Chevrolet Volt

The Essentials

  • Price from £34,995
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 235.0mpg
  • What is it? The Volt gives most of the benefits of an electric car but, because the petrol generator keeps it going when the battery runs out, you won't suffer any range anxiety. Brilliant.

Great

  • Amazing mpg and no range anxiety
  • Lots of luxury equipment
  • Smooth, quiet and relaxing to drive

Gripes

  • The price
  • Uncertainty over resale values
  • Terrible rear visibility
  • Drive

    Up to fifty electric emission-free miles with petrol-powered back-up. Blissfully quiet and a comfortable way to travel

  • Inside

    White console is cool, even if it's not particularly easy to use

  • Safety

    Eight airbags, stability control and an audible warning to warn pedestrians you're coming

  • Reliability

    As well as Chevrolet's standard five-year/100,000 mile warranty, the drivetrain and battery are protected for a further three years

  • Space

    Room for four on board, and only the tallest rear passengers will grumble about the headroom. Boot space is fair.

  • Standard and extras

    High-tech infotainment system, Bluetooth, keyless ignition and climate control as standard

  • What's it like to drive?

    The 148bhp electric motor provides a stonking amount of pulling power from start-up, which means the car feels swift, smooth and strong at all times. Since the wheels are always driven by the electric motor, it feels no different with the petrol generator running. When it does kick in, it stays impressively hushed unless you really push the car. Wind and road noise are very well contained, too.
    The ride is generally comfortable. It can be bit a little jittery at slow speeds but it soaks up bigger bumps brilliantly and feels settled on the motorway. The Volt leans a little in bends and the steering could do with more weight and feel, but the car always feels glued to the road.

  • What's it like inside?

    Considering all the technology that?s packed inside the Volt, it?s surprisingly roomy in the cabin. Sure there are only two seats in the back, but they have lots of head- and legroom.
    There?s lots of adjustment for the driver?s seat, so most people should be able to get comfortable. However, the tiny rear screen and thick rear pillars mean rear visibility is terrible. The dashboard isn?t brilliant, either, with touch-sensitive icons rather than buttons, which are awkward to use and not quite sensitive enough. The cabin itself looks smart enough, but there are a lot of hard plastics so it?s not particularly tactile.
    The boot is a reasonable 310 litres, but most similarly priced rivals tend to offer more.
    The Volt is packed with luxury features, which helps take the sting out of the high price. Bluetooth, alloys, cruise control, a reversing camera and heated seats are among the standard items; options include sat-nav.

  • How reliable is it?

    The cabin feels solidly built, and mechanical reliability shouldn?t be much of a worry as the battery and drivetrain are covered by an eight-year warranty and the rest of the car is covered for five years, with a maximum of 100,000 miles for each.
    The Volt comes with eight airbags and stability control, and achieved five out of five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. Since the car is virtually silent when on batter power alone, the driver can activate a chirping sound to warn pedestrians of its approach.

  • Should I buy one?

    Even after the Government grant for which the Volt qualifies, it?s still expensive (although it costs less than the almost-identical Ampera) and there?s huge uncertainty over resale values. Still, the lowly fuel consumption means it?ll be cheap to run even if you regularly rely on the petrol engine. You?ll also pay no road tax or London congestion charge, and just 5% company car tax.