Her and His Reviews

May 2011

2011 Chevy Volt
Chevrolet Volt

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There are always two sides to everything, right? Well, the truth is there are many more than that! To keep our car reviews innovative and well-rounded, we are providing you with not just one, but two points of view on the same exact vehicle – Her and His perspectives.
 

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate,women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

HER HIS
Price
MSRP:$44,680 MSRP:$44,680
Performance

The ChevyVolt is an electric plug-in hybrid, and is powered by a combination of a lithium ion propulsion battery, an electric drive unit, and a 1.4 liter internal combustion engine that serves as a mileage range extender. Built on the Cruze platform, it is a nice size car, and handles very well as far as acceleration and responsiveness go.

The Volt, an electric plug-in hybrid, is powered by a system that includes lithium ion propulsion battery, a Voltec electric drive unit, and a 1.4 liter internal combustion engine that serves as a mileage range extender. Handling is on the sporty side, and the car seems to like enthusiastic driving. And the acceleration is plenty peppy thanks to 273 pounds-feet of torque.

Fuel Economy

Unlike those of us paying $4 a gallon these days, owners of the ChevyVolt are not at the pumping with such regularity. It travels 370 miles on a 9 gallon tank of gas. For the shorter, bundled trips, specifically under 40 miles, it travels on an electric charge. And it switches to this charge seamlessly, with no impact to performance in the least. Great for commuters to use this gas-free car for about $1.50 of electricity a day.

Volt which has a 35 mile range if being driven completely under electric power has a 93 mile per gallon equivalent rating for combined city/highway driving, with an annual cost of $601 per year if you always use electric power. The charge time for the Volt, if you use a 240V outlet, is about four hours, and about 10 hours if you use a 120 volt outlet. Top speed is 100 miles per hour. See the bouncing green ball on your right? For best economy and efficiency, keep it pretty much in the middle of the gauge, so watch braking and acceleration if you want to make the most of your Volt.

The Car

Number one thing to know is that to charge the vehicle in a 120V outlet it will take 10 hours versus if you charge it in an outlet of 240V it takes just 4 hours. Time management is key to making this electric hybrid go and for your to save the most money.

The instrument cluster is Apple-esque with its pearly white and stark showstopper look on the charcoal black dash. Clean, clean clean. LCD touch points on the vehicle's dash are simple and an intentional and quiet 'click' sound after each touch, allows for the driver to know the request is complete.

Leather seats and a clean interior add to the allure. The funkadelic circles on the front doors were too 'groovy'. And quite contrasting to the state of the art design and layout throughout the inside and exterior of vehicle. The 17" wheels and aggressive platform and grill make this a stunning look for Chevy.

It is beyond a doubt the most intriguing and significant car of the year and it deserves every award it's gottenâ??and there have been several, including Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year, and the North American Car of the Year at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Volt's interior has substantial, high quality leather and other material, and we loved the touch sensitive buttons for controlsâ??they are on a futuristic looking white cluster under the nav screen. A light touch brings a soft computer-like click, and your request has been handled.

Room is limited in the Volt, though. There's enough for four passengers, but not a whole lot of leg room. And there's some odd looking graphics for door inserts, that look like they are from a "World of Tomorrow" amusement park ride or something. We would have liked something a bit more tasteful and upscale instead.

Once underway, you'll find yourself amazed at how quiet and smooth the Volt is, with every single task you ask it to do completed in a smooth, seamless, no fuss way.

So what's it like to drive the Volt? Out of this world, really. When you get in, you hear some appropriate "intergalactic space travel"-style musical notes, and the nav and info screen has some interesting futuristic graphics that flash up to entertain you as well.

You hit a lovely ice blue "power" switch and the car comes to life. In front of you can be seen two icons on the dashboardâ??they're pretty large so you can't miss them.

If the car has any electrical miles left, the battery icon will be the most prominent, and will show you how many miles you have left, while the gasoline icon fades from view.

You will, if the car runs out of electric power, see the gas icon appear, and the electric icon fades from view. The gas icon will tell you how many miles you have left in the tank. By the way, all this happens quite without you even noticing a thing.

So were there any problems with the Volt? With everyday driving we strongly suggest you be careful on entrance and exit ramps and leaving driveways because the ground clearance for the Volt in front is very low. You don't want to causeâ??or hear â??any unnecessary scrapes or crunches.

Safety

Airbags dual stage frontal and side impact, keen for driver and passenger sides. Roof rail side impact. Four wheel disc with ABS. Child latch anchors in back seat. Love the Pedestrian Friendly alert to assist me.

Airbags of various sorts including side impact, knee bag for driver and front passenger, roof, rail side-impact, andi lock brakes, Stabilitrack stability and traction control, power door locks with lockout protection, pedestrian friendly alert and remote keyless entry.

Technology

5 year On Star connectivity with auto crash response. 30 GB audio hard drive. NAV with DVD Rom. Tilt steering column and excellent seat adjustments. Clearly communicated display screens for charging times. XM Radio to bust a move to your favorite D DJ and Bose audio delivers with ultimate clarity. Bluetooth for hands free.

On Star, full power accessories, solar absorbing windshield, outside heated mirrors, 30GB audio hard drive, audio system with navigation, DVD ROM, automatic air, tilt and telescoping steering column, steering wheel radio controls, cruise control satellite radio and a host of other items.

Aesthetics & Styling

The Volt is a spectacular design. Not only is the technology of this vehicle transformative, the layout and driving of it is fun and impeccable. Exceptional color contrast with the Apple-esque ceramic white instrument cluster and the black dash.

Unlike most hatchbacks, ChevyVolt R & D team improved the visibility in the rear window; they cut out a piece of metal and replaced about 7" with glass, allowing the driver more visibility. Bravo!

It's extraordinarily well built, beautiful inside and out, fun to drive, and economical.

Warranty

Battery Warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles.

Battery Warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles.

Non-tangibles / Other

Not unlike my counterpart on the HIS portion of this review, my home is 86 years old. I plugged the cord easily into an outlet in the garage, which proceeded to blow my home's fuses twice in a matter of hours. Blew the fuses in the garage, such that the electric garage doors wouldn't work remotely. Simply put, an electrician was needed. We spoke to GM who will have a company, SPX, come out to the house to do a spot-check of what is best for you to deliver the easiest and safest set up for charging your Volt.

While only 10,000 ChevyVolts will be produced in calendar year 2011, this car is just charging up for what's next and is one step ahead of its competition in getting closer to 2016 govenemrnet imposed MPG standards. If you get an opportunity, be sure to test drive this car. It is beautiful and is a harbinger of what is next for all of us.

The 21-foot charging cord was a bit too short to reach an outlet at our 100 year old home, which was a bit disappointing. A length of 25 feet is the longest allowed by regulations set by the Society of Automotive Engineers and national building codes, GM officials say. But a consumer is not likely to have the cord length issue because that already will be taken into account before the car is even brought home. Here's why: When you order the Volt, GM has a company called SPX visit you and personally help determine which would be the best charging option for you given the specific conditions you have such as the type of home you have, the types of electrical sources, and where you park.

So before you even get the car, GM is already "on it," and is fully aware that, for instance, your charging cord may be too short. So SPX will help find ways to solve that issue before you even take delivery.

"Go to your Chevy dealer, order your Volt, and SPX comes out to do an audit of the area where you are planning to park, and other things and we make sure that we find the best charging options that can work for you," said Chevrolet Volt spokesman Rob Peterson.

The options include a 240 volt charging system, or for owners of old homes for instance, a recommendation may be made to install an outlet on a flat piece of land on your property that is closer to where you normally park. SPX also looks into local building codes and utility company rates as part of the information used to finally decide on a charging option.

But we do think that the situation involving the charging cord, and for that matter, everything relating to electric plug-in hybrids is fluid. Conversations and research continue. So we won't be surprised if standards are changed and charging times drop as time goes on and even more advanced products are introduced.

Remember that buying a Volt qualifies buyers for up to a $7,500 tax credit.

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