2012 Chevrolet Volt
Manufacturer: Chevrolet Part number: 101388714
- Bottom Line:
- Mileage has never varied more than it will between two 2012 Chevrolet Volt owners, but with regular charging, this part-time EV is capable of fantastic efficiency -- just don't look too hard at its dashboard.
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as of 03/13/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $39,145.00
- Reviewed by: Antuan Goodwin
- Reviewed on: 06/14/2012
The good: The 2012 Chevrolet Volt features an extremely flexible power train, offering the best of electric efficiency and gasoline-powered range. Power delivery is smooth and effortless. A good array of standard cabin tech options and great-sounding premium audio are available.
The bad: The Volt's instrument cluster and dashboard are a cluttered mess. The brakes don't inspire confidence. The navigation system lacks advanced features.
The bottom line: Mileage has never varied more than it will between two 2012 Chevrolet Volt owners, but with regular charging, this part-time EV is capable of fantastic efficiency -- just don't look too hard at its dashboard.
"Hybrid" done right!
by AySz88 on June 19, 2012
Pros: Cutting-edge tech. True "hybrid" of electric and gas.
Smooth, quiet engine; peppy (almost "sporty") to drive.
Eliminates huge fraction of gas use (~1 gallon worth of gas per charge).
Much more environmentally-friendly.
Can take regular wall power.
Cons: Relatively costly up-front.
Still a bit rough - harder-than-usual learning curve; more for early adopters.
High pitched engine sound annoying for young sensitive ears.
Only latter-half-of-model-year cars got HOV stickers.
Summary: When I was in my early teens, when I first heard the word "hybrid", I thought "hybrid" should refer to a car that could use electric and gas interchangeably. That ...
Summary: When I was in my early teens, when I first heard the word "hybrid", I thought "hybrid" should refer to a car that could use electric and gas interchangeably. That didn't exist yet - but it does now, I'm glad to be able to drive such a car, the Volt. This car truly hybridizes its energy sources - it can use electric, or gas, or both simultaneously. As the laws of physics dictate that we will have to transition away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable alternatives, this is the path of technology that I imagine cars are most likely to follow.
If you have any qualms about power or speed or size, take the car for a test drive. It really drives well - it is often described as "sporty", especially typical driving from a stoplight. It busts through all those negative stereotypes of electric vehicles.
As the first of its kind, the car is engineered for "typical" use - daily commutes of about 30-45 miles per day. My family stretches past that a bit, to around 50 miles total, usually about 44 on electric and 6 on gas (75% highway, 25% city).
With daily commutes of under 60ish miles, it's fine to charge this car just overnight with the regular cord. Don't take it for granted that you have to install a new 240V station - few people really need to charge at home during the day. It's unnecessary to obsess over charging times or charging stations - if you run out, the gas generator handles those situations fine. (Though it can be entertaining to do so, anyway!)
For overnight charging, definitely look into time-of-use (peak/off-peak) rates - and with a little fiddling, you can even offset or shift around your electric use enough to keep your power bill the same.
If you do have a longer (60+ mile/day) commute, consider setting up something to charge at work as well - either a dedicated charging station or just an outdoor 120V plug. (Even if you have to reimburse, the cost of the electricity itself is very low, usually less than $1-2 a charge.)
The car is still rough around the edges a bit - there are still minor things that seem like they could be easily fixed, such as the oft-mentioned console button placement. But given the amount of new technology in the car, that there are only a few, relatively minor, usability problems is far beyond par.
GM does seem to care about the image of this car a lot - they know that it is a "halo" car for them, and important for their image. They will pamper you as a customer in the hopes that your satisfaction will help them succeed. This strategy definitely is part of the reason why they got that top spot for most-satisfied drivers.
Closing things out... When this car was released, I naively thought that this would be a car that really could satisfy those of any political stripe: green credentials on the left and for patriotic anti-foreign-oil types on the right. But to my horror, it's become a target of certain partisan bullies. This is disappointing to me, but not a fault of the car itself - I still think you should love this car regardless of the politics of the day.
And given the menu of technology available right now, I hope this technology succeeds, improves, and proliferates to other forms and styles of vehicles.
Much better than Prius Plug-in or Nissan Leaf
by thequickad on June 19, 2012
Pros: Great acceleration (especially in SPORT mode)
Low Noise and very stable at higher speed (much quieter than Prius)
Excellent Leather Seats
Cons: Cannot leave in SPORT mode (auto reset to Normal mode after engine turns off)
Turning off radio also turns off Navigation
Side mirrors do not fold
Summary: I was a Toyota person for a long time and really wanted to buy the Prius Plug-in. But after comparing the Prius & Leaf with the Volt (I even went ...
Summary: I was a Toyota person for a long time and really wanted to buy the Prius Plug-in. But after comparing the Prius & Leaf with the Volt (I even went back and test drove the Prius twice), I bought the Volt. It's a much better car in every aspect than the tin-fold thin Prius Plug in.
best car I ever had. just about the most fun as well.
by osprey710 on June 19, 2012
Pros: not going to a gas station
very smooth as there is no transmission to shift through gears
Cons: a bit pricey
no fifth seat
controls a little goofy and not intuitive
Summary: although it is based on a chevy cruze (like a lexus RX is based on a camry)you are really buying a cadillac CTS or Audi A4 so do not ...
Summary: although it is based on a chevy cruze (like a lexus RX is based on a camry)you are really buying a cadillac CTS or Audi A4 so do not feel you are paying a 15K premium for a gussied up cruze. if you compare to similarly priced cars you will find it equivalent in amenities, ride, etc (although not room).
also, it is a much nicer car to drive than prius
Fabulous quality, looks, ride.
by FarmerDB on June 19, 2012
Pros: Smooth, powerful, clean!
Cons: No front passenger grab handle.
Summary: The best car I ever owned. And all the above.
Summary: The best car I ever owned. And all the above.
A life changing automobile.
by ncsuwallst on June 19, 2012
Pros: Incredibly cheap to operate
Linear torque applied through acceleration
Cons: Initially high cost
Would prefer 5 seats, not 4
Would prefer a little more legroom in back seats
Miss not having Xenon headlamps
Summary: The Chevy Volt is hands down the best car I have ever owned. I have driven it about 9500 miles in the first 5 months. I am able to charge ...
Summary: The Chevy Volt is hands down the best car I have ever owned. I have driven it about 9500 miles in the first 5 months. I am able to charge at work, as well as home, and this has made 9000 of those 9500 miles all electric. I've only put in 3.3 gallons of fuel since I owned the car. Electricity to drive those 9000 miles has only cost me $176. The car is cheaper to own, when you add up the loan payment and fueling cost, than my last to vehicles (Mini Cooper and BMW Z3). This really is the future of automobiles.
23rd century is here a bit early.
by tcocklin on June 19, 2012
Pros: Stylish, great ride, good corner, good acceleration, Tron-like cab, great mileage and just fun to drive (you can't 'hyper mile' in a BMW). I bought my 2012 (Blue topaz, loaded) 3/6, I've never been to the gas station.
Cons: The displays could be better managed, the rear window visibility is fair to poor and there is a left side blind spot. There's too much 'tech' for older people or people who are confused by a lot of instrumentation (can't really configure that).
Summary: I would buy this car again.
Summary: I would buy this car again.
Chevy delivers a no-compromises electric vehicle
by ViperRT10Matt on June 19, 2012
Pros: -Ride is smooth and amazingly quiet
-Handling far better than other hybrid competitors
-Instant torque from electric motor
-Nice interior materials
-Seamless transition between electric and gas motor when necessary
Cons: -"iPad wannabe" center stack with no real buttons difficult to use while driving
-Requires government credits/rebates to reach reasonable cost
-Fuel economy on gas motor lags behind primary competitors
Summary: I will lead off by saying that first and foremost, the thing drives like a car. A nice car. All the wizardry that's going on under the hood, all ...
Summary: I will lead off by saying that first and foremost, the thing drives like a car. A nice car. All the wizardry that's going on under the hood, all the technology and computers that make the thing go, they all disappear while you drive it. Acceleration is brisk from the always-ready-to-dispense-torque electric motor. Handling is reasonably sharp and predictable, with the steering splitting the difference between the near-surgical Acura TSX and the big-sedan-that-feels-like-a-big-sedan Nissan Maxima. The suspension does a decenet job of masking the car's weight in the turns. Brakes are smooth and linear until you get below 5 mph, after which it becomes guesswork--a typical hybrid bugaboo.
Interior quality, something GM just recently got good at, is a split decision. Thumbs up for the seats (comfy), the quality of the leather (nice), and the dash materials (nicely put together). But then you have the center stack. My best guess is that the center stack was the result of a GM executive saying, "iPads are hot right now! Make it look like an iPad! Take away all the buttons! People will eat it up!" Sounds dumb on paper, and is even dumber in practice. Every other car in the world has at least SOME real buttons on that console, and for good reason; you don't want the guesswork of a wondering whether a touch surface registered your press when you're doing 75 miles per hour. The center LCD display rises out at an odd angle, and despite looking adjustable, is not. This whole iPad wanna-be thing is going to look real dated in about three years.
Exterior styling is of course a personal preference. While I don't hate it, it really doesn't do anything for me either, especially the odd rear end. Ah well, I'm not buying the car for its looks.
I will not go into the technical details of battery versus gas here (as it's been covered ad nauseam elsewhere), but I will say that I am averaging around 40 miles per charge, with some pretty spirited driving. A less excited right foot would have probably hit 45. On two road trips when I had to use the generator, I averaged right around 40 miles per gallon, again with a fairly spirited right foot. When the gas engine comes on, there is no sound, no shudder, no nothing. You honestly probably wouldn't know if the LCD display didn't tell you.
All my prior drives in a Prius, I did indeed do a bit better than 40 miles per gallon, but being behind the wheel was never fun, never comfortable, and always felt like a chore. Maybe you like the way the Prius drives; I didn't. The Volt is an electric car that drives as good as any decent car. I'll sacrifice a few overall MPG versus the Pruis to get that.
Oh, and plugging it in? Cord goes into outlet on the side of my house, other end goes into the front of the car. Light on dashboard turns green a few seconds later when the juices are fully flowing. Time elapsed: 15 seconds. Total cost to fully charge the thing: about $1.75. That $1.75 can take me 40 stop-and-go city miles tomorrow. Same thing in my 20 mpg (city) Maxima would cost about $8, a cut of which is going to some sheik that I have zero interest in making richer.
I really enjoy my Volt, and am glad I took the plunge.
Most legal fun I have ever had in a car!
by EdTyer on June 19, 2012
Pros: Drives great. Uses very little gas. Looks sporty. Interior is futuristic, fun and comfortable. Feels good to screw OPEC and maybe help save the planet.
Cons: 7500 tax credit should be up front rebate for all buyers up front when you purchase it.
Summary: This car is so easy to live with. You don't have to make sacrifices and drive a geek mobile to save gas. It looks cool. I have had Corvettes ...
Summary: This car is so easy to live with. You don't have to make sacrifices and drive a geek mobile to save gas. It looks cool. I have had Corvettes and Camaros and the Volt is more fun. My wife and I use it as our date car among other things and it makes us feel young , special, and sporty. Bottom line, the Volt is the future and you are going to love it! Get on board
Comfort, Quiet, Smooth Ride, Peppy Performance
by TuuTuuTango on June 19, 2012
Pros: Solid ride, plenty of pep, less blind spots than our 2006 Jetta TDI. I'm 60 and have arthritis and getting into and out of my Volt is easy.
Nice and quiet ride, even at 70 miles per hour. Doors shut with a solid feel like a Rolls Royce.
Cons: Instrument panel is attractive, but "busy" and overly complicated. It probably is bad as "texting while driving" trying to navigate the instrument panel and XM Radio.
Summary: I'm documenting my ownership of my Volt on my Flickr account. I spent a good part of my professional live in television news, and I'm "reporting" about my ...
Summary: I'm documenting my ownership of my Volt on my Flickr account. I spent a good part of my professional live in television news, and I'm "reporting" about my Volt through Flickr... Just go to "Groups" on Flickr and look for "Chevrolet Volt" where I will have a very complete summary of my experiences.
I'd also suggest that anyone buying a Volt, beware that it is complicated buying a 220/240 volt charger. The vendors who market these make it unnecessarily complicated and there are no "plug and play" quick methods to plug the charger into a 220 volt receptacle... You'll probably have to hire an electrician to hook up all the loose wires that ARE NOT hooked up where they are made.
On my first drive home from the dealership to my farm in the next county, I was able to go 48 miles on the battery pack alone and I still had 8 miles of reserve left. The gasoline engine NEVER came on to boost the batteries... Any automotive journalist not believing me, come out to Central Texas and I will repeat the trip to authenticate this capability... (Find me on Flickr, though my website, www.HighAboveTexas.com
by voltie on June 18, 2012
Cons: OCD risk - maximizing efficiency is fun
Summary: This car cost me $45,000 (fully loaded). I get $7,500 federal credit and $6,000 state (CO). I also got 0% financing for 6 years. My typical daily ...
Summary: This car cost me $45,000 (fully loaded). I get $7,500 federal credit and $6,000 state (CO). I also got 0% financing for 6 years. My typical daily commute is less than 40 miles, which means most days I will never use gas. Electricity is $.05 / kWh which makes the per mile cost of electricity driving 1/7 that of gas. This makes this car a $25,000 car (present value) for me. There is no $25,000 car that compares to the Volt for safety, luxury, performance, comfort and pure driving fun. You'd need to spend $35,000 to find a gas vehicle that even comes close to the Volt on these measures.
I'm looking for excuses to drive.
- Manufacturer: Chevrolet
- Part number: 101388714
- Bottom Line: Mileage has never varied more than it will between two 2012 Chevrolet Volt owners, but with regular charging, this part-time EV is capable of fantastic efficiency -- just don't look too hard at its dashboard.
Basic car properties
- Body style Hatchback
- Trim levels 4dr
- Available Engine Hybrid
- Smart airbags Standard
- Antilock brakes Standard
- Traction control Standard
- Stability control Standard
- Roadside assistance Standard
- Adaptive cruise control Standard
- Satellite radio Standard
- Connection for portable MP3 sound system Standard
- MP3 CD-enabled sound system Standard
- USB connection Standard
- Two-way security system Standard
- 12V power outlet Standard
- Drivetrain available front-drive
- All-wheel steering Standard
- Trip computer Standard
- Live traffic data Standard
- Bluetooth phone interface Standard