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Smoother, quieter, torque-ier edition

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 8/12/2015 Maggie B.

**Update:Once one has driven a quiet electric or hybrid vehicle it's easy and fast to forget engine noise. Recently I had to rent a late model Ford Focus. The seats were so much harder than in the Volt and the seat doesn't rise as much. There is no option to drive in Sport+low gear as is preferred amongst most Volt owners (who participate in the forums). The Volt in comparison drives like a floating vehicle from the smooth electric motor and still allows road sensitivity, so you feel the texture and still feel connected (one major plus btw). The console and dash are also so smooth and flat allowing a much better view from the driver's seat. I've noticed there is a price point in which the dash goes from flat vertical and narrow to smooth and horizontal. The Volt offers that for a lot less than other brands. Testing a Volt one would need to rent it or have it for more than a week to get a true sense of it's ride and handling. Driving in Normal and D is still numb, the visibility is still an issue but the overall smoothness, quietness and torque are outweighing the rest. Add to that, we fill up the tank only once every few months by charging often, and limiting errands to weekends.---Having previously owned a second gen Prius, a 2006 Ford Fusion, I got to feel very different rides and experience very different levels of sorrow at the gas station. On the one hand, the Volt will get most folks super far on the just electric mode, but on the other the ride is still hybrid and numb. The efficiency drops when I'm in standard city or suburban stop and go traffic, accelerating to 45 on most roads is fine until I have to stop and do it again literally 2 miles later and the electric range just plummets. There is almost no way to recoup one's range by braking or cruising so don't have your hopes up if you previously owned a Prius or other hybrid. Then in dense city areas the efficiency goes up marginally until the city driving is over and then the range just drops as soon as you're back on the highway. That point is especially true for most N Americans outside of largely dense cities. Then there is the technology. Hybrids are the vehicle equivalent of smartphones. The Insight and Prius were the smart phones before Apple iPhone and Volt, Tesla and Leaf are the equivalent of those that came after. Having owned the 2nd Gen Prius it was like having one of the rock solid 3g phones before the iPhone: I thought it would be cooler to upgrade and now I regret it. Sometimes we are too set in our ways to upgrade our hardware, I say this as a millennial btw. The Volt is more like a shiny iPhone 4. One in which you cannot in fact turn off most notifications during meetings. One in which the phone (car) will tell you that you put your phone in your purse or took it out of your pocket or that it's about to turn off due to low battery and so on. And these alerts are not mute-able! Imagine that. It's insane the amount of bells, bongs and rings this Volt makes. I remember the backup signal on the Prius, that was the only alert, and it was bothersome but I would appreciate having only that over all the other alerts on the Volt. And to think I haven't brought up the entertainment system. You have a smart phone or iPod and plug it in and select your favorite band and then ... where's the album list... so you select a song. Now that great song is playing and the next song is whichever song is alphabetically later in the song list. So think you can remember that bands' best album you loved? No, sorry, scroll through the millions of albums and now the songs will play in Alpha order from the album you just selected. If that sounds "smart" then you my friend belong in a VOLT. The touch controls are sometimes responsive and sometimes require a little extra prodding below the touch screen. So memorizing the touch buttons by feel is now impossible. And if you once had a Prius in the always hot SW, you probably got used to adjusting the climate on the steering wheel, and now you get to shift your eyes away from the road, onto the center console, over the the split climate section and adjust every two seconds since eco mode on the climate control is as effective as having a golden retriever pant on your for cooling. Yay, Volt! In summary, SUV drivers may love the fuel efficiency and Prius owners may love to up their smugness with this green-hov-sticker qualifying car but the vast majority hate the numb steering, the dead until you've hit something braking and the lack of visibility due to crash test standards where we absolutely must be able to flip five times into a moving train and live. But honestly, give me a plug-in Golf and let's call it a day. This is still a Chevy after all.

Average Rating : 3

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