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Ok these threads have gone on before, but this was my first experience driving a Gen 2 (I've only been a passenger in my coworker's).

I was at the dealership for an issue on my '13--the dreaded "battery too cold, plug in to warm" with a CEL--and NOT because the battery is too cold. Depending on how this ends, I'll save it for another thread.

They had a heather gray '17 LT with comfort on the lot so I figured what the heck, take it for a spin.

Impressions--

PROS:
Salesperson was VERY knowledgeable about the Volt. He used to sell Leafs and had less kind things to say about that. Given our collective experience with Chevy sales, this was a pleasant surprise. He was a younger guy and newer to GM (relatively speaking), so maybe they are stepping up their training.

Volt was fully charged, reading 52 estimated at startup. Nice to see.

'17 MUCH quicker off the line than Gen 1. Had to make sure it wasn't in sport mode.

Apple CarPlay seems to alleviate my many complaints with the way Gen 1 plays--or doesn't play--with my iPhone.

Engine noise was practically non-existent. Put it in hold mode to test and had to look at the power display to be sure it was actually running.

Heated steering wheel!;) Telescoping, too!

Styling-wise, I like the back better than the front. To me, that seems the most unique cue of the vehicle. Heather gray is a great color.

LT rims not as "bad" as feared. Not "great" but a step above the base Gen 1 rims. I have the sport wheels on my Gen 1, so it's tough to make a fair comparison.

Layout of buttons way more logical and got comfortable quickly. I'm still learning the Gen 1 potpourri console.

Handled bumps way better, less road noise. Just way smoother overall.

Felt more "mature" of a car--the Volt grew up.

Only used the paddle once--but liked it.

CONS:
Quite frankly, my "cons" are a matter of personal preference for having a "distinct" vehicle. I'm not a "Camry" kind of guy and have always been attracted to rides on the edge of mainstream.

So because of that, the Gen 2 didn't "grab" me like Gen 1. It is way more integrated into the Chevy lineup. It seems less "halo" and more like another Chevy variety. I can understand why GM did this and support making it mainstream if it brings more buyers "to the plug" (which I think it is doing).

But this "regular car" feeling was hard to shake especially when I got my loaner car--a new base model Cruze--and noticed its initial resemblance to the FRONT of the Volt sans grill (but nowhere else--the other 3/4 of the Volt, especially the back, is quite different). This is not Chevy making the Volt LIKE the Cruze, but the direction they are going for family resemblance. Car people will see the differences right away, but I suspect most "average folks" won't. But heck, the Cruze itself looks BETTER now. So good for Chevy.

Although it's not fair to compare a base model with cloth seats to a "premium" '13, it certainly FELT "less expensive"--even though more refined in road manners. I need to check out a premier for a real comparison.

It also felt like the dash stuck too far into the cabin--like it was on top of me (and I was back a ways). Gen 2 is slightly longer, but feels more cramped. Maybe it's the slightly lower headroom. Maybe it's the 5th seat--having the captain's chairs in the back gives some illusion of additional space. I'm not really sure, but that might change with some different seating adjustments, although I felt the same way in my coworker's Gen 2 as a passenger.

It also seemed less sporty despite being faster. Probably a result of refinement.

In the end, not too many real negatives--it truly is a better "car"--I just have that nagging "it's not as special" as Gen 1 feeling. But that might be because my '13 is my FIRST with electric driving, so it's impossible to feel that with my SECOND. Maybe a BEV like the Bolt will have that magic.

The one car that did get my attention on the lot was the new Cruze hatchback. Whoa that is a pretty sharp ride, and comes in manual, too. Probably fun as hell. I tried to convince them to loan me that instead.

Oh, and just for fun I wanted to see what kind of a deal they would give me. Since I was only half-interested, I didn't want to waste their time by getting into a drawn-out negotiation--but they weren't busy either. They got to about $30k WITH dealer-installed leather seats. Not a terrible deal, and maybe with some more work would have gotten better, but again--more interested to see what the heck is up with my Gen 1 before driving off in a Gen 2. Depending on that outcome, maybe I'll start seeing if they'll throw in those crazy expensive new sport wheels to liven things up.
 

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Nice write up,Rock. I usually skip the hip-shot "first impression" stuff because most are either tiredly repetitive or downright stupid. You can't miss with your Volt or a new one. Enjoy.
 

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I agree with what you're saying. The new generation is better n just about every way but, despite being faster, doesn't seem as sporty. I'm thinking this is the ride, which is more comfortable. Putting more performance tires on the first generation Volt makes a big difference in the ride and handling, so perhaps some of the improvement is due to tire technology.

The center stack display is definitely nicer -- especially at night -- and the lack of haptic buttons is welcomed.
 

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Haptic. Learned a new word! I think the gen 1 stack LOOKS cool at night, gives me sort of an airliner feel. But I'll never be able to instinctively find those "haptic" buttons. Although I have gotten better at not brushing my finger over the heated seat button when going for the touchscreen. Seat heat in 100° weather is uncomfortable. Still have to sit in a gen 2. Nearest dealer is 90 miles away......
 

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I have a question about the regen brake paddle - as I understand it, the Gen 1 has the regenerative braking as part of the brake pedal (another words when you brake, it's doing the regenerative braking). So on the Gen 2, you have to press the paddle AND brake at the same time or does pressing the paddle brake the car? For me personally, I would think having the regen braking integrated into the braking pedal is better than having to remember to press the paddle.
 

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I have a question about the regen brake paddle - as I understand it, the Gen 1 has the regenerative braking as part of the brake pedal (another words when you brake, it's doing the regenerative braking). So on the Gen 2, you have to press the paddle AND brake at the same time or does pressing the paddle brake the car? For me personally, I would think having the regen braking integrated into the braking pedal is better than having to remember to press the paddle.
Holding the paddle alone starts braking the car quite quickly with only regenerative brakes. Pressing the brake pedal alone brakes the car using mainly regenerative, but will add in friction to balance the braking force between front and back, and to add additional braking force if more than what regenerative can provide is requested.

Holding the paddle and then applying the brake pedal will first brake 100% regeneratively, and add in more friction braking the further the brake pedal is pressed. I do this if I need to stop quickly; that way I can be sure I'm getting as much regenerative in as possible, and only add the friction braking that I absolutely need to stop in time.
 

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I have a question about the regen brake paddle - as I understand it, the Gen 1 has the regenerative braking as part of the brake pedal (another words when you brake, it's doing the regenerative braking). So on the Gen 2, you have to press the paddle AND brake at the same time or does pressing the paddle brake the car? For me personally, I would think having the regen braking integrated into the braking pedal is better than having to remember to press the paddle.
Paddle is superfluous. You can drive it like a regular car, with or without the paddle. Paddle though is not progressive, it's on or off. I used to use it all the time, but my fingers on the left hand started to ache, as you instinctively press it like it was progressive. So, I only use it now for emergency braking, cause the hand is faster than switching feet from accelerator to brake.
 

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Holding the paddle alone starts braking the car quite quickly with only regenerative brakes. Pressing the brake pedal alone brakes the car using mainly regenerative, but will add in friction to balance the braking force between front and back, and to add additional braking force if more than what regenerative can provide is requested.

Holding the paddle and then applying the brake pedal will first brake 100% regeneratively, and add in more friction braking the further the brake pedal is pressed. I do this if I need to stop quickly; that way I can be sure I'm getting as much regenerative in as possible, and only add the friction braking that I absolutely need to stop in time.
Thanks to you and KenC - I appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This is good info. Just found out my Gen 1 is going to be down for week(s) getting a partial HV battery replacement. Ugh. Might be time to look closer at Gen 2.
 

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We traded in our 2013 Volt for our current 2016 Volt Premier. Never looked back. The 16 Volt gets much better range, more comfortable, the gas engine runs on good old 87 octane and gets over 45 mpg's just on gas, close to what our 2010 Prius is getting.
 
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