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Consumer Reports checks out the Chevrolet Volt – click above to watch the video

"What do you think about the Chevrolet Volt?" It's a question we get asked all the time. For most of us, the answer is, "I'm anxious to check it out." The staff of Consumer Reports' Automotive Test Center can offer more substantive replies. General Motors drove two Volts out to CR's Connecticut test facility and let the magazine's experts give the extended-range EVs some thorough study. Jake Fisher provides a succinct video overview of the Volt and comes away impressed with the promise the Volt shows based on its on-road behavior, space, and comfort.

CR's Eric Evarts shares some impressions on the Consumer Reports cars blog. The EREV doesn't break new ground conceptually, but basing a mass-production, mainstream automobile around the architecture is nearly akin to a reinvention of the wheel. Set aside the impressive technical details for a moment and consider how completely realized the Chevy Volt will be from a user's perspective.

Nice touches abound, such as a built-in circuit tester that "pings" the outlet you plug the Volt into. Following a clean test, an in-car indicator changes from yellow to green as charging commences. If the ping fails, the light blinks, signaling a problem. A smartphone application is in development that will provide drivers with remote access to the charging features, and owners will be able to download their utility company's electric rates to the Volt's command-and-control interface so the car will automatically charge when doing so is most cost-efficient.

Those types of usability features are what's going to make or break the Volt, and from what Consumer Reports has said, there's more reason than ever to reply excitedly about trying out General Motors' new propulsion paradigm. Follow the jump to watch the CR videos.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Alright I love the Volt. I really do. But it will fail. Hard.
      To the consumer the Leaf is much more appealing than the Volt. The Leaf beat the Volt to market, and there is a lot more web buzz for the Leaf then the Volt.
      I predict the Leaf will kick the Volt's ass. (Which is a real shame, b/c I like the Volt a whole lot better.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am sure the Volt will be launched properly with a new ad campaign now that GM has a real marketing head running the show. The Leaf has a slight jump at this time, but I am sure the Volt will counter this when the time comes. It is much more usable and GM will be sure to promote the hell out it when the car is ready to launch. Nissan jumped the gun, but lets see how many of this "intenders" come through with actual purchases.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To me, never having to worry about being stuck with a dead car and not even being able to walk to a gas station means the Volt is much more practical. A leaf that has run out of juice is dead. A Volt that has run out of juice just keeps going if you need it to and have fuel.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The potential market for the Leaf is SOOOOO much smaller than the Volts. The Volt architecture will put electric cars on the radar for so many more Americans than the Leaf. I can't believe there is a sizable group of people on an automotive website that don't get this.

        • 4 Years Ago

        Your right, actually. The Volt overall is a better solution for now, until we get reeeaaally good battery technology. (Which is going to be a while methinks)
        But I just don't think the Volt will do very well.
        It's all about advertising. If you want a product to succeed, you need good advertising over all else. You need to get it into people's heads that your product is the best, even if it really isnt. Right now, Nissan has the edge over Chevy. It's not that the Leaf is better, it's that Nissan is doing a good job of making the leaf look really appealing for the consumer. People like us, who follow the car industry and love cars, we know that the Volt is better at this point. But the people that will buy the Leaf dont. And that's who Nissan is targeting, and there are a whole lot more of those people then there are people like us. (not to sure if that made sense, sorry if it didn't)

        Look mate, I dont hate the Volt. But the potential market for either of the vehicles is relatively small anyways. Nissan has the ability to make that market bigger, more so then Chevrolet in my opinion. Maybe Chevy will do a great marketing campaign, like showing just how ugly the Leaf really is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm really looking forward to the Volt!

      I hadn't noticed before the dip in the dark-colored side sill molding beneath each door. I think trim, color, and body contour changes AT the door edges are BAD design. Please, Chevrolet, don't take this to production. It looks like a mistake.

      Side Note: If you look at page description (View/Page Info) for the Volt website, you'll see they use the term, "Chevy" which is/was to be banished from their public lexicon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Its a good thing GM's got the CTS-Coupe and Buick Regal coming out because the Volt has been a failure.

      #1 It was supossed to be the first on market, but its beaten there by the LEAF.
      #2 While I'd hoped America would have a digital power grid to handle this - or be working on one by now - our economy and various natural disasters have kept us from doing so.
      #3 its too small to replace the regular car. When they make one of these the size of a Chrysler 300, give me a call.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The size of a 300? So what you're telling us is that no car that can't fit a diseased golfer whose shots typically curve left in the trunk is no good for you?

        I'm not sure if you've been on the roads lately, but on my commute into Boston every day the average car is around the size of a volt. I still see tons of first generation Insights, Prii (Priuses?), Golfs, tC's, and other small cars. Cost aside, this car fits a very large part of the country.

        I understand the appeal of a large car (I owned a 97 Grand Prix) and I'm far from being a greeny, but I'm still excited to see these put a dent in the number of [insert lewd comment] Prius drivers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The leaf?

        I'm amazed at how uninformed some folks can be about cars who hang out around here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I support nich

        Mainly because for those with three kids.... they won't be able to use this as a family car

        And the the Orlando MPV and the Evorlando (orlando EV) canceled for the US and...well forever GM just made a fail there
        • 4 Years Ago
        The LEAF is not the same thing. It's purely electric and requires charging. The Volt runs off electric and then uses a gas generator to extend its range.

        For all intents and purposes it's a totally different animal and to a slightly lesser degree appeals to a different base of consumers.

        I'm also unsure of your gripe with the size...it's not much different than a Civic (in fact I think it's slightly larger). For the majority of people it's more than enough space, especially given the ample room in the hatchback.
        • 4 Years Ago
        too small? Are you f'ing Andre the Giant or 500 lbs? If that's the case, maybe the tech is still a few years away to get you rolling around in an electric vehicle.

        As for me, as soon as I'm done paying off my civic SI, the volt (or a volt variant) will be on my list of purchase options. I'll be doing my part to reduce my consumption of gasoline dramatically (i acknowledge not entirely of course) and I think anyone interested in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and pushing the automotive industry in a new, cleaner direction will do the same.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The LEAF??? When the Foreign companies hire U non-car guys to post anti-Domestic stuff on these forums, they obviously don't give U even a smidgen of testing as to find out what U kno about cars

        The Volt will be on sale before the Leaf... and while I applaud the idea of the Electric car... I am almost giddy with anticipation of me being able to ride down the road on a summer day and being able to yell:

        "NICE JOB MORON.. U should have bought a Volt.. or a BIKE.. or just stayed close to home!!!"

        U kno it's gonna happen... U kno U will be seeing people with their new electric Nissan trying to bum a charge from some store clerk... or pacing back and forth wishing that they had of looked the CHARGE METER before going that extra mile their conscience told them not to.

        I mean seriously.. I've run outta gas in my younger years... but THANKFULLY I live in a country.. no no... a State... where a Gas station is mysteriously positioned damn near within walking distance of where ever U could imagine U might run outta gas.

        And don't forget.. U can always put a gallon of gas in a Milk jug... hell... it U have an empty Red Bull can under the seat.. or in my case... a coupla empty Sam Adams Summer Wheat bottles... U could always "fill and carry" those bottles back to your car with just enuff to get U to the gas station U just bought it from some 3 miles away.

        NO SUCH LUCK with Electricity.. as this is NOT "Transformer's World" where u can put Electricity in Energy Cubes and transport them back to your car. The Nissan Leaf, with it's uncertain range will leave your butt STRANDED.

        Bottom line is that until the technology is expanded.. and U get a guaranteed 150 miles at least outta this car... If u buy it.. U should in NO WAY travel more than 100ft away from an electrical socket... because that's the amount of distance of cord U can fit in that lil tiny trunk....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will the interior change with the production model? I so wish they would get rid off that forward instruments console, it feels obtrusive and threatening to the pilot. I'm not a fan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Guaranteed Consumers Reports will do it's best not to say anything significantly good about the Volt.(GM). If the name of the car had the insignia of Honda or Toyota, they could not rave enough about it. I truly believe it will be tough for Consumer Reports to say something truly significantly positive about the Volt other than for the fact, it's an electric car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw that video yesterday. I was anticipating they'd at least have a rough MPG measurement.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Glorified Prius that's all it really is. To me there is no excitement with this car. Leaf on the other hand offers a lot more for a lot less.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They only test things like that when they can independently buy the car so that they know the manufacturer isn't pulling a fast one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Sits in back seat"

      "Head hits roof like your sitting in a coupe"

      Say "its quite nice"

      • 4 Years Ago
      At long last the Volt! I wish GM and Chevy the best in hopes that this auto will succeed. No one ought to "poo-poo" a new appraoch and technology application. "May it find its niche," I say (and keep lots of folks employed!). As always, the market, "us" will determine the final outcome of success or failure. Volt will either prove itself or not...let's see, but hope for the best.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Definitely interested in seeing how this car performs and how well consumers accept it.

      While in automotive circles, the Volt has gotten a lot of press, I really think the general public still has little knowledge about the difference between this Extended Range EV, regular EVs (like the Leaf), and hybrids. What the hell are some of these news outlets waiting for?

      With the right marketing and positive early reviews, I feel that the Volt can get some decent sales numbers. No one is assuming that this is going to be a top-seller for GM any time soon, but maybe the Volt 2.0 or 3.0, it can crack the 100k/year mark.

      Extended-Range EVs like the Volt are just a stepping-stone till we move to a full EV future, but until the battery and recharge technology catches up, carrying-around an ICE to recharge your batteries is probably the best solution for most people.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the Volt idea it would work for me, but the cost is just way too much. I can get a smaller car Civic etc and buy fuel for years and years and never spend what I would have in a Volt. Also that tax rebate will be paid not at point of sale or to the auto company but to you the next years tax return. After you have a loan for 30 plus grand or whatever. Also if you need to pay at tax time there goes the rebate.

      Also the resale value of these are will be NOTHING after a 4 years, people know that the bats will need to be changed some day.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are right the rebate is still there, but the public needs to know how it works The media spins it that the rebate is at the point of sale. It should be point of sale to the dealer then the party buying the car can only take the loan for the low amount not the higher amount.

        Like I said I like the Volt and I work about 4 miles from home and the Volt would fix may life style, but not at the price point

        • 4 Years Ago
        First and foremost, you still would DEDUCT the tax rebate... so it's not like "it's gone" at all. If you happen to owe $10k in taxes, a rebate of $8k will make it so you owe only $2k. I am not sure why such simple math would be tough for some people to comprehend.

        Also the idea that the resale would 0 after 4 years is utter nonsense. The Prius has been around for over a decade and it's resale is actually better than the average car, and *GOSH* it's battery packs haven't started to fail in mass, either.

        The Volt is clearly not for everyone (not this first generation product at least), but for early adopters who are probably used to paying a premium for the cutting-edge, then this car is a bargain. For everyone else, it comes down to # of miles one drives versus fuel costs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I will be looking foward to seeing this.

      • 4 Years Ago
      yeah Mike i agree
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