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2014 Chevrolet Volt Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Chevrolet Volt was new.


Performance: 7.9

Some reviewers say the 2014 Chevrolet Volt is rewarding to drive, and others think it simply isn't very fun. Still, they like the Volt's smooth transitions between gas and electric power, its quiet cabin and its refined driving experience that is similar to that of a regular, non-hybrid car.

  • "The 2014 Chevrolet Volt is surprisingly rewarding to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "When I ran out of battery power, the Volt switched over to generator power. The transition was seamless." -- Forbes (2013)
  • "All in all, Volt just doesn't rate well on the fun-to-drive scale." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain consists of a lithium-ion battery, a 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. The electric powertrain produces 149 horsepower. The gas engine produces 83 horsepower, and acts as a generator for the electric motors, which send power to the Volt’s front wheels. According to the EPA, the Volt achieves 98 mpg-e (miles per gallon-equivalent) when running solely on electricity. With the gasoline engine in use, the Volt is rated at 35/40 mpg city/highway. The Volt's mpg-e rating is comparable to the ratings of other plug-in hybrids, like the Toyota Prius Plug-in and Honda Accord Plug-in, but its fuel economy on gasoline lags behind those same rivals. The EPA estimates that the Volt offers an electric-only driving range of 38 miles, which is much better than the rating other plug-in hybrids earn.

Test drivers say that the Volt offers plenty of power in all situations, and one reviewer says that passing maneuvers on the highway are easy in the Volt. They also like the ample thrust when running only on electricity, especially in sport mode, and say that the Volt feels fairly quick compared to other hybrid cars when the gas engine kicks in.

  • "It accelerates quickly from a standstill on an effortless wave of torque typical of electric power, and behaves like a more potent hybrid when the all-electric mode runs out." -- Edmunds
  • "Most noticeable about driving the Chevrolet Volt is its superb off-the-line acceleration. This is a common trait among electric vehicles due to their high torque output at low engine speeds. For the same reason, the Volt is an assertive left-lane passer. The acceleration contributes to making this car positively fun to drive." -- AutoTrader
  • "As an electric, the 2014 Chevy Volt's motor offers up a big serving of torque right out of the gate. From a stop, our Volt sprinted to life with enough thrust to push us into our seats as it silently reached 50 mph. The absence of engine noise and gearshifts does take some getting used to. Even when the gasoline engine kicks on, it doesn't rev relative to road speed." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "When driving in electric mode, Volt operates with a single-gear transmission. As such, power is delivered immediately, providing plenty of pep from a stop. Driving in ‘Sport’ mode makes it even quicker." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Chevrolet says that it takes 10 to 16 hours to charge the Volt using a standard 120-volt household outlet. With the available 240-volt home charging station, charging time is estimated at about four hours. Reviewers say the Volt's electric driving range makes it a better choice for gas-free commutes than rival plug-ins, even though some have shorter electric-only driving ranges. Another says that the charging process is very easy and can be done overnight.

  • "And the Volt just so happens to offer considerably more electric-only range than its handful of plug-in hybrid rivals. … What this means is that the Volt is potentially better suited as a pure electric commuter car for those with shorter drives to work. If your typical driving stints are about 30-40 miles and you're able to recharge in between, you could go a very long time indeed without visiting a gas station." -- Edmunds
  • "Worried about the charging process? Don’t – it’s not the least bit intimidating. Most of us simply plugged the Volt’s cord into a 120-volt household outlet overnight. Ten hours later, it was fully charged." -- Car and Driver (2011)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers like the way the Volt drives, saying it feels balanced, handles decently and has a comfortable ride. Some even say that the Volt feels more like a normal-driving car than other hybrids. The regenerative brakes are said to have a different feel depending on whether the Volt is running on gas or electricity. The Volt's steering is praised for its responsiveness.

  • "The Volt's road manners are nicely balanced. Its well-tuned suspension makes it a capable handler, able to take corners with confidence. Road grip is good, and body roll is minimal. Despite its hefty weight, the Volt feels reasonably nimble at virtually all speeds." -- AutoTrader
  • "The Volt's appeal extends farther than just its powertrain. From the compliance of its ride quality to the reassuring weight and response of the steering, the Volt drives more naturally and feels more substantial than hybrids like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius." -- Edmunds
  • "As for the Volt's driving characteristics, we'd hesitate to call them sporty, but the Cruz-based platform does provide decent handling and a rather smooth ride. The Volt's electric power steering is responsive and direct, nicely weighted without being too vague at highway speeds or too heavy when parallel parking." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Brakes act differently depending on your speed and whether the car is in gas or electric mode." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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