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Interactive Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt


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#1

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:30 AM

This Just In:
2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt.png

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt joins us for a week long interactive review. The Volt was delivered to me with a completely depleted battery because the hotel where it was plugged in over night cut power to the outlet it was using. Still, on a 30 mile round trip run to the airport, the Volt was able to recharge via regenerative braking and the onboard regenerator so that much of the return trip was using electric only. According to the onboard energy meter, I got 77.3mpg out of the Volt despite the depleted battery. So gear up your questions for this week's interactive review of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

Related:
:forum: Chevrolet Volt named 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year
:forum: The Volt: Still not a Hybrid


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#2

Paolino

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:41 AM

Do you feel the engine kick on and off while recharging?

How easy have you found it to actually connect/charge the car at home? Are you charging with a 110 or 220V?

Do you like the touch-sensitive center console?

What would you have improved on interior design?
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#3

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

Some thoughts...how is the drivability, how's it feel in daily driving as far as NVH, steering feel, ride, compared to a 'normal' car of similar size like the Cruze..

How are the ergonomics..the center stack controls look rather unique from the pics, how do they work in the real world?

How is the seating position, adjustment, visibility?
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#4

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:02 AM

Do you feel the engine kick on and off while recharging?


just... barely. At highway speeds it's transparent enough that you need to look at the energy management display in order to see what is really going on.

How easy have you found it to actually connect/charge the car at home? Are you charging with a 110 or 220V?


I'm charging on 110v. If you can plug in your laptop, you can plug in the Volt.

Do you like the touch-sensitive center console?


the touch sensitive center stack is fine... it's the layout of the controls that I'm still learning. It doesn't feel like the same layout as other vehicle.

What would you have improved on interior design?


Will get back to you.
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#5

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:07 AM

Some thoughts...how is the drivability, how's it feel in daily driving as far as NVH, steering feel, ride, compared to a 'normal' car of similar size like the Cruze..


Well I've only had 30 miles behind the wheel so far, but as far as how it drives... it drives like a normal car. It's got really good "kick" when you need acceleration around town. NHV is less than the already quiet Cruze.

How are the ergonomics..the center stack controls look rather unique from the pics, how do they work in the real world?


As far as reach, everything is good there. I'm not yet convinced about button layout, but again, my time so far has been limited.

How is the seating position, adjustment, visibility?


Seats are right out of the Cruze right down to the stupidly located seat recline lever. However, once you're in and adjusted, the seat is seems VERY comfortable. I plan to do some longer distance driving this weekend, so I'll follow up with you again. Visibility is excellent. The center rear view mirror is oddly small.
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#6

regfootball

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:48 AM

hatchback utility, rear seat and cargo space...

does it feel porky?

make sure you use premium!!!!!!!!!
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#7

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:54 AM

Is it worth paying double the price of a Cruze for it?
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#8

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:54 PM

For a silver 4-door hatch back, it certainly turns a lot of heads. I get people slowing down to pace me. I had 3 Pittsburgh police stop what they were working on and watch me drive by saying "That's the new Chevy". People know the car.
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#9

pow

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:54 PM

This Just In:
2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt.png

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt joins us for a week long interactive review. The Volt was delivered to me with a completely depleted battery because the hotel where it was plugged in over night cut power to the outlet it was using. Still, on a 30 mile round trip run to the airport, the Volt was able to recharge via regenerative braking and the onboard regenerator so that much of the return trip was using electric only. According to the onboard energy meter, I got 77.3mpg out of the Volt despite the depleted battery. So gear up your questions for this week's interactive review of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

Are you sure the battery was completely depleted? The EPA rating for the Volt in extended-range mode is 35/40 MPG; the highest I've ever seen anyone get was close to 50 MPG. Did you reset the trip computer?

Also, the Volt is supposed to maintain its SOC in extended-range mode, not recharge it with the engine-generator. It's more efficient to recharge with electricity than gasoline.
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#10

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:19 PM

There was 0% left on the battery indicator. I understand that GM builds in a reserve under that as well... but as received, I had no EV range left when I got in it the first time.

Still, the engine ran for about 5 miles out of the city and after climbing the last big hill, it would start to cycle off on the downhills and on climbing back up hill. Half way back from the airport, it cycled on and off a few more times till about 5 miles out of downtown where is cycled off and I was in regen mode from inertia for the rest of the trip in. It didn't cycle back on for the remainder of the trip.

Yes, I did reset the trip meter. I'm using the "A" trip meter for single trips and the "B" trip meter will measure my over all mileage during the eval.

When I plugged the Volt in this evening at 7:30, the battery registered 4% and 0 miles of EV range.

GM included a Verizon Droid with the MyOnstar app installed and connected to this car so I can monitor the vehicle remotely.
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#11

SeanLoh

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:34 PM

So the car is a celebrity to the general public. What kind of celebrity is it? Do you feel like people are just curious or is it like an American super hero?
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#12

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:36 PM

So the car is a celebrity to the general public. What kind of celebrity is it? Do you feel like people are just curious or is it like an American super hero?

Is it perceived to be as badazz as the Prius? or the Leaf?
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#13

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:58 PM

So the car is a celebrity to the general public. What kind of celebrity is it? Do you feel like people are just curious or is it like an American super hero?


Lots of questions about how it drives. Does it feel like a normal car? What kind of fuel economy am I getting.

People know what this car is. They recognize it very quickly and they know it by name. There are no questions of who makes it.

Most telling quote so far: "Not something I'd ever expect from a Chevy"
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#14

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:03 PM

Is it perceived to be as badazz as the Prius? or the Leaf?


General perception seems that this is a step above the Prius in technology. (which I think is true) I'm guessing there is a bit of a "New Star" status as people here in Pittsburgh are seeing it in the wild for the first time. Pruis is "just another car" and there is nothing perceived to be special about it. No one has brought up the Leaf yet.
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#15

balthazar

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:10 PM

I would agree that the prius is 'old hat' at this point- certainly it's luster is greatly diminished from when it commanded big dealer mark-ups.
I don't think the leaf is on anyone's radar yet- it really hasn't had much of the general hoopla either the prius initially got, nor that the Volt is getting now.
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#16

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:30 PM

End of first full day with the Volt:

106 miles traveled
47 mpg
28 EV miles

Today was a typical Saturday for me. I did some work at one of the places I do consulting at, rewiring part of their network. Before arriving at work at 11am, I stopped at Lowes to pick up some supplies. Part of the way through the job, realized I would need to make a another run out, stopped at Target and Best Buy then back to the job site. After completing work at 2pm, I raced back to my house to pick up Albert. Along the way is when the regenerator kicked on for the first time.

Now, Albert likes to keep his heated seat set at broil and he was stealing my Em Pee Gees. Every time he wasn't looking, I would shut his seat off to get my Em Pee Gees back. He caught on to this fairly quickly and I gave up trying.

We stop and pick up two friends to go out to a late lunch/early dinner at Cheesecake Factory near downtown. Have a nice long meal with them and then head back to their place to play with the cats and give our friend his belated birthday gift. We leave their house at around 6:30pm. Albert doesn't want to go home yet and says he want to go to IKEA. So it's back through downtown and out towards the airport. After spending about an hour at IKEA we head back home getting in around 8:45.

Total miles for the day: 106. As I said, this is a typical Saturday for us... and a Saturday that we couldn't have done in a vehicle like the Nissan LEAF.

Thoughts so far:
  • Driving for MPGs becomes a bit of a game. Due to my scheduling, I was rushing during most of the day, so I wasn't hypermilling, but you're easier on the throttle and top speed.
  • I wish the DRLs wouldn't come on by default.
  • The quality of the materials is very high. It wouldn't have taken GM much more to let this car wear a Buick or Cadillac badge. The seats are the first thing that come to mind that would need improvement. They're not bad, but Buick's and Cadillac's are both better.
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that it has a boot up sound and and a shut down sound. This was something I complained about with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. In that car there was no affirmative signal that all systems were go for take off since the engine doesn't start when you start the car. The Volt has that signal.
  • I wish there was a charge door release button on the keyfob. DOH! VOLT: 1 - Drew: 0.... it helps if you actually read instructions guys. The Volt DOES have a charge door release on the keyfob.
  • I'll repeat that the center rear view mirror is too small. The hatch glass offers more viewing area than the mirror can cover top to bottom. Rear visability is excellent.. so good that I find myself turning around to back up rather than use the rear view camera. Turning around gives a much better view than either the mirror OR camera can offer.
  • I would have liked some sort of cargo cover for the rear hatch area.
  • It drives very well so far. I haven't put it through any handling paces, but spending a long distance in the Volt isn't anything to be scared of.

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#17

ocnblu

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 03:53 AM

Sounds decent so far.
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#18

smk4565

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:47 AM

Big question is, if you aren't a Sierra Club activist, would you buy a Volt over any other $35,000 car? The environmentalists will buy it (and the Leaf), but will regular people?
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#19

Satty

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:05 AM

Big question is, if you aren't a Sierra Club activist, would you buy a Volt over any other $35,000 car? The environmentalists will buy it (and the Leaf), but will regular people?

For once a valid point. Would you pay $40k+markup for it?
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#20

Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:08 AM

For once a valid point. Would you pay $40k+markup for it?

I wouldn't pay over $25k for a 4cyl econobox...for a $40k Chevy I'd buy a loaded Camaro SS.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar, 20 February 2011 - 11:38 AM.

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