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The Top Gear car review:Chevrolet Volt
For:Decent to drive, clever drivetrain
Against:Expensive for what it is, no fifth seat
What we say:
Ampera's sister-car is equally ingenious. If any car can change a brand's perceptions, it's the Volt.
What is it?
An electric/petrol hybrid that has good driving and green credentials. Solves ‘range anxiety’ issues, but pricey.
It rides pretty well at motorway pace, and it doesn’t make a fuss about bigger potholes around town either. You only start getting thrown around when the going gets really rough, and it’s a pretty portly old hector, so wobblyness takes a while to settle despite otherwise solid damping.
You’ve a job to know whether the Volt is actually running or not because it’s silent. The transition from electric to petrol - when the battery runs out - is very smooth indeed and it remains super refined. You don’t really hear it until you’re above around 50mph.
The powertrain makes light work of the Volt’s 1,750kg. Give it some beans and the Chevy responds with the kind of surge you’d associate with a run-of-the-mill petrol 2.0-litre. 0-31mph takes 3.1 seconds - where you’ll likely spend most of your time in a Volt - and it gets a fair old whack of torque too; 273lb ft, to be precise.
On the inside
There is no central rear seat, but other than that the cabin is spacious and the boot space acceptable for a car like this.
Everything feels pretty sturdy, despite some low-rent materials lower down.
Not cheap to buy, but it will be cheap to run. Chevy reckons 235mpg and 27g/km CO2. Yes, you read that right.