• Nov 21, 2008
Things are moving along quite nicely with the development of the Chevy Volt. According to Bob Lutz, test mules of the extended-range electric vehicle are now being built atop the soon-to-be-released Chevy Cruze. This is a logical progression since the production Volt will share its Delta underpinnings with the new compact from General Motors when it finally goes on sale in 2010. Prior to these latest mules, the test cars used last-gen Malibu shells that Lutz and the team affectionately referred to as "MaliVolts." Predictably, Mr. Lutz praises the new Delta platform, and we have every reason to believe that it will be leaps and bounds better than its Cobalt forebear, just as that model is light-years ahead of the Cavalier it replaced. Lutz goes on to say that the battery pack, motor and internal combustion engine are all working very well together, even in the freezing cold temperatures around Detroit these days. It all sounds rather promising, though it'd be even better if that first paragraph on the FastLane Blog weren't necessary, right?

[Source: GM FastLane]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      If GM goes under someone will get years of R&D on plug in electrics, fuel cells, and truck hybrid components at bargain basement prices. What an unfortunate loss of American ingenuity gone in a blink. Hold on GM!

      Do I care about American engineering, research and development going to the lowest foreign bidder because America cannot issue a simple loan to keep GM solvent for two years until new union agreements take effect and revolutionary products hit showrooms?... YES. GM along with the UAW made poor decisions during better times just like many banks and home buyers have done more recently. I prefer to use my tax dollar to give GM and Ford a LOAN rather than AIG, Fannie, and Joe the janitor who bought the million dollar home to keep up with the Jones.

      Do I care about the workers and thier families... YES even though they have it made better than most Americans.

      Do I care about GM managements jobs?...NO they have enough $$ to survive

      Do I care about the UAW bosses?... absolutely NO. Let them get a real job like the employees they supposedly represent.

      Sorry about the rant. I'm over it now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hold on, GM, the company saving good cars are *just* around the corner.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "better than its Cobalt forebear, just as that model is light-years ahead of the Cavalier it replaced"... they both use the obsolete torsion beam suspensions which makes them both equally cheap. And don't bother quoting lap times for the Cobalt SS, the buying public generally doesn't drive on a well maintained track.

      GM and the public should be getting more excited about the Cruze than the Volt, because it will definitely be a higher volume, bread and butter car. The Volt will generate more publicity than revenue.

      Let's hope the suspensions, braking, and drivetrains are finally up to 21st century standards.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Hey folks, the point I'm making is that torsion beams are used, not because of any superior handling or ride capabilities, but purely because they are CHEAPER than an independent suspension. The problem with torsion beams is that road imperfections aren't isolated to a single corner, but rather are transferred to the opposite side of the vehicle as well. Additionally, there is less control of the toe in/out programming on the torsion beam. A well tuned independent suspension is inherently more capable of better handling and a better ride than a torsion beam.

        The bigger point is that car makers still are focused too much on making CHEAP small cars rather than PREMIUM small cars.

        • 6 Years Ago
        The SS was tuned on the 'Ring, which has horrible pavement in many areas. GM's own Lutz Ring replicates real-world conditions as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So wait, all the good driving impressions and empirical data that shows that the cobalt drives well doesn't matter because it doesn't have fully independent rear suspension?

        Kind of amazing how a car with outdated suspension schools every other car in it's class.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The average person doesn't lap their car, so why is a torsion beam suspension so bad?

        Scions use torsion beam suspensions. Go pick on them for a while.
      • 6 Years Ago
      +1

      And while theyre at it, they can give us a two mode Cruze or Malibu.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Malibu is better looking and overall a better car than the Fusion. But yes, the Fusion hybrid beats the Malibu hybrid.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ah, the continuing autoblog "Cobalt sucks" meme.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It doesn't matter if they keep the name or not. You could change a car's name, but it could still be virtually the same.

        Five-Hundred>Taurus

        • 6 Years Ago
        GM is changing the name because they are overcompensating. They have to overcompensate in order to really change peoples minds.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's not Cobalt bashing... I happen to think the 'balt's a perfectly fine car. That's not to say the Cruze won't be better. Did you see that Cruze interior? Very nice.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I like the Cobalt TBH.It's no worse that Toyota's Borolla.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Corolla has actually cheapened it's interior a bit in recent years-lots of harder plastics for example. On the other hand the interior volume has increased quite a bit and I like the new concave door thing Toyota seems to be doing a lot (and the drink holders).
        But seriously even going against a hard plastic Corolla the Cobalt is abysmal. Maybe the front seats are more acceptable or something, but try sitting in the rear of a cobalt-especially the 2 door-and not only will you feel insanely claustrophobic, if you look upwards you'll see that they were so cheap they didn't tape down the edges of the roof lining. Seriously go sit in a Cobalt in the rear seat and look up and you'll see exposed foam because the roof liner was literally cut from a giant roll then slapped into the car. Did they bother to design something to tuck the edge of the roof liner into? No. Did they bother to maybe invent some kind of border tape? No. It's like they didn't even TRY to make the interior look slightly nice. I've never seen such a cheap looking interior in any other car before, and that includes two Dodges and a First gen Focus ZX3. Do you know how sad it is when a Dodge Stratus seems to have a nicer interior?!
        The Cruze's interior looks nice so far, but it's apparently coming in about forever. Personally I don't think they should go for the Corolla interior-I'd shoot for the Civic interior. Less roomy, maybe less practical than the Corolla, but more cozy/sporty/techy feeling.

        That said, if I had to sit in the back of any of these cars for a road trip I'd choose the Corolla in a heartbeat because it's much roomier-I'm seriously impressed except for the crappy hard plastics on the door. If Toyota made the doors with more fabric and soft plastics in the Corolla, and maybe made the interior just a LITTLE more exciting I think it'd be a Civic killer. Until then the Civic definitely wins for interior look and feel, but still loses on space.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I never really could understand what's so wrong with the car.

        Looks? Not too long ago the japanese offerings looked like cheese boxes. Suddenly the boxy look is bland and boring.

        Fuel efficiency? Nope it's got the fuel efficiency.

        Interior? This is the main complaint and it's something I don't get at all. The corrolla is a pile of plastic and if you over look the civic's neat lcds you'd notice that most of the DASH is plastic. Visually none of the cars are too bad. Perhaps the cobalt isn't the best thing ever, but it is competitive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        When I test drove it, I thought the structure was phenomenal, almost felt over engineered. Super solid, didn't flex, no squeaks, nothing. But the steering felt like an arcade game, it had tons of body roll, cheap materials (I ended up with a loaded leather Intrigue, so I didn't like the Cobalts seats mainly), and the engine (the old 2.2 Ecotec) didn't seem to like high revs. The center stack design wasn't too great, but the steering and body roll had me convinced it wasn't the car for me. That's why it is great to see the SS perform as it does, though, because the Delta platform itself is way better than the Cavalier, and I thought more solid than the Corolla and Civic.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Obviously GM feels the same way. Otherwise they would not be ditching the "Cobalt" name .
      Jon Russell
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why not just offer the Volt's guts as a high end Cruze or Malibu??
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Jon Russell
        Why not make a huge splash with one model and rake in cash first. The E-flex platform will underpin several models for several of the General's brands.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Jon Russell
        jv2k: The only thing you should learn from Honda's silly blame game is that companies will make up total nonsense as an excuse for their lousy performing hybrids. The Civic hybrid was a terrible car to drive compared to it's competitors.
        If the only reason the Civic couldn't sell was because it wasn't a "dedicated hybrid" then how do you explain the Camry Hybrid selling several times better? The Highlander Hybrid?

        The Prius makes up a big part of Toyota's hybrid sales, but their other hybrids actually sell in pretty good volume too-which is why none of them are canceled.

        They can blame it on made up nonsense about how consumers only want dedicated hybrids, but the truth is that people just want hybrids that don't suck, and a dual-mode hybrid powertrain built from the ground up happens to work better than Honda's IMA system. Which is why HSD is used in everything from Camry's to Altima's to Ford Escape Hybrids, all of which are not canceled.

        And the Prius just sells the best of all because not only does it have a proper hybrid powertrain the entire car is also built from scratch to be a hybrid so it just happens to integrate the HSD better than the other hybrids-and thus sells better.

        Seriously Honda needs to stop making lame excuses. Toyota hybrids outsell Honda 7 to 1 and even if you removed the Prius sales the other Hybrids would still outsell Honda's a good 2-3 to 1. Heck, delete everything except the Camry Hybrid and it would STILL outsell the Civic Hybrid.
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