2016 Chevrolet Volt: GM’s Fuel-Sipping Hatchback Does Good [Review]

2016 Chevrolet Volt

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle without the range anxiety because it has a range extending gasoline motor to recharge the batteries on-the-go. Now entering its second generation, the redesigned 2016 Volt has a sleek design, can go farther unplugged, and is more capable, comfortable, and affordable than the original Volt introduced for 2011 model year.

Using feedback from first generation Volt owners, the redesign marks a new beginning for the battery-electric vehicle with more range than a typical car.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

Here are twelve important facts about the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

1. Better range – 53 miles battery only, 420 miles extended range. Improving its EV range 40 percent over the outgoing model, the Volt can drive gas and tailpipe emissions-free 53 miles on a full charge of electricity stored in its new 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, rated at a combined 106 MPG-e, or miles per gasoline equivalent. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range for a total of 420 miles on a full tank.

2. New powertrain is 12 percent more efficient, is about 100 pounds lighter, and accelerates faster than the outgoing model. The 149 horsepower number may be same as the first-gen Volt, but 294 lb-ft of torque, improvements in the two-motor electric drive unit, and a significant weight reduction is enough to snap the 2016 Volt from 0 – 30 mph in 2.6 seconds, according to GM. This is faster than most production EVs – except the Tesla Model S. Zero to 60 mph is covered at an energetic 8.4 seconds. (Source: Inside EVs)

3. When plugged into a 240 volt source (L2 charger), recharging the battery takes about 4.5 hours. Be prepared to wait around a long time if plugged into a 110 volt outlet because that could take 13 hours or longer. The 2016 Volt doesn’t have the capability to use a DC fast charger (480 volt, 3-phase AC input).

4. Volt emissions are clean enough to meet e-AT-PZEV specifications, which qualifies it for a coveted “green sticker” and single-occupancy HOV lane access in California.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

5. At the touch of a button, multiple drive modes are available: normal, sport, mountain, hold

Normal: default mode that engineered to maximize battery range and efficiency during every day commuting.
Sport: ideal for passing or launching from a full stop; throttle response is setup for quicker acceleration.
Mountain: engine and battery power is combined to achieve higher output when climbing steep hills.
Hold: allows drivers to choose when the Volt uses its gas generator. This feature helps save money because drivers who mix city and highway driving can save the battery charge for city travel, where the Volt’s EV mode operates most efficiently.

6. Regen on-demand borrowed from the Cadillac ELR. The ‘regen on demand’ button on the steering wheel is a novel idea, allowing the driver to brake with the left finger and send all the recovered energy back into the battery. This innovative idea, which was first implemented on the ELR, allows the driver to get more range out of the battery.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

7. The Volt’s not just better than its predecessor, it’s cheaper. It starts at $33,995, about a grand less than what you’d pay for the current version. The feature packed LTZ trim starts at $38,345. The Volt is also eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and state subsidies where applicable.

8. The 2016 Chevy Volt is a high-tech car with available driver aids. Featuring active safety systems such as forward pre-collision alert with automatic braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning system, cross-traffic alert when backing up, and automatic high beam detection. The available Park Assist feature will help with parallel and perpendicular parking, but I found that it doesn’t work too well.
**Editor’s note: although it may not be considered a high-tech feature, my personal favorite is the heated steering wheel feature.**

2016 Chevrolet Volt

9. The redesigned cabin has a more conventional design and is luxury-car quiet. The new Volt’s overall interior styling is more upscale with better-placed controls and a simplified center-stack configuration. The optional 8-inch touchscreen looks sharp and only requires a superlight tap. Everything from the dashboard, door panels, center console and seats have been revised for the better. Chevrolet says three people can sit in the back seat, but the person seated in the middle has to straddle the battery tunnel, which is not the least bit comfortable.

10. The 2016 Chevy Volt is unquestionably more engaging to drive than a Leaf or Prius. The increased torque from the electric twin-motors make the car feel lively. Off-the-line acceleration and passing power are impressive for a car that stresses fuel economy. Cornering is flat with the help of a low center of gravity and the Volt actually communicates better what it can and cannot do on twisty roads. Drivers have the option of dialing-up the Volt’s fun factor by switching it into ‘sport’ mode.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

11. Chevrolet MyLink is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (arrives in March 2016) ready. iPhone has to be tethered with a USB cable to access integrated CarPlay apps, such as Maps and Pandora.

12. Automotive News reports that the 2016 Volt will be offered in a limited run. Only a few units will be built for markets like California, Oregon and parts of the Northeast. Everyone else will have to wait for the 2017 model year set to arrive in the spring of 2016 with a series of updates.

2016 Volt 2015 Volt
Total driving range (EV/extended range) 420 miles 380 miles
EV 53 miles 38 miles
Engine 1.5L DOHC I-4 1.4L DOHC I-4

Gasoline engine fuel economy

42 mpg / 106 mpg-e 37 mpg / 62 mpg-e


101 hp / 75 kW 84 hp / 63 kW
Electric drive type twin-motor, two-wheel, front-drive drive motor + generator motor, two-wheel,


149 hp / 111 kW 149 hp / 111 kW


294 lb-ft 273 lb-ft

Li-ion Battery storage capacity/weight

18.4 kWh / 405 lbs 17.1 kWh / 434 lbs

Charging times

13 hours (120V) | 4.5 hours (240V) 10-16 hours (120V) | 4 hours (240V)
Top speed 98 mph 100 mph
0-30 mph / 0-60 mph 2.6 sec. / 8.4 sec. 3.6 sec.** / 9.0 sec.
Curb weight 3,543 lbs 3,786 lbs
Cargo volume 10.6 ft3 10.6 ft3

** Source: Edmunds

In this TFL Car “real world” review, Andre and Brian attempt to set an mpg record using a 100 mile highway test loop in Colorado. After 100 miles of driving at freeway speeds and the battery is depleted, how fuel efficient is the Volt? Watch this video to find out.