The Chevrolet Volt was once one of the few vehicles in the plug-in hybrid segment when it first came out. By offering more range than competitors and good driving dynamics, the Volt became a leader. The 2019 Chevy Volt continues to lead the pack, though it's part of a much larger group. With class-leading range, some luxury features, and a fun-to-drive chassis, the Volt is an electrified car that highlights the best attributes of an electric vehicle without requiring a fundamental change in the way you drive.
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2019 Chevrolet Volt Overview
What's New for 2019
Chevrolet made a lot of little changes for the 2019 model year. Major highlights include a new 7.2-kW charging system that allows the Volt to get its full electric range back in 2.3 hours when plugged into a Level 2 (240-volt) charging system, which is roughly half the amount of time as last year on the 3.6-kW charger. The automaker has also altered the Low and Regen profiles for increased regenerative braking capability and the automatic engine-assisted heating system, which can now allow for more electric operation up to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Other changes include Chevrolet's new Infotainment 3 system that includes an eight-inch touchscreen, a digital rearview camera, driver-switchable adaptive cruise control, a tire fill alert, and an available power driver's seat.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Volt
Unlike a traditional hybrid, the Volt's plug-in hybrid powertrain lets you plug into a charger to fill up on electricity when you run out. That little differentiation also translates to the setup of its powertrain. The Volt features an 18.4-kWh battery pack that's paired to a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Combined output for the vehicle is 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque.
The powertrain allows the Volt to travel 53 miles on electricity before the gasoline engine kicks on and starts to recharge the battery pack. When that happens, the Volt can travel another 367 miles, essentially giving the vehicle a total range of 420 miles. When it comes to charging, the Volt's new 7.2-kW charging system (optional on the base LT trim and standard on the range-topping Premier trim) allows the vehicle to get a full charge in 2.3 hours on a Level 2 charger. On an everyday wall plug, the vehicle gets a full charge in approximately 13 hours.
Fuel economy for the Volt, as you might suspect, is excellent. The vehicle is capable of getting up to an EPA-estimated 106 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) combined, or 42 mpg combined when the gas engine is running.
The Volt is available in two trims:
While the 2019 Chevy Volt is a leader in the plug-in hybrid segment, it comes at a higher price than its competitors. With that in mind, unless you need an upscale interior to go with the fuel-efficient powertrain, we'd recommend going with the base LT trim. If you have access to a Level 2 charger, the new 7.2-kW system is a must, as are the Driver Confidence Package and the Comfort Package.
2019 Chevrolet Volt Review
Now in its fourth model year for the current generation, the 2019 Chevrolet Volt isn't the newest option on the block, but it continues to be one of the best in the plug-in hybrid segment. Capable of traveling up to 53 miles on electricity and offering an additional 367 miles on good ol' gasoline, the Volt brings you the best of both worlds. The hatchback is also surprisingly fun to drive. With faster charging than before thanks to a new 7.2-kW charger, the Volt gives you some of the capability of a pure electric vehicle without any of the drawbacks.
With a starting price that's higher than the competition, the Volt's base LT trim is the most appealing one. The LT trim is handsomely equipped with standard equipment that includes an eight-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 17-inch wheels, a rearview camera, LED headlights and taillights, and single-zone automatic climate control.
Skipping over the Premier trim means you're missing out on some luxury features that it comes standard with, like leather upholstery, a Bose premium audio system, wireless charging, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic parking assist, and front and rear parking sensors. Some of these features are available on the base LT trim in packages or as standalone options.
Still, going with the LT trim is what we'd do, though we'd add the 7.2-kW charger, the LT Driver Confidence Package, and the Power Convenience Package for some extra comfort. Here's how we'd spec our Volt:
- Model: 2019 Chevrolet Volt LT
- Engine: 1.5-liter four-cylinder range extender / 111-kW two-motor drive unit / 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
- Output:149 hp / 294 lb-ft
- Transmission: One-speed direct drive
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- MPG:106 MPGe combined / 42 mpg combined
- Options: Power Convenience Package ($1,660, a six-way power driver’s seat, a power driver seat lumbar control, body-color heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-appointed seating, a leather-wrapped shift knob), LT Driver Confidence Package ($790, rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert with blind-spot monitoring), 7.2-kW onboard charging module ($750)
- Base Price:$34,395 (including the $875 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$37,595
Being surprisingly agile is one of the Volt’s interesting qualities, but the plug-in hybrid also brings a relatively smooth ride and a serene cabin into the mix. While these are good qualities for a vehicle to have, the main reasons for going with a plug-in hybrid is fuel economy, which also happens to be on of the Volt’s strong suits. With an EPA-estimated 53 miles of electric range, the Volt is the leader in the segment for not being able to use gasoline. Thanks to the addition of a 7.2-kW charger, plugging into a 240-volt (Level 2) charging station means a charge time of just 2.3 hours.
Thanks to the placement of the batteries, low and central in the body, the Volt is, as odd as this may sound, actually fun to drive around corners. Straight-line performance, thanks to the electric-based powertrain is also sprightly, though the vehicle runs out of puff in a hurry.
With new Regen and Low profiles, the Volt has learned a trick from its all-electric brother, the Chevrolet Bolt, allowing for increased regenerative braking. Shift the Volt into Low mode and the vehicle will naturally come to a halt in a controlled manner without requiring the driver to touch the brake pedal. A paddle on the steering wheel also helps drivers regenerate more electricity, allowing you to travel on electricity further than the EPA’s estimated mileage.
Unlike other fuel-efficient offerings, the Volt's styling doesn't highlight its eco-friendly nature. Instead, the Volt features a sleek, simple design that's more in line with a regular sedan. But the vehicle is hiding a trick up its sleeve, as it has a large hatchback opening. Still, the Volt could fool some into thinking it's a regular, everyday sedan.
The styling, especially the A-pillar, drastically reduces visibility out of the Volt. The tall rear headrests and small rear windshield also make it hard to see what's going on behind the vehicle.
On the inside, a larger eight-inch touchscreen and an updated instrument cluster (also borrowed from the Bolt) are highlights of the cabin, providing information in a clear, video-game-like manner. The seats, especially with the available six-way power driver's seat, are comfortable for long drives. Chevrolet claims the Volt is a five-seater, but the way the batteries and the rear cupholders are placed, there's no way someone, even a child, will be able to squeeze into the middle seat in the back. The added versatility from the hatchback body style, though, makes up for it.
The Best and Worst Things
Being able to travel 53 miles on electricity blazes the way forward for the segment, as does its ability to be recharged in just 2.3 hours on a Level 2 charging system. Good driving dynamics, a comfortable ride, and great fuel economy figures are also high points for the Volt. Only being able to seat a total of four and low driver visibility are things that could make the Volt hard to live with on a daily basis.
Right For? Wrong For?
While plug-in hybrids like the Volt are aimed at those seeking good fuel economy, the vehicle manages to appeal to those outside of the eco realm. Being able to travel 53 miles on electricity is nice, but the vehicle's total range of 420 miles is the more important figure for daily use, as it allows you to take a trip across the US if the mood strikes. The 1.5-liter range-extender engine abolishes range anxiety, while the electric powertrain gives you some range to explore with – truly offering you the best of both worlds for electrified cars.
If carrying up to five and holding cargo for those many people is something you expect to do on a regular basis, the Volt's cramped rear seat and cabin space may be a hindrance. The rear seats are tight to begin with and the hilarious placement of the middle seat makes it downright unusable. Other options have more spacious cargo areas, too.
The Bottom Line
Because of its excellent fuel economy figures, elegant styling, and comfortable interior, the 2019 Chevy Volt is a great option as a daily-driver. The plug-in hybrid hits all of the right notes, especially appealing to those that are just looking to get into the world of electric cars without having to deal with range anxiety. Despite its cramped rear seat and lackluster cargo capacity, the Volt is a solid choice for anyone that can put its 53-mile of electric range to good use.