2014 Chevrolet Volt Walk Around

Chevrolet Volt’s stand-out qualities start with the way it looks. We’d call it a handsome car, with a lot of presence for a relatively small, five-door hatchback.

At an overall length of 177.1 inches, the Volt is actually four inches shorter than the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan, though they both ride on the same 105.7-inch wheelbase. The Volt occupies about the same amount of floor space as a compact Ford Focus, and substantially less than mid-size sedans such as the Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion. Yet, thanks its 435-pound battery pack, it weighs some 300 pounds more than the larger Malibu or Fusion.

The Volt is an exceptionally aerodynamic car, which helps it maximize range and fuel efficiency. Its low hood, raked windshield, long roof and high deck lid create the most aero-efficient Chevrolet ever, with a drag coefficient of only 0.28. That makes it one of the slipperiest sedans in the world.

In the design sense, the Volt is more forceful looking than other low-drag, high-mileage sedans and hatchbacks currently available. It’s clearly cast in the current Chevrolet theme, most particularly in front, where it shares traits with the Cruze and Malibu. Yet the Volt makes excellent use of lighting as a design element, and its various aero-enhancing spoilers are integrated into a relatively sleek, holistic shape. Its 17-inch wheels are bold, and fitted with Goodyear Fuel Max P215/55R17 low-rolling-resistance tires.


The Chevrolet Volt seats four, rather than five. It’s laid out with two bucket seats in front, two in the rear and a center console running the full length of the cabin.

The Volt is as different inside as it is on the outside. No other vehicle takes quite the same tack when it comes to interior treatments, yet the Volt is not so far out as to be dysfunctional or just plain weird. The center stack of switches is finished in glossy, lacquer-like white. The door pulls, window switches, vents and front cupholders are trimmed in bright silver. The Volt offers more interior color, lighting and trim options than the typical Chevrolet sedan, and the cabin looks very modern. The build quality is excellent and the materials and graining are well done.

Expansive glass brings light into the car. The Volt feels quite roomy in front, and we’d venture that only humans beyond perhaps the 80th percentile in stature will feel squeezed in any fashion. The front buckets are handsome and very usable, comprising some of GM’s best seats ever. They’re very snug and comfortable, but supportive and never numbing. They fit people of average build nicely, though we wonder if those 80th-percentile bodies might find them a little small.

Volt’s gauges are two seven-inch, high-resolution full-color LCDs. One is a user-configurable cluster in front of the driver, while the other shows audio, climate and navigation functions at the top of the center stack. The screens are so engaging that, especially when you’re first getting used to the car and evaluating the various display options, they can divert attention from the task of driving. Eventually, of course, the novelty wears off.

Between these two screens, the driver can find just about every kind of technical information about the Volt’s operation. A large speedometer dominates the driver’s screen, with other conventional gauges like fuel level arrayed around the corners, a battery depletion gauge on the left, and a floating virtual Earth on the right-hand side. The idea is to keep the Earth centered at all times for the best battery life and least energy usage.

The center stack has several touch buttons that adjust the Volt’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning, entertainment and navigation functions. These are more like touch areas, without a mechanical button to operate. The driver must use a carefully pointed fingertip to avoid hitting the wrong button or area, but with a bit of time and familiarity, the various operations get easier and the switch collection becomes fun to use.

The rear bucket seats are separated by a console on the floor, with cupholders and a storage tray, and by open space to the cargo area between the two seatbacks. The seats themselves are nicely contoured and nearly as good as those in front. Access is easy through large rear door openings, and there’s as much space for rear passengers as in the roomiest compact sedans.

Behind the rear seats, though, the Volt has just 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s substantially less volume than in the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in or the Prius Plug-in; actually, more like what you’d expect in a sports car or coupe, although folding the rear seats does open up more space. Access to the cargo area is easy through the large, high-swinging tailgate, though the lift-over height to put things inside seems a bit higher than the average sedan.

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