Well, the Volt finally came in on Thursday and we picked it up on Saturday. I'll post pictures later, but first some news.
The original purpose for the Volt was to replace our Enclave whose lease expires in October. We planned ahead and ordered our Volt in May, but even still we got the last of Myers' allotment. Lucky us .
Up until Saturday we were a 3 car family. But times and situations change. My wife is at home much more regularly and so 90% of the time at least one car is sitting on the driveway. To that end I decided that changes were due, so at the last minute I opted to trade in my G8 GT. We're now a 2 car family, a Cruze and a Volt. The Enclave and G8 are gone.
Now, onto a mini review after nearly 200kms in 2 days.
First off, the car is unbelievable. This is the coolest thing I've ever driven. I've driven luxury cars from Germany, Italy, England, the US and Japan. Nothing comes close to this car. It is just unbelievable. It's just so cool.
First thing you notice is just how well laid out it is. The interior is truly stylish. Then, when you power the car up -- turning it on sounds wrong -- it greets you with a nearly Star Treky type whooshing sound, kind of like what the doors on that series sounded like. The dash and info pod light up and you can put the car in gear and move if you so desire.
But looking at the dash you realize that it's exceedingly well laid out. The main information cluster is touch, as is the centre stack below. Much of what can be done on the centre stack can also be done via the information cluster, which is fully touch. It only took us a few minutes to get used to the controls, although I'm certain it'll take much longer to get used to the information that you can get from the car.
The dash itself presents in an unobtrusive way. It shows the battery range initially, with a small gas pump showing above. Total battery range is shown beside the battery with the overall gas+electric range shown below. When the car shifts to the generator the battery is replaced by the gas pump icon. If you're not paying attention you won't see it happen. We were fortunate and did. If you expect something to actually happen -- like some type of thunk or thud or some other unrefined feeling or noise, you'll be disappointed. It's utterly seamless. You can hear the generator if the radio is off, but it's a barely audible sound. There's no shaking. The car sits perfectly still, meaning the generator is truly well isolated and insulated. The NVH efforts that have gone into this car are immediately evidenced.
As you're driving there's a little green Earth that you can try to keep centered to maximize your battery distance. My son is superb at it, getting >60km on his first try. Me, I got about 57km range, but my son did point out that I was rather aggressive with the car. If 57 is the range for being aggressive, well done GM!
As I said, we did 120km the past 2 days. The total amount of fuel used is less than 1 litre and the fuel economy number posted is 1l/100km. That's a pathetic 253MPGe. Shame on GM not giving me only the advertised 93MPGe. I mean, really. 253MPGe. At this rate I'll never visit PetroCanada until the new year!!!
As to the more pedestrian aspects of the car, the seats are wonderful. I wish the seats were power but I can sort of understand GM trying to save weight. I think it a bit silly, but it is what it is. The hatch design for the car is great. I much prefer it to the sedan style of the Cruze. The rear seats drop so you can lug more crap if necessary. The glove box is rather puny, probably because of all the extra stuff crammed into the engine bay -- which is remarkably tidy with nice orange cables slithering out of the Voltec box with the generator nicely sitting beside it. The only reason to go under the hood would be to fill up the washer fluid.
The car handles superbly. In fact, putting it into sport mode immediately brought a smile to my face. It immediately reminded me of the G8. It sat confidently on the road and spirited driving was easy. 0-60 may only be 8.5s (I didn't time it, just going by MT and other sources) but the Volt does scoot. The torque courtesy of the electric motors probably makes it feel much quicker than it is, probably a similar feeling that diesel drivers have.
After the first day we plugged it in and had it autocharge overnight based on off-peak. You can override the autocharge time by simply selecting "Charge now" (or is it immediately) from the menu. Quite handy on the weekend when the car comes into the garage and sits for a few hours before someone else heads out.
Even though it's been only the weekend I can safely say this is the best car I've ever owned or driven. I don't have a single regret. Plus, everyone I showed it to and took for a ride indicated they want to buy one as their next car. It doesn't matter what their current rides are, they want a Volt. In my group of friends I am definitely the earliest of adopters. Now that they've seen it they want to edge closer to early adopter for the Volt. As one of them said while we were driving around: "You're going to love not stopping for gas all the time. I'm jealous." The gas savings alone vis a vis the Enclave and G8 GT will be massive for us. From that perspective, the Volt will pay for itself within a year or two.
For those that will whine about it being less cost effective than a Cruze or some other compact let me just say this. This is not "some other compact". This is truly the future. When you're driving this car you're driving the future. You can't put a price on that, even though GM did. Everything from its look -- which is 1000x better in real life than in pictures -- to how it feels, smells, sounds, is world class. The car is no compromise. And the fact it performs as it does and all in an effortless fashion is all the more impressive. As I said, it runs on battery or generator without you feeling transitions. When in generator mode the generator shuts off at lights, yet you don't notice the shutdown or start up. It's unbelievable.
When you drive the Volt you can easily see where the money was spent. This isn't some halfassed car. It's a statement. It truly does remind me of the 1960s moonshot. Everyone at GM should be very proud. And after experiencing other hybrids I can say there's no comparison. The other cars feel unrefined. The leap in terms of refinement and technology versus any potential competitors is equivalent to the refinement of the Cruze over the Cobalt. It's night and day.
Finally, the dealer experience was excellent. Pity Myers has to wait until 2012 to get anymore. They have folks waiting anxiously. Hopefully GM ships them some more soon, but with the waiting lists what they are in the US I can imagine GM has some folks who've waited longer eagerly awaiting their rides.