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William Maley

Quick Review: 2012 Chevrolet Volt

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

July 3, 2012

2011 was a tumultuous year for the Chevrolet Volt: sales didn't meet the high expectations set by General Motors, dealers had problems trying to get them off their lot, and then there was the battery fires which prompted a recall and a congressional hearing.

2012 so far is turning out to be a much better year for the Volt. Currently, the Volt is outselling Chevrolet's other halo car, the Corvette. (7,057 Volts vs. 5,547 Corvettes) and is on track to hit 20,000 units before the end of the year.

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It seemed like a perfect time to revisit the Volt and wonder if it could reach the 20,000 mark.

Has anything changed since the last time the Volt visited the C&G Garage?

The big news for the 2012 Volt was a price drop to $39,995 (includes a $850 destination charge). To accomplish that, Chevrolet removed some of the standard features for the 2011 model and made them options. If you want your 2012 Volt to be like the 2011 model, you will have to pony up some more money. Also, the 2012 Volt comes with option of Chevrolet's MyLink Infotainment which adds the ability of playing Pandora and Stitcher internet radio. Other than that, the Volt is pretty much the same.

Next: The Exterior & Interior


So, the exterior is the same?

Since its last visit to the Cheers and Gears garage in February 2011, the Volt's exterior hasn't changed much. The front end features a fascia that is integrated well into the hood and front fenders to help improve aerodynamics. Also, the front end features a closed shield grill and projector headlights that extend into the front fenders. The side profile shows off the Volt's aerodynamic shape very well and features a chrome strip running underneath the windows. The Volt's back end is tall and has a squared off shape that is hidden by a spoiler.

And the Interior?

Also unchanged. Stepping into the Volt for the first time feels like you have entered the future. The Volt's instrument cluster says farewell to analog gauges and uses a large LCD screen to display all of the necessary information clearly. The center stack is mostly comprised of capacitive-touch controls that are simple to use, except in direct sunlight where its difficult to figure out which button does what. Sitting on top of the stack is a LCD touchscreen that handles climate, audio, economy information, and the optional navigation system.

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One thing that could upset buyers about the Volt are some of the materials used for the dash. The center stack and certain parts of the interior use hard plastics. Even though the plastics are nicely grained and help cut down on weight, some buyers would expect better quality materials for the price.

As for interior space, the Volt has enough headroom for both front and rear seat passengers. Legroom does come at premium, especially for the back seat passengers due to the placement of the battery.

Next: Powertrain, Fuel Economy, Charging, and Verdict.


What about the powertrain? How does it drive?

The Volt comes equipped with an electric motor delivering 111 kW (149 HP) and 368 lb-ft of torque. The electric power comes from a large 5.5 ft., 435 lb., t-shaped 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is mounted in the middle of the vehicle. The final piece of the Volt's powertrain is a 84 HP 1.4L engine acting as a generator once you deplete the battery, giving you an extra 300 miles.

gallery_0_438_707273.png

Driving the Volt is like driving any other vehicle, albeit with barely any engine noise. Acceleration is very surprising due to low end torque of the electric motor. Getting up to speed on freeway onramps or leaving a stoplight was no problem for the Volt.

The transition from the Volt running on electric power alone, to using the gas engine is very seamless. The only giveaways that the transition has happened are the battery gauge changing to a gas gauge in the gauge screen and the slight hum from the 1.4L engine.

The Volt's handling is very planted, likely due to the placement of the 435 lb. battery. But it's also tuned for comfort, floating along the rough surfaces that dot the Detroit area. If you're expecting a quiet ride, you'll get it under 50 MPH. Over 50 MPH and you'll be able to make out road noise, especially in the back.

Steering also follows the comfort route, feeling light and somewhat "numb".

Fuel Economy?

The EPA rates the Volt at 95 City/93 Highway/94 Combined on EV power and 35 City/40 Highway/37 Combined when the gasoline engine kicks on. My average for the time I had the Volt was around 50 MPG. I'm betting the average would be higher if I had not taken a 100 Mile round-trip on the freeway and the battery only having a 20 Mile charge. Once the battery was depleted and the gas engine kicked in, the averaged dropped from 50 MPG to the low to mid 40's.

If you want the max fuel economy out of your Volt, stay within the 40 Mile EV range.

How long did it take to charge the battery?

Chevrolet says to charge a depleted Volt battery takes about four hours with the 240V charger or ten to twelve hours when using the 120V charger. I matched the ten to twelve hours charge time for a depleted battery. As for when the battery is about halfway used, charging time is about five to six hours.

gallery_10485_438_964194.png

And the verdict?

The Volt appears to have survived its first year with some minor bumps and bruises. The press about the fires and poor sales seem to be going away. In its place are the positives of the Volt; the quietness of the powertrain, extended range provided by the gas engine, and driving like a normal car. Some will balk at the high price and not getting that many luxuries. But with the Volt, you're buying it for the technologies. If you want luxuries, there's the Cadillac ELR coming in 2014.

The Chevrolet Volt solves one of the biggest problems plaguing electric vehicles; range anxiety. And people are beginning to take notice. Can it reach 20,000 sales? The answer looks to be yes.

Before I end this review, I need to make a note about electric vehicles in general. At this present time, electric vehicles aren't quite ready for primetime, but they're getting close. The problems are still price and battery capacity. The Volt might be the best comprise for an electric car, but it still falls into the price problem as other EVs. Electric vehicles are for small audience, despite almost everyone wanting one.

If you really have your heart set on an electric vehicle, be prepared to ask some difficult questions and doing some homework on your driving habits. Because that could make difference owning an electric or making an expensive mistake.

Disclaimer: General Motors provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas.

Year - 2012

Make - Chevrolet

Model - Volt

Trim - N/A

Engine - 1.4L Four-Cylinder, Voltec Electric Drive System

Driveline - Front Wheel Drive, Automatic

Horsepower @ RPM - 149 HP

Torque @ RPM - 368 @ 0 RPM

Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 95 City/93 Highway/94 Combined (EV Power), 35 City/40 Highway/37 Combined (Range Extender)

Curb Weight - 3781 lbs

Location of Manufacture - Detroit, Michigan

Base Price - $39,145.00

As Tested Price - $44,970.00 (Includes $850.00 Destination Charge)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Yes, fair and balanced. Facts are nice.

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Awesome read, Amazing is that last year, the dealerships had volts on the lots in Seattle, but I saw NONE on the road, this week alone, I have seen 3 volts all different color and yesterday on the bus ride home from work saw two more. Could have been the same as I saw earlier, but still 5 volt sitings in a matter of 3 days compared to none up till then does show the car is growing in popularity.

Forgot about the volt I saw on my weekend road trip with the wife. Funny we saw it and then pulled in for gas and at the gas station was a California Licenses prius and they were putting Oil into the engine and Tranny fluid in also. They told me it has been that way ever since they bought it new. Always used fluid but does not leak on the ground, so not sure where it goes, but their toyota dealership could not find any problems, so they just check every time they gas up and they now are approaching 80K miles.

For me, I would have demanded a new car as that one is clearly a lemon.

Back to the volt, we ran into the one that I passed at a winery in Eastern Washington. Owned by a woman who just loves it. She said she gave a fair test drive to both the Volt and the prius as the Nisson Leaf did not meet her needs of being able to go anywhere. The prius was nice but to small inside and she felt the Volt was and now proven as it was her second weekend out on road trips with friends since buying it. There were many people there that looked at the womans car and liked what they saw. To quote one guy. Seems america finally got a good mid size car to compete against those tiny imports.

If people can get this kind of positive, then we will see more people supporting American Made auto's.

GM keep up the drive for Quality built products.

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Yes, Gm keep up the drive!

Saw a red/maroon volt get pulled over bny the Ohio State Highway patrol today...

Glad to see the Volt doing well!

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I still don't want one.

  • Upvote 1

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I think many fail to remember that the Prius has a slow start up before it became a poster child for the all that must be done to save the planet car.

Now if they can just work on the price I think they will be a much more common sight on the roads.

I see them here nearly daily anymore and I can't say that for the Leaf. In fact I see more ZR1 Vettes around here than Leafs.

In fact this month Zero Leafs and 1 ZL1 Camaro and about a dozen Volts.

While it is not my dream car I could live with one if I had too. It would make a great beat around town car or work car but I would need a Camaro or Vette in the Garage to have some fun. But I would say the same if I owned a Cruze too.

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      After countless months of speculation, spy photos, and someone leaking out the cover of this month's Car and Driver, Chevrolet has revealed the 2019 Corvette ZR1. This is the maddest Corvette that Chevrolet has ever built.
      Beginning under the hood, the ZR1 packs an LT5 V8 engine. While carrying the same name as the engine found in the original ZR-1, the new ZR1 skips the dual-overhead cams found in the original LT5. Instead, Corvette engineers took the supercharged 6.2L V8 found in the Z06 and installed a larger Eaton supercharger that pumps in 52 percent more air into the engine. The LT5 also features direct and port fuel injection, upgraded crankshaft, dry sump lubrication, and a 4-inch throttle body (the largest ever fitted to a Corvette). The end result is action with 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. Chevrolet is keeping quiet the 0-60 mph time, but did say the ZR1 can reach a top speed of 210 mph.
      Like the Z06, the ZR1 will be available with the choice of a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. According to a report from Automobile, engineers tried to fit GM's new ten-speed automatic into the ZR1 but couldn't due to packaging issues with the Corvette's architecture.
      Polarizing is the best way to describe the Corvette ZR1's styling, especially in the front with large air ducts. This is to help maximize cooling with each duct featuring a radiator and intercooler. The front fenders are slightly wider to make space for wider tires. Unlike the previous ZR1 with a window on the hood showing off the supercharger assembly, the new model makes do with a carbon fiber “halo” hood featuring vents and a shaker piece covering the supercharger.
      The ZR1 shown in the photos provided by Chevrolet features the optional ZTK performance package which comes with an adjustable high-wing kit, front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and special tuning for the chassis and magnetic ride control system. The large rear wing is said to provide 60 percent more downforce than the Z06 with the optional Z07 package. The standard ZR1 sticks with a fixed, low wing that is said to deliver the highest top speed.
      Those wanting to stand out further with their ZR1 can order the Sebring Orange Design Package. It includes a Sebring Orange Tintcoat for the exterior, brake calipers finished in orange, rocker panels and splitter featuring orange stripes; orange seatbelts and stitching for the interior; and bronze aluminum trim.
      The Corvette ZR1 arrives at dealers next spring. No word on pricing, but we wouldn't be shocked if it begins over $100,000.
      Source: Chevrolet
      Press Release is on Page 2



      2019 CORVETTE ZR1: RETURN OF THE KING
      The fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever retakes its supercar crown DUBAI — The King is returning, stronger than ever.
      Chevrolet today introduced the 2019 Corvette ZR1, a supercar that pushes Corvette’s performance legacy with the highest power, greatest track performance and most advanced technology in its production history.
      “I’ve never driven a Corvette like this before, and nobody else has either, because there’s never been one like this before,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Its unprecedented performance puts all other global supercars on notice that the ZR1 is back.”
      The Corvette ZR1’s exclusive LT5 supercharged engine, which is rated at an SAE-certified 755 horsepower (563 kW) and 715 lb-ft of torque (969 Nm), is establishing a new benchmark in performance. Further, the ZR1 elevates Corvette’s track capability with two wind tunnel-honed aerodynamics packages, including an available High Wing that provides an estimated 950 pounds of downforce.
      Most powerful ever
      The ZR1’s LT5 6.2L V-8 engine advances Corvette’s supercharging legacy, which began with the 2009 sixth-generation ZR1 and continued with the 2015 seventh-generation Z06. The LT5 delivers the highest output ever for a Chevrolet production vehicle, thanks in part to a new, more-efficient intercooled supercharger system that offers 52 percent more displacement than the Z06’s LT4 supercharger. GM’s first dual-fuel-injection system, which employs primary direct injection and supplemental port injection, helps the LT5 achieve its record output.
      Seven-speed manual and eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmissions are available with the LT5. It’s the first time an automatic transmission has been offered in a ZR1.
      Fastest ever
      The 2019 Corvette ZR1’s aggressive appearance is driven by function, contributing to its distinction as the fastest production Corvette to date.
      An all-new front fascia is designed to channel air for propulsion-system and drivetrain cooling, with four new radiators bringing the heat-exchanger total to 13. A special carbon-fiber “halo” hood is open in the middle to clear the LT5 engine’s supercharger/intercooler assembly. Additional features, including aero packages with stanchion-mounted wings, help push the ZR1 harder onto the track for more confident handling and faster lap times. Top speed of the ZR1 is over 210 mph.
      “As the highest-performing Corvette ever, the ZR1’s design supports its capability in every way,” said Kirk Bennion, Exterior Design manager. “The new wings, for example, help generate more downforce without adding drag, enhancing road holding and top speed.”
      The ZR1 will offer two aero packages: a standard rear Low Wing, which delivers the highest top speed and helps generate up to 70 percent more downforce than the Z06’s base aero package, and an available two-way-adjustable High Wing that offers maximum downforce on the track for the quickest lap times — about 60 percent more downforce than the Z06 with the available Z07 Performance Package. All models also feature a Chevrolet-first, downforce-enhancing front underwing.
      The adjustable High Wing is part of the new ZTK Performance Package, which also includes a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning for greater cornering grip.
      Both of the ZR1’s wings are tied into the chassis, like the Corvette Racing C7.R racecar, for strength and stability.
      Sebring Orange Design Package
      The Corvette ZR1 introduced today also debuted a dynamic, available Sebring Orange Design Package. Centered on its Sebring Orange Tintcoat exterior color, the package also includes orange brake calipers, orange rocker and splitter accent stripes, orange seat belts, orange interior stitching and unique, bronze aluminum interior trim.
      The new design package complements the Corvette ZR1’s tradition of offering maximum performance with refinement and design distinction. The driver-focused, well-appointed cockpit includes standard leather-trimmed seats, with sueded microfiber inserts offered. Heated and vented Napa leather-trimmed seating is also available, as well as a carbon fiber-rimmed steering wheel, competition sport seats, Performance Data Recorder, Bose premium audio system and more.
      The 2019 Corvette ZR1 goes on sale next spring, poised to take on the world’s best.
      It’s good to be the King.
    • By William Maley
      It is no secret that Chevrolet will be debuting a new Corvette ZR1. Numerous spy shots have revealed Chevrolet is going all out with a large rear wing, larger intakes, and distinctly shaped hood. We now have gotten our first look at the new ZR1 thanks to a leak.
      Corvette Blogger got their hands on a leaked image of Car and Driver's December issue which has the Corvette ZR1 front and center. The model matches up perfectly with spy photos with the various aero bits and large air intakes. The cover also reveals the ZR1 will be packing 750 horsepower, but we don't know what engine will be providing that power (our guess is a supercharged V8).
      Corvette Blogger also revealed that the ZR1 will likely debut in Dubai. A reader living in the UAE sent Corvette Blogger an invitation for a special celebratory event to mark the Corvette's 65th birthday on November 12th. A couple of outlets have confirmed this event by saying they will be going.
      After the cover leaked out, Chevrolet released a teaser video of the new Corvette with the November 12th date.
      Source: CorvetteBlogger, Chevrolet
      (Author's Note: At the time of this writing, CorvetteBlogger is currently down. We'll keep you posted when it goes back up).
       
       
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