Most reviews of the Chevrolet Volt dwell on its powertrain and technology, which is understandable. It’s a ground-breaking car. But, once the novelty of traveling 100 miles and using only 1.1 gallons of gas (like I managed to do in my first weekend with the Volt) wears off, this is a car that you still need to live with on a daily basis.
Living in New Hampshire means living with snow. And luckily for me, we had some while I was testing the Volt last month. Yes, we got snow in April. No, it was not fun. The last storm of the year was small, but I was able to see how the Volt handled the slushy roads in the Dartmouth-Sunapee region of New Hampshire.
Given that the Volt has low-rolling resistance tires, which aren’t known for their grip, I was nervous, especially when I came to the section of my road that’s nothing but S curves. On one side, you have a very steep hill. On the other, you have a battered guardrail, a 20-foot drop and a rushing trout stream filed with boulders. They don’t call it the Granite State for nothing.
I wasn’t pushing it, and the conditions weren’t horrific, but the Volt never lost traction. Its electric range dropped by about five miles compared to the 50-degree day before. Even though it would decrease electric range and fuel economy, based on this test, I think that with a set of snow tires the Volt could make it through some pretty nasty winter weather.