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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I am considering the purchase of a 2012 Volt which might be replacing my 2005 Subaru Outback XT. The Outback has been, and still is, a great vehicle. However it's getting up their in mileage (148K) so I've been toying with the idea of replacing it before I put additional maintenance into it (for example it's approaching it's 150K maintenance interval).

Given I live in Denver and make occasional trips to the mountains the Outback has been a great fit for the occasional snow we receive and has been a handy utility vehicle. I've become used to having such a vehicle and the Volt is a bit of a departure from that. Not because of its electric drivetrain but rather it's not what I'm used to.

As for the Volt I like the idea of being able to operating it primarily on the battery (my average weekly mileage on the Outback is 120 miles). I do a lot of short trips which the Volt is ideal for. However it's not sufficient where I would ever recover the cost of the Volt through gas savings (unless the price of gas increases significantly). This is more about trying out what I consider to be the future of our vehicles.

If anyone who has made the switch from the Outback (especially if it was the XT) to the Volt I'd love to have your feedback on how it went. I haven't had much drive time in the Volt to know if I would enjoy driving it like I do my Outback (the XT is a lot of fun to drive). They're two different cars and I don't expect them to directly compare with one another.

I'm also interested in any other feedback anyone else may want to offer. I've done a lot of research, read the owners manual, read the reviews, but I just don't know how they drive. I'm planning to head to the dealer this afternoon for a more extended test drive.

Oh, one other question. I head the late 2012 models may have a slightly larger battery. Not large enough to really make a difference but it would be nice to buy one with the higher capacity battery. Any way to tell? The specific model I am considering was first registered June 2012...which suggests a later production model.
 

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We went from a Terrain to a Volt to a Trax... (wife's primary car) She doesn't like being low to the ground and the Volt FOR US did not do well on Alaska roads when they got crappy even with studded, winter tires. Those tires really helped, but when it got bad, I ended up driving her around in my F350 without winter tires (but 4WD). The Trax with AWD and M+S tires does better. Having said that, I really enjoyed driving the Volt when I could and if I ever decided to get a third vehicle, the volt would be it for me.

It should be noted we bought the Volt in Florida and in Florida it was great. 45-48 miles Average electric range only used gas when we went out of town with it...

I'm not trying to talk you out of the Volt. Your roads are probably maintained - it takes the a week to plow neighborhood streets. You might like a low to ground drive and handling. I like the smooth ride the Volt gives and being able to plug in. Not having to go to a fuel station...

Take note of driving position when you take that extended test drive.
 

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I bought a 2013 Volt Premier for $20,000 and 10,000 miles, adding a $1,000 set of Michelin X-Ice tires last fall. I drive a twenty-mile daily commute for work through Officers Gulch, one of the most dangerous sections of I-70 in winter. My electricity is free at a public charging station made possible with a Colorado state grant program funded by registration fees of electric vehicle owners. I can usually maintain 250 MPG on my commute, although single-digit temperatures require a little range extender engine operation bringing fuel economy down to 80 to 120 MPG. My lifetime fuel economy was 180 MPG, lowered to 80 MPG by a 4,000-mile trip last summer without any charging, around 40 MPG on 98 gallons of fuel. On the trip from Denver and back, about 180 miles, I average about 50 MPG. I have never had any difficulty with ice and snowpack on the I-70. Although I usually reduce my speed to 45 to 60 MPH in winter driving conditions, I pass many slower vehicles without any slippage. Pick-up trucks and SUV's seem to have the most difficulty staying on the roads in Summit County. Use the Department of Energy site to find electric charging stations. City of Golden has one of the best free charging stations in the downtown parking garage. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_locations.html
 

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I can't advise you to swap your Outback for a Volt, as my wife and I have BOTH. We find the Outback such a workhorse. Great in the mountain snows, has a light receiver hitch to pull our 5x8 trailer with filled construction supplies or small loads of dirt or gravel, hauls the paddleboards to the lake in the summer on the roof rack, hauls our golden retriever everywhere, etc.

But the dang 2013 Volt we bought has a lifetime 106 mpg, fun to drive, reliable, hauls the bikes on its Ecohitch w/ rack, and makes a definitive statement about where our energy priorities are. So we do both...now if only Subaru would make an Outback AWD PHEV...sweet!

About your battery - it very likely has the larger battery that went into the 2013 Volts. GM switched the production line to the 2013 Volts in July 2012 and the word was that the last month or two of the 2012 model year run had the "new" battery used for the 2013's. I average between 10.3-10.6 kWh
 

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Given I live in Denver and make occasional trips to the mountains the Outback has been a great fit for the occasional snow we receive and has been a handy utility vehicle. I've become used to having such a vehicle and the Volt is a bit of a departure from that. Not because of its electric drivetrain but rather it's not what I'm used to.
I also live in denver and the volt is fine with snow tires. Better than my A4 with all seasons.
 

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Unless you plan on putting a hitch on the Volt and/or a roof rack, I'd advise keeping the Outback as your weekend recreational hauler and use the Volt as your daily commuter.

As far as the 2012 battery is concerned, I would recommend skipping the my11 and my12 and go for a 2013 or newer. The my13 will guarantee you receive the slightly larger battery and you'll also get the very handy HOLD mode.
 

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The volt is definitely a small car. I don't have an Outback but my daughter does drive a Subaru Crosstrek, a smaller CUV compared to the Outback. I take the volt when I only have 2 or 3 people and not much cargo or luggage. but any time we have 4 or 5 and luggage to drive out of town to an airport, we prefer the Subaru over the Volt. Parked side by side, the two cars are exactly the same length and width. But AWD and the Crosstrek wagon area makes the space much more usable. The Outback would be much more spacious, plus if you have kids, they will miss the rear reclining seats in your Outback.

Another complaint about the volt vs. the Subaru is the ginormous A and B pullers on the volt Gen1. gen2 is better, but nowhere near how thin the A and B pillars are on the Subaru's. Visibility is night and day.

if only Subaru made a similar Voltec drivetrain for their AWD vehicles, I'd be first in line to buy one (and the Crosstrek Hybrid doesn't count).
 

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I have both,,totally different cars...The VOLT ideal commuter, the OUTBACK the one to keep ,to move BIG dogs, OLD inlaws ,and lots of luggage. Keep both cars...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone for your feedback (sorry for the delay in responding...after making the initial post I didn't see it in the forum so I didn't think it has posted).

It seems the general consensus is the Volt is a great commuter car but the Outback is a keeper as a very practical car (and, being the XT model, it's really fun to drive too). At this point I've decided to hang on to the Outback now I just have to decide if I want to buy the Volt. I think the only way I'll really know if I'll like the Volt is to buy one and use it in day to day operation.

One thing I did not mention in my initial post was I currently have two vehicles...the aforementioned Outback and a BMW X5. The X5 would be my go to vehicle when it comes to long trips (for example I drove it to AZ last year) or those occasions when I need to take more than just myself and a passenger. However it is not going to be a substitute for the Outback / Volt for inclement weather driving. With 550+ HP and really wide tires it is not a good inclement weather vehicle despite AWD.

At this point I think I really won't know if I'd prefer the Volt unless I buy one and drive it on a regular basis. The decision is not Volt versus some other car. It's do I like the Volt enough to offset the losses of not having the Outback (in the long run I don't want three vehicles). I might buy it and try it out for a few months to see what it's about. If I find myself preferring it over the Outback then I'd sell the Outback. If not I can sell the Volt, though I would likely lose money by doing so. But it might be the way to go.

Decisions, decisions.
 
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