2011 Chevrolet Volt
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2011 Chevrolet Volt
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The decontented-for-2012 Chevrolet Volt stickers at $39,995 (including an $850 destination charge). That's $1,005 less than the MSRP of the 2011 Volt. For the record, General Motors says the 2012 Volt's reduced price is due to a "wider range of options and configurations that come with the expansion of Volt production for sale nationally." But that's corporate speak, so what are the driving forces behind the 2012 Volt's price drop?

Well, our buds over at GM-Volt have gone over a 2012 Volt with a fine-toothed comb to detail the subtle tweaks that make the 2012 Volt different from this year's version. Here's what was found:
  • The taillights feature white, rectangular passive reflectors.
  • All 2012 Volts come standard with passive keyless entry and a chrome access button located on all four door handles.
  • The driver display screen gets a couple of additional icons, including a vehicle "Ready" icon and and one for navigation.
  • The gear selector's center console letters (PRNDL) are backlit in yellow.
  • All labels on the Volt's touch-panel center stack have been enlarged for improved clarity.
  • The Volt's "Energy Info" display now shows "kWh used."
  • The plug-in sedan gets, for the first time, a traction control on/off button.
All of those tweaks would seem to make the 2012 Volt a solid value, but buyers must now pay $1,995 extra for the standard-in-2011 navigation/DVD sound system. In addition, complimentary OnStar coverage has been reduced from the five-year plan included on the 2011 Volt to a three-year deal for 2012 and at $299 a year, eliminating two years of coverage equates to $598 of service lost.

All told, ordering a 2012 Volt that's the same as a base 2011 Volt mean buyers will have to fork over $43,083. That's $2,083 over the price of 2011 Volt. So, despite the 2012's lower MSRP, the Volt's loss of valuable features for 2012 makes it less a deal than it seems.

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