2017 Chevrolet Volt Driving Impressions

The electric power is good, no worries about keeping up. There are switches that reduce the power to extend the range, but even when they’re activated the Volt doesn’t feel stretched, it remains quick and smooth. The second generation shed a couple hundred pounds, and it shows, especially from zero to 30 mph. Unlike some plug-in hybrids, the engine delivers full power from a low speed.

The Volt feels heavy for its size, not lithe, but the center of gravity is low so it corners flat, with decent feel from the electric power steering. It’s easy to drive, if not sporty. It’s calming. It’s lively, enjoyable on twisty roads, with no fuss about much. You can certainly hear the engine at full throttle, but it’s like a remote hum.

The powertrain allows both motors to power the front wheels together, or one motor to drive the car while the other recharges the battery; sensors tell it to do what’s needed, or what’s most efficient, so smoothly that the driver can’t feel it and never knows, unless he checks the power-flow diagram on the display screen.

Another thing you can barely feel is the regenerative braking, which is really good because with so many electric cars and plug-in hybrids it’s so strong it’s intrusive.

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