A couple of weeks ago I headed over to Hogan Chevrolet Buick GMC in Scarborough to test drive the new 2017 Chevrolet Volt. Hogan has a staff of around 110 and has been in business for over 85 years. They sell other makes of GM vehicles such as Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC. After the Ford C-Max blew my pre-conceptions about hybrids out of the water, I didn’t know what to expect.
One of the first things I noticed about the 2017 Chevrolet Volt was that it didn’t look like other hybrid cars out there, and that’s not a bad thing. This one looks more like a mid-sized sedan without being too flashy. It’s a good looking car that differs from other hybrids in that it doesn’t have that “quirky” look to it.
The 2017 Volt starts at $38,390 CDN for the base model (LT) and then goes up to $42,490 CDN for the Premier model. Both models comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights (low-beam) and taillights, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, automatic climate control, a six-speaker audio system with an auxiliary jack, an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel.
There are many benefits to purchasing one of these green vehicles such as the low fuel costs, the minimal impact to the environment and, the one that has me most interested, the various government incentives. Right now you can get up to $12,747 back if you purchase the Volt. When was the last time the government actually gave you back some serious cash for buying a car?
Two electric motors power this car. They work together to optimize efficiency and conserve electric charge while providing responsive power and torque. An empty battery will take about 13 hours to be fully recharged using a standard 110 volt source. Switch over to a 240 volt source and you chop that time down to a reasonable 4.5 hours. One of the things that I’m really impressed about is the driving distance that this car gives you on a full charge. You’ll hit 85 kilometers of driving before the gas engine kicks in. Compare that to a measly 30 KM for the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi, and a slightly better 35 KM for the Toyota Prius. The Chevrolet Volt is hands-down the clear winner here.
The 2017 Volt comes equipped with technology that I think will satisfy most of the gearheads out there. First up we have the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app. With this app you can control your car from virtually anywhere. You can remotely start your vehicle, sound your horn, flash your lights, lock and unlock your doors, check the battery charge, view kilometres per charge and the most efficient time to recharge, and much more.
The centre console is very easy to use with the capacitive touch center console display which works great with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. With these apps you can make calls, listen to music, access select apps and get directions and more with the standard Chevrolet MyLink display.
The Volt also features automatic park assistant, which I guess is standard on all newer cars these days. With this nifty feature you don’t need to worry about parallel parking into a seemingly tight spot anymore. You pull up close to the spot you want to get into, engage the park assistant and the car does the rest for you.
Both driver and front seat passenger shouldn’t have a single complaint about space in the Volt. I would’ve liked to see power seats in the front though. Even though there’s a lot of space in the front all the knobs, dials, and touch screens are within easy reach of the driver.
One thing I noticed during my test drive that could be a problem for some drivers were the pillars. They are pretty sizable and could create some big blind spots so drivers need to be extra cautious especially during the darker months of the year.
If it’s one thing I can honestly say I dislike about this car is the rear seating. Chevrolet markets this car as a five-seater, but the middle seat in the back is only usable if you’re a child. The headroom in the back is very limited and if you’re the unfortunate soul to be stuck in the middle then you’re uncomfortably straddling the centre hump with the cup holders between your legs. There isn’t much you can do about this because of the location of the battery packs.
The Chevrolet Volt offers a variety of safety features that are designed to help prevent accidents and help protect passengers in case of a collision.
Available Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning are there to alert the driver if they drift out of their lane. The backup camera comes into play when reversing but the Rear Cross Traffic Alert also provides alerts to the driver when it detects traffic approaching. In the front the Volt employs Forward Collision Alert and Low Speed Front Automatic Braking systems that use camera technology to detect slowing vehicles in your path, and even automatically applies brakes to help reduce the collision’s severity.
All in all I am impressed by the 2017 Chevrolet Volt. The fact that you can get more than twice the driving range of a C-Max or Prius is quite attractive. The sleek, sporty design doesn’t look like a normal electric vehicle. The trunk is quite spacious so you shouldn’t have any problems there. This car has no problem with keeping up with the traffic on the highways and that burst of speed is there when it’s needed. Very smooth ride and when you switch from electric to gas you won’t even notice. My biggest pet peeve lies in the back seat. With barely any legroom and that damn hump in the middle it’ll be a very uncomfortable ride if someone else calls “Shotgun”.
For longer family outings I’d prefer a car with a little more space, but for my everyday commute and errands this car would suit my needs just fine.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this article but all opinions expressed within are my own.