2016 Volt

Drive a Volt and you’ll never go back

14 dollars and 81 cents.

That’s how much I’ve spent on gasoline since I leased a 2016 Chevy Volt near the end of November. To be fair, I’ve also had to spend money on electric fuel as well, but that number still hasn’t topped $100 in the three months I’ve been charging instead of filling. Compared to what I used to pay for gas, I’m easily saving $50 to $100 a month on fuel costs. And it’s not as if I used to drive gas guzzler; my pre-owned ’06 Civic Hybrid averaged a cool 34 mpg.

But the money I’m keeping in my pocket isn’t even the best part. No, that would be the sheer thrill of simply stepping on the accelerator when my car is in all-electric mode (which is at least 90 percent of the time). As opposed to a gasoline engine filled with numerous moving parts that take time to start up, my Volt’s electric motor delivers power straight to the wheels, and I’m off to the races with 294 lb-ft of torque pressing my head back into the headrest. Even my gearhead friends who imagine electric vehicles (EVs) as just souped-up golf carts were seriously impressed by the performance of the Volt.

In fact, the all-electric mode is so good that on the rare occasion when the battery’s 53-mile range actually runs all the way down and the car switches over to its gasoline engine, I feel seriously let down. That’s not to say Volt’s range-extending gasoline engine is sub-par, quite the contrary; it’s more of a testament to just how incredible the Volt’s all-electric mode is. That said, knowing I’m not going to get stranded on the side of the road when I run out of juice on one of my frequent road trips is a nice feature — the Volt’s combined range of 420 miles completely dissipates any range anxiety.

Top all of that off with a sleek interior/exterior redesign and lots of cargo space thanks to a hatchback trunk plus foldable seats, and you’ve got quite the formidable vehicle.

Oh, and did I mention my lease is under $300 a month? I was surprised too.

However, even with all the Volt gets right, the car isn’t perfect. I’ve had occasional issues with the car’s audio refusing to work, and while the car is technically listed as a five-seater, good luck getting anyone to sit in that cramped middle back seat. On top of that, Chevy’s decision to not make the Volt a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) is fairly disappointing. They had an opportunity to make the Volt a true tri-fuel vehicle, capable of running on electric, gasoline, and ethanol, but decided not to. It’s not as if it would have been particularly difficult either — adding FFV compatibility costs manufactures less than $70 per vehicle. What’s more, automotive engineer John Brackett was able to turn his previous generation Volt into an FFV with just five minutes worth of software changes. Consider that opportunity missed.

All in all though, the 2016 Volt is a fantastic car. You’ll save money on fuel costs, have more fun driving, and actively be working to end our oil addiction. Talk about a win, win, win. Trust me, if you’re in the market for a new car, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least test drive the Volt. You won’t be disappointed.

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