out of 10

Well, the big day has come and gone: Now we've driven a 2011 Chevrolet Volt prototype. More than 18 months before buyers can walk into a Chevy dealer and test one, we got behind the wheel.

What's the Volt like? It's remarkably ... unremarkable.

And we mean that as praise. General Motors has managed to build a radical car that seems so normal it'll make the average American driver completely comfortable with electric drive.

For half an hour today, we drove a Volt "mule"--a Volt powertrain installed in the body of a 2010 Chevrolet Cruze subcompact--around the roads of the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. It uses "production-intent" components and, said vehicle line executive Frank Weber, provides about 80 percent of the capabilities of the final car.

Just like normal, only different

In fact, the Volt accelerates, brakes, and drives exactly like a quiet, smooth subcompact. If, that is, it happened to have a powerful engine mated to an automatic transmission so quiet you...

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UPDATEAnimation Shows Chevy Volt Crash Safety Updates: Video

An animation released by General Motors depicts the modifications to Chevy Volt that will be performed by dealers to strengthen the battery compartment. Read Update

UPDATEFire Marshal Says NC Garage Fire Started Away From Chevy Volt: Exclusive

The fire marshal investigating a Mooresville, NC, fire that engulfed a 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car has concluded preliminarily that the car was not the source of the fire. Read Update

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