GM Volt Forum banner

Quick Volt questions if you don't mind

3930 Views 58 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  photonburst
I'm sorry I haven't read through to see where the appropriate place to post might be. I feel in "crisis mode" - although I have to laugh at myself (first world problems).

I had my heart set on a Tesla Model 3. So much so that I pretty much ignored or dismissed other possibilities. The big 'reveal' was tonight and I was sorely disappointed. I remember the Volt was probably my #2 choice (although distant). I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind providing some insight that I can't really look up with facts and figures.

#1 - I live in a mountainous region. Long steep grades (8.5% - so not insane, but significant) and high speeds (120kph / 75mph). When the electric range is used up, how is this thing in the hills? I drive a Honda Fit now and it is woefully underpowered and I often can't hold the speed limit. More bothersome, however, is how bloody loud it is from the engine noise. That's a main reason I wanted a BEV.

#2 - It is listed as having a tiny 10.5 cubic foot cargo space... surely it isn't really that little, is it? When the seats are folded, etc... can you make a trip to Costco of any significance? Or is it as useless in that regard as the specs indicate?

#3 - How is it for tall guys? I'm 6'4, mostly in the legs. For anyone that's driven a Honda Fit... that's about as tight as I can go. I wouldn't call it comfortable, but I manage.

#4 - One problem with the Fit is that my kid... er... no longer "fits" (pun avoided as best as I could). He's 5 and still in a child seat and he's getting cramped. Again, can anyone relate to the Fit?

I'm really hoping someone's got experience with both the Volt and the Fit and can advise if I'm looking at a significant upgrade or not.

Thanks so much.
See less See more
1 - 13 of 59 Posts
Why not visit a dealer and look at the actual car and test drive it?
Well, that's a longer story than you probably want. One *HUGE* reason I never really considered the Volt or Bolt is because - where I am at least - the dealerships have zero interest in selling one. I wrote an email last night and got a response this morning. Same response as always: "we don't have one". They have 100's of huge trucks and dozens (amazingly) of Corvettes. Not a single Volt. They can get one in... but I have to buy first. I won't be buying from this dealer if I get one, I'll drive down to Vancouver to do that where they take it a little more seriously. But I'd like to get some questions answered prior to making the 4 hour trip for a test drive, if you don't mind.

I'm having difficulty envisioning a 5 y.o. still in a car seat getting cramped. If he's still not big enough to not need a car seat how can he not have enough room?
I'm not sure if you don't have kids (recently) or you just lack knowledge of car seats. He's actually big for his age. He still fits the car seat (designed for 60 pounds). It is safest to keep them in as long as possible, not rush to get them out. But with the seat in place, his leg room is compromised. Soon he'll be out of this particular seat, but the law here still requires a seat until 9 yrs old or over 4'9" (he's not).
See less See more
Hmm.. I'm not seeing my reply. Moderated?

I also just noticed that there were way more replies here than just the first! Thanks so much. I have a busy afternoon so I'll read them later. I'm not used to such an attentive forum :)
I've had a read through all your responses. Thank you so much for the help. Really inspiring to see an active community like this.

- Mountain mode. Awesome! Didn't know it had that, so I'm glad I asked.
- "Thinking man's car"... you don't know how much I see that as a plus :)
- Leg room. Thanks for your insights. Obviously I'll need a testdrive to tell for sure, but now I know its worthwhile arranging said test. Sounds like it will be fine.
- Cargo. Amazing that I can't find seats down specs. My Fit, for example, is 20.4 cubic feet up and 57.3 down. Its right there in print. I don't know why I can't find that about the Volt. I was starting to wonder if they folded down at all.
- Kid in the back. This still seems like the X factor. I appreciate your attempts at answering, but again... test drive will tell.

You folks are right that we'll outgrow the car. That's inevitable as my son gets bigger. And probably sooner than is convenient (we typically keep a car 7 to 10 years). But I'm committed to driving an EV and I'll put personal comfort on a backburner for that. At the moment, I don't believe there are any EVs that suit our needs for the future other than the Model X - which is just too much $. I hesitate with the Volt because it isn't a pure EV, which is primarily why I've always dismissed it. I figured that if I'm going EV, I may as well do away entirely with the gasser. But there's no non-Tesla EV that works for us as our primary vehicle in this are due to lack of charging infrastructure. For long distance travel, really it is Tesla or bust at the moment. For that reason, the Bolt is out.

The Volt (electric only) meets 90% of our needs and its gas extender makes the other 10% possible. Every short range EV meets our needs for the same 90% but fails completely at the 10%. Long range EVs of course still meet the 90%, but for the 10% its either a minor inconvenience with a Tesla, or a significant challenge otherwise. Actually where I said 10%, I meant 9%. Then there's the 1% where I go north... maybe 1 trip every 5 years or so... no EV can go there. But then for that we'll either keep the Honda (probably not) or rent something.

I said the Bolt is "out", but that's not a final decision. I'll take another closer look at charging to see if it would meet our 9% - in case things have changed. But then... there's the matter of availability, which is worse than the Volt. I've been told I can't have one until 2019 here - but that was by a dealership that I had to convince (and this is just this past May) that it even existed. They kept insisting I meant Volt with a V (*sigh*).

Again, I appreciate the insights. I'll arrange for a testdrive when I visit vancouver on the weekend of the 11th and I'll go from there.
See less See more
I hadn't thought about the hand-down. Though, given the point in EV history we are (just a few years away from tons of options I think), I'm wondering if this isn't the time to lease. I've never leased before, but maybe looking at this as a monthly payment instead of an ownership thing might be better this time.

I don't know.

I just drew out a spreadsheet comparing the 3, S, X, Volt and my current Honda. It further rules out the 3 for me, and virtually dismisses the idea of standing pat. It highlights the things lacking in the Volt compared to Tesla - and they are considerable - but the price + things that really count = pretty good.

Test drive time.

I think it's moderated until you have 10 posts. But don't try any tricks like one guy who posted 10 times with 1, 2, 3... in an attempt to het to 20. Think he got a wrist slapping for that. But if you look at my number of posts, I really need to find a different hobby
I already seem to be cleared to go, so either its only 3 posts or else the moderator just determines I'm not a bot and removes my leash. Either way... I'm here now :)
Bob, don't lease. It is often the most expensive way to operate a vehicle. Others in this forum will disagree with me, but I'm against anything that gets you into a vehicle before you can afford it.
I'm Steve, not Bob :) I've never leased and I agree about affording it. I always save up and buy my vehicles outright, and this next one would be no different... except that I think we're on a precipice of having a ton of options in 3 years, so leasing may be a better option knowing I probably won't want to keep it (other than to pass on to my son, but that's premature). So that's really my only reason to consider leasing... timing.

The Volt won't have any problem with the 1%.
Yep, I know. I was referring to EVs with the 1% statement. The Volt will have that advantage over EV no matter what the range is... until we get to the inevitable point in the future where gas stations are rarities. But that's a long time out (I hope I'm wrong! I'd love to see EV take over that completely quickly)

If you don't fall in love with either of the Volt or Bolt, I would hold off a year or two.
I don't want to wait, to be honest. I don't feel safe for my family in the winter in the Fit. I'm a little ashamed that I've risked it this many winters. It isn't very stable and it is horrible in the snow. We already got very lucky in a crash once when my kid was just a baby. That thing just slips out without warning even with top of the line winter tires. Until a couple of years ago I couldn't do anything about it, but then I wanted to wait for the Model 3. Now - honestly - I wish I would have gotten a Volt then.

Why did you say it would not work up north?
Sorry I wasn't clear. I wasn't referring to weather. I just meant that North of me there is zero charging infrastructure for an EV.
See less See more
Hmm... I was talking with a friend about the Volt today and he asked me a good question I didn't have an answer to:

What about if you never/rarely use the gas motor? What if, for example, you go a year or two never driving more than the pure-electric range allows for. Is the car smart enough to ensure it doesn't seize up from disuse? Is this a valid concern?
[please tell me if I should be starting a new thread]

So... LT or Premier? Any insights?

I *think* I really want Adaptive Cruise Control. However, that appears to be a VERY expensive option. +4100 for Premier (to allow Driver Confidence II package, which is required), + 575 For Driver Confidence II, +575 for Driver Confidence (required for II), + 1375 (ACC itself) = $6625!! Granted, other stuff comes with that, of course. But unless I'm missing something, these are the perks:

- Slightly different wheels (I really couldn't care)
- Leather-Appointed Seat trim (I prefer cloth, generally. However I do like the pictures of that "Brandy" leather)
- Bose sound (does the basic system really suck?)
- Very limited safety enhancements (auto brakes sort of work but only at low speeds and not if the object about to be smooshed is smooshable... do I have that right?)
- Beeping things if the car thinks I'm not driving well (great... my wife gets the car backing her up!)

I think I've just talked myself into the LT, but I'd like to hear from owners if there's more to the Premier that I'm realizing.
See less See more
I never expect to sit in the rear seats. My only concern with the rear is that my 5yr old and his booster seat can fit back there at least slightly better than my Honda Fit. I was going to be no better off in that regard with the Model 3, so whatever.

As for having to duck to see lights... that's an annoyance I just accept as part of driving as a tall person. Do I wish a car designer could figure it out? Sure... but I'm not holding my breath.

Actually my 2005 diesel smart car was the best for that. it had a glass roof that was far enough forward that I could just look through the roof to see lights when I was in the pole position. I kind of miss that car. Even as big as I am, that little car had the room. Got rid of it when we had the kid (no back seat at all).
Joe! That was so on point, it's creepy! I'm not sure if that was intentional, but the mountain range route in that video is EXACTLY the one I travel. I can't even come close to that kind of performance in my Fit. Surprisingly, the Fit isn't that horrible in the mountains. I pass a LOT of cars going up the steepest parts. It just sounds like I'm killing it (and I probably am) because it drops down a bunch of gears and whines like a banshee. But it isn't great either. Near the end of the video he goes through the tunnel... coming out of that is the hardest stretch. Big trucks are sometimes in the far right lane doing no more than 30kph (20mph). Most vehicles struggle to maintain 90kph (55mph), but with knowing the route and beginning acceleration in the tunnel, I can usually hold 110kph (70mph). Speed limit is 120kph (75mph). The guy in the video, unfortunately, didn't show his speedo at that section. For much of the drive he shows going 140 to 150 (85-95) but I suspect he wasn't able to there. He mentions he's at 130. But whatever the case, that demonstrated sufficient power in my view.

Sold! (almost). The only hesitation I have is at the end where he says he "hopes" GM can pull that off in a Gen 2. Is there some reason why Gen 2 cars wouldn't be as good on the mountains?? Am I missing anything where extra range is traded off for performance?

See less See more
This mountain mode thing... I'm assuming it is selectable on the fly, right? I looked in the manual and it doesn't specify. I'm sure it is, but thought I'd check. It would be kind of annoying if I had to select when stopped.

Something else I'm not finding in the manual... does this car have an outside temperature display and/or (at least) a frost/ice warning indicator?


I finally found this in the manual:

Outside Air Temperature Sensor
The outside air temperature sensor
is behind the front grille of the
vehicle. The vehicle uses the sensor
information to display outside air
That certainly suggests there is such a display, yet it isn't mentioned at all in the section regarding the instrument cluster, etc. I also see that there's an "Ice possible" warning that can come up.
See less See more
Right on. I appreciate you taking the time to dig up that very personalized video for me Joe.

Really, I appreciate all the great responses here. Awesome community.

I think I'm sold. Premature statement, I know, because I haven't driven one yet. I briefly sat in one years ago but I don't recall much. None of the 4 dealerships within 2 hours drive from me (Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Merritt) have a Volt. Only one seemed even mildly interested in calling me if/when they got one. And that brings me back to why I really REALLY don't want to own a GM product. I really wanted to support Tesla - a company built from the ground up to supply an electrified fleet - over companies like GM, especially, who go out of their way to not sell them. But I can take solace in knowing they didn't sell me one... you guys did. By all accounts, their engineers have made a great car whether or not their management wants to treat it as more than a nuisance.

I'll have more luck near the coast. Several dealerships in the Vancouver area have them in stock and the couple of sales people I spoke to sounded eager (or at least not disinterested) to put me behind the wheel. I'm heading down that way in 9 days and I'll make a point of stopping in and trying one out.

I hedged my bets a couple of days ago by buying a 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue for $300. It is registered, plated and insured for road use... and it's going to sit on my driveway (hopefully not leaking too much oil) for the next 5 months + 1 day, and that's when I hope to have the keys to the Volt (Early January). "A $300 Oldsmo-what-now?", you may rightfully ask. In BC we don't have the Federal tax incentive you guys do, but we have a $5000 incentive from the provincial government and a lesser known $6000 private-sector incentive that has some funky qualifications, including:
  • Must buy an approved electric vehicle (Volt is the only non-pure-EV on the list. Tesla's S and X don't qualify - too expensive. 3 will qualify, but will conflict with next item on the list)
  • There are only so many incentives available. They reset each calendar year and go until exhausted. Last year there were 500 and were gone by end of April. Next year? Who knows, but I bet they'll be gone quicker. Tesla 3 won't be available in Canada until later in the year.
  • Must scrap a vehicle in exchange for the incentive. That vehicle has to be insured for road use and in the buyer/scrapper's name for 6 calendar months prior to buying the new EV.
  • Several other i's and t's that need attention.
In any event, $11k less $700 ($300 car, $400 insurance to not drive it lol) is not bad! It isn't as good as they get in Ontario ($14k off just for smiling), but it is nothing to sneeze at either!

Actually I think I got a good deal on that Olds. The guy said it barely ran. It stalls every time you come to a stop sign. I topped up the oil, reset the trouble codes (which indicated crackshaft position sensor) and wiggled a wire (to that sensor) and it purrs! I've only gone around the block a few times, but it hasn't stalled since. Almost seems a shame to send it to the scrap yard... until I think about what its mpg's must be. Annoying thing is that the scrappers are just going to tune it up and sell it so it'll no doubt be back on the road. I'm going to keep the keys lol. At least make some trouble for them.

Thanks again everyone. Can't wait to be a productive member of your family. I'll annoy many of you - not everyone appreciates my quirks and I have a habit of feeding trolls - but my background should prove useful to some of the tech discussions.

See less See more
1 - 13 of 59 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.