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Quick Volt questions if you don't mind

3927 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.
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It seems like people's answered 1-3, but not 4. The rear seat has plenty of space for a 5 year old, but my 5'1" 22 year old daughter hates sitting in the back. So in just a few short years if that 5 year old grows into a football player. You might lament getting such a small car. But if you are the type that trades in often, then the volt is perfect for now.

I too put in a model 3 reservation at the initial reveal last yaer, but by April, I figure out it was too small for my needs and decided to keep the volt and sit on the sidelines until something bigger comes along. The volt is a great commuter car for me and my youngest daughter, it's usable for short day trips to Chicago, indy, St. Louis, but my next car will need to be significantly bigger.
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.
Completely agree on the price of the model X. Here's another thing to consider. The volt is a great commuter car, and would be a great hand-me-down when the kiddo gets his learner's permit. I'm amazed that our youngest baby is now driving, collecting her hours behind the wheel and counting the days to when she turns 16. By the time you ad the keys over to your son there will be many other choices.

I saw a bolt first hand, and unsurprisingly, it looks like a slightly bloated Honda fit. Still not the car for me to augment my volt. If I didn't already have a volt, it might be a good commuter car. The problem is there isn't much anything else yet. The Volvo XC90 is a bit pricey. The Audi Etron is short on battery miles. The cmax is almost the same form as the bolt. And the Pacifica PHEV has paused their shipments with a serious issue. So it's either buy a volt or wait.
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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 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 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.

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.
The Chevy website has downloadable user manuals which are an awesome read for those who like to geek out on the volt. I read mine the night before picking up my white diamond tricoat as I had to move some money around to get a big check together after we took our test drive and decided to buy it. Most user manuals are pretty useless because a lot of things are common sense, but this one has all sorts of tidbits that you'll never find in an ICEr owner's manual. I skimmed mine cover to cover that night - it was the only way to get through the night without going crazy thinking about the car .... oh wait, that was going crazy thinking about the car.

The 2013 manual also has some interesting typos. For example, it talks about motorized retractable side mirrors which don't exist.
My 14 manual talks about "folding" side mirrors ??? :)
The side mirrors do fold manually, they pivot when you pull on them, but that part is not motorized
Mine dont !
It's a solid piece.
Look at the front underside of the mirror - there is a black seam. If you take the top part and twist, it will allow you to volt the mirrors inward to help prevent mirror to mirror collisions when parked in a congested street (happens all the time in Boston).
I'm 6'3", fit in the volt just fine in the front seat pumped all the way down and another halfway back. But if I sit in the back, my head hits the roof, so I have to move a few inches back with the tip of my hair hitting the glass. I's ok for a short trip, but long road trips would be horrible. I view the volt as a great commuter car for 2, bad family car for 4.
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).
I think it depends on the light placement at the street corner. Most lights are on poles that protrude out from the far side of the street, so no ducking required for those. But if the lights are hung across the code side of the street and you are first in line, then yes some ducking is required as it would be with all cars.

The one thing that bothers me about the volt are the huge A new B pillars, low roofline, and high beltline. I used to love driving with the windows open, elbow resting of the lower window trim, and hand grabbing the roof in my prior cars. . The High beltline of the volt makes this feat impossible unless you have tiny forearms (or tiny hands).
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?

One of the reasons the volt performs so well in high altitudes is because electric motors are unaffected by thinner air. The gas engine of the volt might be bashing for air, but the load on the engine is one of the generators, not the heavy car itself.

As with any car, you will lose range and MPGs the more you drive it like Jeff gordon. The other day I drove it like I stole it in my 38 mile EV range car and only got 26.1 miles.... but boy was it a lot of fun.
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