Another look at Chevy Volt

chevy-volt

Chevy Volt

Here’s my final update on the 2013 Chevy Volt I bought nearly two years ago. I’ve driven 12,800 miles and just took it in for its scheduled free maintenance — still no cost for any service.

The car continues to perform well with no real mechanical or electrical issues. There are no rattles or creaks and the Volt runs just as it did when new. The brakes are over 80 percent of new ones, and the paint and trim are pristine with no sign of fading.

The only issue is that the rubber air dam at the front bottom of the car has become partially torn from running into a few curbs while parking. It has been a recurring issue with other owners. The air dam is $300 to replace, but the dealer recommended just cutting the damaged part off and not replacing it.

I’ve averaged 114 miles per gallon driving a combination of battery (70 percent) and gasoline power (30 percent). My trips have been mostly less than 50 miles a day with several trips to Los Angeles and Orange County. For those trips, the trade off — and benefit — of the Volt is being able to drive in the HOV lanes.

As I earlier reported, I’ve encountered a small error on the information display: The pie chart showing the miles driven on electricity and gas for each trip sometimes erroneously shows 0.2 miles driven on gas when I start from a fully charged car.

GM tells me they continue to be baffled by this. I’ve lived with it, but I expected better follow-up from the company.

A freeze of the console, which I noted in the most recent report, has not reoccurred, but I experienced one strange event. When I got into the car it didn’t detect my key and asked me to insert it into a “key pocket” to start.

This required a call to OnStar to find out what it meant, because the manual made no mention of this. The key pocket turned out to be a small hole under the rubber mat in a dashboard storage compartment that allowed the car to better detect the key.

Apparently, the key fob’s battery was low.

I continue to get close to 40 miles per charge. The capacity has slightly increased over the past few months, perhaps because of warmer weather.

To sum up my experience, I find the Volt to be a terrific automobile. It’s been reliable and is still fun to drive. My dealer experience has been excellent (Weseloh Chevrolet in Carlsbad), providing quick service and a loaner car when needed.

The Volt is advanced yet practical, and affordable yet well-equipped.

A 2015 Volt fully loaded with forward-collision alert, rear camera, navigation, leather seats, lane-departure warning, cruise control, back-up camera and keyless entry costs about $39,000.

Federal and state rebates of up to $9,000 are available.

Chevy has announced that an all-new second-generation Volt is coming in January with a much sleeker body style and a 50-miles-per-charge capability.

 

by Phil Baker

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