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2013 Chevrolet Volt Review

Review Last Updated: 10/7/13

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt offers the fuel savings of an electric car along with the unlimited range of a gas engine. However, some reviewers say that it’s not enough to offset the Volt’s high price.

While more electric and plug-in hybrid cars are coming to market, test drivers agree that few of those rivals have powertrains that are as flexible as the 2013 Chevrolet Volt’s. Two electric motors are powered by the Volt’s battery pack, which drives the front wheels. When the battery is used up (or the Volt’s Hold drive mode is engaged), a four-cylinder gas engine acts as a generator for the Volt’s electric powertrain. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 35/40 mpg city/highway with the gas engine, or 98 mpg-e (miles per gallon-equivalent) when the Volt is in EV mode. Despite its high-tech powertrain, many auto writers say that the Volt drives much like a regular car. While they like its composed handling, a few test drivers dislike the feel of the Volt’s regenerative brakes, which is a common complaint among hybrid cars.

Inside, the 2013 Volt features high-quality materials and tech features that help drivers monitor vehicle info like fuel economy and the battery’s charge level. Reviewers generally appreciate the quality construction of the Volt’s cabin, but also note that some of its switchgear and displays can be distracting. In particular, one test driver says that the navigation system requires some time to master. While many other cars in the segment seat five, the four-seat Volt also has a back seat that some reviewers consider cramped. Other hybrid cars also offer more cargo space.

  • "The 2013 Chevy Volt provides the best all-electric range of any plug-in hybrid, plus gasoline-fueled peace of mind that all-electric competitors can't match. But it's pricey for what you get." -- Edmunds
  • "Volt is a technological wonder that combines the ability to drive on electric power only, while its gas engine relieves the ‘range anxiety’ often associated with pure-electric cars. Besides that, it's dynamically capable, comfortable for four adults, and includes loads of high-tech convenience features, including pre-heating and cooling of the interior." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "This is without a doubt the most important new car since the advent of hybrids in the late ‘90s, and GM has nailed it. Is this the handing off of the Prius’s very illustrious torch?" -- Car and Driver (2011) 
  • "It's fun to drive, practical, good-looking and in a league of its own technically. The sleek compact accelerates briskly. Its handling is responsive and sporty. The interior provides plenty of space and comfort for four adults." -- Detroit Free Press (2011) 

Other Cars to Consider

The Toyota Prius Plug-in can’t travel nearly as far in EV mode, but it offers a more comfortable back seat and more than twice the cargo space that you’ll find in the Volt. Combine these attributes with the Prius Plug-in’s lower starting price and significantly better fuel economy, and the Prius Plug-in makes a compelling argument for the spot in your driveway.

While you can’t charge the Lexus ES Hybrid, it returns better fuel economy than the Volt once the battery is depleted. The ES Hybrid excels in other areas where the Volt falls short, offering an extremely spacious interior with a roomy back seat and more trunk space.

Compare the Volt, Prius Plug-in and ES Hybrid »

Details: 2013 Chevrolet Volt

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is a four-seat plug-in hybrid vehicle with front-wheel drive. Two electric motors provide power for the 2013 Volt, while a four-cylinder gas engine acts as a generator when the Volt’s battery is depleted. Only one trim is offered. For 2013, the Volt’s EV range improves to 38 miles (a three-mile increase) and a new Hold drive mode allows drivers to conserve the Volt’s battery charge to maximize efficiency. The Volt may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Since the Volt has seen few changes since it was introduced, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2011 and 2012, as well as the current model year. 

See the full 2013 Chevrolet Volt specs »

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