 stop-and-go city miles tomorrow. Same thing in my 20 mpg (city) Maxima would cost about $8, a cut of which is going to some sheik that I have zero interest in making richer.
I really enjoy my Volt, and am glad I took the plunge.
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