Chevy Volt Called One of Top 10 'Underappreciated' Cars

Since its launch last year, the Chevrolet Volt has seen its name on a long list of awards and accolades, but recently, gave it the dubious honor of picking it as one of its Top 10 Underappreciated Cars and Trucks.

Here’s what’s Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder wrote about the Volt as republished in the Chicago Tribune:

All plug-in cars are expensive, but so are luxury vehicles, and the reasons for driving both prove to be surprisingly similar. As owners, we know the Volt has downsides, as all cars do, and we accept that they’re deal-breakers for some shoppers. But Volt resistance seems to be more about partisan pretzel logic and safety misperceptions than about the car itself. GM’s sales expectations were too high, but the Volt definitely deserves more success than it’s seen so far.

Many people have said the Volt deserves more success than it’s seen so far, but it still has detractors throwing mud at it.’s complete list of vehicles Americans have not appreciated enough is as follows:

1. Ford Flex–This seven-seat gem is terrific, yet it’s outsold five-to-one by the Ford Explorer.

2. Suzuki Kizashi–An efficient sedan that’s fun to drive and has a stunningly high-quality interior.

3. Mazdas (all models)–These fun-to-drive vehicles are just as good as the competition but lag competitors, sometimes drastically, in sales.

4. Kia Optima–With its handsome exterior, high-quality interior and generous standard-equipment endowment, there’s no question why the Optima was chosen as’s Best of 2011.

5. Hyundai Genesis–It was awarded our top honor when introduced in 2009, and has only improved since.

6. Nissan Quest–With a troubled past, the new, competitive, high-quality Quest has yet to build a name for itself.

7. Dodge Challenger– Voted’s Shoppers’ Choice Award winner in 2012, it is roomier and far more comfortable than virtually all of its direct, better-selling competitors.

8. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen–A surprisingly versatile, fun car that beats many of its trendy crossover competitors.

9. Chevrolet Avalanche–It does the work, serves as a five-seat SUV or full-length pickup truck, and comes from a trusted truck brand.

10. Chevrolet Volt–Though GM’s sales expectations were too high, the Volt definitely deserves more success than it’s seen.

Of all of them, Mazda can say the loudest “ouch!” Its entire lineup is considered underappreciated, but says there is sort of a silver lining to it all.

“Good products usually sell themselves, but that’s not always the reality,” said Wiesenfelder. “There are so many great options on the market and these 10 vehicles are no exception. Our editors recommend that car shoppers research and test drive these models if they’re already shopping for similar cars. They might even get a good deal because these are not moving off lots as fast as some of their competitors.”

So, being named to the 10th car listed on’s write-up of 10 underappreciated vehicles is not meant to say the Volt is bad. On the contrary, the publication says it is a good car, but not enough people are catching on in a timely manner.

  • dutchinchicago

    I completely agree with this sentiment. I have been driving a Volt for four months now and it is the best car I have ever owned. I really do not understand why someone would not buy a Volt. Of course there are always exceptions but for the majority of people this car would be perfect.

    The strange thing is that the car always gets a lot of attention. If I get out of my car in downtown Chicago there is almost always at least one person making a comment about how nice the car is. When I leave it charging somewhere I see people taking pictures of the car and there often is a line forming of people who want to ask questions when they see me plugging it in. At traffic lights motorist open their windows and ask about the car. I constantly get thumbs up of pedestrians and motorist when I am driving the car.

    With all this I would expect the car to sell much better and I really do not understand why. It was great for me because I could get a fantastic deal when buying the car but GM deserves better. Their electrical car killing past is behind them and Volt is the way forward.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    I never under appreciated it. I liked it for what it is. A moderatly heavy, 4-person sedan with avg. trunk space, avg. handling, avg. fuel economy after EV range is used, unknown reliabilty/quality and priced a little too high for your average car buyer.

    See I didn’t under appreciate it.

  • @bobbleheadguru

    Your statement by saying “ave. fuel economy after EV Range is used”, can be refuted on two levels:

    1st: The Average Fuel economy of vehicles today is 22MPG. The Volt, even when in charge sustaining mode, gets 72% higher MPG than average (38MPG).

    2nd: If you get INFINITE MPG for the first 35 miles, then you get 38MPG after, your blended average is very likely to be extremely high. The average Chevy Volt driver gets well over 120MPG (445% higher than average). (source: The whole point of the car is to plug it in most of the time, but have no range anxiety.

    Also, re: performance:

    The Chevy Volt gets 273ft-lbs of instant torque with no engine noise. No regular car has either of those features. As a comparison, a BMW 3-series gets only 260ft-lbs of gear driven torque. Most Chevy Volt drivers will likely tell you that there driving experience is UPGRADED.

  • James Davis

    You really cannot understand why the Volt is not selling like, say, the Nova SS? Maybe you should come down off your conservative pedestal and look around. President Bush plunged this country into one of the worst recessions ever in our history – a depression is not a recession, and the Volt, for its class, is the most expensive vehicle on the market. We are 25 million jobs in the hole and people are loosing their houses like crazy and can’t really afford to go in debt for eight to ten years where the payment is affordable, and have you ever tried to get a loan without a job? Plus, the Volt was not provided to every state like total ICE vehicles are. The Volt has a terrible electric range and you have to use premium gas in it. Those are the major reasons that null all its good points in a deep recession. If you own a business in a poor neighborhood, you cannot price your products for a rich neighborhood. If we lived in the 1980 or 1990 error, and the price of the Volt was priced accordingly and provided to all states; the Volt would probably be selling like hotcakes. People are fed up with the conservative rich-bitch rants and we are no longer going to accommodate you. Get it???

  • Larry A Swanson

    The $7,500 credit needs to be taken off the sticker price like they do with a lease. Getting the Volt down closer to $30,000 and below will increase it’s sale. I went from a 1998 Audi A6 to a 2010 Ford Fushion Hybrid, went from 21mpg Audi at it’s best to 41mpg with the Ford. Plug-in Hybrids coming in the next two years, and Via Motors for fleet sales will be a game changer, demand for oil will drop like a rock:)

  • Car Fan

    May I suggest decaf?

  • ACAgal

    Regarding the Volt, I looked at the gas usage of my 13 year old car (a pretty efficient, and clean car for it’s time). If I continue driving that or a similar car in CA, the same distance would cost me about $22,000, at current costs. Who know what inflation will do to the cost of gasoline and other fuels. If one is hedging against inflation and taking advantage of incentives, this car and other EVs/PHEVs becomes much cheaper, over an 11 year lifetime (est).

    I am glad to know that “dutchinchicago”, loves this car. I just took my first test drive, and was very impressed with the handling, braking, turn radius and connectivity. It is comfortable. The only noticeable trade down is no “power seats” because of weight. The premium package includes heated seats, so dutch can stay comfortable in the winter.

    A month ago I was in Colorado, and saw a couple of young guys, driving the Volt in the hills of the mile high city. They were having a blast: first car away from a stop and up the hills the fastest….not my style of driving, but on LA freeways the ability to accelerate when necessary is important. I found out there is also a mountain mode, in the power options. Californians have hills and mountains too. I guess that is what motivated me to try the Volt. During the test drive, I used an average of 71 mpg.

    This isn’t just that this is a cleaner, greener car. The Volt is fun and it appears to be a very good car. It is my understanding that there are full-sized EV tractors on the horizon, and there are EV busses operating in Europe. It is also, my understanding that the University of Missouri had some interesting breakthroughs in battery technology. Even if you can’t afford the Volt, and you don’t have hypersensitivity to hydrocarbons, I would suggest you introduce yourself to the EV/PHEV technologies.

    As for the $7500 tax credit off, on leased cars, that rebate goes to the financial institution that leases the car, which in our area is US Bank (reference ad in LA Times).

  • dutchinchicago

    I would say that the target buyers for the Volt are the $100K+ families. Thanks to rising inequality in the US this category of earners has missed the recession and is actually seeing a raise in income. Most of my neighbors spend similar amounts or even more on gaz guzzlers. That is the way our country is at the moment and if you like it that way then I suggest voting for Romney next election /sarcasm

    Hopefully the recession turns around at some point and thanks to first generation buyers later generations of the Volt will be much more affordable.

    I disagree with the Volt having terrible range. As you know the majority of car trips in the US fit well within the 40 miles range of the Volt. On the rare occasions that you need to go further you can use your ice backup engine. Maybe I am lucky in Illinois but there are so many charging stations here that I rarely have to use my ICE on longer trips. My lifetime fuel usage is 388 MPG.

  • ACAgal

    $7500 tax credit is not the same as $7500 cash, but a tax credit is handy if your income bridges a tax bracket.

    The 40 mile range is in all electric mode, the car has a much further range by using the small gas engine to recharge the battery while the car is in operation.

    The big expense and weight in EVs /PHEVs is in the batteries. Until there is a lighter, more powerful battery, these cars are designed with weight, limitations and higher costs that make sense to those who are financially conservative and hope to limit future expenses, by having a stable cost expectation. With the EVs, the current estimate is $1.50/recharge at home. If one has a net zero solar or wind energy system the cost is less.

    I’m still exploring options, and marking up my budget sheets. Gas costs more in CA. Maybe that is why the EV and PHEV look like long term investments with gas savings cutting the cost to be similar to that of a cheaper car…..only with the ability to refuel at home, or at any place you shop, eat, or visit that will allow you to plug in.

    The Volt is about the same price as the Prius PHEV. There is also the Tesla and the Karma at twice the price (but shorter range), if you want to complain.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    “The Chevy Volt gets 273ft-lbs of instant torque with no engine noise”

    —My 2nd gen Toyota Prius has 295 ft-lbs of instant torque with no engine noise. Just sayin’…

  • veek

    Maybe there are at least a couple of reasons.

    One is the dismal record of past GM products. Many of us, and our friends, have paid our dues and will need a bit more time to buy something from a company that gave us so many problems in the past. If you want one, go for it and hope you have better luck. I hope you can understand and forgive us for our skepticism.

    Second is economics. A car that gets 50 mpg will save about $1000/year over a car that uses no gas at all (even assuming electricity is free, subsidies are justified, taxes and licensing are the same as for a lower-priced car, gas is $5/gallon, and you drive about 10K per year). Add another $250 for one that gets 40 mpg, if you don’t like hybrids. This is hardly enough to justify the extra expense of the Volt, and it will probably be more than offset by the rather hefty depreciation you can expect from the Volt. And when the Volt is probably sent off to a junkyard (minus its recyclable batteries, of course), a car like the Prius will probably be motoring on.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    Where did you get the 295 ft-lbs figure from? The Combined Electric motor and engine?

    The Chevy Volt will spank ANY Prius in performance anyday… Bring it on, Grandma mobile. Take a look around you. Most Prius drivers are over the age of 50. That is why Toyota is worried and it has to bring out a “younger” version Prius C and a “younger” brand Scion…

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    I agree that 80s GM cars were some of the worst thing ever made. 90s were a little bit better than it took a dive in the late 90s. 2000s have gotten a lot better. In the last 5 years, it finally got decent enough. I wouldn’t say it is better than Honda, but it definitely improved.

    Toyota, on the other hand have been getting worse. 70s and 80s Toyota are some of the BEST Cars ever built. But ever since the late 90s, Toyota has been getting worse while it is trying to unseat GM as the #1 car maker in the world. Most of my co-workers’s Toyota has been rated great at new by CR, but end up with problems after problems. They all eventually migrated to Honda and Acura. Even the Lexus brands have seen some problems as well.

    I don’t know where you get your numbers. If Prius gets 50mpg and a Volt doesn’t use any gas at all. Volt would quickly cover the difference in cost. A similar equiped Prius cost about $25k as a $40K Volt. After tax incentives, ($7,500 for Federal, $1,500 for CA, $6,000 for CO, $800 for MD…etc), the difference is ONLY $7,000. @$1,000 per year. That is ONLY 7 years of breaking even. Volt currently has a 0% 72 month deal. Volt battery comes with 10yr/150k miles warranty (which in CA also get you a free access to HOV lane that is something money can’t really buy). During those 7 years, Volt will provide you with WAY BETTER driving experience. Volt is more comfortable, quieter, faster, better handling and safer to due better performance (so you can merge onto hwy properly). Look around, Most Prius drivers drive like a grandma… If you use Prius Plug in as example, the saving is even more significant in the favor of Volt since the Prius Pip is a scam and its cost will push it closer to the Volt.

    Also, If Volt is mostly in EV mode like you said, then why would it be in Junkyard? Electric motors are known to last virtually for ever. Beside bearings there are NO moving parts that will EVER wear out. Li-ion battery will outlast the crappy Ni-MH battery in the Prius by years if NOT decades.

    Apparently, you haven’t driven the Volt. Do me a favor, drive it before you bad mouth it again. You have NO clue on what you are talking about….