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First Reactions to 2016 Chevy Volt

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We’ve been waiting for the 2016 Chevy Volt for sometime now. Marketed as one of the first “affordable” and “practical” electric cars, car enthusiasts were hoping for improved range and a more reasonable price (among a variety of other requests). Meanwhile, the brand was hoping to build off the disappointing sales from the 2010 model. Clearly, there were a lot of people who were hoping that the 2016 Volt would be successful, and first reviews have given us plenty of reasons for optimism.

Some automobile pundits have already had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the anticipated plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Reviews have been generally positive, and while no one would expect Chevrolet to produce a dud of a car, there seemed to be some surprise among those positive reports. Before we can get into specifics, let’s see what some of the more popular writers had to say:

John Voelcker of GreenCarReports.com: “The new Chevy Volt is smoother, faster, quieter, considerably better-looking (in our view) and should be a slam-dunk upgrade for today’s Volt owners.”

An anonymous ‘senior member’ of the GM-Volt.com forum (via Econmento.com): “Everything is beautifully laid out, the interior materials are more upscale, and visibility is improved over GEN 1…The new 2016 Volt is clearly improved in almost every way. It’s just better.”

Alex Davies of Wired.com: “The 2016 Volt is more capable, comfortable, affordable, and attractive than the original car.”

Mark Vaughn of AutoWeek.com: “It’s certainly more fun to drive than any of the Prii and even looks a little more stylish, in the three-box style of mass-market sedans.”

That all sounds positive, doesn’t it? Before you head out to your local Lexington Chevy dealer, take a look at some more details on the 2016 Chevy Volt. Maybe you’ll be convinced to hold off on your car purchase… and opt for the upcoming electric vehicle, instead…

Specs

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The Volt’s specs were generally well received across the board, with many reviewers impressed at the electric vehicle’s range, fuel economy and power.

It was uncertain how the Volt would be received by potential buyers. Some may view the vehicle as a novelty, while some would surely hope that it could be used as a commuter car. That latter group has apparently gotten their way, as the 2016 Volt has an incredible 53-mile electric range and a 42 miles per gallon fuel efficiency. Drivers could reasonably expect to get to and from work without using any gas, and if they did need to fill up, they could be comfortable with the fact that the vehicle would be maximizing the inserted fuel.

As Davies notes, Chevy has been preaching that 80-percent of Volt owners could make their daily trips without having to use fuel, and the company is hoping that number will increase to 90-percent with the 2016 model. That’s a very generous estimate, but a 50-plus mile range would probably mean the estimation is pretty accurate.

Furthermore, battery capacity has increased to 18.4 kWh (up from 17.1 in 2015 and 16.5 in 2014), and the entire vehicle has dropped about 100 pounds in weight (thus improving the handling and speed). While we’re on the subject of the engine, we should point out (as passed along by Vaughn) that the electric drive mechanisms utilize two electric motors “working with planetary gear sets to mix-and-match power delivery depending on need.” Sounds pretty innovative!

The reported horsepower for the car is around 101. While many drivers would laugh off that number, it’s actually a pretty impressive power output for an electric vehicle. This would contribute to the acceleration specs, which Davies clocked in at 2.6 seconds (for 0-30) and 8.4 seconds (for 0-60).

Interior

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The designers stayed true to Chevy’s roots, as they included the “familiar Chevy twin-cockpit design,” as Voelcker described. However, the brand also added an assortment of upgrades, giving the recognizable interior a more updated, current feel.

Another feature that received positive remarks was the car’s integration with the iPhone. The center console can display multiple map applications (like Google maps or Apple maps), and it presumably has the capability to make phone calls and access your music. The display screen is reportedly much-improved over last year’s, offering significantly better resolution.

Other interior additions include a fifth seating position (which Voelcker says isn’t necessarily a seat, but a place to sit) and a “dedicated compartment” for the car’s charging cord (meaning the driver and passengers will no longer need to play real-life Tetris when they’re looking to charge their vehicle).

Exterior

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Voelcker described the Volts design as “crisper, more angular, and more aggressive than the rather slab-sided appearance of the previous model, which had a high cowl and short windows.” The writer also noted the design’s similarities to the Honda Civic and the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, particularly the “steeply raked front and rear glass.”

Handling

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For a four-seat compact car, many reviewers were impressed at the vehicle’s strength, with Voelcker noting how this vehicle felt “heavier” and more “planted” than other electric cars. Still, the previously-mentioned decrease in weight and extra torque makes for a “slightly quicker performance,” and the “aggressive throttle” delivers the desired power when needed. Even if you’re pushing the hybrid to it’s maximum power, you’ll still be pleased at the car’s lack of intrusive noise.

The Econmento.com review picked up on the same thing: “The first thing I noticed straight away was that the car had a tighter, quieter drive to it. The suspension is definitely better and overall a much more luxurious drive. In terms of acceleration, it definitely is quicker off the line in electric mode.”

There’s also an impressive regenerative braking system, accessible via a stalk on the steering column. “When driving in low and sport mode (which is my daily drive preference) regen feels the same when letting off the accelerator,” the commenter said. “However, I had the opportunity to use the regen paddle, which is located only on the left side of the steering wheel, and it slows down the car significantly quicker. I was told brake lights activate when using the regen paddle.”

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Of course, the most encouraging detail regarding the 2016 Chevy Volt is the price tag. Starting at $33,995, the 2016 model is about a grand less than the current model. We should also point out the plethora of safety features, including a lane-drift prevention system, reverse parking alerts, and accident-prevention capabilities.

Overall, initial reviews suggest that Chevy took careful consideration of the various requests for their 2016 Volt.

“Clearly, the Volt team paid lots of attention to customer (and journalistic) feedback,” wrote Arthur St. Antoine of AutomobileMag.com. “The new Volt addresses every one of our original criticisms — and succeeds on almost every front.”

With improved specs, an updated interior, a more sleek and luxurious body design, and highly-praised handling and driving capabilities, the 2016 Volt may just be the most impressive electric car yet. Ordinarily, you’d hear a similar phrase and assume that you couldn’t afford the vehicle. Luckily, this car should fall into many customers’ budgets. With an expected launch in January, you only have to wait a couple more months to get your hands on the innovative plug-in hybrid.

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