2019 Chevrolet Volt Performance Review


Performance: 7.6

The Volt has quick acceleration, stable handling, and excellent fuel efficiency. Add in its smooth regenerative brakes and fairly comfortable ride, and the Volt is an appealing choice for plug-in-hybrid shoppers. 

  • "Unlike many plug-in hybrids that have about 20 miles or less of electric-only range, the Volt can travel up to 53 miles before its gasoline engine fires up. The Chevy also boasts a satisfying driving experience, with prompt acceleration and solid handling." -- Car and Driver
  • "On the highway, I shift over to Hold mode, which maintains the battery's current charge. The battery drains quickly on the highway, so it's more efficient to let the range extender work a bit on the freeway, switching back to electric-only operation when the going gets slower." -- CNET
  • "The brake pedal is a bit unresponsive initially, but otherwise the Volt's braking is pleasingly smooth and linear. The blending of regenerative and regular friction braking is nearly imperceptible, too. In our 60 mph-to-zero panic-stop test, the Volt posted a respectable 119-foot distance." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Volt's 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor produce a combined 149 horsepower. There are no optional engines, but you don’t need them. This Chevy offers plenty of pep to get you moving along quickly, both in the city and on the highway.

At 53 miles, the Volt’s all-electric driving range is one of the highest of any plug-in hybrid. With the assistance of the gasoline engine, the Volt has a combined range of about 420 miles. The regenerative brakes also work to capture energy to recharge the Volt's battery pack.

In hybrid mode, the Volt returns a combined 42 mpg. On electric-only power, it gets 106 MPGe combined. For more information, check out our What Is MPGe? article.

  • "In the hills of Vermont, 53 miles is a tough number to hit, thanks to a whole lot of uphill climbs. But with the instant torque from the Volt's electric motor, climbing and passing is a breeze. The Volt's Normal mode is my favorite, as it provides the best blend of efficiency and power -- I find Sport mode a bit too thirsty for electrons." -- CNET
  • "Electric drive is very smooth in the Volt. In gasoline mode, the engine and the CVT work well together, too. It's an easy car to drive. The Volt has an L mode and a steering-wheel-mounted paddle for more brake regeneration. But some drivers might find the paddle's abrupt engagement off-putting." -- Edmunds
  • "We gave a collective eye-roll when Chevy told us our Volt test car could travel 53 miles solely on electric power. However, we managed to see 50 miles of EV range while pushing our car hard on a twisting mountain road, just three miles short of the estimated range." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

There are several methods to choose from when it comes to charging the Volt. Using a standard 120-volt outlet, you can fully charge the Volt's battery in roughly 13 hours. You can also reduce this charging time by using a 240-volt outlet. With the optional 3.6-kWh onboard charger, the Volt takes about 4.5 hours to charge. A 7.2-kWh onboard charger is new for 2019, and it has a 2.3-hour charging time.

Handling and Braking

The Volt has a comfortable ride over most surfaces, good agility around twists and turns, and smooth regenerative brakes when it’s time to stop. With the Volt’s Regen on Demand feature, you can press a paddle on the steering wheel to trigger more aggressive regenerative braking. That means you’ll slow down quicker than just taking your foot off the gas pedal, and you’ll recharged the hybrid battery pack more quickly than simply using the brake pedal. Some reviewers find “one-pedal driving” engaging, while others see it as disruptive.

  • "The Volt is certainly quiet, and the ride is smooth most of the time. The suspension doesn't always maintain its composure on the worst roads, though." -- Edmunds
  • "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 unique to the Volt, however, as few rivals (including gas-powered models) tout especially involved driving dynamics." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "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 (2018)

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