Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 Day Volt Review

My vacation did not start off so well...instead of being on a plane to Italy I am home frantically filling out a passport renewal form because of some rules/laws I was not aware of, and my travel agent didn't tell me about. Anyway, at least I am getting to enjoy the Volt for a few more days! I drove for 17km total and I spent about an hour configuring stuff inside the car. Here's a quick review:


The Volt is probably the smoothest car I have ever driven. Today's automatic transmissions are incredibly smooth and the gear changes are barely noticeable, but it's nothing like the smooth, linear acceleration of the Volt (or any electric car for that matter). The steering wheel weight varies with speed, or at least to me it seems lighter at low speeds, and a nice solid heaviness at higher speeds. It reminds me of the solid drive of my 2001 BMW 740i (that was hydraulic though so it was heavier). Precise, smooth and hefty.

As for noise, only under acceleration from a stop do you barely hear a tiny whine. After 2 seconds or so you just hear the road noise. I haven't been at highway speeds yet so I can't comment on wind noise.

The biggest change for me is the complete (and I mean COMPLETE) quietness when you come to a stop. There is no noise (except for the HVAC fan). When backing out of a driveway or my parents garage everyone around finds it cool, but also weird that the car is silent. I love it. I can imagine feeling more refreshed during my commute with the Volt.

I played with Sport mode and the throttle response is noticeably snappier. I also tried "L" and it provides smooth, regenerative braking. When in "D" mode, it really coasts like any other car (actually more than my Mazda3). I find the little animated leaf-ball is always happy with my acceleration, but not happy with my braking since I except the car to coast less than it does.

I agree with and fully understand what Volt owners have been saying for years. This car drives wonderfully!


I have the Premium package which includes the rear armrest, leather seats, dimming review mirror etc. My wife won the battle for the trim color: dark grey. I think the interior is beautiful! The quality of 99% of the panels is top notch (soft touch), the look is clean, the fit-and-finish is perfect and the style looks fresh and modern.

The touchscreen resolution is great too and easy on the eyes. It is not a Retina display, however the graphics are smooth and it responds quickly to commands. It is highly configurable, and I really like the fact that I can move icons around so that the Home page has the features I will use most often.
The seats are very supportive and comfortable, although the lack of lumbar support might be an issue for some. The seats are 100% manually adjusted (i.e. not electric) which is disappointing for a car in this price  range. I know it is to "save on battery power",  however it will become annoying re-adjusting the seats when my wife wants to drive it. I LOVE the look of the rear bucket seats though. Everyone that has seen the car agrees that the back seats look fantastic.

I chose the upgraded Bose sound system with Navigation and after configuring the bass/mid/treble for each source, I think it sounds fantastic and worth every penny as an upgrade! The bass is smooth but not head-shaking, the clarity is excellent and it just plain sounds great to me! I got a free "Encore" CD from the car dealer and the Jazz tunes sound great.

I was in the passenger seat when I configured everything. I noticed that the car did not "swoosh" when I entered the car and thought it was strange. When my father sat on the driver's seat, he got the "swoosh" introduction. Looks like the Volt only cares about drivers hehe.

I am getting used to the touch-sensitive center stack and it works quite well. As it is now, I do not feel it is gimmick like some people believe. It is very functional, and it looks great lit up.

Currently on a full charge it shows a range of 50km. Apparently this estimation is based on previous driving so I need to "undo" how the service guys were driving the car. I am expecting at least 60km range in the summer (people get closer to 70+). 50km is almost 3 full days of commute for me if I do not use any HVAC so that alone is fantastic. 70km and I can almost do a full workweek without charging! CRAZY! Once I am able to charge at work this car will cost me about $4 per month of electricity for my work commute (instead of the current $150)! I did not get the Volt to save money (you would buy a $2000 car for that) but this is a serious amount  savings.

Anyway, 2 days in and I love everything about the Volt! I hear this awesome feeling lasts forever with the Volt and I definitely believe it now!

1 comment:

  1. The whoosh sound is always played at startup but it can be muted. If you don't hear it and you wish to, push the start button and turn the volume ring up