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2016 Chevrolet Volt Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Chevrolet Volt was new.


Performance: 8.1

With peppy acceleration and composed handling, critics agree that the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt is fun to drive for a plug-in hybrid. It can go farther on electric power than most plug-in hybrids, and also comes with a gasoline engine that extends the car's range beyond that of a fully charged battery.

  • "It also feels a lot more connected to the road than a [2015] Prius. It's not what you'd call sporty but if you had to choose and you wanted the car that was more fun to drive you'd get the Volt. The Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid is also close to the Volt in driving feel, though we might still choose a Volt for handling." -- Autoweek
  • "The 2016 Volt is actually pretty fun to drive. No one's going to argue that it's a sports car, but the sedan does feel more comfortable in its own skin and within its enlarged performance envelope." -- CNET
  • "If not entertaining, the driving inputs are at least pleasing." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is powered by a battery and two electric motors that produce 149 horsepower combined. If the battery is depleted while driving, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 101 horsepower kicks in to help charge the battery and propel the car.

According to the EPA, the 2016 Volt has an all-electric range of 53 miles. That's better than the range of most plug-in hybrids, but worse than that of most pure electric vehicles. The Volt achieves 106 mpg-equivalent when running on electricity alone, which is higher than the mpg-e ratings of most plug-in hybrids and many pure electric vehicles. When running on gasoline power, the Volt gets 43/42 mpg city/highway, which is good for a plug-in hybrid and on par with the fuel economy of many non-plug-in hybrids.

The 2016 Volt has strong acceleration around town and on the interstate, according to test drivers, and it is very quiet in all-electric mode. When the gas engine turns on, the 2016 Volt is noisier, critics say, though it is still quieter than the 2015 model.

  • "When you're not trying to hypermile, you'll find acceleration can be brisk. Chevy claims 0-60 in 8.4 seconds, which beats a [2015] Prius by a couple seconds." -- Autoweek
  • "It's more responsive and snappy around town and it's quieter just about everywhere. There's less road noise much of the time, but the big payoff comes when the engine is running. More of a purr than a growl, the more refined 1.5-liter engine sounds (and feels) more distant and remote. Sure, the volume goes up when climbing a grade, but it's dramatically less raucous." -- Edmunds
  • "When it needs to run hard, the 1.5 buzzes with labored effort, a noise especially apparent when you come to a red light. Most engines are at their quietest then, but the Volt's can be cranking away in a frenzy, charging the battery. It's one of the peculiar idiosyncrasies of this powertrain, but GM claims that the Volt II falls into these charging holes less often than Volt I, so it's a rarer occasion." -- Car and Driver

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Chevrolet says it takes about 13 hours to charge the 2016 Volt using a standard 120-volt household outlet. Charging time can be reduced to about 4.5 hours if you use a 240-volt outlet, which is common at many public charging stations. You can also have one installed in your home.

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are pleased with the 2016 Chevrolet Volt's handling overall. They say it has responsive steering, excellent brakes for a hybrid and composed handling while cornering. The Volt also has a smooth ride, according to critics.

  • "I brake for the first turn-hey, these brakes feel terrific for a hybrid, vastly better than the soupy pedal that mars the current car." -- Motor Trend
  • "Steering response is also vastly improved. Initial turn-in is surprisingly quick; shift the wheel slightly, and the front end takes a bite right now." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "… it tackles rough roads with admirable smoothness." -- Edmunds
  • "The center of mass is nice and low, which makes the car at least feel like it's staying flat when cornering. The sedan's steering feel and responsiveness have been greatly improved over the … old, numb rack." -- CNET

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