The new 2017 Volt is sitting on the lots of some Chevy dealerships, and hybrid car enthusiasts couldn’t be more excited. Along with keeping a sporty design, the Volt also received a few upgrades; like even more efficient performance, a more intuitive interior, and some enhanced safety features. Compared to the 2016 model, this sounds like a whole new car and apart from the design, it essentially is. Chevy made sure to listen to what drivers and passengers of the 2016 Volt were saying, and then answered with these improvements.
Because of that, Chevy is out to prove that just because you drive (or want) a plug-in hybrid, you don’t need to settle for one that is bland and boring; instead, you can get charged with the Volt.
Not much has changed for the design of the Volt compared to the 2016 model, but that’s okay. As far as plug-in hybrid vehicles go, it remains one of the sportier ones on the market.
It still has the same low-cut front-end, with a simple grille that gives it the right amount of definition, along with the same sleek headlights. The hood, windshield, and roof are focused on aerodynamics again and are left relatively simple for that purpose. The back still retains it’s original hatchback-shaped trunk and tail lights.
A fresh redesign would have been nice, but it obviously wasn’t needed. Without the redesign, the Volt was able to retain its athletic stance. The design is cut in a way that makes the back-end look slightly jacked-up, even though closer inspection shows the tires are the same size.
It’s probably a good thing Chevy didn’t attempt to redesign it, I don’t know how they could have managed to top this one. The athleticism hints at the power that lies beneath, and it actually packs quite a punch for a plug-in hybrid.
Improved Driving Range
Before we get into the improved driving range of the 2017 Volt, let’s take a look at how it performs. In order to improve the driving range, Chevy engineers pulled the generation one Volt battery apart and looked at what they could do to it. After tweaking, tinkering, upgrading, and following complicated engineering formulas, they successfully created a vehicle with not only improved driving range, but also a stronger kick.
From a dead stop, Chevy says the second-generation Volt is able to accomplish a 0-60 mph test in the mid eight-second range. That’s one half a second faster than the previous Volt and also quite extraordinary for a plug-in hybrid. Also, it feels much more responsive and quick around town, and feels surprisingly smooth on rough surfaces.
What’s more, it actually has a hint of sportiness when taking a tight corner, and wind and road noise are much less invasive than before. The transition between the twin electric motors (that put out 149 horsepower collectively) and operation of the 1.5-liter gasoline engine is much less obvious as well. Overall, this makes for a Volt that runs smoother and more powerful when compared to it’s predecessor.
As far as efficiency goes, the new generation of Volt is far superior. Now, it delivers an astounding EPA-estimated 53 miles of all-electric range, which is 20 more than the first generation. Along with this increase, the Volt’s engine no longer requires premium gasoline, huzzah! This obviously helps with fuel economy and allows it to achieve 42 mpg, which is five more than it used to get.
The combined driving range? Chevy anticipates over 1,000 miles of driving between fill ups with regular charging and a total range of 420 miles, which is an extraordinary range when compared to other plug-in hybrids.
A More Intuitive Inside
Just when you think the 2017 Volt can’t get any better, think again. While the outside of the Volt saw virtually no changes, the inside of the Volt is completely different.
However, what did change was the intuitiveness of the dashboard. It’s now a more straightforward layout, and is meant to help previous Volt owners (and new ones) sit inside and know exactly what to do with the controls/buttons. This, combined with the optional two-tone color schemes and upgraded MyLink eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, are probably the biggest selling points of the new Volt.
The latest MyLink system now supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and they both let you connect to MyLink and scroll through apps, listen to music, make calls, and send texts: all via voice command. Also, it still lets you physically make phone calls, access navigation, select your favorite radio station, and much more. 4G LTE Wi-Fi remains onboard and compliments the MyLink system nicely with it’s high-powered connection through OnStar.
But besides the addition of Apple CarPlay, not much else is new. When I said “upgraded MyLink,” I meant the screen. Chevy was receiving complaints that the original touchscreen was not as easy to navigate, and sometimes not as responsive, as people would have liked. Therefore, Chevy made it a point to improve on both those aspects and now you have an upgraded MyLink system that is much more user-friendly and responsive when selecting icons.
A final little tidbit is the seating arrangement. The first-generation Volt originally seated four people, and the second-generation Volt now seats up to five. Granted, it might be a little cramped in the backseat now, but at least it’s possible to bring one more friend along for the ride. The only thing the person seated in the middle will have to endure is the constant reminder that the battery pack still sits right below that seat, which inhibits leg room slightly.
This redesign of the interior is nothing except a success. More passenger space, a more intuitive MyLink system, and a user-friendly layout for the dashboard. Upon completion of the interior, Chevy successfully satisfied almost every customer demand for the new Volt. Then again, that’s not surprising; Chevy has always been good about giving its customers what they want.
Additional Safety Features
The final change made to the 2017 Chevy Volt is the addition of a few new safety features. It still has all the great safety features from the previous generation like antilock brakes, traction and stability control, airbags, and an OnStar emergency communications system. But now, the safety features include adaptive cruise control and an upgraded automatic emergency braking system.
These two upgraded safety systems come as optional packages on the Volt, and the adaptive cruise control allows the car to avoid a potential collision if it gets too close to a car while cruise control is active. The automatic emergency braking system will apply the proper amount of stopping power to safely slow down or stop the vehicle if you don’t, again, preventing a potential collision.
The addition of and upgrades on these intuitive safety systems, along with other features like lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and side blind zone alert, make the new Volt one of the safest plug-in hybrids on the market.
The 2017 Chevy Volt has a starting MSRP of $33,220 for the base LT trim and $37,570 for the Premier trim. That might seem a little expensive, but that’s before applying the $7,500 federal tax credit for it being a plug-in hybrid, which means the MSRP actually drops down to $25,720 for the LT model and $30,070 for the Premier trim.
A $7,500 federal tax credit incentive, plus all these improvements? This 2017 Chevy Volt is a hard plug-in hybrid to resist.