• Nov 16, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Motor Trend loves giving out awards, but its most coveted piece of hardware is undoubtedly its Car of the Year trophy. This year, the golden calipers have been bestowed upon the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

General Motors' joins a long line of Motor Trend COTY winners that date all the way back to 1949. Last year, the Ford Fusion took home the prize and prior to that, the Nissan GT-R claimed the magazines coveted spot. The Chevrolet Volt is a hard hitter in each of MT's six categories: Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance of Intended Function.

Motor Trend
has been a strong champion of the range-extended electric sedan in recent months. The buff book looked past the is-it-just-a-hybrid hoopla and even wrote about how they achieved 127 miles per gallon while putting the car through real world driving conditions. Learn more about why the publication chose the Volt with a video narrated by MT Editor-in-Chief Angus MacKenzie that's located after the jump (warning: auto-play). When you're done checking out the video and the press release, you can learn more about MT's Car of the Year process and finalists here.

Photos copyright ©2010 Chris Paukert / AOL

[Source: Motor Trend]
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Announcement Made from Inside GM's Wind Tunnel

El Segundo, Calif. (November 16, 2010) – Motor Trend, the world's automotive authority on cars, trucks and SUVs, announced today the Chevrolet Volt has been named winner of the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award®. The award, announced live this morning via streaming video on Motortrend.com from within the GM wind tunnel in Warren, Mich. is one of the world's most prestigious automotive accolades.

Described as a breakthrough, game-changing car of the future, the Volt is one of the most significant vehicles to be named Car of the Year in the 61-year history of the award.

"The Volt absolutely delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM, combining the smooth, silent, efficient, low-emissions capability of an electric motor with the range and flexibility of an internal combustion engine," said Angus MacKenzie, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "It is a fully functional, no-compromise compact automobile that offers consumers real benefits in terms of lower running costs."

The Volt is powered by GM's innovative Voltec propulsion system, which consists of a 16-kW/h lithium-ion battery pack, a 149-hp electric motor, an 84-hp 1.4-liter gasoline engine, and a generator. GM cleverly controls the powerflow between these powertrain elements to give the Volt a 25 to 50 mile range in pure EV mode, and up to 310 additional miles with the internal combustion engine running.

"The more we think about the Volt, the more convinced we are this vehicle represents a real breakthrough," said Mackenzie. "The genius of the Volt's powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user's duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world's first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America."

Every year, the editorial staff of Motor Trend meets to determine the field of contenders for the Car Year Award. In a week-long process that includes the full complement of Motor Trend performance tests, track-based ride and handling evaluations, and driving on a real-world loop that includes freeway, regular two-lane highway, and a loose-surface track, the contenders are then evaluated against these criteria:

· Advancement in Design: The Chevy Volt possessed quality execution of exterior and interior styling, including a strong, confident and tastefully upscale front end and a design driven by the pursuit of aerodynamic efficiency. Its interior, though relatively conventional, is equipped with impressive high-resolution and highly interactive instrument and center stack LCD screens. Plastic panels in the front doors allow an effective, low cost means of changing the Volt's interior colorway.

· Engineering Excellence: With an advanced powertrain that is easily adaptable to other vehicle platforms, the Volt boasts some of the most advanced engineering ever seen in an American automobile. The car can run as an EV, a series hybrid, or a parallel hybrid, depending on how far you drive and how you drive. Plus, the battery maintains maximum efficiency and recharging is easy, via 110-volt portable recharger carried in the trunk that can plug into any household socket.

· Efficiency: In a multi-day, 299-mile test that involved a mixture of normal freeway and stop/start city driving – and recharging the car overnight as most consumers would – the editorial team used a total of 58.6 kW-hr of electrical energy and only 2.36 gallons of gas, an efficiency equivalent to a conventional vehicle returning 72.9 mpg. Editors agreed that the Volt, a vehicle that can pass a standard EPA fuel economy test in full EV mode, surpassed expectations for low energy consumption and carbon footprint.

· Safety: The Volt's standard passive safety equipment starts with a complement of eight airbags, including dual-stage front bags, kneebags and side-impact bags for the driver and front passenger; also included are roof-rail mounted head curtain bags that protect all four passengers. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control.

· Value: Though the Volt is priced at $41,000, consumers can apply for a $7500 federal tax grant, plus state grants where available. In addition, testing suggests that even if drivers regularly went 80 miles between charges, the Volt will likely be significantly cheaper to run than regular hybrids.

· Performance of Intended Function: Editors overall agreed that the Volt delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM, combining the smooth, silent, efficient, low-emissions capability of an electric motor, with the range and flexibility of an internal combustion engine.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats to GM and the Chevy Volt team! I can imagine that the Nissan Leaf put up some tough competition, but it's great to see one of the two most forward-thinking auto designs of the year selected.

      Amazing that a car like the Volt survived a company's bankruptcy.

      Now, GM... don't get lazy!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think the Volt's refinement is what put it over the top over the Leaf..

        Either way, it's nice to see good engineering rewarded on its merits..
        • 4 Years Ago
        I noticed the Leaf's absence as well. I chalk it up to the on sale date. That's always a funky one with this test nearly every year. There's virtually always a vehicle that was released seemingly forever ago which is in contention with a vehicle few knew was even on sale yet.

        I don't recall the exact date(but it's the same every year). One of MT's criteria though is that the vehicle has to be on sale by that date or it is then eligible for the next year's contest. I'm thinking that's the issue here.

        A more conspiratorial side of me might say that perhaps somewhere along the line, Nissan knew that the Volt would win this year's award so they moved the official on sale date just past the deadline so that they would be a shoe-in for next year's award. I truly think that between the Volt and Leaf, the Volt would still have taken the award.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A good choice if you can afford it.

      Government subsidies will help many, thanks fellow tax payers.

      A lower green impact and a better driver would be the normal version, the Cruze as advertised on public transport in Vancouver Canada


        • 4 Years Ago
        Government subsidies will help many, thanks fellow tax payers."

        You're welcome. I am happy to use my tax dollars to support green innovation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ emperorkoku:

        hopefully it's not the new Prius. when you factor in the manufacturing of battery packs and the disposal there of, plus the lifetime of the vehicle, the Prius actually has a larger carbon footprint than say a Ford Fiesta or Chevy Cruze. The same goes for any Hybrid like the Prius (ie all Synergy Drive Toyotas, Fusion, Insight, etc.)

        people always say, "ya hybrids are great because they reduce emissions." no, they really don't. why? because we have opened up many more factories that pump all sorts of garbage into the air in order to produce the Hybrids and their batteries.

        hybrids are not "green" folks. get a clue. they will save you and only you money at the gas pump. that's it... total emissions have not been reduced with the invention of the hybrid.

        • 4 Years Ago
        OK, so help me out here. We are switching to expensive un enviro friendly cars Why? Here is my take, dinosaurs ate all the cattle except for 2, the cows stopped producing methane gas, Earth cooled, Ice age came and killed the dinosaurs, cows reproduced, Ice began to melt, along came henry ford who mass produced model A's and the earths temp began to heat up, Then came the solar flares of the late 1970s early 80s which heated the earths outer atmosphere by 15000 degrees F and now we can fix it all by switching to electric cars, Hmmmm, what ever!
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're right. The bigger green impact, due to its lower carbon footprint, is the Volt. Hopefully it's the new Prius. (Doubt it due to cost, but hope!)
      • 4 Years Ago
      electric cars,are horses the next (car) will be hydrogen fueled less the fuel cell.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well deserved, love it or hate it, this car not only advances the bar for auto techonolgy but takes it in a totally new direction.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Extree Extree! Motor Trend loses all credibility!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great job GM! Now you need to win the COTY award in Detroit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Car of the year for mimicking a diesel locomotive approach to propelling a car forward. Hmm. The Volt is a lot more reliant on the ICE than it is on the Volt.

      Now, imagine the day GM actually comes out with an ALL electric car. Just don't hold your breadth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1. GM sold an all electric car called the EV1 from 1996 to 2003.
        2. Unlike a diesel locomotive this car drives around 40 miles on just
        an electric charge from your home charger (pure volt), then the ICE generator
        kicks in, locomotives don't do that.

        Future iterations of the Volt will surely raise that initial 40 miles
        of electric driving range even higher, this is just a start and no
        other manufacturer has been able to do it. The coming Prius plug in hybrid will only get you about 14 miles on the charge.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How much did they pay for this?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very deserving of the award. Congrats GM for having a great year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This was a no-brainer in my book. If for no other reason, the car really broke the "green-car" mold. GM will be able to take advantage of that too since right up to the EPA, there's a whole lot of confusion about just how to rate the mileage of these kind of vehicles. In the mean time, GM will pretty much be able to get away with a good deal of "fuzzy-math" thanks to the confusion. Either way, the car seems to be a great idea, at a great time. It MUST be from "NEW" GM because "OLD" GM always had a problem with that. Hope GM keeps things moving forward, the IPO goes well, and we the tax-payers get our money back, maybe even with a profit!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well Deserved.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hilarious!! All the loser naysayers cannot stand they have LOST THE BATTLE!! Volt WINS two of the most prestigious awards in the industry - and the whiners and weasels keep gnawing their arms off!!!

      ROFL!! Heh Heh!!
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