You’re looking at one of the most important models in GM history. When the Volt concept debuted at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, it was the first serious plug-in hybrid concept to ever come from a major manufacturer. It debuted (albeit with seriously toned down styling) in late 2010, and cased a sensation in the motor press. It was Green Car of the Year, North American Car of the Year, and World Car of the Year in 2011. After visiting the Hamtramck production in 2012, President Obama announced that he’d buy one once he leaves office. Well Mr. President, with your return to civilian life a few weeks away, here’s your next car, better than it’s ever been.
The first-generation Volt may have made a splash in the press and within the green car community, but with its Prius-like wedge shape and relatively high buy in (prices started at $34K before tax credits), Chevy has managed to sell just over 109,000 Volts to date, or about 65% of Toyota Prius sales in 2015 alone. Yes, it was a pioneering plug-in hybrid that delivered a comfortable ride, fantastic economy, and loads of dependable new tech (not bad for a company that “killed” the electric car), but in the end, the old Volt wasn’t enough to make enough people ditch full-on gasoline power — at least not yet.
But the Volt got a comprehensive redesign for 2016, and from here, it looks like it has everything it needs to break big. It’s lighter, handles better, is more comfortable, and looks great. But times are changing too; the Volt is a truly good looking car, but its impact has been blunted by the introduction of the similarly styled Cruze. Meanwhile the Prius has embraced its weirdness and went bold for 2016, and sales haven’t slowed much, despite gas prices remaining low. And finally, with the impending arrival of the Bolt — GM’s first-ever pure EV — there’s a worry that the Volt could get lost in the shuffle.
We hope that’s not the case, because whether you’re in the market for a plug-in hybrid, or at least open to looking into one while searching for your next new car, the Volt is still vital to GM’s future, and it deserves your attention.