2013 Chevrolet Volt Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 13, 2013
FAST FACTS
  • More powerful battery gives longer-lasting charge
  • Upgraded leather and fabric upholstery, depending on trim
  • Audio/navigation system is new for 2013
  • Front seat adds optional center armrest with storage compartment
  • More safety features added as options
  • Silver Topaz Metallic is a new color for 2013
  • "Hold" mode saves battery power when gas power is more efficient

Introduction

The Chevrolet Volt is a midsize plug-in hybrid offered only in a 4-door hatchback body style and in a single trim level, but with many optional features. Unlike a conventional hybrid, the Volt runs strictly on its battery power for a certain distance before switching to gas power. Thus, a driver who uses the vehicle for a 5-mile commute every day could conceivably re-charge the battery overnight and never have to use gas for the trip. The 2013 model of the Volt also has a "hold" feature, so that the operator can switch immediately to gas power in situations where it makes less sense to use the battery (for instance, when the car is accelerating to merge onto a highway). This allows battery power to be saved for in-town stop-and-go situations. The Volt's competitors include the all-electric Nissan Leaf, the electric version of the Ford Focus, and the plug-in version of the Toyota Prius.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is available in six standard and two premium colors. Painted aluminum 5-spoke 17-inch wheels are standard; so are all-season tires, a rear spoiler, automatic headlights, LED running lights, keyless entry/ignition, heated power-adjustable mirrors, and solar absorbing glass.

Interior Features

Standard seats feature premium cloth upholstery in black and grey or dark beige. Leather upholstery, in black, beige, or black with white or red accents, is optional. Other standard features include cruise control, power accessories, automatic climate control, manually adjustable driver's seat, OnStar, Chevrolet's proprietary MyLink system (which includes audio connectivity and Bluetooth phone capability), MyVolt.com connectivity, a 6-speaker sound system, various storage compartments, 3 power outlets, and a 7-inch LCD. The Volt offers 10.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.

Optional Features

A Comfort package heats the front seats and adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Premium Trim package includes leather-appointed seating, heated driver and passenger front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a removable rear-seat armrest with storage. Premium door trim is included when Jet Black and Spice Red seat trim is ordered. The Enhanced Safety Package 1 includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear park assist, and a rear-vision camera. The Enhanced Safety Package 2, which includes front park assist, forward-collision alert, and a lane-departure warning system may be added to the Enhanced Safety Package 1. The MyLink system may be enhanced with a navigation system, and a premium sound system is also available. Enhancements such as premium floor mats, window shades, and cargo nets are dealer installed; a vehicle cover is available as well.

Under the Hood

The Volt employs front-wheel drive. It's initially powered by a 111-kw electric motor generating 149 horsepower, which produces 273 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4-cylinder, 80-horsepower gasoline engine kicks in when the battery is 70% depleted. The operator has the option of running on gasoline at any time to save the battery's power. Sport and Mountain modes add further versatility to the use electrical vs. gasoline power. The Volt's battery can be charged via either a standard 120-volt household outlet (which takes about 10 hours) or a 240-volt outlet (which takes about 4 hours).

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Chevrolet Volt are:

  • Electric-only mode: 95/93/94 MPGe (city/highwy/combined)
  • Using gasoline only: 35/40/37 mpg
  • Battery range, electric only: 36 miles
  • Cruising range, gasoline only: 325.5/372 miles (city/highway)

Safety

Standard safety features of note on the 2013 Chevrolet Volt include anti-lock brakes, front-seat side air bags, knee air bags, and full-length side curtain air bags.

In government crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Volt received 5 (out of 5) stars for overall crash protection. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Volt received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset and side-impact crash protection.

Technology

Versatility has been added to the Volt's drivetrain for 2013, allowing the operator to judge when electrical or gasoline power is the most practical, and permitting the vehicle to run entirely on its battery for shorter trips.
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