Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Loved Car in the World?

I recently read an article written for Mother Earth News by Bryan Welch about the Chevy Volt. I was a bit surprised by how much Welch seems to love the car, as apparently many others do. I've long suspected that the Volt was much less of a car than it was being made out to be, so was very interested to read that many disagree. I thought that this article would be good as the basis for a brief post.

The main point of the article is to highlight the fact that for two years in a row the Volt has been named by Consumer Reports as the best-loved car in the world among those who drive one. That is quite an honor, and seems to be a good indicator that those who drive the Volt seem very pleased with the car. Of course many people are more cynical, which Welch discusses in the article. He quotes many commentors who seem to think that the only reason the Volt topped the consumer satisfaction survey is that owners were unwilling to admit to having made a mistake.

My biggest complaint about the Volt has been the characterization of it as an electronic vehicle, rather than as a plug-in hybrid, which is a much more accurate description. It seems that lately the latter terminology is being used more and more, and even Chevrolet seems to be backing away from referring to the Volt as an EV, perhaps due to the upcoming release of the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, which is a true Electric Vehicle.

The price tag of the Volt seems a bit high to me, for a plug-in hybrid, although tax incentives do help to make it more affordable. The author of the article reports an average of 76mpg, and states that he spent approximately $10 worth of electricity, which is certainly attractive. Having never driven a Volt myself, I can't really offer any recommendations. However, after reading this article, I am a bit more optimistic about the Volt, and the new Spark, and would probably at least test drive one if we were in the market for a new car.

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