Several first drives of the Chevy Volt in extended range mode have begun to emerge. The vehicle is less than a year away from production and many are eagerly awaiting its arrival. Our editor in chief Lyle Dennis, also the founder of GM-Volt.com, displays his eagerness of the vehicle for all to see. Dennis is at least partially credited for the hype surrounding the Volt and GM's decision to green light it.
Three years in the waiting, Dennis has finally had his chance to test drive the pre-production Volt in extended range mode and his review provides a full look at the Volt with an hour long test drive that gives him insight into the entire vehicle. Entering the test drive with enthusiasm and eagerness, Dennis provided a review of virtually every vivid detail of the vehicle.
He drove one of the 80 hand built pre-production models that is nearing production ready. Upon entering the vehicle, Dennis notes that ingress is quite easy and the vehicle offers ample room in all dimensions for the driver. With three other occupants on board, all had sufficient space for the test drive.
The dashboard displays bright, vivid details as Dennis said,"The screens were bright, vivid, crisp and conservatively artistic and looked to be in high definition." Certain interior features still require some work including the buttons on the vehicle center stack control unit. He noted that their operation was unreliable, but work is being done to correct the issue. Additionally, the eco display was not yet operational on the vehicle Dennis drove.
On to the drive. To start the vehicle you must have the key fob somewhere in the car and initiate the driving experience by simply pressing the start button while holding the brake. Though the test track measured in at only 0.4 miles, Dennis had ample room to run the Volt through its paces. As Dennis said of the performance of the Volt, "The car accelerated precisely and assertively and felt very spirited. There were two modes of operation. Normal mode offers 90 kw peak power and felt to be in the 9 second 0 to 60 range. Sport mode delivered noticeably more intense acceleration below a 9 second 0 to 60. I was not permitted to time 0 to 30 or 0 to 60. It was not an outright sports car feel, but definitely sporty."
The vehicle's operation in EV mode is incredibly quiet. As Dennis noted, the vehicle operates much quieter than his daily driver the Mini E. Its noises are very muted.
At this point in the drive, the Volt neared the changeover point. A point when the generator kicks in and other journalists noted a surge in engine noise and an unpleasant sound. Dennis discusses the transition during his drive as follows, "I started out with about four miles of EV range and I watched intensely for the changeover to generator mode. The only change that coud be observed was the disappearance of the battery graphic on the driver’s screen which became replaced by a fuel tank symbol. With intense critical straining I could detect the slight muted whir of the gas engine but did not find it at all unpleasant. I found that when I drove reasonably and moderately I didn’t hear the generator go on at all. When I suddenly floored it, the generator revved for a couple of seconds. I did not find the need to use the words jarring, disconcerting, or off-putting as other journalists did. My word is appropriate. You floor a gas burning car, it makes noise"
As Dennis describes the sound as appropriate you may begin to wonder if the previous journalists should have described it an unexpected. Perhaps Dennis anticipated the changeover and knew what to expect as his in-depth knowledge of the vehicle is surpassed by very few.
He closes his review with the following, "In the end, I found myself delighted and excited about this highly refined, competent and wonderful car. I would take it home as it is right now if I could. But we’ll just have to wait those 11 months and let the engineers do their final tweaking. There is really nothing to complain about here. GM has taken a great idea and made it into an even greater reality. And our dreams are starting to come true."
To read the review in its entirety click on the link below.