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Almost 18k miles on a 2017 Volt and I consider myself lucky to have survived what I consider to be the worst visibility I've ever encountered in decades of driving. I am, frankly, so frightened when I'm on the road that I will, this week, visit other dealerships to see if there's any way to trade in a less than nine month car.

The Volt has a few things I really like, but mostly I find it to be the most user UNfriendly vehicle I've ever driven. At the top of my list is the defective mirrors and interior design with horrible sight lines which add up to an utterly frightening experience on the road ... especially in unfamiliar territory.

I've owned VWs, Toyotas (including Prius), Hondas, Chevys, Oldsmobiles, GMC Trucks and have driving experience in everything from ancient Four On The Floor pickups and farm tractors to military Jeeps.

I've read through the Forum comments on mirrors and may give the paste on exterior mirror-ettes a try, but basically, I'm afraid the fear factor will cause me to say good by to my Volt.
 

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I think you will find that many new car designs exhibit similar visibility. The doors are higher, the rear is elevated behind the driver, the pillars are thicker, the windows are smaller and the driver area is tighter. It is not just the Volt. Even SUV's are going this way.

The visibility outward is second to crash safety, aerodynamics and stronger side and roof construction.

In my Buick, I have the blind spot option and it works quite well. Even with that though, I have had a few close calls. Good side and rear view mirror adjustments are key as is maintaining awareness of traffic behind and beside you at all times. Plan well in advance for lane changes and avoid having to do quick lane changes.
 

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Almost 18k miles on a 2017 Volt and I consider myself lucky to have survived what I consider to be the worst visibility I've ever encountered in decades of driving. I am, frankly, so frightened when I'm on the road that I will, this week, visit other dealerships to see if there's any way to trade in a less than nine month car.
Interestingly, 9 months is exactly how long I kept my 2012. I traded it in on a more roomy and better visibility CMax. You'll most likely lose your butt trading it in that early like I did but I was lucky as the $5k reduction on the Volt's Gen1 mid-cycle MSRP was just mere weeks later and would have made it impossible.

A couple of years later, I did pondered going back with a local, leftover 2015 and went to check it out. I forgot how cramped it felt and hard it was to see it out the back plus that car didn't have the rear cam option. No thanks. I was hoping the Gen2 was better and have been waiting to check it out too but local dealers still don't stock them. I'm hoping GM will put voltec in a better platform.
 

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To the OP.

"Deadly"? Manifestly not given the number of Volts on the road and the rather impressive lack of fatalities. However, you have to do what makes YOU comfortable, that is why they make different cars.

My wife had a terrible time at first with the Volt but eventually she learned to set the mirrors correctly and trust them and also got in the habit of remembering to do the "head bob" to see around the "A" pillars any time you make a turn.

I guess I'm just used to stuff like that as things like Limos and big trucks have even worse visibility and you HAVE to learn to set, use, and trust your mirrors, back up cams, et-al, or you simply can't drive them.

Hopefully you can find a solution that works for you.
 

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Visibility is probably my #1 complaint about my Volt. (Gen 1 in my case). But I find the forward visibility more objectionable than the rear visibility, even though both are bad. But I've managed to deal with the rear visibility somewhat decently when checking blind spots prior to changing lanes by being extra careful and always second-guessing myself when I think it's clear. And when backing out of my driveway or a parking spot, my head is always darting around like crazy between the rear camera display, the side mirrors, and over my shoulders. (I sure do miss the days when I could simply look over my right shoulder out the back window of my '95 Civic and get a near perfect view of everything behind me. Damn aerodynamic designs! :p ;) )
 

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It's a consequence of ever increasing crash survivability expectations. The only way is for bigger pillars. I almost side-swiped one car and one cyclist last week (Gen 1 - Ampera), I guess I could have looked around the A pillar more, but I thought I had and must have mismatched their movements with my head movements, I looked and just didn't see.
 

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Gen 2 visibility while going forward? No problem- be vigilant always, especially when changing lanes. Scary? Nah. Now what IS scary is backing up, something to be minimized when possible. And always very slowly. Love my Volt.
 

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Stop over reacting, blind spots in auto are common, why do manufactures offer Blind Spot Monitoring (my 2017 has them and they work) and have you looked on YouTube on how to properly adjust your mirror's?

BTW did you take a test drive before buying your Volt? If it's as bad as you say why did you buy it?
 

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You know the mirrors can be moved right? They are power, there is a switch to move them. Once you move them correctly there is no visibility problems.
 

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It's the forward visibility that's the issue, not the rearwards (at least, when you're going forwards ;) ).

I agree with the OP as far as I can and sympathise. Big bulky A-pillars are a standard feature, but that doesn't make them any less problematic. If you enter a particular angle of bend you can easily end up in the situation that you 'track' a part of the road ahead with the pillar and if something is coming along that just happens to match that, then you can miss it. You have to deliberately move your head, and then move it to the same point a second time to make sure you've not missed a moving target that happens to have coincided with where that blind spot has moved to.

I would be very happy to received any wisdom on how to avoid this, but there isn't any I currently think is going to be very good advice.
 

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My gen1 rear visibility was horrible until I figured out on this forum that the rear view mirror inside the car was upside down. A twist 180 degrees to put the sensor on the top fixed that, it now articulates correctly to where I need it. Just be careful not to spin it too many times, otherwise you might twist the wires to the point that they snap.

During the first 6 months of volt ownership, I was also deathly afraid of things that would be hiding behind the A or B pillars. Rear camera is a must, and even then, I tend to find parking spots where I can pull through forward so I don't need to back out at all. Even at work where we have spots along the edge of the building, I back in during the morning so when leaving, I can just pull straight out. Once I started doing that, the volt isn't so bad, and I was amaze how many other people in other cars are also doing it.

As a 1995 suburban owner, it's interesting how the beltline of the new suburban has also creeped up making visibility harder, especially for little ones in the back. I think the first car that I noticed having a really high beltline was the 2003 CTS - and I ended up buying a 2004 CTS for my wife. I don't see these high beltlines going away.
 

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*snip *

I've read through the Forum comments on mirrors and may give the paste on exterior mirror-ettes a try, but basically, I'm afraid the fear factor will cause me to say good by to my Volt.
I've also driven many models of cars and trucks and find the Gen 1 or 2 Volt no different than most really. It's something you adjust to over a short period of time.

Add on adhesive mirrors certainly help your field of view - try that out.
 

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Far too many people have no idea how to properly set their mirrors. It won't negate all blind spots but certainly minimizes them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I don't know if this will help the OP any, but this is how I added blind spot mirrors to my Volt.


There are many different types but after trying many over the years I definitely prefer the "wedge" shaped ones with a blue tint. This is my favorite brand/style.

When my mirrors are aimed properly (this is a great guide and explanation) then the smaller inboard mirrors act as a "short range" view.
Use is simple, if you can see anything in the small mirror(s) except pinpoint headlights at a far distance, then you aren't clear to change lanes.
 

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I have a hard time with this because visibility is hardly an issue with all the available technology. The Volt offers blind spot detection -- way better than a mirror -- forward collision alert, pedestrian alert, low speed auto braking, lane departure alert, side collision alert, a back up camera, and adaptive cruise control (this is probably more convenience but still helps on the safety front). That about covers it. Manufacturers can only offer safety equipment. It can't force people to buy it. If you have this technology then I don't understand the complaint. If you don't then perhaps the problem lies elsewhere.
 

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It's the forward visibility that's the issue, not the rearwards (at least, when you're going forwards ;) ).

I agree with the OP as far as I can and sympathise. Big bulky A-pillars are a standard feature, but that doesn't make them any less problematic. If you enter a particular angle of bend you can easily end up in the situation that you 'track' a part of the road ahead with the pillar and if something is coming along that just happens to match that, then you can miss it. You have to deliberately move your head, and then move it to the same point a second time to make sure you've not missed a moving target that happens to have coincided with where that blind spot has moved to.

I would be very happy to received any wisdom on how to avoid this, but there isn't any I currently think is going to be very good advice.
You need one of these:

 

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Volt/ELR blind spots are no different than other newer cars I have recently driven.

I usually do a pull-through parking spot in any vehicle. I rarely back ELR in since the back-up cam is a wider view that trying to sneak the hood beyond trucks. I do back in with the RAM 1500 as that has better forward visibility as it has no rear cam.

As others have said, why did you buy this car in the first place?
 

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I keep hearing people talking about visibility issues in the Volt but I haven't really noticed any. Maybe it's just that the cars I'm used to driving have all had similar visibility. I suppose the back window could extend a little further down (see: Tesla) but I've never had a blind spot issue in my '16 and I don't even have the blind spot monitor.
 

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I have had a couple closer than I would have liked calls with the gen2 Volt. None were actual close accidents, but could have been. The A pillar hid a car coming from the side last week. That will teach me to be more careful of that. The side rear view seems to actually have 2 potential blind spots. I am used to setting the side mirrors wide on other cars to get rid of the blind spot. You can do that and resolve either of the side blind spots, but not both. I end up with one close behind the B pillar. High on my list is investigating extra stick on mirrors. I meant to get to that last weekend.
The other thing that bugs me is, because of the high sill line, it is very difficult to judge curbs as you go around them in parking lots. If I lean as high and forward as I can I can almost see curbs.
 

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The other thing that bugs me is, because of the high sill line, it is very difficult to judge curbs as you go around them in parking lots. If I lean as high and forward as I can I can almost see curbs.
In limo training they set us up with a series of 4 small traffic cones (like these) arranged in a large box shape. We had to drive around the outside of the box and corner around them as close as we could manage without hitting them so that we learned to have a precise mental picture of the dimensions of the vehicle in relationship to the outside world.

To be fair, not a skill everyone can master (so remember to tip your limo driver well, they are very skilled people <grin>)
 
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