The 2018 Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, which means you can drive using electrical power until the battery depleted. After that, switch to a combination of electricity and gas. But that itself is ordinary. What makes the Volt special is the EPA rating electric range of 53-miles, a number that far exceeds the class standard. For most owners, it’s enough to not have to use gasoline.
When all pure electric vehicles can go further, the Volt advantage is that once you run out of battery it switches to normal gasoline-electric hybrid operations. Whether it’s a short trip or going cross country, the Volt can handle. On the other hand, the 2018 Chevrolet Volt offers plenty of standard features and easy-to-drive nature.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Chevrolet Volt is a four-door, five-seat plug-in hybrid hatchback sedan offered in two trims levels: LT and Premier.
Standard equipment for the Volt LT include keyless entry and ignition, 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, LED taillights, automatic climate control, remote start, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks.
Tech features include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, OnStar communications with onboard Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity, an 8-inch central touchscreen with Chevy MyLink interface, a reconfigurable driver information and gauge cluster display screen, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.
The LT optional Comfort package adds heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel and heated front seats. Leather upholstery can be added to the Comfort package as well and an eight-speaker Bose audio system is available as a stand-alone option.
The 2018 Chevrolet Volt Premier includes all of the above plus different 17-inch wheels, an automated parking system (perpendicular and parallel), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated rear outboard seats, a wireless charging pad for cell phones and other equipment.
Available for the LT and Premier trims is a Driver Confidence package which adds rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. The Driver Confidence 2 package for the Premier (requires the Driver Confidence package) adds adaptive headlights, lane departure warning and intervention, forward collision warning with automatic low-speed emergency braking. With the Driver Confidence 2 package, you can also spring for an upgraded automatic emergency braking system and adaptive cruise control. A navigation system is optional for the Premier.
Performance and mpg
The 2018 Chevrolet Volt comes with a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a 1.5-liter gasoline engine/generator and twin electric motors. Total system output is 149 horsepower. The electric motors are fed by an 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged from the grid or partially recharged on the go from a gas engine/generator and regenerative braking. The gas engine is active when the initial battery pack is depleted, working as a generator to continue providing electricity. In some conditions, such as driving with a depleted battery, passing and climbing steep hills, the gas engines also help the electric motors to improve the Volt performance.
In addition to the normal standard, Mountain Drive, Hold and Sport mode, the 2018 Chevrolet Volt has a “Regen on Demand” paddle on the steering wheel. This feature allows the driver to adjust deceleration and the amount of regenerative braking energy that can be sent to the battery pack.
Recharging the battery can use a standard 120-volt outlet or 240-volt charging station. Regenerative braking and excess power from the engine/generator can also help increase the battery charge while you’re driving. Recharging a depleted battery from a 240-volt power source takes about 4.5 hours and 13 hours from a 120-volt source.
In performance testing, the 2018 Chevrolet Volt accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds on electricity or 7.5 seconds on gasoline, a good performance for a green car.
The EPA estimated efficiency numbers for the 2018 Chevrolet Volt at 53 miles of all-electric range, 42 mpg combined (43 city/42 highway) on gasoline and the equivalent of 106 mpg (MPGe) in combined gas and electric operation in normal driving. The 2018 Volt has 420 miles of range on a full battery and a full tank of gas.
In addition to its exterior design updated, the 2018 Chevrolet Volt also gets some improvement inside. It’s more luxurious than the previous model, with a two-tone color scheme, easy-to-use climate and audio controls and a pair of 8-inch information screens. On the downside, there is still quite a lot of hard plastic inside, somewhat distorted from the interior excellent fit and finish.
The front seats are comfortable and roomy, but the lack of power-adjustable driver seats and the narrow backseat that lacks headroom and legroom space is a major drawback, especially for cars in this price range. The 2018 Chevrolet Volt claims to accommodate three people in the back, unlike the previous generation which only has two spots. But the battery pack still takes space underneath, so this is more of an emergency-use place than a really useful seat.
The 2018 Chevrolet Volt hatchback design makes it easy for loading and unloading. The trunk has a 10.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seatback up, which is more than you’ll get in the Ford Fusion Energy but only about half of what the hatchback competitors like the Toyota Prius plug-in and Ford C-Max Energy provide.
Release date and price
The official price for the base LT trims starting at $34,095 (including an $875 destination charge). The Volt Premier starts at $38,445, that sounds a little pricey, but the Volt $7,500 federal tax credit along with state incentives will soften the blow.