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2017 Chevrolet Volt LT

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DRIVEN: 2017 Chevy Volt LT cloth seats

 

quick note, most of my basis of comparison is the outgoing Volt model, which I have driven a few times.

 

HIGHS:

-Sexy new shape is less science project and more real sporty car.

-Sexiness carries to the interior which you sit 'in' like a cockpit and its a sporty outlook out of the car.  Center console with shifter and such is very nice.

-Interior is revised with 'iPad on the dash' and a completely new design that fits in with all the other Chevy's; no longer an outlier

-New Volt is a big step forward in overall execution of the Voltec concept; it's a big improvement in nearly every way over the already pretty well done Volt

......much quieter, you can't hear the gas engine run nearly as loud as it used to, and road noise is even more tuned out...just a whir sometimes

......big upgrade in powertrain, noticeably faster, can't often tell exactly when the gas kicked in, just much smoother (even will put you in your seat a bit)

......much improved instrumentation, and normalization of controls.  It's very much like all the newer Chevy's and the displays do a nice job of keeping the plethora of info pretty simple

-Tight turning circle

-Not at all bad to drive, nice quick steering with good feel...and tight suspension

-Brakes feel very good....many hybrids have odd brakes.

-Obviously, the improved range is a plus

-A big step forward that doesn't throw the old model entirely in the trash can

-THIS IS A DESIRABLE WAY TO DRIVE!  but OMG will i get used to the feel of electric?

 

LOWS

-Chevy and GM often go too far on whittling away the corners and sides of their cars greenhouses.  The old Volt had a comfortable roof not on your head and panoramic view to the front.  The new Volt smashes your head in the first and second rows and so the car feels a bit claustrophobic.

-Likewise, the visibility suffers, the rear window is much smaller....side windows are more trending to mailslots.  The front view's a bit squashed too.

-The interior actually may tape out with bigger numbers, but there is actually less space.  It seems narrower, the roof if lower and pinches in.  You duck to get in the back door.

-So therefore, all the same challenges with legroom.  Let's have your legs smash the door armrest and the center console while we are at it.  It's narrower!

-Trunk doesn't seem any bigger, if it is even the same size.

-No power seat available.  that's petty and insulting to customers.  No moonroof either.  Stuff it already, engineering.

-Seats feel a bit insubstantial.  I realize they are probably similar to the Cruze seats though.

-Low front chin spoiler.  I get that the idea is range, but if it scrapes all the time, it's a functional problem.

-In 2 or 3 years, the 53 mile range will seem a pittance.  I hope 100-150 mile range is coming soon.

-A rather high pitched and annoying whine is present to your ear when decelerating.  Is it electrics or gears?  Not sure, but it is quite out of character to not cover that up when the car is otherwise so smooth and silent.

-The size and design (small hatchback with tight quarters and squashed roof) doesn't seem to want to pull this out of being a niche car selling 2-3 thousand units a month.  The powertrain is there, but GM is stalling on moving ahead with what is now SO GOOD.  The powertrain so well sorted out that it's ready for mainstream and wrapper is not nearly as mainstream.

 

SUMMARY

 

I loved driving this thing, and it is unique.  It's head and shoulders above its platform mate, the Cruze in every way.  That's mostly due to the top drawer electric hybrid propulsion, but the rest of the Aura of the car is screaming 'THIS IS THE FUTURE....NOW!  LET'S GO THERE!!!!'  Its a change in your definition of what a car is and how it works.  That's how cool this car is.  The new Cruze feels 15 years behind.

 

GM didn't go far enough outside the box from five years ago and consider that the Volt would bust out of it's diaper.  I think as a redo of the original packaging, it makes sense for the repeat buyers.  But we're limited here to the same niche as before then.  They added sexy styling but the package still isn't for all.  That's the miscalculation GM is making here.  

 

So this is just Volt 1, part 2.  But it is a dire need in my mind, because of how cool this is to drive, that this propulsion is available in a larger sedan and a crossover or two.  The time is now, and I get the feeling GM launched the boat and missed it at the same time.  

 

It's a top notch electric and on that end its a solid grade A, but the shortcomings in catering to the vehicle occupants and making it easier to live with day to day .....they failed on a lot of simple things.  Niche vehicle buyers won't care, and actually may be fine with that.  GM is on to something YUUUUGE here though, and they really missed a YUUUUGE opportunity here by hindering the functionality vs the old one.  They should have made the car larger, more comfortable, more spacious, less cramped...and how about a sedan?; it would have busted the doors open on the mainstream if they would have done that.

 

So its likely they really just want and plan to only sell in niche volumes.......instead of moving into the future, for now.  It's like they aren't even serious about electric.  Maybe it's tough to get resources to make all the batteries, maybe they want to keep numbers down until they prove the reliability etc.

 

Well so then they defined a brand Volt and decided not to change what Volt is (unlike changing what an Acadia is, for example).  I guess that's OK.....it's just that they really missed out on busting the door wide open here.  All of us GM fans do know that GM doesn't go balls out for the jugular much..........GM is a pretty bogged down operation so why would we expect them to do anything to bust the doors open?  As good as this is, history will show this as evolutionary baby steps.  And the rest of the automakers will be right behind them, and probably pass them soon.  GM could own this, and apparently, they are not grabbing the ring yet.  Maybe its time to bring Elon Musk over to GM and get er done.

Edited by regfootball

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Great review and feedback. I am way to big to fit into the Volt and was hoping GM would put this powertrain into a CUV. Glad to hear it is that silky smooth and enjoyable.

 

GM ARE YOU LISTENING? Put this in a CUV now and you will have a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner all the way to the bank.

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Yeah the original Volt was good, but this is noticeably better.  When i was at the auto show and sitting in the new Volt there was another guy that hopped in and we got to talking and he said the same thing. He'd love to have one, but he was 6'-2" and for him and wife and kids no way they would get one they need more size.  Also too we all know how everyone is going crossover.  

 

So why they made it smaller inside is beyond me.  Like I said, they missed the boat to really advance the curve here.

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I think the Kia Niro is going to be right on that spot.

 

Remember the Chevy Orlando concept? The production vehicle is a joke.

 

I think the Volt could have been even more appealing for the space-concious if it was actually a taller evolution of the previous generation with the flat greenhouse that doesn't rise, and a hatch instead of the liftback. Even if it hurt the 53 mile electric range. 

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I really liked the new Volt. Got to take one for a very nice drive through highway, city, and back road driving and came away really impressed. There are some glaring omissions as far as features go, as you mentioned, but overall, a very solid car. I would have one over a Prius by a country mile.

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Great review and feedback. I am way to big to fit into the Volt and was hoping GM would put this powertrain into a CUV. Glad to hear it is that silky smooth and enjoyable.

 

GM ARE YOU LISTENING? Put this in a CUV now and you will have a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner all the way to the bank.

Ya know... I'm kind of surprised nobody other than Tesla's X has tried to be the first to an electric CUV. Even if it was just a small Trax/HR-V/CX-3 or something. Just to say they have the only/first(pre Tesla's X) EV SUV. 

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Great review and feedback. I am way to big to fit into the Volt and was hoping GM would put this powertrain into a CUV. Glad to hear it is that silky smooth and enjoyable.

 

GM ARE YOU LISTENING? Put this in a CUV now and you will have a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner all the way to the bank.

Ya know... I'm kind of surprised nobody other than Tesla's X has tried to be the first to an electric CUV. Even if it was just a small Trax/HR-V/CX-3 or something. Just to say they have the only/first(pre Tesla's X) EV SUV. 

 

Totally agree, I think GM was right on with the VOLT, but they also should have done a VOLT-C and use the Trax or Equinox and put the power train into one of those to offer a plug-in Hybrid. 

 

Bolt will be a hit and I suspect many will really like it once they get to test drive it. I hope GM does it right by having driving clinics to get people into the BOLT and test drive it.

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