What Is It?
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a fully redesigned, second-generation version of Chevrolet’s well-known plug-in hybrid hatchback, which originally went on sale for the 2011 model year. The new Volt offers completely new styling, a new interior, and most importantly, a revised powertrain with improved gas mileage and a longer all-electric range than last year’s model.
On the outside, the hatchback’s styling is completely new, though the overall profile remains similar for aerodynamic reasons. In addition to bolder lines down each side, the latest Volt boasts a new front end, a new grille, new wheels, and a totally new rear end with updated taillights.
Changes abound on the inside too, where the Volt features a futuristic interior designed around a large central touchscreen that houses the car’s infotainment system. Interestingly, the outgoing model’s capacitive-touch climate controls, which have garnered some criticism over the years, are gone, replaced instead by more traditional switches and buttons. Also new inside the Volt are five seats, outdoing last year’s 4-seater configuration.
Under the hood, the latest Volt features a 1.5-liter plug-in hybrid 4-cylinder, replacing last year’s 1.4-liter engine. Chevrolet says the all-electric range is 50 miles, compared to today’s 38-mile figure, before the gasoline engine kicks in as a range extender.
Although Chevrolet has not yet announced pricing, we suspect the 2016 Volt will be priced similarly to the outgoing model’s $35,000 with shipping.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is GM’s second attempt at a plug-in hybrid vehicle, and it seems to improve in the few areas that the outgoing model lacks. For example, the frustrating capacitive-touch controls are gone, and the 4-seat interior is dropped for a more practical 5-seat package. Of course, range is also improved, and that says nothing of the styling, which is dramatically modernized after only a few years on the market. Overall, the latest Volt looks like a winner on paper.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW i3 — BMW’s first foray into the plug-in world is a futuristic hatchback with surprisingly sporty performance. It’s offered in fully electric or plug-in hybrid variants, with prices starting around $43,000 with shipping.
Ford C-MAX Energi — Ford’s plug-in hybrid C-MAX Energi offers a 5-door hatchback body style, like the Volt, and pricing that starts in the mid-$30,000 range. It has a larger interior, but its electric-only range is limited to around 20 miles.
Nissan Leaf — Although it isn’t a plug-in hybrid, Nissan’s well-known Leaf hatchback boasts a fully electric powertrain and an Environmental Protection Agency-rated 84 miles of range. It’s cheaper than the Volt, with prices starting around $30,000 including shipping.
Used Tesla Model S — As Tesla releases new versions of its Model S sedan, older ones will start to depreciate. That’s good news for shoppers interested in an exciting new electric vehicle loaded with cutting-edge technology.