2016 Chevrolet Volt Test Drive: Better in Every Way [Review]

2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevy Volt

Often manufacturer’s hype as it pertains to a new product, technology or vehicle is exaggerated or at least greatly embellished. And, often the “market-speak” overstates actual attributes in the obvious interest of promoting peaked interest and increased sales. That is not the case with the all-new second generation Chevrolet Volt – an exceptionally impressive front-wheel drive, five-door/five passenger hatchback extended-range electric vehicle.


Engine/Motor Power Torque Transmission MSRP Price As-Tested Rating
1.5L DOHC I-4 101 hp@ 5,600 rpm N/A Voltec electric drive system $33,145 $33,995 Buy it!
twin-motor arrangement, 110 kW 149 hp 294 lb-ft

The new Chevrolet Volt displays an all-new sleek exterior design, weighs less, is 12 percent more efficient and provides more range (53 miles EV city and 420 miles with combined EV and gas engine based on a full charge and full 8.9 gallon gas tank). Top speed is electronically limited to 98 mph, and the Volt is capable of zipping from 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds, and the Volt now accommodates 5 passengers, with available heated seats. Battery capacity has been increased to 18.4 kWh utilizing 192 cells (a reduction of 96 from the current generation) with a weight reduction of more than 20 pounds. Two trim levels are available: the base 2LT and Premiere 2LZ. Both are hatchbacks.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

The weight loss is due primarily to the reduced size and weight of the two Electric Drive motor system. Overall weight is 3,543 pounds. Suspension componentry consists of an independent MacPherson strut-type with side-loaded strut modules, specially tuned coil springs, a direct-acting hollow stabilizer bar and hydraulic ride bushings up front, and a specially adapted compound crank (torsion beam) with double-walled, U-shaped rear profile, specifically tuned coil springs and hydraulic bushings aft. The Volt rolls on Michelin Energy Saver A/S 215/50 R17 all-season tires mounted on 5-“Can-Opener”-spoke alloy wheels – bright with painted pockets.

The Chevrolet Volt’s extended range propulsion comes from a front transversely mounted 1.5-liter (up from 1.4-liters), DOHC, 16-valve cast aluminum inline 4-cylinder gas engine with continuously variable intake and exhaust cam phaser, direct injection and electronic throttle control, combined with a 110 kW Voltec electric drive Twin motor system- that produces 111 kW / 149 horsepower and 294 pound feet of torque. Energy is transmitted to the front wheels via the Voltec Electric Drive System.

2016 chevrolet volt engine

Braking chores are handled by electro-hydraulic power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, fully regenerative for maximum energy capture, and dynamic rear brake proportioning.

Visually, the new Chevy Volt’s exterior presents an all-new, athletic persona, incorporating wind tunnel refined, Chevrolet performance vehicle DNA- inspired cues. There are now active grille shutters that balance design with functional efficiency. The shape is one of flowing dynamicism, sporting gracefully carved body sides and fenders that blend harmoniously into the hood, while the frontal look retains Volt’s iconic identity, featuring bright sculpted upper and lower grille elements.

2016 Chevrolet Volt interior

Inside, the Volt exudes a more inviting and upscale feel, with controls and switchgear positioned intuitively for operational simplicity, accented by blue ambient lighting. Volt retains its signature dual digital color displays with an 8-inch diagonal reconfigurable screen in the instrument cluster. An additional 8-inch diagonal touch screen, located in the center of the instrument panel controls the new Chevrolet MyLink system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay, putting iPhone features (iPhone 5 and later) on the display, allowing drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and enjoy music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. There is also 4G LTE Wi-Fi included. Android Auto is not yet available , but may bee soon.

Volt’s safety features include: a standard rear vision camera; ten standard air bags; available active safety features, offering Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert with following distance indicator, front automatic braking, and advanced park assist with front and rear park assist (semi- automatic parallel parking).

2016 Chevrolet Volt

My test 2016, second generation Chevrolet Volt was in 2LZ trim and wore an exterior finish of Bright Silver metallic, complemented by a two-tone – Charcoal and Warm Brandy leather interior. The base price was set at $33,145. While the as tested sticker totaled $33,995. which did not factor in a federal tax credit of $7,500 or state, regional or local tax credits.

SUMMARY: I was a fan of the first generation Chevrolet Volt when it bowed as a 2011 model. There was some initial controversy regarding its categorization – some referred to it as a hybrid, while some called it an electric vehicle. In reality, it was always a vehicle capable of operating on pure electricity, while offering added security and range from its supplemental gas engine. It still is, but with major improvements realized in the 2016 second generation models, most of which we’ve already covered.

The real test of any vehicle of course, is how it performs. Looks are also always a consideration in a vehicle’s appeal. This latest iteration Volt gets high marks on both counts. On a drive from beneath California’s iconic Golden Gate bridge, up the coast to Point Reyes and over to Petaluma and back to our Cavallo Point base, the car performed flawlessly, running exclusively in electric mode for the first 53 miles and then switching over seamlessly, without notice to the gas engine.

Acceleration is now quicker, handling is more agile and stable, with excellent steering feedback. The ride quality is also more comfortable with a vast improvement in the seating support. The Volt is quieter as well. And, although now billed as a five-passenger vehicle, the middle rear passenger is forced to straddle the “T”-shaped battery pack that runs aft through the middle of the car.

chevrolet volt charging station

Charging options are now improved as well, with GPS location based technology. The 120V portable charging cord is now longer, easier to use and store, and may be padlocked in while charging. Charge port illumination is available for easier nighttime charging. 120V charge time is 13 hours @ 12 amps or 4.5 hours on 240V.

In the final scheme of things, if you liked the first Gen Volt, you’ll love the second Gen. The new, improved Volt is lovable even if you weren’t a fan of the original, and it costs less now than before.

  • Buy itOn the TFLcar scale of:
  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2016 Chevrolet Volt a Buy It! as an ideal range-anxiety-free, gas/extended range sedan.

Emme interviews Chevrolet’s Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles at the 2016 Volt’s premiere in Detroit. Watch this “Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know” video to learn what is new for the second generation Chevrolet Volt and why it is better.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Chevrolet Volt

  • Base Price: $33,145
  • Price as Tested: $33,995 (does not factor in federal tax credit of $7,500 or state, regional or local tax credits)
  • Engine Type and Size: 1.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve cast aluminum inline 4-cylinder with continuously variable intake and exhaust cam phaser, direct injection and electronic throttle control
    • Horsepower (bhp): 101 @ 5,600 rpm
  • Electric Drive: Twin motor arrangement, 110 kW Voltec electric drive system
    • Power: 111 kW / 149 hp
    • Torque: 294 pound feet / 398 Nm
  • Transmission: Voltec Electric Drive System
  • Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / electric Front-two-wheel drive
  • Suspension:
    • Front – Independent MacPherson strut-type with side-
      loaded strut modules, specially tuned coil springs,
      direct-acting hollow stabilizer bar and hydraulic ride
    • Rear – Specially adapted compound crank (torsion beam) with double-walled, U-shaped profile at the rear, specifically tuned coil springs and hydraulic bushings.
  • Wheelbase: 106.1 inches
  • Curb Weight: 3,543 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 8.9 gallons
  • EPA Mileage Estimates: 42 combined mpg city / highway / 106 mpg-e
  • EV range (city): 53 miles based on estimated fuel economy
  • EV / extended range: 420 miles including EV on fully charged battery with
    full gas tank
  • Drag Coefficient: 0.28
  • 0 – 60 mph: 8.4 seconds
  • Top Speed = 98 mph electronically limited

arv voss Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.