Bow Tie, that’s correct. This year Charmingguru has officially nailed the whole go green thing, and reviewed a Chevrolet Volt 2017. Although the Volt has competitors the 2017, will have Tesla model 3 owners and Prius 2016 owners envious. This time round, lets knock down the following topics: Gadgets, Appearance,and Performance.
The 2017 volt basic model is LOADED with apps. The instrument Panel has a touch screen that boots up to Chevymylink which is geared towards Apple users,but keenly Chevy did not leave out android users,but no Wi-Fi connection to the car for you. The large GUI houses radio options like a free pandora and few other select radio stations. An energy gauge, An onstar trial,that does not only offer navigation downloaded right to your car, but turns your car in to a 4G LTE wifi hotspot allowing up to 7 devices to connect, and enables a mobile phone experience right on your instrument panel. The Onstar trail, give you a taste of the self diagnosing VOLT and sends you a personalized performance report. This car’s reporting is nothing shy of awesome. The volt learns your daily routine, and will begin to remind you of you next departure and arrival timings; additionally the car will remind you of the time you usually charge at. The Volt its self has Teen Driver Software, that does things like: control radio volumes when front seat passengers do not have their safety belts buckled. Alerts that the driver is speeding are visual and audible. Speed limits can be pre set by parents. Did I mention Google maps is compatible with the Volt software through Android Auto, so you can have the latest maps, and harness the power of google rerouting algorithms. That is just the Instrument panel GUI.
Here are a few negative points to all of the technology. If you call onstar, and you don’t manually press buttons, the a/c stops until the call is finished. It’s 101 degrees in the shade in Texas, and the A/C shuts off. Huge irritation, but just hit the controls and it is on while you talk, but it took a few times of learning the ropes to figure it out. Another inconvenience, is the on board phone is not free.You have to pay for minuets. At least the volt is Bluetooth ready. Chevy did not give electric seats to the basic model, which seems like a joke, after all features this car has.
Aside from all dazzling things my car can do, let’s talk about how she looks.
Let me just say this gal looks and feels almost as great as how much you spent. The factory paints are pretty decent, but leather interior, premium paint and, any other premium features are about a grand an ask! We decided to keep our Volt basic,but she is as awesome as they said.
For the parts of this review that discuss performance, my dearest friend who wishes to remain anonymous has written the following.
The suspensions in Chevy Volt are superior in performance. In maintaining the chassis to equilibrium status without many jerks and vibrations. The volt reminds me of a gyroscope stability with levitating performances on any kind of roads. We tested our volt on: country roads, city roads and on regular highways; and it’s the same experience even at various speed ranges. On certain roads there were no posted speed limits and we tried to drive from the speed limit of 30 – 65 and we hardly noticed the vibration at lower speeds which is unusual for country roads especially on unpaved roads with potholes.
I hear that Volt has a 1.5L gasoline powered Generator which supplies the additional electric power in case of the battery running out of its threshold charge levels. With fully charged car, I can drive up to 50 – 53. Once the car runs out of electric juice the control system kick starts the gas-powered generator and will mobilize the vehicle by supplying the required power/torque which depends on driver speed level and the inclination angle of your car with respect to the surrounding terrains. The transition from Electric to Gas powered is unnoticeable. And so quite that you hardly notice the transition except when you step out of the car while in parking mode, you can hear the Generator noise. When Volt is in Electric mode it’s noiseless and silent to the core (Except during AC operation)
Power/Torque – Electric Vs Gas
Performances/Power varies with different driving mode and with appropriate drive mode selection. which ranges from Turbo(Sports), to mountain(rarely used). The marvelous features is the way GM architected the whole design of Extended Range Electric Vehicle which operates as an electric vehicle without kicking in the gasoline range extenders as it maintains the usable energy in its battery backup. As you know a lot of energy will be wasted in fighting the inertia of the car. The volt design is smart to depend on electric mode to start rather than the huge potential needed to mobilize the car using gasoline range extender. Thus improving the efficiency on an enhanced distribution of power using a well designed control systems and planetary gear synchronous system to power the wheels.
Again based on various speeds and torque requirements the car will extract the power from its available source. While testing on a service road in a night-time I have to accelerate the car to 60 mph and it took me like 7-8 seconds to reach that speed. Which is very impressive, again that is the power of electric motors compared with gasoline powered engines to drive that kind of acceleration/torque overcoming the huge inertia. So far I am very impressed at the way these designs are engineered
To get the best mileage purely depends on the driver and the other factors like temperature control, terrains, and speed/acceleration. I noticed when I drive on L instead of D on normal mode setting I get the best mileage. Usually I set my AC/heater to Eco mode and with the driving speed of 53-55 mph I can drive longer distance (more than 8 miles) compared to Ac at Max mode and with the speed range of 65-70 mph. I tried to accelerate smoothly to make use of the gradual acceleration to mobilize my car rather than inducing sudden increased power packed acceleration. (Which might drain your battery quickly) But on a full charge/tank both electric/gas I can drive up to 400 miles at a speed of 60-65 mph. In my recent long distance trip(Texas to Indiana) I hardly stopped at gas stations. On the way back from IN to KY I stopped twice to fill the gas tank. But while returning back from KY to TX I drove at a speed limit of 70-75 mph. I hardly made a few stops at the gas stations compared to other kinds of cars I drove in the past.
Charging ( 8/12 Amps)
I am happy with the factory supplied Charging cords. Though I have the provision to install super chargers (240V) in my garage. I do not want to risk inducing huge stress on my battery backup. As the efficiency will drop when I start using a 240V super charging station. On a daily basis I prefer to charge my car on 8 Amps option. Sure it might take longer to charge,but it’s the efficient way to prolong your battery life. In cases where I want to hasten recharge. I would choose 12 Amps to quickly charge my car and it takes 11 hrs. My power company delivers free power from 9 PM till 6 AM so I prefer to use 12 Amps just to fill the battery from an empty level. I don’t have to spend a dime to charge my Volt. I rarely charge my car in day time though I have free power through my Solar panels. So far I have not had to use any Gas stations in Dallas TX since I bought this car (feb 2016)
So far I counted 4 kinds of brake system in my Chevy Volt. Let me list down my observations. There is a regular old-fashioned paddle break system which can be used in 2 ways – Hard Stop or Soft stop where one involves the electromagnetic mechanism (which converts your kinetic motion into electrical power and feeds the battery backup)as your brake. There is a Parking brake. Which I rarely use and a regenerative on demand paddle behind the steering wheel(do not use while accelerating) – brake on a steering wheel, trust me it works like a soft brake and its fun! Just in case you can’t remember all these options, remember the old fashioned brake peddle which always works.
When braking I feel a lot safer in L (ow) mode compared to D mode as it stops my car slowly. If I don’t press on the gas (electric) pedal, it works best on downhill and it’s lot safer(than Toyota). The regenerated power refuels back to the battery pack so it’s good for my range extenders.
The car feels a lot safer compared to its competitors. I had test drove a few of the other ev brands and I feel Chevy rocks. It is rock solid and heavy. Even the car doors are heavy and majestic feeling when I open or close them. I never felt I am handling a tin foil like Toyota Prius /Nissans Leaf/ BMW i3. The T shaped battery backup adds up the weight/stability to the car and it reduces the center of gravity lower and thus keeping the car safer. Honestly I feel safe and which is very important for your family.
Thanks dearest, back to me to wrap this review up.
This car is so much fun to drive. Acceleration is so fast and so smooth. It took a few days to get used to electricity powering my get up and go. I would say I don’t enjoy driving on the converted gas to electricity. The speed of the car, is much less easy to control when gas is being converted to electricity. If you are on a long stretch of highway and can use cruise control, it’s not a big deal, but if you happen upon traffic its a bit irritating.
Really my bottom line is, I love my volt, I have named her charmingguru.The 2017 volt is amazing, spacious, fast, green, and a hot spot. I wrote this review hoping to help buyers as there is hardly an insight out there about it. Genuine, smiling, glad hearts and faces here, especially when we are in our volt. Feel free to comment like share.