Is 2016 Volt a 4.5 Seater?

The present Volt is a four-seat vehicle, a sore point for some would-be buyers, and General Motors has designed a compromise solution that might be called a 4.5 seater.

This week a focus group of Volt owners was permitted a sneak preview of the 2016 Volt prior to its January reveal in Detroit and technically it appears the Volt could be considered a five seater, or effectively a four seater.

Speaking of the essentially finished pre-production version, a blogger at wrote “there appears to be a bench in the back between the two original seats. It looks designed to put an infant/child seat there, but not space for an adult/young adult to sit. Seems like more legroom too.”

Assuming this is as stated, the Volt will make a concession for carrying small children, which ought to appease some intenders, but won’t allow for truly comfortable five adult seating.

Given the T-shaped battery pack running down the middle row is retained, speculators had already come to that conclusion, but some have hoped GM would slim and lower the battery enough to accommodate a bench or mildly humped bench for five full-size passengers.

If the next-generation Volt is as represented by the eye witness, it ought to also have seat belts in the middle rear seating position as required by law, so someone could conceivably sit in what will undoubtedly be the least desirable seating position.

And this may be a decent trade off. Not a lot of people actually use a “five passenger” vehicle to carry all five passengers much of the time, but many more do want that capability, and it’s been a deal breaker for the Volt.

Those wishing to tether a child’s seat have been frustrated, although Volt owners have posted to the GM-Volt forum a technique to make it feasible even for the present generation car.

That takes more than the usual care, and the new car could be purpose-made to allow it. Beyond that, all indications are GM has put more effort and resources into making the new Volt better in all important respects.

We shall see Jan. 12 when it’s finally revealed at the auto show in Detroit.