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2011 Chevrolet Volt Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Chevrolet Volt was new.


Interior: 8.8

Car reviewers are impressed with the futuristic and stylish cabin in the Chevrolet Volt. In particularl, they like the well-engineered electronics, design and nice materials. However, they complain that though the Volt can seat four people, only the front two will be happy.

  • "The cabin is simply the best Chevy interior available. The two-tone dash clearly marks the traditional dual cockpit design that moves from the dash through the doors in a nearly seamless look. This helps the cabin feel even bigger. The grains and materials are all top notch throughout." -- Detroit News
  • "The interior is snazzy and futuristic, but thankfully its functionality doesn't suffer for it." -- Edmunds
  • "Well, arranging four people around that big T-shaped battery pack makes the rear seats tight, but sub-6-footers fit fine, and the hatch makes the most of the 10.6-cubic-foot cargo bay. A mom, dad, and two kids could easily take a weeklong trip to Grandma’s, no matter how far away she lives." -- Motor Trend


In contrast to most gasoline-powered sedans, the Volt only seats four. That’s because the battery pack intrudes into the rear seat. But, it’s not like stuffing three people into the backseat of most midsize sedans was ever a good idea anyway. Overall, reviewers say the Volt’s cabin is a little cramped compared to class leaders.

  • “While there are only two seats in the second row (instead of the bench seat) because of the battery package, I prefer this approach. Most compacts technically can sit five people, but rarely five adults." -- Detroit News
  • "Head- and legroom up front are generous, while the rear seat is acceptable. There's about the same amount of headroom as in a Prius, though occupants' heads will be positioned under the hatch's glass. When the sun is behind the car, they will get hot, and there are no rear-seat air vents to cool them down." -- Edmunds
  • "Its compact dimensions might be a turn-off for many, however. Passenger space is tight all around; two large adults are capacity for the front seat row, while the dual rear bucket seats (necessitated by the T-shaped battery) are a tight squeeze for the pleasantly plump crowd." -- Left Lane News

Interior Features

The Volt has in-cabin technology that matches its high-tech powertrain. Rather than a conventional gauge cluster, the Volt has a seven-inch high-resolution screen, which owners can configure to show the information they want. Instead of a traditional center stack, the Volt has another high-resolution screen, but this one is a touch screen to control things like the standard radio (which features navigation, a 30 GB music storage hard drive, XM satellite radio) and Bluetooth systems. Interestingly, the standard stereo is a six-speaker Bose system that was designed to use as little energy as possible. The Nissan Leaf offers similar standard features.

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt also features technology to help owners managed their cars’ battery packs. The Volt has a smartphone app that allows owners to set charging times to coincide with their schedules or off-peak power rates. The Nissan Leaf has a similar system.

Overall, most car reviewers like the Volt’s interior tech, saying that it works well. On the whole, they’re also tickled by the innovative ways Chevrolet has managed to cut down the cabin technology’s energy consumption.

  • "Another interesting tidbit is an automatic seat-heater function. Warming the car’s cabin can be a significant energy draw--at times even more than powering the wheels --so the Volt will sometimes heat the seats instead of cranking the HVAC system to save power.  … the Bose system is both lighter and uses 50 percent less energy than before. But, most important, its clean and punchy sound quality is competitive even with that of cars costing far more." -- Car and Driver
  • "The white center stack in my test vehicle added a clean and Apple-esque feel to the interior and the buttonless center stack, which uses touch sensitive spots, are easy to use and add to the clean feel. This is the most thoughtful design and best executed interior Chevy has ever created." -- Detroit News
  • "The gauges take a bit more getting used to, as they aren't gauges, so to speak. An LCD screen shows all the usual information (speed, gear selection, turn signals, warning lights), plus a graphic that encourages energy-efficient driving. A battery life meter is displayed while in electric mode, but once the battery is depleted, that meter is replaced by a gas gauge. In general, this setup could be construed as a little busy and distracting, but on our initial test-drive, at least, the LCD didn't seem to be adversely affected by sunlight." -- Edmunds
  • "An application for Apple, BlackBerry and Motorola smartphones will allow owners to schedule off-peak charging remotely through the OnStar system, choosing times when electrical rates are lower. It will also allow the owner to preheat or cool the cabin using line rather than battery or engine power." -- Cars.com


Cargo space is pretty small in the Chevrolet Volt. There is only 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear, which is less than what’s in the Honda Civic sedan – and the Civic is a compact. There is much less cargo space in the Volt than in the Toyota Prius. Nissan hasn’t released the cargo capacity of the Nissan Leaf yet, but the Nissan Versa hatchback, which is smaller than the Leaf, has 17.8 cubic feet in its rear cargo area. The Leaf also lacks a gas tank, which means more cargo space. Reviewers seem to be disappointed in the cargo space in the Volt.

  • "The cargo space measures 10.6 cubic feet -- quite small for a hatchback." -- Cars.com
  • "Like the Toyota Prius, the Volt features a liftback design that reveals a fairly shallow and narrow trunk." -- Left Lane News

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