Reviews

2018 Chevrolet Volt Walk Around

Volt is low, crisp and rakish, with character lines that accent the edges. The sharp nose sweeps back through the headlamps and fenders to the steep windshield and rising window line. The Volt looks like it’s striking, or zapping, or whatever a volt does.

The rear window is also steep, so the wedge isn’t chopped. The rear deck is high but not flat, while the liftgate has a single glass panel.

There’s not an actual grille, rather a two-panel design to look like one, using a diagram-like pattern that doesn’t offer much distinction from the entry-level Chevy Cruze.

Interior

There no gimmicks on the instrument panel to amuse you or try to persuade you that electric cars are cool. The first gen Volt was like that, good riddance, Volt owners agree. So this Volt has come back to Earth after its taste of being a spaceship.

The twin cockpit is accented in black and silver with some elegance, while two-tone interiors are available. The quality of the materials is high, and the touch is soft.

The gauges and instruments are easy to read, while the switches and controls are intuitive. Knobs for audio and climate control are conventional Chevy hardware. The eight-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash is easy to view, with crisp resolution. One exception to what we said about no gimmicks is the screen’s power flow diagram, which satisfies initial curiosity but then you stop looking at it.

The front seats are low but the side window deepens at the windshield pillar, giving the effect of a higher seating position. The seats have good bolstering and were comfortable for us after a long day driving.

Headroom and legroom in the rear is okay if not generous, but the side glass narrows back there to accommodate the roofline, making the rear feel tighter than it is. The outboard rear seats are separate and reasonably comfortable buckets. This car is in practical terms a four-seater. The center rear seat is compromised by the battery pack underneath. It’s mostly just a padded cushion with shoulder belt, and the passenger there has to spread his or her feet and straddle the battery tunnel.

Rearward visibility for the driver isn’t very good, especially over the shoulder, and also in the rearview mirror, as the sloped single-panel rear window reveals much of the rear deck, which blocks the space immediately behind the car. It’s unnerving to be tailgated, and in the rearview mirror you can’t see the front of the tailgating car, only the face and eyes of the driver. It makes it feel like the tailgating car is much closer than it is.

With poor rearward visibility, it’s important the Volt’s standard rearview camera is so excellent. The crisp image, displayed on the 8.0-inch center screen, the best we’ve seen in a compact car.

Thanks to the sleek aerodynamics there’s very little wind noise. However the silence of the rest of the car allows the tire noise to be heard; and tires on a high-mileage car can be louder because the rubber is harder for low rolling resistance. It’s an engineering challenge facing electric-car builders and tire-makers. Next invention will be a miracle tire.

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