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The Chevrolet Volt (also known as the Holden Volt in Australasia, Vauxhall Ampera in the U.K., and Opel Ampera in the rest of the European countries) is a plug-in hybrid by GM that has been produced since 2011 and currently is in its 2nd generation.
Today, the model is considered to be the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the world. The Chevrolet Volt was conferred the Green Car of the Year title in different parts of the world several times.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been considerably improved. The manufacturer has redesigned it, added some state-of-the-art features, and made it even more fuel-efficient and powerful. All told, they contrived to cut down the price.
Exterior & Interior
The new Chevrolet Volt has acquired a fresh appearance. Sharp edges, declivous bonnet, and narrow headlamps make it look aggressive. The roof pillars along with the taillights resemble the Honda Civic’s ones. The Volt of the 2016 model year fits in the Chevrolet’s model range. Isn’t it strange?
The most significant change in the car’s redesign is its normality. The manufacturer has deprived it of its idiosyncrasy on purpose. Their intention was to make it look like a conventional sedan, not like something special, so that it doesn’t arrest passers-by and other drivers’ attention so much. Whether it’s a reasonable decision or not, time will tell.
Quality of the new Chevrolet Volt’s interior impresses. Decent materials are applied in a two-tone cabin. All the elements touched by the passengers most often are soft-touch while hard plastic is out-of-reach.
The car’s interior has become more modern in different aspects except for the controls. The hybrid’s owners often complained about its touch switches that were difficult to use. That’s why they have been substituted for traditional knobs.
In the centre of the dashboard, there’s an 8-inch touchscreen. Comparing it to the one that’s installed on the first-generation Volts is like comparing apples and oranges. A new screen offers much better graphics, not to mention its elegant look.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt accommodates 4 people in comfort. The front seats are supportive enough not to make a driver and passenger tired during a long trip. Also, this part of the cabin is more spacious – it provides more legroom – than in the Volts produced earlier.
Two is a perfect number of passengers at the back of the Chevrolet Volt. Still, you can seat the third one in the centre if a journey isn’t going to take long. Although headroom is somewhat confined here due to an angling window line, there’s still plenty of it (as well as legroom).
The new Chevrolet Volt features a separate section for the charging cord storage in the boot, so that it’s much easier to take it out now. A driver doesn’t have to raise the load floor after unloading the car to access it anymore.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt runs very quietly no matter how it’s powered. It’s a considerable improvement over the model of the first generation. Besides, wind noise that can be heard in the cabin has also been reduced. The only sound penetrating into it is the sound of tires on some surfaces.
The new Chevrolet Volt is faster than the previously produced model offering more tangible steering, thus better controlled drive. Besides, it’s more agile on twisty roads. It’s a result of shedding about 200 pounds of weight. The new Volt accelerates to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds.
Most people who drive the Chevrolet Volt report an 18.4-kWh battery’s power is quite enough in most cases (a number of lithium-ion cells has been reduced from 273 to 192 but their efficiency has increased by about 20 per cent). It’s a rare occasion when they have to switch over to a 1.5-litre 101-hp range-extending direct-injection engine to power an electric motor. The latter is capable of generating 149 hp (111 kW) and 294 lb/ft of torque that makes it 12 per cent more productive than the one installed on the 2016 Volt’s predecessor.
Fuel Efficiency & Charging
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can cover a 25 per cent longer distance in a pure electric mode – 53 miles against 38 miles the previous model was capable of. It makes it the most enduring plug-in hybrid in the market today. When the battery is depleted, a 1.5-litre engine provides additional 42 mpg.
If you charge the Chevrolet Volt at a 240-V Level 2 charging station, be ready to wait about 4.5 hours for a full charge. Note that using standard 120-V current will significantly prolong the wait (it’ll take 9-12 hours). The car also offers a 3.6-kW on-board charger.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt comes in 2 trims – the LT and Premier.
Standard features on the Volt LT include 17-inch alloys, exterior power mirrors painted in the colour of the body, LED low-beam headlamps and taillights, and a 120-V charge cord. Inside, you’ll find the steering wheel wrapped in leather, cruise control, 8-inch LCD instrument panel, keyless and remote start, and keyless entry. An infotainment system is represented with an 8-inch MyLink touchscreen, 6-speaker audio system, and AM/FM/SiriusXM radio together with Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth/USB connectivity.
Options for this trim count leather seats, 5-spoke wheels, and an 8-speaker Bose sound system. You can also opt for the Comfort package that contains heated exterior mirrors and steering wheel, leather furnishing, and heated front seats.
Among standard features for the Chevrolet Volt Premier are an automated parking system, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, wireless charge for smartphones, and leather upholstery.
Options include 17-inch 5-spoke wheels, ambient lighting, and upgraded sat nav. If you select the Driver Confidence package, you’ll get cross-traffic alert and blind spot and lane departure warning systems. Only owning it, you can order the Driver Confidence 2 package that adds auto high beams, low-speed auto braking, forward collision alert, and lane-keeping assist.
In addition to the safety features mentioned above, the Chevrolet Volt offers 10 airbags.
The car’s outward and over-the-shoulder visibility have never been the Chevrolet Volt’s strong point. Still, it should be mentioned that it has been significantly improved for the 2016 model year. A larger central screen with better graphics shows a more distinct image given by a standard rear-view camera.
Neither the IIHS nor NHTSA have tested the new Chevrolet Volt yet. But we assume when time comes, it won’t perform worse than its predecessor that earned top 5 stars from the NHTSA between 2011 and 2015.
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