Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Hybrid Cars Under $30,000
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
Go
Federal Tax Credit Up To $7,500!

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, effectively reducing the net base price from $41,000 to $33,500. Some states offer additional purchase incentives that can be combined with the federal credit. Other electric vehicle-related perks that vary by city or state include single-occupant access to carpool lanes, free metered parking and significantly reduced vehicle registration fees. Home charging stations, which cut charging times in half compared to standard wall outlets, are also eligible for attractive incentives. You can find more incentive information at fueleconomy.gov and pluginamerica.com.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2011 Chevrolet Volt Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

With its unique Voltec propulsion system that combines a powerful electric motor and an internal-combustion engine/generator, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt establishes a new class of high-efficiency/low-emission production car that overcomes the single most critical real-world shortcoming of pure electric models: Range anxiety. This stylish four-door compact hatch can travel an average of 35 miles on pure electric power from a Lithium-ion battery pack before its gasoline-fueled "range extender" transparently kicks in to directly generate electric power for another 344 miles. Loaded with technology and creature comforts, Chevy is betting the Volt will outpoint its eco-oriented challengers in the Great Green Derby – especially the equally new Nissan LEAF EV and the reigning conventional hybrid champ, the Toyota Prius.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are intrigued by the idea of an electric car but feel like their limited mileage range won't fit your needs, the extended-range 2011 Chevy Volt is a perfect compromise between the EV you want and the gasoline-powered vehicle that more practically fits into your daily routine.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Even sweetened with potential federal and state tax advantages, the 2011 Chevy Volt remains a relatively pricey pick and enjoying the full benefits of its green potential will require recharging it regularly. For some, alternatives like the Nissan LEAF EV, Toyota Prius Hybrid, Volkswagen Golf TDI or even a Honda Fit may make more bottom-line sense.

What's Significant About This Car?

Beyond eliminating the dreaded range anxiety limitation that impacts all pure electric vehicles, the Volt's "Voltec" propulsion system will serve as the basis for a number of other General Motors extended-range vehicle offerings in the coming years.

Driving the Volt

Driving Impressions Built on a bespoke version of GM's global small car architecture that also underpins the Chevy Cruze, the Volt offers a decidedly conventional basic driving experience overlaid with a few...

unique Voltec-specific wrinkles. The biggest difference can be felt in the immediate torque provided by its electric motor as well as the complete (or relative) absence of engine noise in its well-isolated passenger compartment. The Volt's well-tuned suspension is ably complemented by quick and decently-weighted energy-saving electric power steering while super-efficient regenerative circuitry on its four-wheel disc brakes is noticeable but far from intrusive. Transitioning from pure-electric to range-extended mode is virtually transparent save for a faint engine sound accompanied by a dash icon that changes from a battery to a fuel pump. Although the EPA estimates that you'll see about 35 miles of electric range, how you drive, interior climate settings and road conditions do make a difference. In fact, trying to keep the car in EV mode is part of the fun of driving the Volt - almost like trying to top your best score at Pac-Man.

Delayed Start and Departure Time Mode
Using information supplied by your local electricity provider, the Volt can be programmed to commence recharging its battery pack when rates are at their lowest to help save money. Tell it when you plan to leave in the morning or evening, and it will automatically schedule the charging process to ensure that the battery is full in time for your commute.

Volt Smartphone App
Have a smartphone? By utilizing the OnStar MyLink app, you can check your Volt's battery level, tire pressure, available electric range, lock/unlock the doors and even start the A/C system so the interior is at a comfortable level when you're ready to leave. You can even control the Volt's charging rate from your phone and get a text or an e-mail when the battery is topped off.

2011 Chevrolet Volt Details
2011 Chevrolet Volt photo Interior

The interior of the 2011 Chevy Volt echoes the car's futuristic vibe. The center stack is covered in touch-sensitive controls for the audio and climate control systems instead of buttons and knobs. In place of gauges, two seven-inch LCD screens - one mounted in the gauge cluster and another in the center of the dash – display vehicle speed, battery state of charge, electric range, fuel level and driving efficiency. Black cloth seats and white interior accents come standard, but leather seats are available with green, black or light gold-colored accents. The 5.5-foot, 435-pound, T-shaped battery that's nestled underneath the center of the vehicle makes having a bench seat in the back row impossible, but the end result is two buckets that are quite comfortable - once you get situated in them. Thanks to the aerodynamic sloping roofline, rear seat ingress and egress are not exactly the Volt's strongest points.

Exterior
2011 Chevrolet Volt photo

To optimize its total operating efficiency, the Volt's exterior design team spared no effort in creating a shape that could slice through the air with the greatest of ease. Every element, from its rounded front fascia, closed-off grille and aggressively raked windshield to the crisp trailing edges on its rear fenders and a functional hatch spoiler were meticulously matched to yield the most aerodynamic production that GM has ever created. To wring the most extra miles-per-gallon out of the vehicle's design, the Volt rolls on 17-inch Goodyear Fuel Max low-rolling resistance lightweight wheels, which weigh 17.8 pounds each.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In base form, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt comes with a more comprehensive feature set than any other Chevy currently on the market. It's also the recipient of all of Chevy's latest and greatest technology and features, including touch-sensitive climate, audio and drive controls, an energy-saving Bose sound system (it's 40 percent lighter and uses 50 percent less energy than a conventional sound system) and an eight-year 100,000-mile warranty on its battery pack and associated electrics. You'll also get standard navigation, a 60 MB hard drive with 30 MB of space for music, five years of OnStar and USB connectivity.

Optional Equipment

It's hard to call an options list a list when there are only two on offer: a Premium Trim Package and Rear Camera and Park Assist Package. The Premium Trim Package adds heated front seats, leather seating surfaces and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, while the Rear Camera and Park Assist Package includes - as you'd expect - a rear-view camera and front/rear parking sensors. If you're going to spring for any options on the Volt, we'd recommend the park assist package; the Volt's low-slung and very easily scraped front air dam makes parking sensors particularly helpful when you're not quite sure where the curb starts. Finally, bling fans can choose to have their Volt's aluminum wheels done in a bright-polished rather than the standard satin finish.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt's propulsion system consists of an electric drive unit that makes 149 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, a 16kWh liquid-cooled Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack and a 1.4-liter/84-horsepower in-line four internal-combustion "range-extender." The latter takes over when battery charge decreases to a certain level – normally after 25-50 miles of driving – and generates on-the-fly electricity for another 344 miles. Replenishing the battery pack takes 10-12 hours using a standard 110V outlet or three-four on a 240V dedicated unit. The Volt has three operating modes. "Normal" is the most efficient, "Sport" provides more direct accelerator response and "Mountain," which requires 10-15 minutes of advance engagement but optimizes the battery to cope with increased energy demands caused by extended steep grades. The Volt has earned a 93 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent) combined city/highway EPA rating in pure EV mode and returns 37 mpg when the range-extender kicks in.

AC synchronous electric motor/generator
16kWh lithium-ion battery pack
1.4-liter in-line four
111kW/149-horsepower @ 4800 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 0-4800 rpm
Projected per-charge range: 35 miles (all-electric), 344 miles (gasoline range-extender only)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 93 MPGe (when in all-electric mode, miles per gallon equivalent), 37 MPG (when the range-extender motor/generator is running)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2011 Chevrolet Volt Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 184 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Best Electric Car Around

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 198

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, quality, savings."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is amazing. Averaging 60mpg with normal driving, I cant imagine a more efficient car that can be driven without compromise. It is very sporty with its 273ft/lb of torque and handles very well. The quality is spot on, everything is very tight and resembles a luxury car. The speakers, infotainment, and gauge cluster are awesome. The car is whisper quite even with the engine on making it seem like a Cadillac. The car also has plenty of storage and cargo room. I find the leg room to be plenty also. If you're looking for a volt definitely get it!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fun to drive - great mileage

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,851

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive - great mileage"

Cons: "Small back seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"A blast to drive. Even once the electric range is done, it gets good MPG (got right at 40 MPG on a 300 mile trip last week). Only drawback is the small back seat space. I'm over 6 foot tall, so the seat behind me is not usable when I drive since seat driver seat is all the way back. My wife and daughter are fine on the passenger side on trips, but a fourth would not work."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

First Chevy after many years of Toyota.. Pleasantl

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Incredible fuel efficiency, Super Quit, Solid feel"

Cons: "higher than expected depreciation, ex. that to chg"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Pleasantly surprised... please excuse the grammar, as I just only have a moment to write this. at the quality of workmanship, quality of materials used, advanced design of the hybrid drive train. + I have over 10500 miles on only 47 gallons of gas used. +Super quiet +In Electric 'Sport mode' drives very similar to 3 series BMW. Lots of fun. +Interior Quality comparable to Lexus... This is an incredible value for the money. After getting a bad rap in the begining, I believe this will be a major hit. and price will eventualy go back up subsantialy for how truly advanced its design and quality are..."

This car does extremely well on all counts.

By on Monday, June 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Uses almost no gasoline. Pleasure to drive."

Cons: "Back seat is designed for 2 passengers."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Pleasure to drive. Handles well. Is comfortable and all systems work as designed. Overall this car has achieved 201 miles per gallon since it was new, per the computer memory. Just plugged it in and it indicates that it will go 46 miles on this charge. I seldom buy gasoline!! The engine only starts when the battery runs out of juice or an occasional maintenance cycle to keep the engine ready to go. The computer and the information system is a marvel!"

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Great Car for the right people

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Almost never have to stop for gas"

Cons: "Sits too low to the ground."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is not a car for everyone but I have nothing but good things to say about this car. The charging system is great, no problems at all. When the temp is in the 70's and 80's I can get 44 to 49 miles to a charge. I almost never have to stop at a gas station."

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

under rated

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, amazing MPG, sporty looking, quiet"

Cons: "not LED everywhere, but that's fixable and cheap"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have no idea why more people aren't talking about this car. It's amazing. I get a lot of looks and questions when people see me in it. The power is surprisingly peppy in sport mode, enough to keep me satisfied. I've owned a corvette and a Nissan 300zx, and while the volt doesn't have as much horse power, the low end torque is pretty dang fun. I've never been as satisfied with a purchase as I am with my volt! My only complaint is that I want the extra features and battery life of the 2013 and newer year, but that's my fault for not buying newer."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?