2011 Chevrolet Volt
Manufacturer: Chevrolet Part number: 101213142
- Bottom Line:
- Although pricey, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will work excellently for anyone who commutes less than 40 miles, as it requires almost no gas during a typical week while providing a comfortable ride.
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as of 12/11/2013
CNET editors' review
price range: $40,280.00
- Reviewed by: Wayne Cunningham
- Reviewed on: 04/04/2011
The good: The weight of its battery gives the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a planted feel, and its electric power train can greatly reduce gasoline usage. The hard-drive-based navigation system warns of traffic problems. A smartphone app lets you set charging times and offers other features, such as car location.
The bad: The Volt brakes unevenly, which can lead to panic stops. The cabin interface buttons are strewn around the center stack with no apparent logic, and the navigation system does not list electric car charging stations.
The bottom line: Although pricey, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will work excellently for anyone who commutes less than 40 miles, as it requires almost no gas during a typical week while providing a comfortable ride.
Honestly, the best car I have every owned
by tatecg on April 5, 2011
Pros: Driving as Electric when needed/desired gas when not
Comfortable, Smooth Ride
It "Just Works"
Cons: The car is too expensive for most
In winter, even with heated seats, heat is still a little underpowered
Summary: I have never owned a car that just worked (no rattles, weird issues, quirks) like this one. It is exceptionally well-designed. I purchased (leased) it because my daily commute is ...
Summary: I have never owned a car that just worked (no rattles, weird issues, quirks) like this one. It is exceptionally well-designed. I purchased (leased) it because my daily commute is just about 35 miles, so it is perfect for me. I am not ridiculous about "charging up" but I have only needed to completely fill the car's 9 gallon tank once in over 3 months. Considering how complicated it is to run this vehicle (software, components, etc.), I am stunned at how flawlessly it works. Truly, I was fully expecting far more "beta-tester" experiences than I have had. I feel...proud?...that the USA could engineer something as well as this?
It is fun enough to drive, looks decent, and fulfills my "gadget geek" side in spades. Unless gas is ridiculously expensive in Dec. 2013, I will be sad to give back this car when the lease is up- I can only hope that with planned improvements to reduce costs the quality remains as high as it currently is. If my experience continues like this, I will DEFINITELY consider the next version of the Volt.
"Too expensive"- If you want one, and can't afford it or can't justify the cost, then I agree, it is too expensive. If you can afford to pay, I honestly feel you get appropriate value for your money. Would I like it to cost less? Yes, of course, but I don't feel like I overpaid dramatically, this car genuinely feels worth the cost (also, I am leasing, so I haven't actually shelled out that much, yet).
"Not practical": Specifically, with reference to a lack of a middle rear seat. I have owned/drive compact 4-door sedans with a middle seat for much of my life. I can count on one hand the number of times I have *needed* a rear middle seat. In this day and age, if one needs a car to seat 5 people regularly, one probably isn't looking at compact sedans, honestly. I think this criticism is dumb.
"GM boondoggle" or some variation/complaint that this thing is a total waste of money nobody wants/will want- That remains to be seen. Honestly everyone I have let drive the car has really liked it. Some have said "Too bad it costs as much as it does" but I have not met anyone who has spent any significant time with the car who has said "Who would ever buy this?!?" It is a well-made, well-engineered, trouble-free (so far) vehicle. From what I can tell, dealers can't keep them on the lots very long (don't cave in and pay a premium, as some people are doing and some DUMB dealers are charging. You can get this car for MSRP, and Chevrolet is even willing to assist if you contact them about greedy dealers charging over MSRP)
"Replacing the battery will be ridiculously expensive": Don't know if this will be a valid criticism. So far, batteries seem to be doing just fine. I have to chalk this one up to "You just can't tell yet". If the future is that scary, this probably isn't the car for you.
"It's not really green, since electricity is primarily from coal" - It depends on where you live. 15% of the electricity I buy comes from coal, but the rest comes from other sources. Even though I am in the Northeast, I am only paying 11cents/kilowatt- not the best rates some people can find, but not terrible.
"The heat/range sucks" - There is no denying that in the winter, the electric range is definitely at the lower end of things, and the heat is anemic. Folks in warmer climes will get the most out of this car year-round, no doubt. I don't mind cold that much, and if I really cared I could "Precondition" the car (via remote start) which warms it up "enough." It might be for you, but it simply isn't a dealbreaker for me.
In Summary- I wouldn't consider myself a ridiculous "fanboy" but this car has genuinely won me over. I went in with reduced expectations, and have had them surpassed consistently. Now here's hoping that, having said all this, my car doesn't have some crazy problem to make me eat my words :)
13 out of 14 users found this user opinion helpful.
Exceeded Expectations - A Luxury-Eco-Sport-Sedan
by harriedtraveller on April 6, 2011
Pros: Very well appointed interior (this is a Chevy?) especially with the premium trim package.
Great in-car tech
Consistently getting 100mpg+ on a combination of gas and electric (all the benefits of electric with none of the drawbacks)
Cons: Small back seat
iPod does not pause when Nav is talking to you
Handsfree phone takes WAY too many steps to make a phone call
The white console trim and funky door trim (IMHO) tries too hard and is ugly - order the dark trim it is a lot nicer
Glove box is
Summary: We've had the Volt for about 1,500 miles now, and we are one of those early adopters for whom the car has exceeded expectations. The is the first ...
Summary: We've had the Volt for about 1,500 miles now, and we are one of those early adopters for whom the car has exceeded expectations. The is the first GM I've bought since I owned a 1974 Opel GT when I was a kid in high school in the 80s.
It is a fantastic little eco-sports sedan. We are in warmer climates (Texas) and we get a consistent 40-45 miles on our charge (the lower when we are at freeway speeds). With the premium package the interior etc. looks and feels like any high-end sports sedan we have owned (BMW, etc.).
Aside from some badge snobbery, I think this compares extremely well to a BMW 328. It is about the same size (interior and exterior) and comparably equipped (with nav, bluetooth, leather, heated seats, backup camera, etc) they both retail for $43k MSRP but the Volt gets a $7,500 tax rebate that brings it down to $36k. Yes, the BMW gets through the quarter mile two seconds faster than the Volt, but the trade-off is that the BMW only gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile our Volt is averaging well over 100mpg, getting a consistent 42mpg when it is on gasoline only. Put another way, In the first 1,500 miles I have burned through 14 gallons of gasoline (mostly because I've done several road trips) at a cost $50 plus about $30 in electricity or $80 total. In the 328 we would have spent about $240 in gasoline over the same drive period.
I suppose if you are looking for a $20k car you should not be shopping for BMWs or Volts. But if you are looking for a sedan in the mid 30's, after 1,500 miles I cannot think of any other model we would rather own. This has completely changed our view of GM cars (no offense to the long-time GM fans out there).
10 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
Solid, efficient, very quiet, handling, fun to drive.
by pat2joy on April 5, 2011
Pros: Gets 40 miles per charge as specified by GM. Real world MPG when on gas is about 40 MPG. It is very comfortable to drive on long trips and around town. Enough room for the average person.
Cons: Some of the top touch sensitive buttons are to close to the touch screen and easily touched by accident. Could use a cargo cover that pivots up when you open the hatch.
Summary: I have had this car now for about a thousand miles and have easily handled my commute to work, about 22 miles with ease. In colder weather I was getting ...
Summary: I have had this car now for about a thousand miles and have easily handled my commute to work, about 22 miles with ease. In colder weather I was getting 166 to 200 MPG on warmer days without the use of heat, I am able to do the round trip on electricity alone. So my cost is from $1.69 (cost to charge) to $2.44 which includes the small amount of gas burned due to cold weather. I am into my second week on the one and only refill I have done since picking up the car. Still have 105 miles of gas in the tank. On the highway I tend to average about 40 MPG and have seen 45 to 47 in around the town driving. I love this car, it is so far one of the best cars I have ever bought. It may be expensive, but worth it from almost every perspective.
10 out of 11 users found this user opinion helpful.
So far...real good
by dkmiller26 on April 5, 2011
Pros: - 40 mile all electric range
- Less than 10-hour recharge using standard 120V outlet
- Very luxurious interior
- Extremely quiet
- Very high build quality
- Very quick acceleration
Cons: - Turning off the radio also turns off the display screen.
- Voice recognition is not as accurate as in other vehicles.
- Heat is not plentiful during 20-40 degree days
- No back window wiper
Summary: I have had my Volt for a week now. I have driven over 100 miles and used 0.0 gallons of gas. The recharge time has varied from 4-7 hours ...
Summary: I have had my Volt for a week now. I have driven over 100 miles and used 0.0 gallons of gas. The recharge time has varied from 4-7 hours since I have not completely used the 40 mile range each day.
Most of my vehicles have been in the $35,000 - 40,000 range and the content of this vehicle is comparable to them. The features include heated leather seats, AM/FM/XM radio with 30Gb hard drive, Bose audio, navigation system, rear-view camera, power windows w/one-touch up/down driver's window, power door locks, Homelink, voice recognition, steering wheel controls, chrome wheels, and more.
The vehicle is almost completely silent, and interior noise is extremely well controlled. I drove one of the other cars today, and for the first time really noticed just how noisy a standard vehicle is. The Volt is truly the next generation of what the automobile should be.
8 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
Worth the cost
by Gmvolt on April 5, 2011
Pros: Luxury trim, ride, and finish. Great mileage, cool gadgets. My kids love the rear bucket seats.
Cons: Always feel guilty exceeding the all electric range because I know it will lower my lifetime mpg. I have experienced some visibility issues, particularly when intersecting streets are not at right angles.
Summary: This is by far the nicest car I have ever owned. I've had a couple cars in the mid $30k range and this is a whole world apart with ...
Summary: This is by far the nicest car I have ever owned. I've had a couple cars in the mid $30k range and this is a whole world apart with the premium trim package, and all the cool gadgets (onstar, XM, bluetooth, the USB for the ipod, the smartphone app. etc...).
I'm probably a little outside the target market as I drive more than 40 miles a day. I'm finding I do about 60 miles burning about 1/2 gallon, but even at that rate I'll only need to buy 8 gallons or so every 1000 miles which works out to around 125 mpg.
I didn't give it 5 stars because I am a little disappointed that it doesn't get at least 40 mpg in gas burning mode, and while I'm consistently getting 30-35 miles of electric range I haven't broken 40 yet, so the 35-50 mile claims by GM haven't panned out for me yet.
But don't get me wrong, I love the car, there is just always room for improvement.
6 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
GM Hit the Proverbial Home Run: GREAT Job, Fun Car!
by ammPilot on April 7, 2011
Pros: - Drives like any other car if you want.
- No "EV range limitation": ~40 miles electric, PLUS ~250 gas.
- Over 1500 miles driven, 8.1 gallons of gas.
- All my complaints are nits (except the first "con," and that's not unique to the Volt).
Cons: - Human factors of the center console controls are miserable.
- Lots of techie info on details of energy use not available to driver.
- Typically, long waiting list for the car--BUT, check with your dealer, because some have pre-order cancellations.
Summary: You get in this car, start it, and drive it. The real magic of the Volt is that it drives like essentially any other sporty compact on the road, despite ...
Summary: You get in this car, start it, and drive it. The real magic of the Volt is that it drives like essentially any other sporty compact on the road, despite an entire new kind of power plant and drivetrain. Run out of battery charge? Just keep driving (in fact, if you don't pay attention, you won't realize the gasoline engine just started and is powering the generator!).
BUT, if you WANT to pay attention to the difference that is the Volt and its being a plug-in hybrid, it's a whole new driving experience. Very quiet, very smooth. Acceleration is peppy: not head-snapping, but very respectable for a stock sporty compact.
Though I've not taken a trip where I had to refill the gas tank en route, I have taken a few trips beyond battery-only range, including one of about 85 miles, the other of 225 miles. On the 85 mile trip, the entire return portion was on the gas engine, which got 41 mpg highway. The 225 mile trip gave me an overall trip mpg of about 49 (including some parts in a 70 mph zone on I-5 at, um, the speed limit: not the most efficient way to drive ANY car).
During the cooler winter months in the central California coastal area, I saw 35-38 miles from a full battery; now that it's warming up, I'm seeing 42-43. That's with very normal driving habits: just driving the car. I avoid the jackrabbit starts and stops, but otherwise don't do anything special.
I'm waiting for my 240V charging station to be installed; in the meantime, I charge the car from a regular 120V outlet in the garage. If I'm going to visit someone without a charging station, I can bring that portable 120V charging setup along (it comes with the car, and fits in its own storage area beneath the cargo area's deck) and charge up. (What about the etiquette of doing this? I'll always ask, and always offer, when necessary, a few dollars to repay the cost of the electricity I'm using. Electricity, though much less expensive than gasoline for powering a car, isn't free. A full charge will cost something around $1 where I live.) If the car's plugged in for an hour on 120V, it will get about 4 miles of electricity into the battery (and about 10 miles if on 240V): not much, perhaps, but still less expensive and less polluting than gasoline.
At home, all of our electricity is from renewable sources: no coal, no natural gas. (It's all solar and wind.) Great trade-off for me: cheaper energy than gasoline, and absolutely no greenhouse gasses nor depletion of fossil fuel reserves.
One commenter mentions "return on investment". Where I live, it costs about 4x more to drive a high-mpg car a given distance on gasoline than to drive that same distance on electricity. That will only increase as gas prices continue to climb. At $4/gallon and assuming a ~$10,000 premium for the Volt over a similarly equipped gasoline-powered car in its class, drive 5,000 miles and you've hit the break-even point on car+"fuel" costs. (Given the Volt's performance, standard equipment, and appointments, a ~$10K premium is in the ballpark. If it's a $20K premium, make that about 6,700 miles to break even.) Yes, there are unknowns about battery disposal, but we're already solving those for other devices using the same technology (portable computers and mobile phones, e.g.). But, what's the ROI on the smoothness, the decrease in pollution, the decrease in greenhouse gasses, the ability to "fill up" at home or at work without an extra stop? Can't wait for the full charge while plugged in on an errand? No sweat: get what you can and keep driving, knowing the gas engine will kick in when needed.
Regarding the center console controls, it's VERY hard to work the climate system without looking at the console and the touch screen. In all of my previous cars, that was not the case. The Volt is not alone in this, either. (A friend who works at NASA on cockpit human factors design completely agreed with my observation when I gave him a tour and demo ride.) This is, by far, my biggest complaint about the car, and it's hardly unique to the Chevy Volt, much less to its Voltec drivetrain.
Chevrolet's entire package around the Volt adds to the car. Sure, some of this is probably just for the early adopters, like the extra two years of OnStar service. Others, like apps for iOS and Android devices (and a Web site) to monitor the car and control its charging and provide the functions of the keyless entry remote, and the stereo with very reasonable sound that is designed specifically for lower power draw than a typical car sound system, are there to stay.
Is the Volt perfect? No. Did GM get this car really, really right? Yes.
GM clearly worked hard on this car, and it shows.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
Volt Owner - Real world experience
by GlenJ49 on April 5, 2011
Pros: Who needs gas? - I drive less than 40 miles Monday-Friday -I don't.
I go to work and back home every day, charge up at night on 120 VAC and go to work the next day - no gas, and at 1/3-1/4 the cost per mile of gas when I use electricity.
Sports car and
Cons: So far the only negative that I can report is that the radio turns on when I want to check the energy flow, charge data or driving and climate control efficiency. So I lower the volume.
Summary: For those non-techies out there who do not understand batteries - The batteries don't die in 6-7 years, they typically fade away slowly, losing some of their charge storage ...
Summary: For those non-techies out there who do not understand batteries - The batteries don't die in 6-7 years, they typically fade away slowly, losing some of their charge storage ability, and there are companies out there who cannot wait to get their hands of these old batteries 10-15 years from now. They have plans to use these in energy storage - electric power production applications.
So do I like my 2011 VOLT, you bet I do. And I've been driving my Lexus RX300 for 11 years amd a RX350 for 2 years. The feel of the Volt is like my RX and the quietness is the same, as reported to me by another Lexus owner.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
well built low fuel consumption car
by Heineke on April 6, 2011
Pros: - Inexpensive to fuel the Volt, both electricity and gas (see summary section below)
- Greater acceleration than a typical 4-cylinder car, especially from a stop.
- Handles well
- Air conditioner or heater precondition for up to 10 minutes before you get
Cons: Expensive for a small car.
Summary: I have owned my Chevy Volt for more than 2 months and still love everything about it. My Volt has been driven 2341 miles total, 1960 of those electric only ...
Summary: I have owned my Chevy Volt for more than 2 months and still love everything about it. My Volt has been driven 2341 miles total, 1960 of those electric only miles, an average of 200 MPG. Or whenever driving on the highway after depleting the battery, my Volt gets about 37 MPG. I still have half a tank of gas left from filling up once with $25 worth of premium gas. My electric bill has only risen by about $20 per month.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
1000 miles @ 190 MPG.
by rickl1 on April 4, 2011
Pros: Really gets 40 miles per charge.
Fun to drive.
Charges in 3.75 hours on 240V.
Lots of tech.
Cons: Remove the lip at the back of the cargo area. Keep the rear seat belts flat against the seat backs when the seats are folded forward for easier access.
Move the cup holders forward. Use the touch screen for PRNDL.
Add a rear window wiper.
Summary: In 1000 miles of driving I've used 4.5 gallons of gas. The car is quiet, comfortable and fun to drive. I don't smile when I pass gas ...
Summary: In 1000 miles of driving I've used 4.5 gallons of gas. The car is quiet, comfortable and fun to drive. I don't smile when I pass gas stations. I do smile when I pass someone driving one of those little $40,000 BMW's or Audi's or MB's that only runs on gas.
5 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
My 1st GM/Chevrolet - could not be happier w/the VOLT
by scottf200 on April 6, 2011
Pros: No compromise sporty, fun, and smooth car that mainly lets me drive on battery passing gas stations. Occasionally use gas for after work events or trips (last week 260 miles & 0.5 gals of gas). Nice trip from NY to IL after purchase.
Cons: I understand they had budget and time constraints. On the next generation I hope they have auto heated steering wheel like the auto heated seats (warm up/shut off) and proximity unlocking.
Summary: I charge from mid-night to 4am when my IL ComEd rates are cheaper and it cost me ~$0.70. I compare that to $3.99/gal and my 2 gal/...
Summary: I charge from mid-night to 4am when my IL ComEd rates are cheaper and it cost me ~$0.70. I compare that to $3.99/gal and my 2 gal/day old ride to work. STILL, you don't save real mine on new cars and not the reason on invest in a 1st generation anything. Many reasons to buy this car and I could not be more thrilled. I give demos about every other day and by the end of the demo and questions answered they have a complete different perspective on the car - they are very impressed.
This car drives just like any other automatic you have driven. Proved it to my neighbor and his wife a few weeks ago and NOW they own one! Just get in, press brake, start, and put in (D)rive.
The car is so well engineered and smooth when you run out of battery (I'm getting 34-43 miles/charge - weather) an the gas generator runs *just* enough to propel the car but not charge the battery (would waste fuel). Charge up later at home and go some more. You don't even have to think about how far you want to or need to go that day or weekend. Just go!
4 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Chevrolet
- Part number: 101213142
- Bottom Line: Although pricey, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will work excellently for anyone who commutes less than 40 miles, as it requires almost no gas during a typical week while providing a comfortable ride.
Basic car properties
- Body style Sedan
- Available Engine Hybrid
- Smart airbags Standard
- Antilock brakes Standard
- Traction control Standard
- Stability control Standard
- Back-up cameras Optional
- Roadside assistance Standard
- Adaptive cruise control Standard
- Satellite radio Standard
- Connection for portable MP3 sound system Standard
- MP3 CD-enabled sound system Standard
- Media hard-disk MP3 sound system Standard
- USB connection Standard
- Multizone climate control Standard
- Keyless start Standard
- Two-way security system Standard
- 12V power outlet Standard
- Drivetrain available Front-drive
- Trip computer Standard
- Live traffic data Standard
- Voice activated navigation Standard
- Bluetooth phone interface Standard
- OnStar or other roadside assistance system Standard
- Home automation integration Standard
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