The 2018 Chevrolet Volt achieves a number of milestones without the usual hyperbole that sometimes surrounds lofty manufacturer claims. Its all-electric range of 53 miles is real, more than double that of the Toyota Prius Prime and Ford C-Max Energi. A $7,500 federal tax credit helps ease the Volts $34,000 starting price.
You'll Like The 2018 Chevrolet Volt If...
Chevrolet’s 2018 Volt plug-in hybrid holds strong appeal to those looking for a green ride that satisfies their environmental standards, but also has the ability to travel beyond its electric range without the need for long recharging sessions.
You May Not Like The 2018 Chevrolet Volt If...
The Volt’s rear quarters are a bit cramped, and its price tag before federal credits is rather steep. While the Volt has nearly double the Toyota Prius Prime’s electric-only range, the Prime’s total range exceeds that of the Volt by nearly 220 miles.
The 2018 Volt LT now offers the Driver Confidence Package that adds side blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist. The LT trim loses its leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, while the Premier trim gains a heated steering wheel that is optional on the LT.
Chevrolet wisely ditched the too-high-tech capacitive buttons and Star Trek-inspired shiny white plastic of the original Volt for a more conventional interior. It was a smart move, and one that works beautifully, with a sensible layout that includes a great new touch-screen infotainment display. A multi-info display between the main gauges lets you use buttons on the steering wheel to monitor speed, battery use and myriad other functions. Front-seat room is fine, but the rear seat is still on the tight side for taller passengers, while the new fifth-seat position is for short trips only.
Apparently, someone in Chevy design decided it would be a good idea for their flagship EV to NOT look dopey. Good call, we say, as the 2018 Volt is maybe the first alternative-fuel vehicle that people will buy simply because they fell in love with its appearance. While it retains the original’s general design theme -- 5-door hatchback; metallic grille inserts; the lightning bolt through the "V" in Volt on the badge -- its execution is spot-on. The proportions look excellent, the wide stance and narrow grille and headlights giving it a distinctly sporty appearance.
Compared to the first generation, the 2018 Chevy Volt is so much better in every way. A revised engine and electric motor setup permits quicker off-the-line starts, as well as better power delivery for passing and merging. Take the Volt up a twisting mountain pass, and it reveals itself to be the car the Prius wishes it could be. The firm suspension and precise steering allow the Volt to round corners with relatively little drama, retaining a flat stance and an attitude best described as fun (yeah, we said it). Unlike so many other regenerative braking systems we’ve tested, the 2018 Volt’s setup works seamlessly with none of the weirdness between mechanical and regenerative interchange. A clever steering-wheel-mounted paddle activates the Regen On Demand feature. Hold the paddle down and the regenerative braking process is enhanced, rapidly slowing the car while simultaneously recharging the Volt’s battery pack.
The base 2018 Chevrolet Volt LT has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just shy of the $34,100 mark, including the $875 destination charge. Note, that's before deducting $7,500 in federal tax credits, not to mention any state or local credits. The 2018 Volt Premier adds leather seats and more, bumping the price to about $38,500. As for competition, other plug-in hybrids like the Ford C-Max Energi aren't much less expensive, but offer significantly less range. Some pure EVs like the Nissan Leaf are also less expensive, but don't have the ability to go much past 80 miles without needing a full recharge. Historically, electric vehicles don't do well when it comes to resale value, and the Volt splits the difference between the Ford C-Max Energi and Toyota Prius Prime. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new Volt.
The base-model 2018 Chevrolet Volt LT comes very nicely equipped from the get-go. There's push-button start and remote start along with keyless entry, automatic climate control, and 4G LTE OnStar with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. That 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system is standard, as is Apple CarPlay. There's a rearview camera, plus cruise control and a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel with multiple controls for the various audio and infotainment systems. Standard safety equipment counts multiple airbags, including a knee airbag to prevent sliding under the steering wheel in a collision.
The LT can be equipped with heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated mirrors, as well as leather seats and Bose audio. A Driver’s Confidence Package is available on both trims and adds blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and rear park assist. The Volt Premier adds a Bose audio system, leather seats and most of the LT’s optional features. Options for the Premier include the Driver Confidence II Package that adds auto high beams, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning. The Premier is the only model that offers navigation, which costs a mere $495.
We gave a collective eye-roll when Chevy told us our Volt test car could travel 53 miles solely on electric power. However, we managed to see 50 miles of EV range while pushing our car hard on a twisting mountain road, just three miles short of the estimated range.
With Apple CarPlay, your car’s infotainment system can now mirror the best features of your iPhone. Simply connect the phone, hit the CarPlay icon and you’ll gain access to ITunes, Maps, Siri, text message and more.
Under the Hood
There's only one drivetrain for the 2018 Chevrolet Volt, consisting of two parts. There's the range-extending 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which displaces 1.5 liters and puts out 101 horsepower. But it's a generator, there to supply electricity to the electric motor when the 18.4-kWh battery runs out of juice after about 53 miles. Actual motivation for the Volt is thanks to a pair of electric motors with an output of 149 horsepower. A 50-plus-mile range may not sound like much, but Chevrolet notes that about 90 percent of car trips fall within that range, plus the Volt can go up to 420 miles before refueling with regular unleaded. A full recharge takes about 4.5 hours on a 240-volt charger or roughly 13 hours on a standard 120-volt plug.
Dual-electric motor /generator
18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
1.5-liter inline-4 (drives generator only)
111 kW/149 horsepower
294 lb-ft of torque
EPA projected full-charge range: 53 miles (all-electric), 420 miles (combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 106 MPGe (all-electric, mpg equivalent), 43 city/42 highway mpg (on gasoline engine/generator)
The 2018 Chevrolet Volt achieves a number of milestones without the usual hyperbole that sometimes accompanies manufacturer claims. Its all-electric range of 53 miles is real and more than doubles that of the Toyota Prius Prime. The Volt’s sleek styling shuns the radical appearance of electrics like the Nissan LEAF, and its ride and handling are on par with non-hybrid cars like the Chevy Cruze. Inside, the Volt delights with a contemporary interior filled with high-tech features such as Apple CarPlay, yet Chevy has learned the intrinsic value of using traditional knobs and buttons over touch and swipe controls. And, while it may appear expensive, after taking the $7,500 federal tax credit the Volt’s pricing falls right in line with the Toyota Prius Prime.