The 2014 Chevrolet Volt is a fantastic little electric car that succeeds in nearly every aspect, with the exception of exterior design and cabin space, both of which are lacking. The AC synchronous motor/generator, accompanied by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, is a fine powertrain that will save drivers tons of gas, while providing plenty of power output. Overall, the Volt is a more than solid alternative to quality hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
The 2014 Chevrolet Volt is Chevy’s take on the electric car segment, and for the most part the results are great. Its design both inside and outside leaves much to be desired, but in every other aspect, this car is a killer It’s a shame that hybrids are still such a rare sight, because some of them really do offer quality, and this is one of them – along with the revered Toyota Prius.
The reason why exterior design fails is because it’s meant to deliver on efficiency, not on looks. With a rounded nose, closed grille opening and steeply sloped windshield, this car is as aerodynamic as they come. And to help the Volt slice through the wind even more successfully, the designers have included back fenders along with a useful rear hatch spoiler. As if that’s not enough, you also get super-lightweight wheels, which weigh only 17.8 pounds, and Goodyear Fuel Max low-rolling-resistance tires. So, no, it’s not the prettiest car in the traditional sense, but it does deliver excellent performance thanks to this appearance.
On the inside, the new Chevrolet Volt looks almost like an Apple smartphone with bright white and black accented plastics and controls that respond to your touch. Instead of your typical analog gauge, the Volt features two seven-inch LCD screens. One of them is your speedometer, fuel and range gauges and the second one is in the centre stack, showcasing the electric motor operation and navigation screen. The only problem with this setup is that it take a while to get used to, but if you’re a proud owner of a touchscreen smartphone, this is nothing new to you.
The bigger issue arises when you look at the car’s cabin size. It’s just not that big, offering very snug headroom and legroom both at the front and back – but especially at the back. The lack of power-adjustable seats is also a bummer, along with the small cargo area, which is only 10.6 cubic feet large when the back seats up. Even if you fold those seats flat you’ll only get half of what’s offered by competitors like the Prius or C-Max Enrgi.
Since this is strictly a hybrid car, you get only an AC synchronous motor/generator, which is accompanied by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder. The motor can produce up to 149 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The four-cylinder has the capacity to take over when the battery charge depletes. It takes about 10 to 16 hours to charge the motor with a standard 110V outlet and roughly four hours with 240V outlet. Different models also come with different modifications for the motor. The Sport offers direct accelerator response; the Mountain provides the ability to better deal extended steep grades; and the Hold runs strictly on the gas engine to save battery charge for special occasions. There’s also the Normal model, which is the most efficient one – but that’s not saying much since they are all incredibly fuel efficient.
Overall, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt is an outstanding alternative to the Prius – but only as long as you don’t mind its cramped cabin space. We definitely recommend giving this one a look.
|Trim / Style||MSRP||Est. Monthly Payment||Average Price||Invoice Price|
|FWD Hatchback||$36,895||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|Number of Doors||5|
|Drive Train||Front Wheel Drive|
|Power and Performance:|
If electric cars make you think of golf carts, or your idea of a clean, green car is a Prius hybrid, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt will be a pleasant surprise for you. While it's not all that fast on paper, the power delivery is smooth and seamless, and its best performance comes from 0 to 40 mph. Electric motors produce maximum torque from a stop through much of their range, so the Volt will startle many other cars from a standing stop. Its 0-to-60-mph acceleration takes less than 9 seconds--not fast, but fast enough to keep up with traffic. Its speed is electronically limited to 100 mph.
The Volt's lithium-ion battery pack, a T-shaped box fitted into the wide tunnel between the seats and under the rear seat, holds 16.5 kilowatt-hours of energy (of which only 10.8 kWh is used to power the car--giving the Volt a huge margin for loss of capacity over time). The EPA rates the Volt's electric range at 38 miles.
All Volts are powered by a 111-kilowatt (149-hp) electric motor that drives the front wheels. Once the pack is depleted, the 1.4-liter four-cylinder range-extending engine switches on, to power a 54-kW generator that produces electricity. That electricity continues to run the electric motor that powers the car. If you're not watching the display, that engine switches on so quietly you may not notice it. You'll only hear it under maximum load, when it speeds up to its maximum revs. But it's disconnected from the road speed, so from the driver's seat, the Volt always runs as an electric vehicle--regardless of whether the electricity comes from the battery or the range extender.
Chevy has tuned the Volt so in its normal state, it drives just like a regular car with an automatic transmission. While it's a heavy car for its size, the Volt has its weight mounted low in the car. That gives it good roadholding and flat cornering. The electric power steering, suspension, and braking--both friction and regenerative--all are well integrated.
Read more on The Car Connection.
|Interiors and Special Features:|
Taking a page from the Apple computer school of design, the 2014 Chevy Volt's interior can be covered in bright white and dark accented plastics and touch-sensitive controls for the audio and climate-control functions. Two 7-inch LCD screens replace the traditional analog gauges, with one serving as the instrument cluster (speedometer, fuel and range gauges) and the other in the center stack displaying the electric motor/battery operation as well as the available navigation screen. The cool-looking touch-sensitive buttons are a little tricky to identify and operate. The rear seat takes only two occupants and their head- and legroom are snug.
Originally appeared on Kelley Blue Book.
Standard safety features on the 2014 Chevrolet Volt include antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side-impact airbags, front knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
Front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional, as are forward collision and lane departure warning systems.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Volt came to a stop in 117 feet, an excellent performance for this segment.
In government crash tests, the Volt scored an overall rating of five stars (the highest possible), with five stars for both frontal and side-impact protection categories. Similarly, in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Volt earned the highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Originally appeared on Edmunds.
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Updated on March 26, 2013
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