2019 Chevrolet Volt Expert Review

4.4 Overall Score
Performance 4.5 Comfort 4.3 Styling 4.5 Value 4.3

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Chevy Volt combines the best attributes of an electric-and-gasoline car, allowing owners to travel up to 53 miles solely on electric power, yet quickly refuel with gasoline during long trips. A $7,500 federal tax credit goes a long way to helping digest the Volt’s $35,000 price tag, well worth the price considering the car’s coolness factor.

You'll Like The 2019 Chevrolet Volt If...

The 2019 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is the perfect vehicle for those who want clean, electric-only power in and around town, but also need a car that can travel long distances using traditional fuel stops. 

You May Not Like The 2019 Chevrolet Volt If...

Compared to a high-mileage hybrid like the 48-mpg Honda Accord, the Volt is more expensive, has a shorter range between fill-ups and isn’t nearly as roomy, powerful or fun to drive. The less expensive plug-in Prius Prime’s total range exceeds that of the Volt by nearly 220 miles.

What's New

The 2019 Volt Premier gets a power driver’s seat and a new 7.2-kW onboard charging system for faster battery replenishment when using a Class 2 charging station. The charger is a $750 option on the base model. Other new features include a Volt-exclusive energy app, HD rear-vision camera, front and rear pedestrian-alert system and available adaptive cruise control.

Interior Features

The new Volt’s interior is typical new Chevy, meaning the design is clean and stylish, with a bit of playfulness in the optional cloth seat patterns. The central focus of the dash is the big touch-screen display used for audio, infotainment, navigation and clever readouts that permit hypermiling for maximum efficiency. A set of buttons on the steering wheel controls the multi-information display between the main gauges, monitoring a number of functions from speed to battery life. Tall drivers will feel comfortable up front, but rear-seat legroom and headroom aren’t as generous as in the Toyota Prius Prime (which seats only four), Honda Clarity or Ford Fusion Energi.

Exterior Features

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 2019 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.

Driving Impressions

Compared to the first generation, the 2019 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 2019 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.

Pricing Notes

The base 2019 Chevrolet Volt LT has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just shy of the $34,400 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 2019 Volt Premier adds leather seats and more, bumping the price to about $39,000. As for competition, other plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius Prime aren't much less expensive, but offer significantly less range. The Honda Clarity costs about the same as the Volt and offers nearly the same electric range with a much larger cabin. Some pure EVs like the Nissan Leaf are also less expensive, but don't have the ability to go much past 150 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 Fusion 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.

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Notable Equipment

The base-model 2019 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 are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 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.

Notable Options

The LT can be equipped with heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated mirrors, as well as leather seats, a Bose audio system and the 7.2-kW charger. 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, a power driver’s seat 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 $570.

Favorite Features

The Volt’s ability to travel up to 53 miles on pure electric trumps the Prius Prime’s 23-mile range and the Honda Clarity’s 47. Given that most people don’t travel more than 30 miles round trip in a day, the potential for needing to fill up with gas could stretch from weeks to months.

The best thing to happen to car audio since the invention of the 8-track! Okay, that’s a stretch, but with CarPlay and Android Auto, you can funnel music, navigation and apps via your smartphone through the car’s infotainment system, negating any worry of obsolescence due to future technology upgrades.

Under the Hood

Chevy’s 2019 Volt is powered by a unique drivetrain consisting of a 101-horsepower 1.5-liter gasoline engine and pair of electric motors. The electric motors do all the work, powered first by an 18.4-kWh battery, and then by the gas engine that works as a generator to provide electricity when the battery is depleted. Together, the system generates about 149 horsepower and allows the Volt to travel up to 53 miles solely on electric power, and then another 367 on gas, for combined total of 420 miles. Regenerative braking can help extend the electric-only performance, and charging times on a 240-volt charger take about 4.5 hours or about 2.25 hours with the optional 7.2-kW onboard charger. Charging a Volt using a standard 120-volt household outlet takes roughly 12 to 13 hours.

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), 42 mpg combined (on gasoline engine/generator)

Editors' Notes

Like it or not, the electric-car revolution is here to stay. Until this progressive milestone is reached, however, there will be cars that bridge the gap between our fossil-fuel friends of today and the future of interstate travel. One such car is the 2019 Chevrolet Volt, a 5-passenger plug-in hybrid that can travel 53 miles solely on electric power before converting to its gasoline engine. That’s more than double the electric range of the Toyota Prius Prime. Better still, the Volt offers a host of modern conveniences in a package that’s fairly attractive without looking too futuristic. For now, the Volt still qualifies for a $7,500 tax credit, something that should help its $35,000 price tag be a bit more palatable.

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