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Chevrolet Volt

The poster child for American electric vehicles.


Although it’s now entering its second model year, the Volt has yet to come close to the original sales goals projected by GM. The company is remaining optimistic, though. It helps that the Volt achieved its highest monthly sales to date in August and that it continues to outsell the Nissan Leaf. Despite the slow sales, little has changed about the Volt since its introduction: it has a gasoline four-cylinder under the hood as well as a 150-hp electric motor. The electric motor can power the vehicle on its own for about thirty-eight miles, after which the gasoline engine kicks in to spin a generator, propelling the car for an additional 300-plus miles. The Volt is no sports car, but it steers well, has a decent ride, and is surprisingly buttoned down, despite riding on low-rolling-resistance tires. Inside, the Volt is comfortable but lacks the refinement of Chevrolet’s newest vehicles, such as the Cruze and the Malibu. The center console in particular is a low point in design and functionality. The Volt is offered only in a single trim level with just two available options packages: the premium trim package, which adds heated front seats and perforated leather trim on the seats and steering wheel; and the park assist package, which includes a backup camera and front and rear parking sensors.


Ford Focus Electric

Mitsubishi i

Nissan Leaf

Toyota Prius

new for 2013

The Volt’s electric-only range went up by 3 miles to 38 miles, and a body-color roof and hatch are now standard. Drive modes — normal, Sport, and Mountain — can now be manually selected to help drivers get the most out of their battery charge. Lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert have been added to the options list, and GPS-enabled navigation using Chevy MyLink is now available.


Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. A backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, and lane-departure warning are optional.

High Mileage



HWY 90


Excellent fuel economy

No range anxiety


38-mile electric-only range

Interior quality and design

Rear seat holds only two

Base Price: $39,995


DRIVE: Front-wheel


BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4-passenger

ENGINE: Liquid-cooled AC motor, 150 hp, 273 lb-ft; lithium-ion battery, 16kWh; 1.4L gasoline-engine range extender

TRANSMISSION: 1-speed fixed


CARGO SPACE: 10.6 cu ft

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