$18,337 - $20,516

2018 Chevrolet Volt Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Chevrolet Volt was new.


Performance: 8.3

The 2018 Chevrolet Volt has quick acceleration from its powertrain, which is composed of a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Though some plug-in hybrids are more fuel-efficient, the Volt is still above average. It also delivers composed handling on winding roads and has a better electric-only range and smoother regenerative brakes than most.

  • "The 2nd-generation Chevy Volt is better the moment you pull away from a stop. It's quicker, thanks to the new engine and electric motor, but the steering and suspension blend to make the Volt genuinely fun to drive on a curving road." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "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 (2016)
  • "If not entertaining, the driving inputs are at least pleasing." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Volt has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to put out 149 horsepower. The Volt can run for roughly 53 miles solely on electric power, and then the four-cylinder engine kicks in to keep things moving and to charge the battery. Fifty-three miles is a longer range than some plug-in hybrids (like the Toyota Prius Prime) provide, but it’s well short of the ranges of electric-only vehicles. Many EVs have ranges of 80-100 miles, if not more. For example, the Chevrolet Bolt has a range of nearly 240 miles.

Hybrids don’t have a reputation as fun vehicles, but the Volt actually delivers quick acceleration. The transition from electric to gasoline power is seamless, but the engine makes more noise at higher rpms.

With any hybrid, fuel economy is a top priority, and here the Volt delivers. It gets an EPA-estimated 106 mpg-e running on electric power and 42 mpg combined on gasoline power. Those are good ratings for a plug-in hybrid.

  • "Compared to the first generation, the 2018 Chevy Volt is so much better in every way. A revised engine and electric motor setup permits quicker off-the-line starts, as well as better power delivery for passing and merging." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Charging times depend on the method you use. With a 120-volt household outlet, it can take anywhere from 10 to 16 hours to replenish a depleted battery. Charging times vary with this method depending on how hot it is where you're charging. If you install a 240-volt charging station, you'll reduce that time to as little as four hours. Fortunately, there are smartphone apps available that help you find a public charging station, and some even help you plan your trip based on where the stations are.

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive comes standard in this Chevy. Handling is poised on winding roads, but this isn’t the most athletic car in the class. It is more agile than many hybrids, however. Ride quality is decent; over smooth roads, the Volt feels great, but it doesn’t absorb road imperfections as well as competitors do.

Like other hybrids, the Volt features regenerative brakes. Unlike most hybrids, the Volt’s system smoothly transitions from the regenerative to the mechanical brakes, and it doesn’t have the awkward, jarring feeling that many hybrid brakes deliver. The Volt also has a steering wheel-mounted paddle that triggers stronger deceleration from the regenerative system when you lift your foot off the accelerator. This system makes driving the Volt more engaging and helps to capture even more energy. It allows you to slow the car significantly without stepping on the brake pedal.

  • "Take the Volt up a twisting mountain pass, and it reveals itself to be the car the Prius wishes it could be. The firm suspension and precise steering allow the Volt to round corners with relatively little drama, retaining a flat stance and an attitude best described as fun (yeah, we said it). Unlike so many other regenerative braking systems we've tested, the 2018 Volt's setup works seamlessly with none of the weirdness between mechanical and regenerative interchange. A clever steering-wheel-mounted paddle activates the Regen On Demand feature. Hold the paddle down and the regenerative braking process is enhanced, rapidly slowing the car while simultaneously recharging the Volt's battery pack." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Volt's ride is compliant -- not firm but not cushy -- while handling is merely average, offering a predictable feel but very little gusto or excitement. That isn't necessarily a drawback that's unique to the Volt, however, as few rivals (including gas-powered models) tout especially involved driving dynamics." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "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 (2016)

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