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.
2012 Chevrolet Volt
The Volt's been around for about a year now and still no one that I ran into during my week with this high-profile vehicle seemed to understand how it works.
"Don't you have to plug it up?" "Wait, so it's a hybrid?" "I can't drive a car that only goes 40 miles!" These quotes come from automotive enthusiasts, people who I talk cars with regularly. Clearly Chevrolet/GM has some issues with its message.
The confusion probably lies in Chevrolet's unwillingness to call the Volt what it is: a plug-in hybrid. Instead, the automaker prefers the term range-extended electric vehicle (RE-EV). Granted, neither designation is technically wrong, but when people hear the term "hybrid" they immediately understand that there's a gasoline filler somewhere on the vehicle. Instead, every conversation about the Volt has to begin with a long explanation about why you'd put gas into an EV.
What's the financial break-even point for the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt?
With today's energy costs, recouping the initial price premium the Chevy Bolt EV carries over its hybrid Volt brethren will take quite a bit of time.
Chevrolet recalls 55,000 Sparks because of dumb regulations
Should it really be the automaker's fault if an owner willfully ignores seat belts?
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV hits the sweet spot at $37,495
With the $7,500 federal incentive, it squeaks its way under the $30,000 mark.
Going the distance: Chevrolet Bolt EV range hits 238 miles
That's a fair bit over the 200 miles originally estimated.
Capaciousness on the cheap: Chevrolet prices 2017 Cruze Hatchback at $22,190
For not that much more than the sedan, you get a fair bit more space with which to play around.