Electric Compromise | 2018 Chevrolet Volt Premier Review

One of the most popular PHEV vehicles sold in Québec is the Chevrolet Volt. We want to find out why that is.

Our Spotlight is on the 2018 Chevrolet Volt Premier, the top trim for Chevy’s compact hatchback extended range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. We see tonnes of these cars on the road, almost as many first generation models as second. It was originally designed to be the car to save General Motors from their near-bankruptcy during the later part of the 2000s, and consumers were excited to see what it had to offer. But even 8 years after it’s initial launch, many still believe this to be a completely 100% electric vehicle.

We go in-depth with the design and functionality of this Chevrolet Volt to see if regular people can use it on a daily basis, and what happens when four people jump into it. Our goal for the week is to use as little fuel as possible while maximizing the electric range offered on this car. We’ll use as many charging stations found around Québec as well as using the emergency charger that comes with the car.

Our wrap-up will go over total fuel and electricity costs for this car on a total distance cost, as well as a cost per kilometre. We’ll also go over what we like and dislike about this vehicle at the end.

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41 Replies to “Electric Compromise | 2018 Chevrolet Volt Premier Review”

  1. Hawkeye

    Just bought a 2018 today. Thought I have done years of research and know that this somewhat niche version of an EV has to offer, your review was excellent. Thanks for spending the time and keep up the good work!

  2. Mike G

    You are one of the only reviewers I have ever seen that understood the engine, under certain circumstances, will actually put power directly to the wheels. I had this argument with the sales person. He assured me I was wrong. I sent him a follow up email with a technical document explaining how and when this happens. When you mentioned it at the beginning of the video, it immediately got my "like". Your understanding of how the regen works is also better than that of 95% of the reviewers out there. I appreciate that you do your homework before making a video. Thanks!

  3. raymond memolandes

    Thanks for the review…no one else broke down the ev numbers the way you did…these are the numbers that I was looking for in the reviews…they keep giving numbers that don't match up with the comparison of other cars….thanks so much great review on real world scenario

  4. W W

    What do you mean using another tint to counter the reflection from the orange dash top. Do you go to a window tinting store or ask your dealer to do it? Is it legal to tint the windshield?

  5. Patrick Flohe

    I have a '19 Volt, and I have to disagree on certain points.
    -It's truly a great car!
    I'll agree that I don't particularly care for the brown and black interior colors of your test vehicle, but that's not the only interior option. However, it's really not that bad looking of a color combination, either.
    Mine has an all black interior, and I think it looks great.
    Fit and finish is good too!
    The overall quality of the whole car is good.

    I can't agree at all that it's ugly. I love the looks of the car.
    I will say that I prefer the rear end of the Generation 1 Volt, but the front of the Gen 2, and still like the the looks of both.
    I get A LOT of comments on its appearance, everywhere I go. People love my car.
    The interior does look nice as well, and they comment on it.

    I drive approximately 48 miles each way, going to / from work.
    My lifetime average is over 104 MPG.
    On the current tank of fuel, I'm at 850.3 miles, with 90 miles worth of fuel range remaining. That's one or two days worth of commuting, remaining.
    The average for this tank so far, is 128.0 MPG.
    Over the last 2,568 miles, it's been 116.2 MPG.
    I couldn't be more pleased.
    If I could charge at work, I'd only need gas for long trips.
    -That leads to my next main reason for buying this car…..yes, you got it right, the first was excellent fuel economy / good EV battery range for work commute. I nearly bought a bigger car, but I reminded myself that there was a main reason for buying a car.
    I love that I can take the roads less traveled, and not worry about where I can (indeed, MUST if you're a tesla or a leaf or something) stop and charge, if someone is already charging there, and if the charging station is operable, or inop.
    If I don't want to stop somewhere, indeed even go out of my way to find a charging station, I DO NOT.
    I can drive the car as a normal car, and charge when I get there, or even wait until I get home.
    Driving on the power generated from the gasoline engine only, I can still get 44-46 MPG, sometimes even more.

    The car IS fun to drive, and handles well.
    The tires are low rolling resistance, but that is only partly why it's easy to spin the tires.
    What you didn't mention, unless I missed it, is that the Volt, and all electric vehicles that I have experienced, are torquey.
    Our '14 Ford Fusion hybrid also accelerates well, just like the Volt. It spun tires even worse.
    When I put much better Michelin radials on it, it did get much better, but it's still torquey, and can still spin the tires.

    The Fusion also reminds me of another advantage of the Volt, over cars like the Fusion and the prius.
    The engine doesn't come on all the time, like in those vehicles. It won't come on, until you run out of available battery power.
    I REALLY like that. The Volt engine is also much quieter.
    While I really do like our Fusion and it's absolutely been a great & trouble-free car, the Volt whoops ass on both the Fusion and the prius pile.

    You didn't bash the Volt for the center rear seat as much as some others I've heard and read, but you did get in a dig about it.
    This bothers me, because nobody seriously plans to put three adults back there, and it's fairly well known, that this seating position was put there for kids. GM never intended for adults to have to sit there, with the console where your legs would have to be.

    Average height adults have said that the outboard back seats are fine for room, but I would never sit back there. The back seats are NOT for tall people.
    I didn't buy it for the back seat, as I'll always be in the front, and nearly always will be driving it.
    I'm 6'3" tall, over 300 pounds, and have no problem with front seat room.
    Our Fusion Energi is a bigger car, but getting in and out of it is no different. I swear, it's identical.
    I have to seriously duck my head in both cars, for entry and exit, but both are fine, once I'm in.

    The knock about the lack of dual climate controls, makes me laugh.
    The Fusion has it, my Buicks have it, and numerous other cars I've driven, have had it.
    There's no wall between the two sides, and I've always found this feature laughable. The air mixes well around the cabin, sooooo….
    In short, the single climate control works just fine….Trust me, I drive this car every day. People in the right seat have noticed its absence, and agree, dual climate controls aren't needed.

    I love the blindspot warnings / alerts in the side view mirrors, a big help for one of the very few complaints I have about this car.
    I didn't think I'd care, but I really do like the adaptive cruise control. In fact, I love it.
    I also like the collision alert, and the braking that it triggers.
    It also has lane keep assist.
    Really, my car has an awful lot of features for a commuter car.
    One feature I've yet to bring myself to use, is the parking feature, though I do definitely use the distance (to vehicles or other objects) indicators for parking, and the backup camera.
    I think the day I have to have the car park for me, I should quit driving.

    One negative I have to say on this car, is that there is no rear window wiper….I wish it had that!
    I think that, on a hatchback, this should be mandatory, not just optional…..it's not even an option, for the Volt.
    Again, it's all about weight savings.

    Another positive, is the infotainment system.
    It works well, is easy to use, and see. It works better than the systems used in many other cars, and the prius in particular.
    -a few co-workers have the prius.
    I generally like to have the screen displaying the energy usage / energy remaining screens.
    -That's my favorite.

    Another positive that I LOVE, is the superior power regeneration of the Volt. The paddle switch on the forward side of the steering wheel is very handy, and very effective.
    I barely use the brakes at all, and know people (plus have read about many more) where the car has well over 100,000 miles, even over 200,000 miles, with very little brake wear at all.
    The car slows VERY well with regen, and also activates the brake lights while doing so.
    I generally drive in "L", or low, for maximum regen performance. There's no transmission, so it doesn't rev the engine.
    The only difference between L and D, is when you back-off the accelerator.
    When the brakes are really needed, they work great.

    Another "negative" that bothers some people (but not me), is that most Volts don't have a power seat option.
    Mine has that, but the ones I had been looking at (nearly bought one), didn't have it.
    I really didn't care. My seat is always in the same position anyway, soooo….

    As for charging, there are some things I'd like to point out to potential Volt buyers, new or used.
    The charger is actually in your car, and depending upon the year / charging option of your Volt, can charge at different rates.
    Mine is a '19 Volt, and is equipped with the better 7.2 kw (I believe that's correct) charger.
    This charger was optional on the LT model, but standard on the Premier. Some dealers only ordered the higher output charger.
    The charging power supply that came with the car, is actually a portable unit.
    It's 120 volt, but can work on 240 volts with only an adaptor. -the label doesn't tell you that, but it's true.
    -don't try this with early models, but it works fine with the later Clipper Creek models. There are YouTube videos that can help identify which ones are 240 volt capable with no modifications, and even ones that can tell you how to modify the ones that aren't, without too much effort.
    ANYWAY, using this unit on 120 volts (standard household receptacle), the car can be completely charged in 13 hours at 12 amps, or 19 hours at 8 amps. Use the lower amp setting, if you need to plug into a circuit with other items on it, such as a freezer or fridge, toaster etc. This is designed to prevent you from overloading a non-dedicated circuit.
    Use it on 240 volts, and that drops to about 6 or 6.5 hours. I've done it daily for a period of about a month, and it works great.
    I bought a 16 amp 240 volt Webasto portable power supply that does the job in about 4.5 hours….I plugged this into a 20 amp receptacle in my garage, that's for my air compressor. Works fantastic, and charges the Ford Fusion even faster.
    For the Volt, I have a Clipper Creek 240 volt 40 amp wall-mounted Clipper Creek charging station, and it can charge the larger capacity high voltage battery pack of the Generation 2 Volt in about 2 and 1/4 hours.
    -pretty impressive.
    If you drive to work, come home & plug the car in, then it sits there until you go to work the next day, the factory-supplied portable 120 volt unit will work fine for you if you don't have a long commute.

    For me, I work evenings (swing shift)….
    I can go somewhere in the morning, return home with a depleted battery or at least well used, plug the car in to charge, and I'm ready to go to work with a full battery in 2.5-2.6 hours with the Clipper Creek wall-mounted unit that I have. A 32 amp charging station will yield similar results, mine is a 40 amp unit, that I bought with the possibility that we may someday own a so-called full electric (no engine) vehicle, such as a Chevy Bolt….these have a much larger battery, and take longer to charge.
    -I strongly recommend that brand, whatever size charging station you do buy.

  6. William Blish

    The Chevy Volt Is a complete underratedEV. Sadly with how the market works, It makes the most sense to lease these cars rather then buy them straight or even buy them out when the lease expires due to the depreciation. I'm currently leasing my 2018 premier and I've driven my car both cautiously and hard. And when you start to drive it like a car should be driven is when you can really appreciate The manufacturing of this car. This car over all Has the best handling, drivability and comfort. It has great height clearance over curbs, rights smooths on shit tier new york roads. It has a really nice tight turn radius so its great for getting around tight spaces especially when parallel parking. It has impressive pickup when smashing the throttle. The car does max out at 101MPH With the software limiter, There are ways to clear the PCM of the speed limiter, But I wouldn't recommend it as it would void warranties and it will Ware down the electronics a lot faster. The interior can not go unnoticed, Yeah the back seats may not have enough head space if your taller then 5'11" but being able to bring the seat down really allows for plenty of trunk space. Great for moving some storage around, no problem with grocery shopping. had taken a recent road trip and camped out in the back of the car. plenty of room to lay down and not feel too cramped. This car is perfect for commuting and taking long road trips, It is so diverse in what you need. Not sure what audio system came with the base models. But The Bose speakers that are in my volt are so crisp. I have never loved a car as much as i love my volt. I will definitely either hold onto mine after the lease or buy another used volt. what ever seems financially acceptable.

    If The ev Markets played in favour of the manufactures. The volt Could have stayed around for a couple more gens.

  7. DigikidForever

    With all due respect you are quite incorrect with your first statement about the Volt not really being a full EV. According to my local chevy dealership AND Chevy themselves the Volt is indeed a electric vehicle….not a true hybrid.

    Other than that I loved the review on the Volt.

  8. Dem K.

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    Their purpose destroy economic and fun with tail flick, slide and below 1 mpg (over 100 l/100km, below 1 km/l) on automobiles markets permanent.

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    3. Dimension front track as same as rear track bodyworks all : 0.85g the medium traction, tail flick, slide, 1-5 km/l and below 1 km/l in all speed.
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  9. Dem K.

    Chevrolet Volt all with wider rear track than front track bodyworks all : the lowest traction 0.7g, the extreme tail flick, the extreme slide, 20-100 l/100km, over 100 l/100km with 160 km/h to top speed, F1 speed, all speed on circuits all by CEO and team vote to build.

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  10. Jackson Bangs

    The one big disadvantage I find to owning the first generation Volt is it requires Premium fuel. Premium fuel is not cheap. The second generation Chevrolet Volt requires regular gas which I find to be a huge improvement!

  11. Tony Grubb

    I was told Volts in fact are actually 100% electric just that they have a gas powered generator to keep a constant flow of electricity. Basically, the gas generator doesn't actually contain a drive-train but just keeps the main battery powered to move the vehicle. So it is in fact an EV and not a hybrid.

  12. No One's Business

    The folks commenting on your weight have self esteem issues and thus are trying to knock you. They're making you $$ by commenting and watching your channel so I know you don't care😂😂. Keep up the great work and I love the Volt.

    Power to the People and Free Simba!!

  13. NH Dan

    I find it interesting that no reviewers ever mention and certainly don’t use the Volt’s dynamic braking feature

    The paddle shift like dynamic braking feature can add a great deal of EV range to a daily drive. During the non winter months when fully charged our Volt often shows an available 66 miles of EV range. My wife drives our Volt daily and often arrives at her destination ,using the dynamic braking religiously , with the same 66 mile range available. Some of the extension can be attributed to a 700 ft elevation drop but She usually returns from a 70 mile round trip with 30 plus EV range still available. You do the Volt a great disservice by failing to mention the dynamic braking capabilities. We have had our Volt for 2.5 years. It has been a wonderful vehicle …my wife tells me she can’t go anywhere without people asking about the car.

  14. Dustin Dawind

    I don't understand your claim that the "trickle charger" as you call it won't work. That's ridiculous. It's not a Tesla. With a standard 120 volt outlet charging at 12 amps the Volt takes 12 to 13 hours to fully charge. So you can easily fully charge it overnight. I purchased a level 2 EVSE for convenience sake for mine but I used the level 1 for several weeks when I first bought the car before I got around to getting the Level 2 installed with no issue.

  15. Spuddy

    Not a bad review…

    Somewhat flawed as a review though. I live in Ontario Canada and I happen to own the exact same model of 2018 Chevrolet Volt Premier, in white with the same color interior. There may be some truth to some area's that you discussed but there are also MANY POINTS that you have made that were totally erroneous and misleading.

    1. Why did you need to highlight the defects pertaining to the Volt?

    The Volt does not need to be charged exclusively on a level 2 charger. Yet you decided to charge the car that way and to pay to have it charged at a destination charger. The way you explained it that was the only way to charge the vehicle. I regularly charge mine overnight, the way the car was designed by GM to be charged. It can be charged on a regular 120 volt outlet (you know the one that you plug a toaster in) while sleeping. Plug in at night and the next day Voila, it's at FULL charge, ready for another day of running around. As far as I am concerned why even install a 240 volt charger Just because you needed a special charger for the KIA a 120 volt plug would have sufficed, unless you were never needing sleep. Charge while sleeping at night.

    2. You seem to preclude that the Volt only achieves 85 km of Range.

    I  have owned mine since July 29th 2017. I have driven it over a winter and have gotten the rated range of 85 km to full charge in the dead of winter. Last summer I regularly got the car to charge to 135 km very often and can produce photographs of the charge completed at that range indicated. My car normally charges from 115 km up to 135 km. It depends greatly on the driving style and my use of the heating or cooling for the amount driven.

    3. You explained that the car's you drove used X amount of funds to get around.

    When I am in town I charge for FREE at a location that uses Solar Energy to charge any cars that connect to their charger units. Even if I am charging at home I have figured that I get the rated range of 160 km of range driving and allowing for regenerative braking. Even IF I were to pay for that 160 km of range the cost would amount to $35.57 per month total including taxes on energy and the Hydro electricity loss of .0377%. I am usually driving less than 160 km per day, so my car is never empty when I get back home. BTW, that is all without ANY FUEL whatsoever. When I do happen to use fuel I get 76 + mpg. on the Hwy.

    4. Yes the car has some compromises, this car is not for everyone. Possibly why GM makes so many different models and so do other manufacturers for that matter.

    Review the Chevrolet Bolt that vehicle is considerably larger in the rear. The front seats are somewhat restrictive for a gentleman your size, but the rear seats have a lot more room to them.

    I for one believe that the Volt does not necessarily suite everyone's needs, it is fine for me though. I have taken many trips (1500 + km at a time) and found it to be as comfortable as any car I have previously owned, and I have had many different cars over the last 30 years. it is as comfortable and well built as any Buick Regal or Kia Magentis (Optima now). I feel that the car rides solid and holds the road.

    I agree that it could use a better driver lane keeping software. The Ping Pong affair is in Dire need of an update.

    5. You compared a KIA Optima which is a Mid Size Sedan to a Chevy Volt which is a Compact hatchback. WTF?!? Then you say the obvious, the car doesn't hold a candle to the LARGER SEDAN when you compare the rear seat roominess? Who are you kidding??

    This review is centered around your wanting to promote the KIA Optima as a better car, as you kept pointing that out multiple times during your dissertation. If you like the Optima then buy one, no one is stopping you.

    What do a pen and a horse have in common? Answer they both have a use, knocking or bashing one or the other makes no sense. They can both be used by anyone.

  16. cha gog

    the interior is now all black..looks amazing..0 to 30 in 2.2 secs..drives extremely smooth and handling is great in all weather and conditions. 58 miles of electric only is a huge step above it competitors that have engine only.

  17. dweiss1

    Hi Nile. I really enjoyed your review of the Gen2 Chevy Volt. A few observations:
    1. I didn't realize the noise generated by the power window cranks was an issue.
    2. The back seat looks a little more cramped than my Gen1 Volt. Is that the case? Also, how tall are you?
    3. You mentioned that closing the vents might save some efficiency vis-a-vis the A/C. But @ 6% it is very low. My Gen1 has a 26% hit on efficiency.
    Thanks for the great review!

  18. Mark Plott

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha E – Golf are you kidding ? where are their SALES ? have they sold 500,000 cars in the US ? have they SOLD more than the Chevy BOLT ? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha VW E – Golf is a joke CLOWN CAR.

  19. Mark Plott

    HORRABLE, the Time of the Hybrids has passed, In North America we have had Hybrids for over a Decade. its time to move on, and TODAY in 2018 the BEV is here. FACT is the Hybrid is a ICE car with a 50 Mile batter. A BEV on the other hand is mature and its here to stay. A BEV uses ZERO OIL and ZERO gas. Bonus, you can charge nearly for FREE at home.

  20. Marcus Sylvester

    The more comprehensive review of the Chevy Volt I have watched so far! Thanks a lot!
    But I must say your speaking speed is a very good practice for my English listening skills…
    Best wishes of success to your channel!

  21. Dan Sanger

    Good review. I own a 2017 Volt, and like it a lot. It's a compact economy car with a decent interior, and people will be very happy with it if that's how they think of it. If they want luxury appointments or to regularly haul tall adults in the back seat, look elsewhere. However, it's great for single people or childless couples who want a practical and economical car. Its biggest positives are the smooth, quiet EV drive, and the ability to charge at home. I just went ten months between fill-ups. Spending money to option out a compact economy car makes no sense to me. If you wait for discounts, buy a base model with few or no options, and take advantage of government incentives, it's possible to get one for a net price of under US$20k, which is an amazing value.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that PHEVs are a transition technology. When I bought mine, there were no moderately priced long range pure EVs available on the market, and the charging infrastructure was spotty. In the next couple years, that could change dramatically, and the Volt might start looking a little dated still having a gasoline engine. After experiencing driving an EV, I know I really don't want to ever go back to an internal combustion engine.

  22. Azaz 911c

    Nile, interesting review on a vehicle that hasn't received as much publicity as it might deserve. Although PHEVs may still not be for everyone , PHEVs have definitely progressed from a curiosity to a practical option for many consumers. Widespread adoption will require a narrowing of the price gap to conventional gas engine cars, and overcoming the consumer's psychological gap of what a car should be. Both will take time, but I think they will happen. The need for charging infrastructure might be the biggest obstacle to adoption. Once (if?) many people start installing Level 2 charging stations in their homes, I think PHEV and EV adoption will rapidly increase. Today, we all charge our smart phones on a nightly basis and think nothing of it. Tomorrow, we will do the same with our cars.

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