The 2018 Chevrolet Volt continues to lead the charge toward energy efficiency. Still fresh from a relatively recent redesign in 2016, the 2018 Volt returns with only a few changes. An impressive powertrain, excellent technology integration, and luxury features make the Volt a frontrunner for eco-conscious compact cars.
What's New for 2018
The cheaper LT trim gains the option of Chevy’s Driver Confidence package, which adds blind-spot detection, rear-traffic alerts, and a parking assist. The LT also loses the 2017 model’s leather steering wheel in favor of a vinyl unit. A (heated) leather wheel is still available via the Comfort Package, which customers will also have to add in order to unlock the Driver Confidence Package. Otherwise, the nuts and bolts of the Chevy Volt remain entirely unchanged for the year.
Choosing Your Chevy Volt
All Volts come with the same powertrain: a T-shaped lithium-ion battery working in tandem with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder and an electric motor. But unlike a traditional hybrid, like the Prius, the gas engine's only job is to recharge the 18.4-kilowatt-hour battery when it goes flat – it doesn't provide power to the front wheels. That's the job of the electric motor, which produces 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque.
With a full tank of gas, the effective range of the Volt is an expected 420 miles. But that's missing the point of Chevy's hybrid hatchback. This is a plug-in hybrid, designed to run off electricity only as often as possible. The large battery pack holds enough juice to cover 53 miles on a single charge, and owners can refuel it in as little as 4.5 hours via a 240-volt charger. A normal wall plug, meanwhile, does the deed in around 13 hours. The Volt might carry gasoline in its tanks, but it's not unusual to hear about owners going months between visits to the gas station.
Styling is fairly conservative, but customers can choose from eight exterior colors (three cost extra). All Volts come standard with LED headlights, keyless entry, remote start, and a capable infotainment system operated out of the central eight-inch touchscreen.
The Volt’s base trim starts at $34,095 (including an $875 destination charge). While it's the base trim, the Volt feels worth its price thanks to LED headlights, push-button and remote start, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and SiriusXM satellite radio, a 4G LTE wifi hotspot, and an eight-inch digital instrument cluster.
With this spec level, it’s worth adding the Comfort Package ($460), which includes power-adjustable heated mirrors, heated seats, and a heated leather steering wheel. We also recommend the Driver Confidence package for its blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems (not to mention its front and rear parking sensors. The only other option to really consider (beyond dealer-installed accessories) is a Bose audio system, which rings up at $560.
Upgrading to the Premier trim adds even more upscale options. A Premier-level Volt comes with heated leather seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and all of the content from the LT's Comfort Package. It also adds the Bose audio system and a wireless charging pad for mobile devices.
Parking assist is standard on the Premier trim, but buyers can still add in the other features of the Driver Confidence package for a reduced $495. The Premier trim also unlocks the Driver Confidence 2 package, which includes lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and automatic high beams for a worthwhile $495.
Other interior options are largely the same as the LT trim, although Premier-level cars can also add a navigation system for $495 (it's a redundant feature, considering the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility). All these extra goodies do come at a price – the Volt Premier starts at $38,445, and it’s not too hard to push it close to $40,000. That sounds a little pricy, but tax rebates – the Volt is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit – along with state incentives will soften the blow.
Unless you’d like the latest and greatest safety technology, it’s wise to stick with the LT trim. The Volt’s specialty is its powertrain, not its interior, and the most desirable extras are available in the Comfort package anyway. Keeping costs low will make that tax rebate all the sweeter, and you’ll save enough to go on an inaugural road trip.
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