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One of the dealers here has received just a couple of 2016 Volts. I test drove one today just for the heck of it.

Here are my thoughts:

Pros:

  • Driving experience. Wow, this car drives nice. It's super smooth, quiet, and solid. It's also very responsive. It's not quite as quick as I expected it to be, but that's a minor drawback. I love being able to put it in "L" mode and it aggressively regenerative brakes whenever you let off the gas pedal. This is great for city driving, especially in traffic, as you really don't even need to touch the standard brakes. In regular drive mode, it will coast just like any other car when you let off the pedal, although there is also a paddle on the left side of the steering wheel that you can manually activate the regenerative braking if you were driving on a highway down a mountain or something. As for noise, the cabin is solid. When the engine did kick in, it was slightly more noisy than I expected - not quite like the 1st Gen Volt (1st Gen is quiet too, but you can certainly hear the engine revving when needed), but after driving in pure quiet for a few minutes, it was slightly, and I emphasize slightly, intrusive when the engine came alive. Granted, it is still much quieter than many standard cars.
  • Tech - obviously, the car is loaded with new tech.
  • Comfort - Especially in the front, the car is super comfy.

Cons:

  • I really wish I would have taken the time to find a used 1st Gen Volt to compare. I've driven one a while ago, so I may be remembering incorrectly, but it seems like the new Volt was actually more cramped on space than the first one. The front seats are fine, and the back seats have more legroom than I remember in the 1st Gen, but headroom is really lacking in the backseat on this new Volt, and it seemed like the trunk space was smaller as well. The new swept design of the rear hatch took a slice out of the roof space in the back. Putting two large suitcases in the trunk might be a bit of a trick, whereas I didn't feel the same way about the 1st Gen. Again, that might be my perception, but it sure seemed that way.

All in all, I think the 2016 Volt is a great car as long as you either 1)Don't need much people and/or cargo space or 2)Already have a second vehicle that has space when you need it.

When I bought my Cruze diesel, a Volt made no sense at all since my wife was commuting 53 miles one way to work. The 1st Gen Volt, and even now the 2nd Gen, would have run out of electricity before getting to work. She had no place to charge it at work either, so at least half of her daily commute would have been on gas on a car that gets the same milage as a gasoline Cruze yet for a solid $10,000 more even after tax credits (for a base model). However, now that we live in a city and our daily roundtrip commute is about 20 miles, if I were buying a new car today, I'd without question go for the Volt. Especially with the new 2016 and it's 52 mile EV range, we could do probably 95% of our driving on electricity, and we'd still get 42 mpg when traveling. That, plus the driving dynamics with the regenerative braking and EV propulsion make the Volt ideal for city driving, even more-so than a hybrid and with a much more satisfying driving experience. In our typical driving, the brakes on a Volt would probably last three times longer than a standard car due to the regenerative braking, and a lot of the fluids and wear parts on the engine itself would likely only need replacing on rare occasion compared to a standard car. No ATF flushing, probably only one or fewer oil changes/year, spark plugs would likely last the life of the car, no timing belt to replace, brakes would last a really long time, etc. etc.
 
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