My Week with the Chevy Volt

One of the perks of being a #ChevyMaven was the opportunity to test drive a Chevy car for the week. As much as I enjoyed driving the Corvette Stingray during my trip to Detroit with the rest of the Chevy Mavens, I knew it wouldn’t really work as a family car. So when I considered which car to test drive, I thought about a Chevy Traverse or Chevy Equinox, as I’ve been driving an SUV for the past 15 years, but I’m really sick of spending $300 a month on gas and I’m determined to have my next car make a smaller carbon footprint. So instead, I decided to ditch the SUV and try a Chevy Volt, Chevrolet’s electric car. Unlike standard hybrids, the Chevy Volt drives on pure electricity and seamlessly switches to gas to extend the range when the charge is depleted.

I put about 1500 miles a month on my car so the idea of driving most of those on electric power is quite appealing. I often say that for someone that works from home, I have a really long commute. I spend 2-3 hours a day in my car, driving my daughter to her school 10 miles away and coming back to work, driving back to school to pick her up and coming back home, dropping her at various activities and coming back, going back to pick her up, etc. But the nice thing about the time I spend in my car is that it is in short bursts, with time at home in between — in easy reach of electrical outlets for charging. So the Chevy Volt seemed like a great fit and I eagerly awaited its delivery.

Chevy Volt Review

During my week with the Chevy Volt, I drove it on my usual journey to and from Providence, and other parts of Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. The highlight of my week was hosting a Mom’s Night Out “Recharge” event at my home and showing off the Volt to a group of friends. In addition, the Volt went with me to a tailgate at the Brown vs. Columbia football game, a mother-daughter book club, and other various activities. A snow storm gave me a couple of extra days with the Volt and a chance to show it off over Thanksgiving as well.

Recharge with a Chevy Volt

So what was it like to drive the Chevy Volt? Just like driving any other car — just without stopping for gas! The seats are comfortable, the drive is smooth, and the car is oh so quiet! Except for the soft, golf-cart like whirr when accelerating or braking, you’d hardly know a car was coming. In fact, I think I surprised quite a few people who seemed startled to look up and see a car as they hadn’t heard my approach. When you start the car with the push of a button, the car starts automatically in electric mode, if it is charged. You can decide to switch to gas only if you so desired. On my first night with the Volt I drove it up to Boston and barely even noticed when the charge ran out and it automatically switched over to gas. Charging it up is very simple. The car comes with a portable charger in the trunk, which I left plugged into to a standard outlet in my garage and in between trips I attached it to the charging port, just as simple as putting a gas nozzle into a gas tank.

Here is my Chevy Volt review with what I liked most and least about my experience test driving the Chevy Volt.

Chevy Volt Review

What I Liked About the Chevy Volt

  • Electric car — As I mentioned, I love the idea of an electric car and moving away from gas. It isn’t just about the cost of gas (although I’m thrilled to see gas prices going down), it is also about reducing the environmental impact of exhaust and reducing my dependence on limited natural resources. Through the console you can schedule your Volt to charge during off-peak hours when demand on the power grid is at its lowest.
  • Comfort — It has been a while since I’ve driven a sedan (outside of rental cars), but I adjusted very quickly because the car was so comfortable and easy to drive. The seats were comfortable and the dash and console were fairly easy to navigate. Plus, the electric seats may have drained the battery a bit more than just driving but it was worth it on the cold mornings. And, even though it only seats four people, the four doors and decent back seat legroom made for a comfortable ride for everyone.
  • Storage — For a mid-sized car, the Volt offered a surprising amount of storage with a huge trunk. I fit my entire Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving shopping haul in the trunk with plenty of room to spare. The Volt also had other handy storage compartments like a sunglasses hideaway in the dash, and a place to stuff a small purse or other goods in front of the gear shift.
  • Features — The Volt offered many features that I’ve come to count as a requirement for any car, like navigation, bluetooth, a back up camera, and iPod/iPhone compatibility. But is also offered quite a few more including lane assist, forward collision alerts, XM satellite radio, OnStar, connection to my iPhone phone book, and, in the 2015 Chevy Volt — 4G/LTE WiFi. Through the in-dash touch screen I could get weather alerts, look up extended forecasts, find nearby gas stations, and even check out local movie listings.

Chevy Volt Interior

What I Didn’t Like as Much

  • Distance — The Volt only runs about 38 miles per charge, but in actuality, I found it to usually be less than that due to running the heat and electric seats. Also, cold morning temps caused it to automatically switch to gas. Given the time it takes to charge (see my next point), 38 miles isn’t quite far enough to get me through my day. I do 20 miles in the morning, then charge up for a few hours, then another 20-40 miles in the afternoon/evening before recharging overnight. I’m sure GM’s excellent engineers are looking at expanding this range so I’m going to keep an eye on it. If it could get to 50 miles, I think that would make a huge difference for many people.
  • Charging — Charging the Volt is super easy, but I was surprised at how long it took. A full charge typically took 8-9 hours running at maximum charging rate. This meant that charging for 5 hours during the day didn’t quite give me a full charge for my afternoon travels. Since I work from home this could probably be solved by installing a 240 volt charging station in my home that would fully charge the battery in about four hours, however it may not be as helpful for typical commuters.
  • Back seat — Instead of a bench back seat, the Volt has two seats with a permanent console in the middle. The console is great for storage and as a cup holder, but it makes it hard for kids to slide across the seat or toss their backpack into the adjacent seat when getting in and out of the car. Personally I prefer the console that flips up or down, giving an option of a smaller third seat in the middle and making it more convenient to get in and out of the car in the back seat. My daughter found the back seat’s seat belt latches unwieldy because they didn’t move at all to make it easier to buckle up quickly. The center console was also a hard obstacle to climb across and resulted in at least one sore tailbone. I’m sure that is something you get used to but it isn’t super kid friendly.

In my 10 days with the Chevy Volt, I only used a half tank of gas, and that was only due to a my trip up to Boston. For my around town driving, I barely used any gas during the entire time. I’m still waiting to see the impact on my electric bill but it seems like the Volt would save me at least $50-75 a week in gas and what’s not to like about that!

So will I buy a Volt? We’ll see. I’ve had my current car for nearly eight years and it has 135,000 miles on it, but I’ve gotten quite used to not having a car payment and I’d like to keep it that way for a little while longer. However — I am definitely watching this space! As the technology evolves, I’m sure the charging and distance challenges will continue to be addressed and I’m very interested in switching to a hybrid or electric car for my next vehicle. The Volt seems like a great choice that is well priced starting at $26,670.

What is a Chevy Maven?
Chevrolet is a long-time sponsor of the excellent and hilarious podcast the Manic Mommies, a podcast for moms trying to “do it all (and then some)!” As part of their sponsorship they invited 12 long-time listeners and fans of the podcast (that would be me) to join the hosts Kristin and Erin on a tour of the General Motors facility in Detroit (read all about our Chevy Maven trip here.) We were then asked to test drive a car for a week and host an event in our community to allow our fellow moms, friends, colleagues, etc. to check out the vehicle.

What car do you drive and have you ever thought about owning an electric car?

Find this useful? Share it!

Comments are closed.

9 Comments on “My Week with the Chevy Volt

  1. I’m actually planning to buy a car this month! I love the idea of not having to use gas all the time, so I’ve been considering something like the Chevy Volt. I will add it to my list of cars to check out. Great timing on the post!

      Thanks Christina, glad to hear it

    How fun! I miss the great gas mileage on sedans compared to my SUV. Love the style and fun design features on the Volt.

    Sounds like a cool car and nice idea, but the technology for the electrical isn’t quite there. 8-9 hours of charging for less than 40 miles isn’t really ideal.

      I know, if it gets a little better I will be convinced as I’d love to get away from gas.

    I am definitely considering an electric car for my next car purchase. I wish there were more of them on the road because I think that would facilitate more charging stations. I love the idea of no gas!

      I see more and more charging stations at airports, hospitals, rest areas, etc but they also need to charge faster. I hope the technology and infrastructure comes online quickly!

    I’m a proud Prius owner! I really love the hybrid car – it saves me a ton of money on gas so it’s great for the daily commute and road trips. I love that it’s a hatchback as it has a ton of trunk space – never had any issues lugging home Ikea furniture and what have you. I always wondered how the electric cars stacked up in comparison. I think this would work better for me if I was driving shorter distances and could use the electric capabilities of the car more often. I feel like the car would switch over to gas partway through my commute and I’d rather just have the continuous gas-electric back and forth energy consumption like the hybrid has. I love that this technology has really taken off, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future! Thanks for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust 🙂

    Moving to an electric car is a dream of mine as the price of gasoline are very high and the impact on the environment is tremendous. I believe that in the near future many people will move to driving electric cars in order to save the resources of the planet. The Chevy looks great! I love the brand! The Chevy cars are of great quality and they have a fabulous design. I really like the fact that the car is easy to drive and it moves fast and silently. I will seriously consider buying a Chevy Volt! Thank you for sharing!

Get your free Family Vacation Planning Kit

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a Family Vacation Planning Kit!
We3Travel.com will use the information you provide on this form to send you newsletters. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting tamara@we3travel.com. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.