What a week. When we took delivery of this 2019 Chevy Volt just before the Thanksgiving break, we didn’t think it might just be the last time anyone on staff would get behind the wheel.
Green cars are the future, and GM’s plug-in hybrid was one of the first to market roughly 10 years ago. There’s a lot of blame to go around, from poor marketing on GM’s part to the viability of a green sedan in an age of cheap fuel and big SUVs. Now, the Volt isn’t the only car GM is killing off (and even this might not fix its manufacturing problems), but it is the most shocking.
The Volt itself is a efficient little sedan, with an estimated 53 miles of all-electric range and about 420 miles of range with the gasoline range extender. Unlike plug-ins like the BMW i3, there’s not a performance penalty to pay when the gasoline engine kicks on.
My stint in the Volt this time around came just before the news of its demise, so the thoughts you see from me above were compiled before the sadness set in. I’ll miss this car quite a bit. It feels a little soon, but perhaps it’s time for GM — and the auto industry as a whole — to begin to move on from the plug-in hybrid. The Volt in particular is long in the tooth, and GM is moving on to bigger (literally bigger) and better things. Now that driving range and battery costs are reaching acceptable levels, it might be time for many of us to stop half-assing it, and go full-electric.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: Whelp, this sucks. If I had known this might be the last time I have a chance to review the Volt, I might have given it more of a shakedown. Maybe a nice road trip to see how far I can eke out the range. That would have been nice.
I like the Volt a lot. It’s the car that convinced me a plug-in hybrid is the perfect car for most people. It’s fun to drive, too, with lots of torque right off-the-line and a chassis that’s surprisingly lively. Keep the car in L and you get great regen braking.
It’s just the wrong shape for what consumers are looking for these days. The rear seat and cargo area are both cramped, making it a poor choice for families. If the Volt were the size of a Chevy Equinox, I think the story would be a lot different.