"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 a 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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