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I currently drive a 2014 Prius. In the next few months, my car SHOULD be roughly on-par with what it's worth versus how much I owe. I'm not looking to make money on a trade-in, but I don't want to owe any money, either.

I am thinking that when that time comes (probably in the spring), I want to upgrade my car. I had originally planned on holding off and buying the Tesla 3 when it comes out, but they're going to be pretty backlogged, and I heard that it's likely the tax credit won't be around after they've sold 100,000 (and they have over 100,000 deposits). I also have reservations about going from a gas-powered hybrid to a pure electric. I live in the hills of Western Massachusetts, and charging stations are few and far between. I wouldn't be worried about running out of a charge (with 200+ miles), but I'd be a bit apprehensive that I couldn't just stop at any of the dozens of gas stations in the area. Therefore, I'm thinking that before I move on to a purely electric vehicle, I should transition toward a plug-in hybrid.

I have had no problems with my Prius, so this isn't in opposition to that brand. But I live in the hills, and oftentimes my battery is filled 1/4 of the way down a hill (so I don't get any more juice from the braking), and it's useless going up hills. That, and I can't go over 46 miles an hour in electric, and even that is pushing it. I love the electric that it has- it's quiet, smooth, and (when the battery is full) strong... in a way. But it was never designed to be the primary source of propulsion, so it's not going to be able to do much.

That's why I'm more interested in the Volt. My understanding is that except under uncommon circumstances, the electric motor is the sole power source, even going up hills. Please correct me if I'm wrong. The fact that the battery pack is much larger means that when I hit these hills during my travel, I might actually be able to recharge for more than a fourth of the slope.

Therefore, I have some questions:

1. How strong is the regenerative braking? I mean, how much braking power does it have? If I know the route, the Prius' RB system has been pretty good, and I usually don't have to activate the actual brakes. The problem is solely that the battery is too small to accommodate the extra electricity generated.

2. How strong is the motor? While the hills I go up aren't PARTICULARLY steep, they do have some grade to them. Will the motor be able to handle these, provided my battery level is high enough?

3. Can the Volt tow a small trailer?

4. My Prius is rated for about 51 mpg. I usually get around 55-56 on my daily commute. Any chance I might see the same increase on the electric-only range?

5. Does the car come with ANY kind of charger? I would probably look into installing one at home with a higher voltage, but I want to make sure it has some kind of portable charger if I should go away for the weekend (or even charge at work?)

I may have more questions later, and I don't intend to buy the car without a test drive and some calculating of finances, but I just want to start asking. Thanks in advance.
 

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Your understanding is correct - in normal circumstances, the volt does not use the engine at all unless the battery is low.
It never needs to run until the battery is low, but may also run in other situations to improve comfort or efficiency (e.g. ERDTT runs the engine below -10C to create heat for the cabin instead of using the battery energy - but the electric heater is capable of heating the vehicle at any temperature)

1. Gen 2 has a regen paddle to go to max regen without using the brake pedal. It can bring you nearly to a stop quite quickly.
L mode gives some regen when you let off the pedal, but not as much as Tesla or BMW allow in such a mode.
Using the brake pedal automatically gives max regen and fills in the difference in braking requirement with brake pads. Using L + braking lightly will give max regen and slow the vehicle quite aggressively.

2. The motor can easily handle pretty much any grade (I've never been there so can't comment on how steep, but I've often heard Pike's Peak quoted as a test, and it climbed just fine). The achilles heel is the engine, which is rated less than the motor, so after extended very steep climbs it can run out of extra battery reserve and have to reduce output. This can be mitigated by using mountain mode before approaching extended steep climbs - it holds extra battery reserve.
This is not an issue if you have a full battery and the climb is not particularly long. Only with an empty battery and using gas for long, hard climbs.

3. Officially it is not rated to tow. But some users have put small utility trailers on - have a search for some suggestions. One user loves to show off his deer picture ;)

4. Most people far exceed the rated range in summer, but also get less in winter. It's pretty realistic for an annual average.
I personally see +/- 25-35% of the rated range. i.e. 40-80km on a "61" km vehicle. The low end is not as common as the upper end if you drive a decent amount. I only see 40 on the coldest of days with multiple very short trips and heat blasting each time. Basically worst-case.

5. Standard equipment is a 120V EVSE that plugs into a standard 15A outlet. A dedicated 240V unit is recommended.
2016+ units are potentially adaptable to 240V, but unofficially (just like the trailer above, at your own risk) - see the thread in gen2 forum for more information.
 

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As someone who dumped a (2006) Prius for a (2017) Volt earlier this year, I'd say do it entirely for the quality of drive. The Volt is in the ballpark of the PRIUS in terms of gas mileage when it is running on gas alone, and the first 50 miles are 'free' (well, the low cost of electricity overnight) -- there is no comparison in terms of the experience of the drive quality - The Volt is 1000x nicer for noise, vibration and road-feel.

In terms of charging back up the vehicle: Use the standard 120V plug that comes with the car to charge from a regular outlet.

There someone in this forum pointed to these guys: http://torkliftcentral.com/rving-and-towing/ecohitch/chevrolet/2011-2014-chevy-volt-ecohitch-invisi for custom trailer hitch. Not sure if they do this for the Gen2 Volt.
 

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That's why I'm more interested in the Volt. My understanding is that except under uncommon circumstances, the electric motor is the sole power source, even going up hills. Please correct me if I'm wrong. The fact that the battery pack is much larger means that when I hit these hills during my travel, I might actually be able to recharge for more than a fourth of the slope.
It's sort of true that the electric motor is the power source, but it might be more true to say that it's the primary one rather than sole. Under some conditions (more so with Gen 2 than Gen 1), the engine is clutched to the wheels, and provides some direct motive force.

1. Using the "L" mode on the shifter, the Volt will hold a set Cruise speed down a 6-7% grade. It can do more regen than that. canehdian mentioned Pike's Peak for "up" but the Volt also comes DOWN that with essentially cold brakes, and 14 more miles of range than it started with. That said, there isn't an infinite amount of headroom when you're starting with a full charge either. If you drop a thousand feet between your garage and the nearest road out of the area, you MIGHT want to monkey with the charge settings so the car thinks you're leaving 30-60 minutes after you really are.

2. Easily. Especially if you've got some battery handy.

3. Some people do. Others (like pedantic me) point out that the manual says not to.

4. Depends on your driving, obviously. EPA says my Volt gets 37 MPG combined, VoltStats says the fleet reporting gets 35 overall, but I've been (admittedly under very good conditions) turning in months with 46+ MPG on CS (Charge Sustaining aka "burning dinos" mode). When figuring your daily, though, remember that there's 35 or 50 miles of "no gas at all" upfront. So even if you're getting "only 35 MPG" in CS, then a 150 mile trip burns 3.3 gallons of gas, and you're still up in Prius territory. Drive it like a Prius and you'll burn only about 2.5 gallons, and you get a gas consumption figure that's 62-63 MPG for that same trip.

5. canehdian covered; I've got nothing to add.
 

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I would suggest taking a test drive. I know of many local Prius owners that have traded UP to a Volt and have never looked back. And personally for me the difference in "gas mileage" is bogus since I have operated all of my Volt's (I have owned 3 since March 2012) at OVER 92% all electric. All three of my Volt's stopped calculating my fuel mileage at 250 MPG long ago.
 

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1. Gen 2 has a regen paddle to go to max regen without using the brake pedal. It can bring you nearly to a stop quite quickly.
L mode gives some regen when you let off the pedal, but not as much as Tesla or BMW allow in such a mode.
Using the brake pedal automatically gives max regen and fills in the difference in braking requirement with brake pads. Using L + braking lightly will give max regen and slow the vehicle quite aggressively.
Yes, and even L mode (it's named as such since it sort of behaves like a low gear) will produce far more regenerative braking when letting off the pedal than a Prius will. In L mode, you can basically set cruise control on a 50mph highway and it will hold 50mph on all the hills, both up and down, since the regenerative braking is so powerful in the Volt (60kW, same as a Tesla).

The other question answers are spot on too.

2. The motor is very powerful compared to a Prius, you'll be amazed at the electric drive, and the fact that the engine will not come on unless it's real cold out (colder than 15F, just for passenger comfort to assist the electric heater) or if your battery is depleted. Otherwise, regardless of acceleration or speed, the Volt will not use the engine. This translates to a ton of gas savings.

4. Depends on your driving, obviously. EPA says my Volt gets 37 MPG combined, VoltStats says the fleet reporting gets 35 overall, but I've been (admittedly under very good conditions) turning in months with 46+ MPG on CS (Charge Sustaining aka "burning dinos" mode). When figuring your daily, though, remember that there's 35 or 50 miles of "no gas at all" upfront. So even if you're getting "only 35 MPG" in CS, then a 150 mile trip burns 3.3 gallons of gas, and you're still up in Prius territory. Drive it like a Prius and you'll burn only about 2.5 gallons, and you get a gas consumption figure that's 62-63 MPG for that same trip.
I'll point out here that hellsop is referring to his Gen1 Volt. The Gen2 Volt gets higher MPG on the engine, but again, the first 53 miles on the Gen 2 (and 38 miles on the Gen 1) are gas free.

So let's do a simple and conservative example to make the math easy. Let's say you drive 80 miles in a day, and 40 are electric, 40 are on the engine at 40MPG. You just went 80 miles using only one gallon of gas. You simply can't beat that. Well, yes you can... Drive only 40 miles in one day and use no gas at all. Now, the Gen 2 Volt is 53 miles EPA rated, and also higher than 40MPG, so I think you'll be very pleased with how little gas it uses compared to your Prius. You may also want to look at VoltStats.net for some impressive numbers (most of which are based on the Gen 1 [2011-2015] Volt which has lower electric range and lower MPG on the engine afterwards, than on the Gen 2 [2016-2017] Volt).

But as others have noted, that's the icing on the cake. The ride quality, amazing performance, and instant torque/acceleration will really be what you enjoy.
 

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The volt will handle the hills Appalachia without any issues. Just put it in Mountain mode if you want to keep reserve battery power for steep climbs.

My wife and I have driven through there several times in her Cobalt on I64. At the top of some of those big hills I needed to be in 2nd gear WOT just to keep it above 45. But the Volt has far more power than the Cobalt and the electric motor isn't affected by the thinner air at higher altitudes.

Coming down the other side will give you a bunch of electrons back. And the regenerative brakes will be plenty strong to keep you at a steady speed.
 

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1. How strong is the regenerative braking? I mean, how much braking power does it have? If I know the route, the Prius' RB system has been pretty good, and I usually don't have to activate the actual brakes. The problem is solely that the battery is too small to accommodate the extra electricity generated.

2. How strong is the motor? While the hills I go up aren't PARTICULARLY steep, they do have some grade to them. Will the motor be able to handle these, provided my battery level is high enough?

3. Can the Volt tow a small trailer?

4. My Prius is rated for about 51 mpg. I usually get around 55-56 on my daily commute. Any chance I might see the same increase on the electric-only range?

5. Does the car come with ANY kind of charger? I would probably look into installing one at home with a higher voltage, but I want to make sure it has some kind of portable charger if I should go away for the weekend (or even charge at work?)

I may have more questions later, and I don't intend to buy the car without a test drive and some calculating of finances, but I just want to start asking. Thanks in advance.
I've used and abused both the 2013 and 2016 Volts.

1) 60 kW is the max regen. It's plenty strong.
2) The 2016/2017's are quicker than the 2011/2015 Volts. A 2011/2015 Volt will smoke any model Prius, the 2016/17 just does it better. The 2011/2015 is 111kW EV drive up to 101 mph (limited), even uphill. The 2016 is 120kW EV drive up to 101 mph, even uphill.
3) The MFR says no. They do make hitches though.
4) If you hypermile the 2016 Volt, 60 miles of EV range is not hard. My son doesn't know what hypermiling is, and his display read 58 miles yesterday. I can normally exceed what the display says if I want. Note that cold weather hurts the EV range a bunch. But it doesn't matter since you have a gas engine.
5) The included charger has 2 settings, 8 amp and 12 amp. When set to 12 amp, it will charge in under 12hrs while you sleep.

On your test drive, make sure you drive aggressively. It's well behaved at it's limits. Even with the Eco tires, it handles surprisingly well.
 

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I'll point out here that hellsop is referring to his Gen1 Volt. The Gen2 Volt gets higher MPG on the engine, but again, the first 53 miles on the Gen 2 (and 38 miles on the Gen 1) are gas free.

So let's do a simple and conservative example to make the math easy. Let's say you drive 80 miles in a day, and 40 are electric, 40 are on the engine at 40MPG. You just went 80 miles using only one gallon of gas. You simply can't beat that. Well, yes you can... Drive only 40 miles in one day and use no gas at all. Now, the Gen 2 Volt is 53 miles EPA rated, and also higher than 40MPG, so I think you'll be very pleased with how little gas it uses compared to your Prius. You may also want to look at VoltStats.net for some impressive numbers (most of which are based on the Gen 1 [2011-2015] Volt which has lower electric range and lower MPG on the engine afterwards, than on the Gen 2 [2016-2017] Volt).
True, but as an example, it's excellent. Because any change, whether more range in the later Gen 1 or the huge improvements in Gen 2, will only make the comparison even better. That it takes a Prius hours of driving to finally exceed the gas consumption of the Volt is the part that I think is important to recognize.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all for your great responses thus far. The information has been helpful. Enough so that I am now planning on taking one out for a test drive in the next few weeks to help me determine whether this will be the car I want to buy when the time comes or whether I should continue with my current car and keep looking. I'm sure these questions could be asked when taking it out at the dealer, but I'd rather get answers from people who own the car versus someone who is trying to sell me the car.

I do have a few more questions:

1. How good is the heater? If it's electric, I imagine it warms up fairly quickly. I'm not as concerned about efficiency in terms of energy used, but how long it takes to warm up. During the winter, I have to go and start up my car about 20 minutes before I leave, otherwise I get into a frigid car. With a 40-minute commute, I'm not hopping into a freezing car! Will the electric heater heat the car up pretty quickly? I understand that on very cold days the gas engine may turn on as well- this is fine with me. But if I only have to run it for about 5-7 minutes versus 20, it's a difference. It might even mean that I "suffer" for the first few minutes and just turn it on when I leave.

2. Continuing on with the above question, can I run the heater with the car plugged in? Even if it doesn't regain all the electricity it uses, will it still help to replenish what the heater uses? And for that matter, the air conditioning?

3. It's great that it comes with a charger, though the 12 hour charge is a little disappointing. I'm going to look at that thread mentioned above, but for a short answer, is this car compatible with your typical home charging port that is at a higher voltage? To me, I would be willing to invest the money in a higher voltage charging unit to lower the charging time. On Mondays I come home at 5, and then head out for my bowling league at 6:30. That doesn't sound very useful if it takes 12 hours, but if it's less with a higher voltage, it might be worth plugging in. (Bowling is just an example of coming home and heading back out without much time passing).
 

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I have no answer for 1 because I just got my gen 1 a few weeks ago.

However on question 2, you can precondition the car while it's plugged in and it will turn on heat/ac to the most recently used settings. If you have heated seats, it can also activate those as well. Having it plugged into a level 1 charger, which is the 120v unit that comes with the car, you will not draw enough from just the charger to to heat/cool the car and some range will be lost due to the higher power requirements that are supplemented by the battery. If however, you have a 240V level 2 charger, it will provide just about enough power to reduce battery impact to a minimum.

3. The 12 hour charge is with the level 1, 120v unit. A level 2 charger at 240V should give you a full battery from empty in about 4-5 hours. So with a 1 hour charge you should recoup about 10 miles or so with the level 2.
 

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Be aware that I've had my 2017 Volt for just under a month, so I have essentially no personal experience with the heater (just a little bit on yesterday's commute home). That said....

1. How good is the heater? If it's electric, I imagine it warms up fairly quickly. I'm not as concerned about efficiency in terms of energy used, but how long it takes to warm up. During the winter, I have to go and start up my car about 20 minutes before I leave, otherwise I get into a frigid car. With a 40-minute commute, I'm not hopping into a freezing car! Will the electric heater heat the car up pretty quickly? I understand that on very cold days the gas engine may turn on as well- this is fine with me. But if I only have to run it for about 5-7 minutes versus 20, it's a difference. It might even mean that I "suffer" for the first few minutes and just turn it on when I leave.
My understanding is that the cabin heater is a bit tepid; however, heated seats and heated steering wheel are available as options even on the base vehicle, and in my area (Rhode Island), just about all the Volts on dealers' lots have these options. (They're part of the "comfort package," IIRC.) I'm not positive, but I think these options are standard in the Premiere trim, and also with the light gray ("ash") interior color on the LT trim. Also....

2. Continuing on with the above question, can I run the heater with the car plugged in? Even if it doesn't regain all the electricity it uses, will it still help to replenish what the heater uses? And for that matter, the air conditioning?
A standard feature of the Volt (at least the Gen2; I'm not sure about the Gen1) is that you can turn on the AC/heat before you leave, via the key fob or a cell phone app (if you've got OnStar, which is a subscription feature). This times out after ten minutes, but I believe you can do it twice back to back. If the car is plugged in when you do this, it should not degrade the battery charge much, if at all. Also, this feature turns on the seat and steering wheel heaters when appropriate, if I understand correctly. FWIW, I've used this feature just once, on a hot day a couple weeks ago, so it was cooling rather than heating, but it worked as advertised for me.

3. It's great that it comes with a charger, though the 12 hour charge is a little disappointing. I'm going to look at that thread mentioned above, but for a short answer, is this car compatible with your typical home charging port that is at a higher voltage? To me, I would be willing to invest the money in a higher voltage charging unit to lower the charging time. On Mondays I come home at 5, and then head out for my bowling league at 6:30. That doesn't sound very useful if it takes 12 hours, but if it's less with a higher voltage, it might be worth plugging in. (Bowling is just an example of coming home and heading back out without much time passing).
A 1.5-hour charge at 120 volts and 12 amps will get you about 5-6 miles of range. Depending on how much you use on your commute and how far your bowling is from home, that might be adequate for your needs. If not, you'd be traveling part of the way on gas.

If you install a 240-volt ("level 2") EVSE, the charge time from empty drops to 4.5 hours, which means that a 1.5-hour charge will get you about 17 miles of range. The Volt does work with standard level 2 chargers. I don't have one yet, but my understanding is that just about any brand will work. Clipper Creek seems popular here, but lots of others should work, too -- JuiceBox, ChargePoint, GE, Siemens, Bosch, etc. I've seen occasional reports of EVSE/car incompatibilities. Some Volt owners report that the level 1 chargers provided with some Nissan Leafs don't work with their Volts, for instance. Thus, it's worth researching compatibility before dropping ~$500 on a level 2 EVSE; but most models should be fine, particularly from major manufacturers.
 

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My understanding is that the cabin heater is a bit tepid; however, heated seats and heated steering wheel are available as options even on the base vehicle, and in my area (Rhode Island), just about all the Volts on dealers' lots have these options. (They're part of the "comfort package," IIRC.) I'm not positive, but I think these options are standard in the Premiere trim, and also with the light gray ("ash") interior color on the LT trim. Also....
How good the heater is really depends on how willing you are to let it heat, and how far you are from the point that you set the thermostat to. It's a variable output heater. It's not like typical ICE cars where you're balancing "full blast of all spare heat from engine" against "incoming cold air", and having to wait for there to be spare engine heat in the first place. The heaters are electric and go up to something ridiculous like 6kW, so if you set the thing for 90F cabin temperature and MAX climate, it'll roast you out the cabin in short order and flush a mile of range out the vents every three (or maybe two) minutes. On the other hand, if the cabin is about 50F on a sunny day and you set it to warm to 65, you might only get a little bit of power to the heater and the car will mostly depend on the sun warming the cabin up.
 

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Thank you all for your great responses thus far. The information has been helpful. Enough so that I am now planning on taking one out for a test drive in the next few weeks to help me determine whether this will be the car I want to buy when the time comes or whether I should continue with my current car and keep looking. I'm sure these questions could be asked when taking it out at the dealer, but I'd rather get answers from people who own the car versus someone who is trying to sell me the car.

I do have a few more questions:

1. How good is the heater? If it's electric, I imagine it warms up fairly quickly. I'm not as concerned about efficiency in terms of energy used, but how long it takes to warm up. During the winter, I have to go and start up my car about 20 minutes before I leave, otherwise I get into a frigid car. With a 40-minute commute, I'm not hopping into a freezing car! Will the electric heater heat the car up pretty quickly? I understand that on very cold days the gas engine may turn on as well- this is fine with me. But if I only have to run it for about 5-7 minutes versus 20, it's a difference. It might even mean that I "suffer" for the first few minutes and just turn it on when I leave.

2. Continuing on with the above question, can I run the heater with the car plugged in? Even if it doesn't regain all the electricity it uses, will it still help to replenish what the heater uses? And for that matter, the air conditioning?

3. It's great that it comes with a charger, though the 12 hour charge is a little disappointing. I'm going to look at that thread mentioned above, but for a short answer, is this car compatible with your typical home charging port that is at a higher voltage? To me, I would be willing to invest the money in a higher voltage charging unit to lower the charging time. On Mondays I come home at 5, and then head out for my bowling league at 6:30. That doesn't sound very useful if it takes 12 hours, but if it's less with a higher voltage, it might be worth plugging in. (Bowling is just an example of coming home and heading back out without much time passing).
First, keep in mind that the 12 hour 120V (wall socket) charge is only if the electric range is completely used up, this is not the case for most people who are typically just commuting and return with 1/2 a battery or more. I easily ran a Nissan Leaf off the 120V charger, only plugging in overnight, and it had a longer charge time (from empty) than the Volt.

Second, you said you were willing to hook up 240V Level 2 ESVE, that would make the charge time very reasonable 4-5 hours (from empty). For example, we have a Nissan Leaf and a Gen 2 Volt, and we have a single 240V charger that manages easily to keep both topped up with minimal fuss.

Third, the volt comes with heated steering wheel and heated seats, you rarely need to 'heat the full cabin' with this car, if your hands and tush are warm. The heater is pretty fast though if you want to sacrifice the electric range for it. You can pre-condition the car with it plugged in, you just have to make sure the last time you were in the car, that the temperature settings are to what you want to pre-heat to, as it only does remote pre-heat based on the current climate setting controls on the vehicle.
 

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Can't speak for 2016+ heater, but it's supposed to be higher power than the one i have, which...

5-7 mins will get the cabin heating for sure. It won't be roasting you by then, but it will be warming.
Volt works with a blend of traditional heating system and electric heater.
It's not instant like a hair dryer, but heats a small amount of coolant to pass through the heater core and then into the cabin.
So there is a small delay while that coolant heats up, but once it has heated up, you also get a mass of heat maintained to draw from.
The benefit of this is that when using the engine, you can use a traditional heating loop from the engine, or you can use the electrically heated coolant through the same heating core to the cabin.

If you want to heat while plugged in, you'll want 240V in order to replenish as much battery as possible.
The heater draws more than you can recharge (about double), but it still does ok over a 10 minute remote start (if plugged in and remote start it will automatically start drawing power from the grid)
 

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I purchased a ’17 Volt and drove a ’12 Prius C just prior and a ’08 Prius before that. I too had great reliability with them and benefited from fantastic fuel economy. Both cars excelled at those two things and had good interior space and the flexibility/room to haul things when needed. but I also found the interior quality to be on the cheap side and the driving dynamics to be pretty poor on both.

The lease was coming due so I test drove the ’16 Prius and it was an improvement over those Prii in just about all areas except the exterior styling. But when you took in the complete picture this Gen. Four Prius feels like a just-good-enough evolution rather than revolution—if I was driving your Gen. Three, I wouldn’t be feeling jealous or compelled to upgrade.

For me the Gen. Two Volt’s interior is a much nicer place to be (except if you’re tall and in the back seats) than any Prius. It’s also noticeably quieter, quicker and feels like a much more solid car. These are all important factors in choosing a car but, I ultimately chose the Volt over Prius because I could do my commute electrically (day-to-day cost is as cheap as an E.V.), but unlike most E.V.’s on the market, I’d still have the range and security of an efficent gas engine to go on long range trips or day trips and do it on a whim. Add to that generous gov’t incentives that brought down the cost to a comparable Prius and it was an easy choice.

I think the other forum members have done a great job of answering your specific questions, but given your situation I would suggest taking the Volt out for a test drive late this year or early next. If you can arrange a 24 hour test drive that would be even better. Since you have the luxury of time, experiencing how it performs in the winter vs. your Prius on those hills should give you a good idea if the handling, power, efficiency/fuel economy stack up compare to what you have.

Depending on your needs/situation I’d also compare it to a Bolt which will have a bigger interior in a smaller package then the Volt or your Prius. By spring time the Bolt should be out long enough that we’ll get some early real world initial impressions and data. Now the Bolt won’t give you the security of a gas engine fallback like the Volt, but a 238 mile EPA range seems practical for just about anything other than long-range travel. Even those should get much easier along highways and major roads in the coming years as the high speed charging network expands.

I wish I would’ve been able wait until at least this coming spring to consider purchasing like you. I’m skeptical I would’ve made another decision, but there should be some more plug-in and E.V. options in the coming months and even more as 2017 unfolds. And having options when it comes to cars is never a bad thing.
 

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I am most concerned about your financial calculations. You should not dump a perfectly good Prius when the equity equals the trade-in value. I had cleared my payments on a 2008 Prius for three years before I considered a trade-in on a 2013 Volt. I am paying-off the loan for the 2013 Volt within two years, but still wonder whether I should have gotten rid of a wonderful vehicle that took me everywhere with an efficiency of 50 MPG. I was getting 160 MPG with my Volt for the first 11 months, but am now working my way up from 80 MPG after a 4,000-mile trip without charging. The advantages of a Volt over a Prius are negligible. I bought a Volt to demonstrate the technological practicality of a plug-in electric to my local government leaders. Demonstrations of the Volt have resulted in no movement in government purchasing away from gas-guzzling, wasteful vehicles. Stick with your Prius for now. The Volt will not produce adequate heat for you when the outside temperature drops below zero. I am not bothered much because I climb 14,000-foot peaks year-round in all kinds of weather. I wear a down jacket on my fifteen-minute commute to work. I hate when the range-extender gasoline engine kicks-in with cold weather conditions, cutting my fuel economy for the trip to under 100 MPG. The Prius and Volt are extremely competitive vehicles. Take 80,000 to 100,000 miles out of your Prius before trading-in for a used Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I am most concerned about your financial calculations. You should not dump a perfectly good Prius when the equity equals the trade-in value. I had cleared my payments on a 2008 Prius for three years before I considered a trade-in on a 2013 Volt. I am paying-off the loan for the 2013 Volt within two years, but still wonder whether I should have gotten rid of a wonderful vehicle that took me everywhere with an efficiency of 50 MPG. I was getting 160 MPG with my Volt for the first 11 months, but am now working my way up from 80 MPG after a 4,000-mile trip without charging. The advantages of a Volt over a Prius are negligible. I bought a Volt to demonstrate the technological practicality of a plug-in electric to my local government leaders. Demonstrations of the Volt have resulted in no movement in government purchasing away from gas-guzzling, wasteful vehicles. Stick with your Prius for now. The Volt will not produce adequate heat for you when the outside temperature drops below zero. I am not bothered much because I climb 14,000-foot peaks year-round in all kinds of weather. I wear a down jacket on my fifteen-minute commute to work. I hate when the range-extender gasoline engine kicks-in with cold weather conditions, cutting my fuel economy for the trip to under 100 MPG. The Prius and Volt are extremely competitive vehicles. Take 80,000 to 100,000 miles out of your Prius before trading-in for a used Volt.
That's a perfectly valid thought. At this point, it's not for finances, the environment, I'm disappointed, etc... as to why I am considering switching. I am considering switching to get a car that, in my opinion, is likely better that I will enjoy. When I bought my Prius, I wanted to get a Volt, I just didn't think I could afford it. Of course, I didn't do the research that showed that with incentives, they end up being around the same price.

Even though I am very excited to go for a test drive, and I hope that if that goes well it'll only be a few months or so, I have considered that I may end up owning my Prius until it's paid off. There's nothing wrong with that scenario. I do get excellent mileage on my car. In some ways, I would be sad to see it go since it has been very good to me. But I also want to think to where I will be in a few years. Right now I believe that I am in a good position to afford a Volt. In four or five years, that might not be as clear an option, at least when looking at the START of a car purchase. I'm not planning anything in the next four or five years, it's just that I have no idea what I'll be doing then. I'd rather have to worry about paying on a Volt for the last year or so of payments than trying to finance the entire amount. Basically, I'd rather pay for it now while I know I can afford it than hold off and hope that I can afford it in the future when my Prius is paid off. My plan is to take whatever I can get in tax credits and incentives and put it into a savings account in case I lose my job, lose hours, etc... If I can get the full amount of $7,500 from the federal government and $2,500 from the state, that's over a year of payments sitting in a bank account.

Who knows? I might do exactly what you said. My sister recommended the same thing to me- to hold off and pay it off. But she's also sitting with a car in her driveway that is 10 years old that she has to get repaired almost every other month. I don't want to have to do that with my car. I think that by switching to a Volt where 90-95% of my daily commute could be handled by the electric portion of the car would help to stave off any real maintenance on the car. I also am considering the Volt to help transition to electric. I do want to eventually look at complete electric, but I feel like going directly from a Prius to a Bolt/Tesla 3 is a big jump that I may not actually want to make in the near future.

Sorry to hear your efforts were ineffective in your local government. I am lucky to live in a town where energy efficiency has been a big concern. I served on our energy committee and board of selectmen, and looked into hybrids when purchasing new vehicles. Unfortunately large vehicles like plows still have a ways to go.
 

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We have both a 2010 Prius and a 2016 Volt LTZ. Both are great cars in my book. The Prius is my car with 150,000 miles and still gets 55 mpg, calculated, in summer and 47 -50 mpg or so in winter driving conditions here in northwestern Oregon. My wife has the 2016 Volt which she drives her 32 mile round trip to her business with no issues and has about 25 -30 miles of range left when she returns home.

The Volt hands down the most fun to drive. The Prius is dependable as a cast iron pan.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Well, I just took it for a test drive today. I'm sold on it being a decent car, I'm just not sold on whether it's worth upgrading at this time.

It was a really nice drive. It was quiet (though not that much quieter than my Prius), and it had really good pickup. The interior was nice, and I liked the telescoping steering wheel. The trunk space is about the same as my car, which is acceptable. The only complaint I really had was that the back seat was pretty short. My hair was touching the ceiling, and I'm only 5'7" (pretty short). That said, my passenger pointed out that I don't have people in the back seat much, and those that I do have are usually my nephews, all of whom are still in car seats/booster seats. My other little "annoyance" was that I drove only about 6-7 miles, but lost 11 miles of charge. I DID get up on the highway for a few miles, but didn't break any speed records.

I liked all of the little doodads. It's nice that it had a remote starter and heated seats. The regenerative paddle on the steering wheel was NICE. Like... holy crap that thing slowed the car down- even off the highway! It also had far better regenerative braking than my car. I never once used the actual brakes, yet some of the stops I had were "stronger" than what my Prius can handle. The backup camera was pretty decent, too (though I'm not sure I'd be able to trust it!)

I'm convinced that this would be a nice car. I'm just not sure if I'm convinced whether it's worth trading my car in and starting a whole new cycle of car payments. Part of me says "hold off, pay some more of your Prius off". The other part says "get it now before you start having problems and before federal/state incentives run out".
 
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