Vehicle Profile: 2014 Chevrolet Volt


Drive the car of the future for less

When Chevrolet introduced the Volt in 2011, the editors at Motor Trend called it “a game changer,” likening the car and its breakthrough extended-range electric propulsion system to “a moonshot.” The Volt won the magazine’s coveted “Car of the Year” award for 2011, and in the years since buyers have made it the best-selling plug-in vehicle on the market. Retaining all the qualities that have made it a chart-topper, the Chevrolet Volt pushes value to the forefront for 2014 with a starting price that’s $5,000 lower than last year and it’s available here at Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio.

Saving owners money has always been a factor in the Volt equation. Provided its battery is charged regularly, the Volt can travel about 900 miles between fill-ups, which averages out to around one gas-station visit per month. Aiming to help you hang on to even more of your hard-earned dollars, Chevrolet has dropped the MSRP on the 2014 Volt to just $34,185. Apply the available federal tax credit of up to $7,500, and you can own a new 2014 Volt for as little as $26,685.

Innovation runs through every inch of the Volt, but the centerpiece is its groundbreaking powertrain. The Voltec propulsion system earns its “extended range” (rather than “hybrid”) designation because its gasoline-fueled 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine never sends power to the drive wheels. It serves solely as an on-board generator, recharging the car’s advanced 16.5 kilowatt lithium-ion battery while you’re on the go. Full-time electric propulsion comes from the 111 kilowatt electric-drive unit, which cranks out 149 hp and 273 lb/ft of torque.

Last year, engineers adjusted the composition of the lithium-ion battery, leading to a three-mile increase in the car’s all-electric range. That means you can drive the Volt up to 38 miles emissions-free before the gasoline engine seamlessly switches on. The benefit of extended-range operation is clear when you compare the Volt to an all-electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf. In real-world driving, the Leaf can travel about 100 miles before you need to park, plug in and wait. The Volt lets you keep right on going.

Acceleration is quick thanks to the electric motor’s near-instantaneous torque delivery. Runs from zero-to-60 mph take less than nine seconds, and still the hyper-efficient Volt returns a staggering 98 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) combined city/highway in all-electric mode (37 mpg combined in extended range). Plug the Volt into standard 120-volt household power and a full recharge of the battery pack takes about 10.5 hours, or you can cut that time to a bit more than four hours by opting for the available 240-volt charging unit.

Back out on the road, the Volt delivers refined and agile handling thanks to its intuitive electric power steering and independent MacPherson-strut front suspension. Four-wheel antilock brakes, ultra-lightweight 17-inch wheels and low-rolling resistance tires further bolster performance and efficiency.

The Volt easily adapts to shifting travel conditions thanks to four available drive modes. “Normal” delivers economical everyday performance, “Sport” sharpens handling response for aggressive maneuvers, “Mountain” keeps power in reserve for long uphill climbs and “Hold” mode allows you to reserve battery charge while negotiating stop-and-go traffic.

Boasting standard StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, eight airbags and high-strength steel construction, it’s no wonder the Volt has earned “Top Safety Pick” honors from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as a perfect “5-Star Overall” safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Available driver aids include Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, a Rear Vision Camera and Front and Rear Park Assist. Should an accident prove unavoidable, OnStar with the Directions and Connections Plan (standard for the first three years) features Automatic Crash Response to alert emergency responders and guide them to your location. The Volt extends safety even beyond its bumpers – since the car is nearly silent when running in electric mode, the driver can warn pedestrians by issuing a warning chirp from the horn via a button mounted on the turn-signal lever.

Two seven-inch interactive color LCD screens keep you in tune with every aspect of your Volt. A display mounted in the instrument panel features a reconfigurable Driver Information Center that provides an array of feedback, including fuel economy and drive mode. The second display – a touch-screen set atop the center stack – allows you to monitor information such as energy usage and power flow. You can even schedule your car’s charging time for low-rate, off-peak hours via in-car display or your smartphone using the available OnStar RemoteLink mobile app.

With hatchback utility and comfortable seating for four, the Volt requires no compromises. Storage bins and 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space make grocery runs a breeze – even in wet weather thanks to the dedicated umbrella pocket. Want to complement efficiency with luxury? Indulge in the available leather-appointed heated front seats, seven-speaker Premium Bose Energy Efficient Series sound system and Chevrolet MyLink Radio with Navigation (Chevrolet MyLink Radio comes standard).

Last year, the Volt earned “Highest Ranked Vehicle Appeal among Compact Cars, Three Years in a Row” from J.D. Power and Associates. With a $5,000 reduction in MSRP, the 2014 Chevrolet Volt is a shoe-in to run that streak to four.

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