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Discussion Starter #1
We have been strongly considering the purchase of a Volt for a few months now, but given my analytic nature, I know I have to consider all options for new and slightly used cars, and balance features and costs to arrive at a decision of what truly is the "best car" for us.

Like many Volt owners, the idea of driving gas free (or nearly so) is very enticing (regardless of your reasons). Cost is also a factor, and I'm most aware of the "total operating cost" of the Volt over the long haul. The geek factor is pretty high on the Volt, and we're both total techie geek types (I'm a software engineer and she does support for computer systems), so the Volt definitely maxes out in that category!

I drive 15k to 16k miles a year currently. My daily commute is just over 40 miles round trip, but I also tend to drive about 5 miles at lunch, and we'd probably always drive my Volt (or whatever) on the weekend shopping trips. The chances of me being able to plug in at work every day are slim, so I'd probably wind up dipping into gas nearly every day on my way home, especially during the brutal Texas summers. I'm estimating about $25 in electricity and about one tank of gas every month for my driving patterns in a Volt. Obviously, a lease is NOT an option for me.

Which brings me to the competition:

A Prius of any flavor is simply not an option for me, as I find it repulsive in every way. Moving on...

I recently discovered the Ford Fusion and its forthcoming Hybrid models. To get a Fusion equipped similarly to the Volt that we've been looking for (which has an MSRP of $42,560, for reference), I think a Fusion Hybrid Titanium is required. We went to the local Ford shop yesterday, and were told that those models would not be on lots until probably February (what a bummer), but I did drive a Fusion SE with the smaller turbo and 6spd auto, which has similar power ratings to the Hybrid, but the Hybrid will have a CVT (which I personally find atrocious). To get the Fusion closer to real Volt performance, you'll have to wait for the Energi plug-in model, which from what I've found will sticker for about $39.5k, $41k for the Titanium trim level, and only get half the tax credit of the Volt at $3750.

http://www.plugincars.com/ford-prices-2013-fusion-energi-39495-125445.html

This plug-in should get me about 20 miles of electric driving, so I'd be doing real good just to get to work before the gas engine kicked on, and I'd definitely burn a lot more gas. I figure fuel cost per month, for me, would be about $15 in electricity, and easily twice the gas usage, but it would get probably 47MPG or better, based on the Hybrid's 47/47/47 EPA ratings.

It's impossible for me to know exactly what my monthly payments might be on a Fusion Energi Titanium at this point, but as far as I can tell, Ford won't be giving a $2k cash rebate at purchase, with 0% interest, or discounts off MSRP like I have already been offered at my local Chevy dealership, and the tax credit is nearly $4k less. I'd use MORE gas, have about the same car payment, get less tax back, but I'd have a larger car with 5 usable seats and a more spacious back seat and a little more trunk space (although to be honest, I much prefer hatchbacks, so the overall form factor of the Volt is a plus for me).

If you've read this far, I think you can tell which way I'm already leaning, but I still think Ford will sell a lot of Fusion Hybrids, and possibly a fair number of Energi models, if they can figure out a good way to market them. The '13 Fusion is FAR superior to the last model (which I hated to drive), and these cars will undoubtedly draw some potential Volt buyers. Then again, it may also help Volt sales by getting "normal" consumers to think more about alternative / hybrid / fully electric capable drive-trains, after Ford starts spending money on advertising them.

I personally find it a bit of a stretch to pay upper $30k's for a mid-range Ford product, but some would say that buying a compact Chevy for mid-$30k's (after tax credit) is also foolish. I'm attempting a fair, rational analysis of options for car buyers that want to minimize gas usage, even if there's a premium to pay upfront for those savings.

Ford isn't selling these cars yet, but they will be soon, and it will be a direct competitor to the Volt, IMO. For people with 3 kids, it will be the only choice other than a Prius. I just hope GM gets their Voltec platform into more models soon (and they don't all have to be halo cars!).

I'm interested in what pros and cons you all have in this comparison of a
~$43k Volt (less $7500 tax credit) with a ~40 mile electric range and ~40MPG gas rating, versus a
~$41k Fusion Energi Titanium (less $3750 tax credit) with a ~20 mile electric range and ~47MPG gas rating.

Thanks!
 

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You said you were in Texas, but not sure where. If you are in the DF/W area you're welcome to come over and try out our Leaf and Volt. as for the cost, despite what some news reporters are saying, the extra cost will eventually pay for itself in time.

One issue I have with Ford's lineup of plug-in hybrids is that they are dependent on the gas engine for full performance. Driving in EV mode is possible, but the car is crippled in terms of performance. With the Volt, so such sacrifice is made. The car drives about the same (if not better) in EV mode.

Also the Fords don't qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit due to the smaller battery packs they have.
 

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The big differences in EV range and EV performance between the two makes the Volt the far better choice IMO. Look at it this way: you are spending substantially more in cost over more standard versions of these cars because of their EV capability; so choose the one giving you the best of what you seek.
 

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The 3 to 6 months you'd spend waiting for the Ford would be much more enjoyable in a Volt. Why wait? Start driving mostly without gas now.
 

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I did drive a Fusion SE with the smaller turbo and 6spd auto said:
What is wrong with a hybrid CVT transmission? It's not the mechanical variable pulley CVT put in small ICE cars. The Toyota and Ford Hybrids and Fusion Energi use a very simple and reliable sun/planetary/ring gear CVT setup. The Volt transmission also uses sun/planetary/ring gear transmission with a bit different operation including some clutches.

Note that the C-Max owners are having some difficulty getting the EPA rated 47MPG based on early user comments. The Fusion uses a very similar power train to the C-Max so it's EPA ratings may be more difficult to achieve than expected. Ford optimized and tweaked the C-Max and Fusion power train calibration to maximize the EPA test results which may actually yield suboptimal overall results for real world driving.
 

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I have trouble believing that the Energi with its parallel setup will give you the same quiet, smooth, and responsive ride that you get from the Volt. Nothing wrong with the Energi, I just don't think it's in the same class as the Volt. Sometimes the specs don't give you a very clear picture.

Nothing against the Energi though. I'm sure it's a fine vehicle, and, if you're willing to settle for a different driving experience, it does have the fifth seat.
 

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They won't be offering much in the way of discounts at Ford just yet.

But you should be able to barter down $4K or more for a Volt. Check Stingray's prices (link below) down in Florida. They have a whole bunch of Volts on November sale right now (I presume December will also have a month-ending blow-out sale). If you wait until June 2013, you will be able to get some deep discounts for 2012 Volts. Plus, you have time to sign up for and use a GM card. 5% of earnings towards a new car (up to $1000 for Volts now). For me, I got that plus another 1500 "bonus earnings" mailer in June which put me in a Volt July 2nd (last day of "june"). With the federal tax credit and our PA 3500 rebate, my 2011 Volt was $25K out of pocket (purchased, not leased). You gave an MSRP for your Volt target. You should not pay more than $38K for the one you are talking about. Hunt far and wide for a dealer who will work with you. MSRP for a car these days? Don't do it.

You are able to possibly get a good discount for Ford's Focus EV which we have heard has some Ford-based incentives.

Your 40+ miles is right in Volt's wheelhouse. You should be able to do that almost year-round on electricity. Even with the 5 miles at lunch.
 

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I think the primary uncertainty people have about making the plunge on electric/EREV cars is about the change in their driving experience. What GM has done with the Volt is remarkable in that there isn't much difference...just quieter. The acceleration and cruising speed of the Volt seems to be to be about like a well powered 6-cyl ICE so you drop into Drive (or low if you prefer), press the accelerator and off you go. If you have a full charge, it's all electric. Once the juice is gone, a quiet little engine kicks in with no compromise of performance.

I live in New Hampshire so my all electric range varies greatly from season to season. I envy you folks down South!!!


Love my Volt
White Diamond Tricoat 16,000 miles today! 161 MPG
 

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You should note the ford Energi is not 47/47/47.. For the C-MAX Energi its 41MPG on gas.. after the 20miles of EV.
Expect the same or even a little less in the Fusion Energi.

If you need the 5th seat frequently the Ford might be good, but except for that, you already known in your heart where you want to go. Don't get analysis paralysis, life it too short. Get a Volt and enjoy.
 

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Very nice analysis.

Since you are only looking at purchasing and keeping long term, the one thing I don't see in your thread is your opinion on Volt 2.0. If you are willing to consider waiting for Fusion Titanium to come out then is it possible that you might be willing to also wait until the end of next year to see how GM has changed the Volt? Would you kick yourself if you purchased the Fusion and the next generation of the Volt were even that much better? Things are changing fast...

Personally, in your shoes I would consider finding the best and shortest leasing deal I could find for the Volt before the end of this year and pre-purchasing as many miles as needed (I have no idea if there is a limit beyond 15k per year).
 

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The 3 to 6 months you'd spend waiting for the Ford would be much more enjoyable in a Volt. Why wait? Start driving mostly without gas now.

Well said!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the input everyone. To be totally honest, had I already found the Volt with the options and colors we want, I'd have bought it, but as my search has gone on, I have had time to consider other options. I was a bit dismayed when the Ford sales guy told me that they didn't even have any Fusion Titanium models in stock (and they're one of the largest Ford dealers in the state!), and the factory wouldn't even be shipping the Hybrid (much less Energi) until Feb-Mar.

My timeline for buying is definitely before Spring rolls around. If I can't find the Volt I want by the end of this year, I'll probably just suck it up and order one (and hope I don't get boned when it arrives). I don't want to endure my car's weak air conditioning through another TX summer! I don't really need 5 seats, and I prefer hatchbacks, and I don't really trust Ford's EPA ratings given what all I've read (prior to this thread, actually, but also including some of the links given here).

RE: "Volt 2.0" - any reasonably reliable info out there on that? I know they've got the Caddy ELR in the pipeline, and it will likely have a more performance-oriented setup, but I doubt they will "change the platform" and have both models share exactly the same configuration (not to hijack my own thread or anything).
 

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If you cannot find a volt locally, call a volt advisor and asked them to find one for you. They found me exactly what I wanted in TX. Maybe they can find you one. Many people here have bought out of state, many even have it delivered.
 

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Stingray ( Plant City Florida ) has almost 40 on the lot, and a few have bought and have them shipped to TX. If Stingray doesn't have what you want, it probably doesn't exist
 

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Re: the idea of the next model year being Volt 2.0 / upgraded in some way, there isn't anything more than rumors, and you're not going to be able to even order a 2014, much less receive it, within the time frame you're talking about.
 

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Just buy the Volt. BUY IT! :)

A Prius of any flavor is simply not an option for me, as I find it repulsive in every way.
LOL. "Shhh, Prity, go back to sleep, it was only the wind"

Totally agree with 1337volt, if you only commute 20 miles each way/40 RT, take the plunge.

And work on being able to plug in at the office every day, even if only for a few hours, and you can both go out to lunch and drive home gas-free. Can't beat that feeling.

(FYI - my commute is 70 miles RT, I live in New England, charge at work, go out to lunch, and never use gas on my commute)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you cannot find a volt locally, call a volt advisor and asked them to find one for you. They found me exactly what I wanted in TX. Maybe they can find you one. Many people here have bought out of state, many even have it delivered.
How do I contact a Volt advisor? I found one in New Mexico, but my local dealer gave me a ballpark figure of $1k to have it transported the roughly 600 miles, and I find that to be a bit high, especially given that a dealer in FL told me $500 to transfer one from there to here if he could find one.
 

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Seems like the Volt is a no brainer for you based on your likes, needs and analysis. I would add to consider the battery usage and longevity, especially with Texas hiot summers. Ford's configurations use the battery much harder than the Volt: higher power to total battery kwh ratio, twice the cycles to go the same electric miles, smaller buffer. How does mountain mode work with such a smaller battery or after going the speed limit (up to 85mph) on Texas highways?

They better have a real battery warranty, unlike Nissan.
 

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How do I contact a Volt advisor? I found one in New Mexico, but my local dealer gave me a ballpark figure of $1k to have it transported the roughly 600 miles, and I find that to be a bit high, especially given that a dealer in FL told me $500 to transfer one from there to here if he could find one.

Chevrolet Volt Advisor Team
(877) 486-5846



1K does seem steep. I cannot say though as we made it a road-trip vacation and drove my trade in to TX and drove the volt back.
 
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