Wait. Isn’t the Chevy Volt an old model and about to be retired with the reveal of the 2016 just more than a month and a week from now?
Yes, but adding to a long list of awards since the beginning of the plug-in “extended-range electric vehicle” Kelley Blue Book just named the outgoing model its 2015 Electric/Hybrid Car Best Buy.
In doing so the 2015 Volt was chosen over the Nissan Leaf launched the same month as the original 2011 Volt, as well as the also-aging Toyota Prius Liftback hybrid, and the relatively new BMW i3.
Admittedly, three of these cars are getting up there in years (as cars go), but the combo of design, functionality, and net price make them still strong buys, says KBB.
“That the Chevy Volt stands atop our list of Electric/Hybrid Best Buy contenders after four years in the marketplace is a testament to its virtues,” says KBB. “The Volt might not be the newest entry in a group that includes the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Toyota Prius, but a clever powertrain and exceptional value helped Chevrolet’s gasoline/electric wondercar secure the win.”
Helping the Volt along is the full $7,500 federal tax credit, and fact that the Volt’s 38 miles EPA-rated range lets it span the gap between a pure battery electric car and hybrid better than any plug-in hybrid on the market. The nearest plug-in hybrid competitors are the Ford C-Max and Fusion “Energi” models with an estimated 19 miles EV range.
And, says KBB, the BMW i3 may be nice, but it’s about $11,000 more, and if you want the range-extended version with small, short-range gas engine, add $4,000.
The Volt also comes in $1,600 less than the plug-in Prius when factoring a ZEV credit in California, its largest market, says KBB. The plug-in Prius is only rated for 11 miles range, and its top electric speed is less than the Energis 85 or the Volt’s 100, and a firm accelerator push will kick the gas on.
Not so with the Chevy which despite the GM/Volt critics still saying otherwise, it is true to the “marketing” name of extended-range electric vehicle, and does function differently than other plug-in hybrids.
Adding onto all the rest is KBB appreciates the driving dynamics of the Volt.
“Mash the rightmost pedal, and the wonders of electric propulsion become clear,” says the publication. “The Volt accelerates with silky effortlessness. Carry some of that speed through an unclogged onramp, and you might be surprised by the Volt’s willingness to play. No, this electrified Chevy isn’t a sports car, but there’s more fun here than the green veneer might suggest.”
And as icing on the cake, the looks and style also got points, says KBB:
Ok, we’ll admit it. Style counts. Especially among electric and hybrid cars, a compelling design tends to correlate with acceptance from the buying public. On that count the Volt strikes a smart balance between futurism and familiarity. Techy-looking energy usage readouts and sci-fi startup/shutdown sound effects co-exist with comfortable seats, a usable capacitive touch instrument panel, and a surprisingly accommodating cargo area. Provided you don’t need more than four seats, the Chevy Volt delivers a good mix of style and substance.
All told, not bad for the grandfather of this type of vehicle that’s still teaching the newcomers a lesson.
And they’re going to retire it soon, and we’ll be seeing a new version believed to be better.