GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First of all big thanks to everyone on these forums. This is the premier source for facts, information and opinions on a brilliant car that’s often misunderstood mis-marketed and saddled with misconceptions.

It has been just over two weeks since I took possession of my ’17 Volt and I thought I’d share some background of how I got here and some initial impressions. First of all there’s a lot to like about the Volt. The ride feels planted, solid and comfortable while not being disconnected and floaty. The safety aids work great—the blind spot and rear cross traffic are like having an extra pair of hawk’s eyes on a giraffe’s neck. The infotainment is intuitive and integrates seamlessly with my phone. The phone app. is a handy nicety for charing and preconditioning. But best of all the efficiency is unparalleled—I likely won’t be visiting a gas station in quite some time if this keeps up.

In terms of quality, the technology, efficiency and tech of this car absolutely curb stomps my previous two vehicles: a Gen. II Prius and Prius C. I have fond memories of the Gen. II Prius as it was a fantastic use of space and an efficiency marvel at the time. But it never handled particularly well unless you were going straight on a flat road and it was down right dangerous in the snow without winter tires given how ludicrously aggressive and invasive the traction control acted with even the most minor loss of grip.

When it was time to replace it I stayed in the Prius family and opted for C. I didn’t often need the extra cargo space and gas prices were the highest level in my lifetime (they climbed even higher for the next two years), so I thought I’d downsize. I was happy at first, the C’s driving dynamics were a big improvement. It was not sports car but it felt pretty connected to the road and its diminutive exterior dimensions for its large interior space made it great for hauling stuff around while still being able easily park in tightest of urban spaces. The major downside was it was a huge step downward in quality with Toyota skimping out seemingly everywhere it mattered. Sound deadening was 20-years ago economy car level, something that becomes painfully apparent as soon as you floor it to pass or log significant time on a highway. The Entune infotainment was D.O.A. in its capabilities and ability to work with a smartphone. The paint was third rate (I’ve never had a car scratch so easily). The interior materials were embarrassing low grade and looked thrown together from a leftover parts bin. The blind spots and visibility would be comical if they weren’t potentially dangerous. The cargo volume looked good on a spec. sheet and adequate upon first impression, but I quickly found out that it’s configured in a way that’s impractical in the real world unless you fold down the rear seats—luckily there’s not often more than one other person in my car. The one thing I loved about the car was the superb fuel economy, but these days you need to delivery far more than that to earn sales and with one redeeming feature I was happy to see it go.

Before I got the Volt I crossed shopped it against the ’16 Prius and ’16 C-Max Energi. I actually started with the Prius and probably would’ve settled for one if my dealer hadn’t tried something seriously shady (that’s a story for another day). The ’16 Prius was a significantly improved drive over my Prius C and the previous generation Prius, but that wasn’t a high bar—it’s still slow and noisy but at least it does’t groan and throw its hands up in despair when you turn the steering wheel. The infotainment system hasn’t developed aside from cosmetics so it feels even more dated than my C. There’s also plenty of questionable choices like those begging-for-a-scuff-or-scratch- white gloss interior trim pieces and those ridiculous plastic bits covering up the alloy wheels which only make it look cheap and trap dirt. While exterior styling has never been a Prius strong point this generation’s styling is a horror show of confusion and an affront to good aesthetics. But the most damning thing was for the first time in a decade Hybrid Synergy Drive no longer seemed like a progressive environmental choice. With every manufacturer’s gas engines getting more efficient and often borrowing hybrid tricks like stop/start, the gap in efficiency isn’t as drastic as it was even a few years ago. Plus if you’re hauling around a battery and electric motors anyway it seems like a lost opportunity not to expand them to the point that you could go on a small errand trip in your neighbourhood entirely on electric power. That more than anything was the nudge needed to push me towards a plug-in which lead me to a C-Max.

Even though it has been virtually unchanged since it was introduced and Ford looks to be banishing it to its dingy basement with the surprise success of the Fusion Engeri, the C-Max Energi is still a much better car than the new Prius. The ride is more solid and comfortable, the handling more responsive, steering more direct and it’s way faster and responsive. The infotainment is also infinitely better than the Prius even with Sync’s sometimes frustrating quirks. It's a better space to spend time in the interior of C-Max being a fantastic and a comfortable place for four adults—the quality of the materials is tops for a eco car at this price point as is the interior room. Where it severely lacks is trunk space (that battery placement is a horrid compromise and takes what would be a great weekend trip car into a non-starter territory). The fuel and E.V. efficiency are also at least a half generation behind at this point and there’s no signs of improvement from Ford. Add to that driving dynamics and infotainment lacking a ways behind Chevy and E.V, power and range being two generations behind and it pushed me towards the Volt.

That said The Volt isn’t perfect. Those A and C pillars are brutally thick—the price for great crash protection in a compact I suppose—thank goodness for the safety aids helping to virtually shrink them. The dash plastics and seat adjustment leaves a bit to be desired given the car’s price point. The edge of the dash to windshield is wasted space that could have gone to the rear passengers (just look at the Bolt for proof). Not adding a USB port or two to the battery tunnel for the backseats is a shortsighted and there could and should be more storage spaces and pockets. That fabric privacy cover for the hatch deserves an eye roll. The tranmission shifter is a glorious waste of valuable space given its function when a dial or dash-mounted one would do the job just as well. Plus that back seat head room is ridiculous for anyone but children and diminutive adults. Also why can’t I at least have an option for a CD player (call me old school but I love listening to a good album and it’s simpler and safer to slip a disc in before you put the car into drive than it is to fiddle with a touch screen/voice commands)? But overall those are minor quibbles.

My one serious and significant issue has been GM’s quality assurance on this car. I waited five months for this car to arrive from the factory so there was plenty of time to do a thorough double check. Given that I’m incredibly disappointed that this car has been back to the dealer twice in a week’s time for a check engine light. Both times OnStar diagnosed it as the engine and transmission system not performing as expected with the fuel management system being the culprit. That seems more than a bit curious given I was driving on electric power both times it came on. The dealership service department did its thing and determined it was the brake pedal position sensor at fault—the first fix was a reprogram, the second was a replacement. I’m cautiously optimistic this fixes the issue for good, but I am still skeptical given the circumstances.

I’m grateful this issue has been rather minor given the shift to park errors some have experienced. Hopefully this and those issued are hiccups rather than ominous signs as overall the Volt has a long and strong record of stellar reliability and owner satisfaction. That said having a check engine light come on twice in a week’s time on a brand new car for the same problem with a “fix” in-between doesn’t inspire confidence in build quality nor GM or its dealer network’s ability to service potential problems. It’s a little disconcerting given that my previous cars were only ever brought in for regular maintence like oil changes. That said this is by far the best car I’ve owned and is still impressing me with its attention to detail, seamless and clever tech. and efficiency so viva la vida Volt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,437 Posts
Congrats on your new Volt, and the interesting summary. In a few weeks, we will have owned our Gen 2 Volt for one year. So far, the Volt has been an enjoyable car to drive. I am sure you will enjoy your drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,788 Posts
The gen II Volts changed/improved almost every single aspect of the drivetrain, interior, and other mechanics of the car, so there seems to be a few teething problems with them at this time. Hopefully, Chevrolet will get on top of it and solve them quickly, which will make the gen II as big or bigger home run as the first gen I was.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
Great that you're enjoying the car. It's a nice comfortable car with decent driving dynamics. And of course you can do most of your local driving in electric mode, which is quiet, smooth, and quick.

On the reliability, don't worry overly much. Your dealer will get it right. The first generation Volt was better than average and the second generation is likely similar. That's not as good as the Prius, which is much better than average, but it's decently close.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,661 Posts
Welcome aboard, my 2017 built 6/16 so far has been flawless. This is my 3rd Volt, I owned a 2012 and 2013. I had both for about 18 months. Both were awesome needing little warranty work due some TSB's and a couple of recall!s. Nothing cause me any distress or stranded us. My dealer has been first rate.

I was initially looking to buy a CPO Tesla, but I stopped by my dealer and they gave me a 2017 for a few hours, even took it home to add some extra miles on my CC LCS-25 and fell in love all over again.

The Tesla is going to have to wait, and with this kind of range it will wait a LONG time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I have a 2017 volt with the adaptive cruise control, but previously owned 2 priuses.

The 1st one was a gen2 Prius and I kept it until 140k miles. The 2nd was a gen3 with the sunroof, leather seats, etc.., and I just sold that privately after I purchased the volt. They were both extremely trouble free, I think I replaced the brakes once on each Prius, about 110k miles each. The gen3 did need a major repair to the power electronics, but that was covered under a warranty extension for that specific problem. I'm guessing that there was a potential electro-migration issue in the power transistors, but that's pure speculation. Toyota paid for the replacement, so go to keep the electronics replaced.

I have to say I'm loving the volt so far. At this point I was bored with the prius driving dynamics. While the gen4 Prius seems to have improved the handling, the acceleration was still lackluster at best.

I like the initial pickup of the volt pulling away from a stop light or just driving around town.

My commute is roughly 150 miles round trip a couple of days a week, with 60 miles of 75MPH highway driving in the middle and around town slow speed driving for a total of 15 miles on around town driving split between the start/end if the trip.

It has worked really well so far to drive to the highway in normal mode, get up to speed, then engage hold mode. Steady state at ~75mph the gas engine get right around 40mpg.

The adaptive cruise control is GREAT. It seems to gauge the traffic speed changes better than I would from a distance so probable gets better mileage as it's anticipating slowdowns ahead and coasts or regen brakes if needed.

So far my volt has been trouble free, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I was spoiled by the dependability of the Prius.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the kind words and the warm welcome. I'm quite enjoying the car and at this point I'm not overly worried at the issues I've experienced. I'm cautiously optimistic things are resolved and this was just a minor hiccup.

It's interesting to read that there are more than a few ex-Prius owners here who have had good experiences and reliability, but are feeling a little disappointed in Toyota's line-up, attitude and eco. approach. I recall reading press a decade ago about GM being an overly cautious dinosaur in terms of its attitude and Toyotam with the Prius in particular, being lauded as a progressive leader in a sustainable future for automobiles. I know I certainly bought into that narrative and believe it was justified at the time. But things can and do quickly change because I see Toyota as the dinosaur these days. The Mirai is an interesting experiment but it's hard to see how it will ever be practical given the problematic state of hydrogen fuel production and fueling infrastructure. In the face of the current generation Volt, and even the first generation, the upcoming Prius Prime with its underwhelming range and compromises feels like the mild hybrids GM produced in to save face when Prius was the eco darling. Compare the Mirai to the Bolt and the Gen. II Volt to the Prime and it's very clear who has the more progressive and eco. line-up.

If you had told past me that GM would be a progressive leader in the eco. automobiles and Toyota would be short sighted and clinging to the past I'd have heartily laughed and applauded your sense of humour. But that's the funny thing about the world if you're not the one leading the change you one wake-up having found the world around you has changed and is pushing you not so subtly to adapt or be left behind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
I read somewhere (not too long ago) that the prime 'Never Bought a Chevrolet before' customer for the VOLT are people trading in their Prius.

It was Edmunds.com, quoting GM: http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/toyota-prius-is-most-frequently-traded-in-vehicle-for-chevrolet-volt-gm-says.html

We had a 2006 Prius until recently. Reliable car. Not much fun to drive, but sure gets from A to B cheaply. Recently, it also does not qualify for any of the Ontario (Canada) green incentives (HOV lanes, etc. etc.). Very happy to sell it off and replace with 2017 Volt, which has proved superior in every way, including daily cost (Electricity here is cheap, gas is expensive--relative to USA)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
That's a fascinating study but I think the geographic location and limited sample size mean that you can't credibly extrapolate the findings to outside of California or even the time of the study (two years ago). That said anecdotally it's true of me. If not for the Volt I wouldn't have even stepped into a Chevy dealership and aside from it and the Bolt I have no interest in the rest of its line-up.

I echo your comments on the Prius, Khalfyard. I'm in Ontario as well and remember a modest provincial incentive I received for my '08 Prius—it was a nice bonus on top of the gas savings. But the incentives the '17 Volt qualifies for today were a much more significant factor in my decision—they put the Volt in neighbourhood of a comparably equipped Prius and came with hard to ignore perks like (HOV access and gas free miles). Not to mention the Volt drives, feels and looks better than either of the Prius or the Prius C so I wasn't hesitant to leave Toyota behind.

Going back to that study I think the Bolt also has a significant opportunity to bring new customers into Chevy showrooms. The key will be getting as many skeptical but open minded people as possible into the car to experience it first hand. GM still has a significant challenge in breaking down decades long preconceptions that their cars are poor quality and behind the times. Both touring test drives in places like mall parking lots, weekend-long test drives, making them the Lyft vehicle of choice and even urban adventure type races for social media influencers should be things GM is planning for the Bolt next year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
Test Drives. Test Drives. Test Drives. If the dealerships could get more people to do a test drive in SPORT mode, there would be a lot more commuters coming into the fold.

(Although, admittedly the rear-hatch visibility issue will be a deal breaker to some.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Another former Prius ownere here. I traded in my 2004 Prius with 150K miles for a gently used 2015 Volt with only 4K miles. That was my second Prius, having previously owned a MY2002.

I got to drive a 2017 Volt at a local electric car show and really liked it, so added to my list of possible car replacements along with Prius and Prius Prime. We were at the Chevy dealer looking at 2017s while my Prius was across the street getting its 150K service. I had just decided that the 2017 was out of my price range (we're retired, and I didn't want a car payment) when the Toyota dealer called to say my Prius needed $1100 worth of brake work (don't ask!).

I was about to go back to the Toyota dealer and talk about Priuses when the Chevy saleswoman showed me the 2015 Volt that I wound up buying. They gave me a decent amount for a trade in on my 12-year-old Prius, and that's how I wound up with my Volt.

We've just installed a charging station in the garage, because with two plug-ins (my husband has a CMax Energi) we needed to reduce the charging time so we can share.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
...and it was down right dangerous in the snow without winter tires given how ludicrously aggressive and invasive the traction control acted with even the most minor loss of grip.
Not just winter, but any time I was pulling out from a side street and had any wheel slip at all (there's frequently a lot gravel in intersections) my 2005 Prius would just drop power completely, leaving me stalled part way into the active roadway until it restarted. It never actually killed me, but I had more than a few heart-stopping milliseconds. Even a slightly rain-slick incline resulted in multiple stalls as it chattered its way uphill. The dealer insisted this was normal behavior. Why I kept it 11 years I don't know, but the '17 Volt I traded it in on just moves on out or up without any hesitation. Just a personal observation.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top