Monday, December 23, 2013

Lots to learn!

While our new Volt is being assembled, I already started reading the user manual (downloaded from a dedicated Chevy owner site located here: Canada GM owner site . I did not dig too much into the website but there is a section that outlines the maintenance schedule for the car you select, a resource section with information about warranties, financing/leasing and even the chance to chat with a live "Customer Care Ambassador". The information is pretty standard (benefits of winter tires, taking care of your vehicle etc.) but it's still a nice touch that I was not aware of. There's a section about OnStar which is a technology and service I have heard about but after a quick glance, it seems to be a potentially feature-rich service. I already knew about OnStar being able to unlock your car doors and detecting when the car is in an accident, but there are other services like having a service representative download destinations to your Volt, turn-by-turn navigation (not sure how/if this works with the on-board Navigation) and even hands-free dialing (also not sure how this works when you have a cellphone paired via Bluetooth). Here in Quebec at least, the Volt comes with 3 years of OnStar service. I took a look at and in Canada there are various monthly plans depending on which features you want. Looks like they start at $18.95/month and can go up to almost $40 (plus tax). Ouch. It's almost as expensive as some cellphone plans! OnStar is a type of cellphone service though so the rates kind of make sense, except the cellphone always stays in the car. Given that the Volt warns you when you try locking the doors with the keys still in the car, it will be tough to spend an extra $20+ per month for the other services however the Stolen Vehicle Assistance service is a nice-to-have. I wonder if having an active OnStar subscription can reduce insurance premiums? I will need to look at car insurance soon and I hear that hybrids/electric cars actually reduce premiums. Sweet. Another cool gadget for us technology junkies is the MyLink App. You can monitor the Volt's charge status, expected range, and even set it up to email or text you when charging is complete or interrupted. Nice! I was interested in the Volt before finding out about these nice extras, but either I did not do enough research, or GM/Chevy are not advertising these benefits enough! My friends (also car guys) are not familiar with these perks! I only found out about these by reading all 394 pages of the owner's manual. There's more to the Volt than just a range extender!

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