by Cameron Rogers, Staff Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been in our fleet for what seems like forever (our fuel book indicates that the beginning of "forever" is November 2015), but we still manage to add a respectable number of miles to our elder statesman's odometer each month. As usual, our plug-in hybrid was used primarily for around-town duties, whether it was solo commuting in the carpool lane or, in my case, traveling at normal highway speeds on Interstate 10 through downtown L.A. (traffic is totally clear at 10 p.m.). Without any long-distance trips, the Volt traveled just over 800 miles in August.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Of the 816 miles driven, 211.1 miles were driven on electric power alone. We didn't set any records in terms of electric range, but I noticed my sustained highway-speed EV travel produced an all-electric range of 46.3 miles, compared to the EPA's estimated 53 miles. I wasn't surprised; with no traffic, I couldn't use the regenerative brakes to recharge the battery and extend the EV range. Our monthly gas-only fuel economy averaged out to about 40 mpg, good enough to increase the Volt's overall gas-only economy from 37.7 to 37.8 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 37.8
EPA mpg rating: 42 combined
Average electric range: 51.4 miles
Best electric range: 75 miles
EPA electric range rating: 53 miles
Current odometer: 27,600 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I wish the Volt's brakes were a bit more robust. Compared to the accelerator pedal (which you barely have to press when driving under battery power, the electric thrust is so readily available), the brake pedal requires a fair shove to slow the Volt. On more than one occasion, I had to slam the brakes to get it to stop where I wanted." — Abigail Bassett, senior director, video & social media
"I drive the Volt in D (rather than L) because I have a long (all of 17 miles), mostly highway commute from where I live to the office. L is great when you are tooling around town and want to utilize the regenerative braking paddle on the steering wheel, but when coming from a standard dinosaur-burning vehicle, using a paddle to stop takes some getting used to. For now, I'll stick to using my foot rather than my fingers." — Abigail Bassett
"I've been in the Volt for about a week straight now, and I still love it. I have, however, found something to complain about. When the gasoline engine kicks on, I can feel some faint vibrations in the seat and floor, and I wish Chevy had worked harder to edit all of those vibrations out. After all, the engine comes on quite frequently in non-EV operation, and that's how I've been driving it for a number of days. (The charger at work has been in high demand due to the number of short-term EVs we've evaluated recently.) As a Volt buyer, I would gladly pay a little extra for some more advanced motor mounts to keep those vibes completely out of my space." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"The Volt is a good commuter car, but what is up with the rear hatch? This thing is so long and heavy that, once opened, it's pretty darn hard to close it. It swings way too far upward, to the point where I actually reached my body's stretch limit trying to get the handle. Short people will clearly have a difficult time reaching the hatch when it's open. A power-closing feature is necessary here." — Sal Meda, imagery production specialist