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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering buying a 2017 Volt. I have a very steep driveway. However, my landlord has a low riding Prius with ground clearance of about 5.5 inches and she doesnt have problems. Anyway, a friend of mine who has a 2013 Gen 1 Volt with air dam already removed still scraped the bottom when trying to back in. I called a Chevy dealership, and they said the Gen 2 Ground Clearance is higher than Gen 1. However I cant find any info on this anywhere online, or specifically, how much higher the ground clearance on Gen 2 Volt vs Gen 1. I really want this car, but if I cant get into my driveway, I cant charge the car. Does anyone have any insight here? THANK YOU!
 

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Solution, take a test drive and drive it up your driveway...

There's more it than just the clearance, it's also the position of it (how far forward/aft) so hearing that it's say "5 inches" doesn't guarantee it will or will not clear your driveway...Heck if I were you I'd drop everything and head to the dealer right now since it's a weekend and still fairly early if in the PST timezone...
 

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Good point. What you really need is the Approach Angle and Departure Angle, but those are generally only listed/findable online for serious 4X4s.
 

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If it is possible to back in at an angle, so that the front of the car is not perpendicular when it crosses the driveway threshold, this may help prevent it from scraping. It will depend on how wide the driveway is whether this can be done or not. I have the same issue backing OUT of my driveway and if I take it at an angle just where it would normally scrape, it doesn't scrape.
 

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Yeah, ground clearance dimension is the least of it. You'll have to test, or find some one with a g2 to test. I have a Flat Level driveway. But the ramp from street to sidewalk is straight and short enough to scrape my gen 1. It hasn't been a big deal fortunately, almost 3 years of scraping no visible damage to the air dam. My neighbors driveway, which is exactly the same dimensions and flatness, is tapered a bit more on the ramp, so no crown at the sidewalk, and it doesn't scrape there. Gen 2 does allow a bit higher approach angle (so I hear).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
THANK U!

Thank you so much everyone for the great advice. Im new to this group. Does anyone have any info on the Chevy dealerships claim that the Gen 2 does in fact have higher ground clearance than Gen 1, esp if you remove air dam? And yes, I will try to get the dealer let me test drive my driveway. Dealership is about 20 miles away but I will try. Thank you everyone, you guys are great!
 

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My 2017 Volt air deflector scrapes every time I pull into my steepish driveway. What srcapes is a flexible rubber piece, not the frame or body. After 4 months of this it still doesn't show any damage or wear. I was concerned at first but I now longer care because it appears that this piece will withstand the daily scraping.
 

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Good suggestion about the air dam. It's a plastic part that will scrape on almost any driveway with an incline but that's harmless. You can even take the dam off if you want. You want to be making sure the body doesn't scrape.

As for the "higher clearance" claim, I think they made the standard dam a little shorter (you could get a shorter one for the first generation). But the car itself doesn't look to sit any higher. FYI if you ignore the dam I don't think the Volt sits any lower to the ground than many other cars. That's not surprising since the higher the car sits the worse the aerodynamics, and the new emissions standards require higher efficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
good advice

Thank you all. My friend's 1st gen scraped with air dam removed, so it was def scraping the underside, which we cant have. But perhaps we took the wrong angle, didnt spend a lot of time on the angle issue. Im convinced if my landlord could get in here with a Prius, I can too. Plus, the Chevy sales guy swears the gen 2 is 2.5 inches higher. Who knows. I need to convince a dealer to bring a gen 2 to my driveway to test, even though im 20 miles away from nearest dealership. This discussion group is excellent :)
 

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I don't have the air dam on my 2017 Volt and I've scraped bottom coming out of a steep driveway, it's only happened in that one location, I've never had a problem anywhere.
 

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I found with cars that have a low front clearance, a sharp angle into the driveway works very well to avoid scrapes. I've had several low cars (mostly sports cars) with far less clearance than the Volt and find that a 45* angle at minimum is required. The lowest car I had rode about 2" and learned to pull nearly parallel with the driveway before cutting hard to pull in and practicing nearly the same technique as soon as my rear tires hit the bottom of the driveway when coming out.
 

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Don't lose sight of the crowning at the top too (I did see one person mention as well). That is a steep driveway not only has a concavity at the bottom that scrapes the air dam, but a matching convexity at the top that threatens the much-less-durable undercarriage midway between the axles.
 

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There is no reason a dealer shouldn't let you take the car home to test it if you're a serious buyer, unless they just hate commission checks.
If the dealer gets you home and you're not able to clear the driveway, ask about a lift kit. As others have suggested it is just a matter of approach, break-over and departure angle, so make sure you're approaching it correctly.
 

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As many have suggested, reversing at an angle sometimes does the trick. It worked with the quattro but it was still rubbing on the Volt.
I was afraid that some morning I'd forget and ripping out of there the air dam would rip off!
I noticed the neighbour a few houses down using these for his 'Vette. Made locally out of recycled tires so green enough, and at $50 each, well worth the piece of mind.

 

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I wonder how much MPG is really gained by lowering the car so much that this is an issue. If GM built the Volt or the Bolt with SUV like clearance, how much MPG is really lost in EV mode?

In EV mode, the MPG is already very high at something like 100+. Does it really matter that much if the car sits higher, has bigger wheels, looks more manly, and be far more versatile instead? Who cares if it's 125mpg vs 100mpg? Given the choice, I'd take the 100mpg EV with higher ground clearance any day. ;)
 

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You/your friend just need to get used to pulling in and out at an angle. My driveway is super steep at the street and I back in every night without any scrapes.
 

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You/your friend just need to get used to pulling in and out at an angle. My driveway is super steep at the street and I back in every night without any scrapes.
It didn't work for me (see my post/pic above) even the curb isn't that steep.
The differences might be that the terrace is quite sloped AND is really domed (convex). That is likely causing the front to be forced lower than a flat street.
 
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