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2012 Chevrolet Volt Review

High-Charged Commuter

A three-quarter front view of a white 2012 Chevrolet Volt

In short: A versatile and rechargeable four-passenger sedan.

There's something electrifying about the Chevy Volt — and its not just the substantial buzz that surrounds the uniquely-powered vehicle. This four-passenger sedan is a series-hybrid (or as General Motors likes to call it, an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle), meaning that the car is powered solely from an electric drive unit. Onboard, the Volt's 16-kWh lithium-ion battery gives the car a range of 35 miles before being supplemented by power generated from the vehicle’s small gasoline/E85 engine. The flex-fuel engine sustains the battery while extending the Volt's range by hundreds of miles. Since, according to GM, most Americans don't travel more than 35 miles roundtrip for work, the Volt makes for a great commuter sedan. Best of all, this vehicle can be plugged into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet to recharge overnight.

A view of the power plug in front of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt's driver's side mirror

An interior view of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt

Furthermore, as part of a special offer for Volt owners, Chevy has teamed up with SPX Service Solutions to provide their "Voltec" 240-volt home charging unit, which reduces charge time for a fully depleted Volt from ten hours to roughly four. Although the Volt's MSRP, at just under $40,000, is a good deal higher than the average Chevy sedan, buyers are eligible for an enticing $7,500 tax credit, making this already attractive car even more alluring.

A three-quarter rear view of a 2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage; 5-year/100,000-mile limited gas engine coverage; 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion protection coverage; 8-year/100,000-mile limited battery pack coverage; 5-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance and courtesy transportation

Base Price: $39,145 / As Tested: $45,170

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 5-door sedan

Engine: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery
Horsepower: 149 hp
Torque: 273 lb-ft
Transmission: single-speed automatic

Curb weight: 3,781 lbs
Wheelbase: 105.7 in
Length/Width/Height: 177.1/70.4/56.6 in Turning circle: 36 ft

Brakes: all-wheel disc with ABS and regenerative braking
Suspension: independent MacPherson struts in front; compound crank axle in rear
Traction: StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control

0-60 mph: 9 seconds
Top Speed: 100 mph

EPA City Equivalent (electric): 95 mpg
EPA Highway Equivalent (electric): 90 mpg

EPA City (gas): 35 mpg
EPA Highway (gas): 40 mpg

EV Range: 35 miles
Extended Range: 379 miles

Safety: dual-stage front airbags; driver and front passenger side-impact airbags; driver and front passenger knee airbags; front and rear roof rail side-impact airbags

Check out other Chevrolet models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Chevrolet website
Read the 2016 review of Chevrolet Volt Premier

A pre-production Chevrolet Volt out for a test drive

Let the Games Begin
The Chevy Volt received its first major introduction to the media at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where athletes, government officials, and members of the press were given the chance to take the series-hybrid electric vehicle for a spin. By the looks of it, this cool new car sure knows how to heat things up on a cold winter's day!

Photography: AlphaMedia

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